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How To Advise Brother Who Does Not Get It?
Old 03-03-2015, 04:19 PM   #1
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How To Advise Brother Who Does Not Get It?

Looking for advice if I should confront brother on financial matters. Goal is to get him to change his ways, downsize, adopt principles of sound finances. Danger is he will rebel and we'll have strained relationship forever. It kills me that he is living with maxed out credit cards, paycheck to paycheck, raising 2 daughters largely on his own (divorced). Completely born into the American consumerism bs. He's 46 now. Do we let let the house of cards fall at some ponit or intervene and try to save him? Any advice?
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Old 03-03-2015, 04:23 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by oscar1 View Post
Looking for advice if I should confront brother on financial matters. Goal is to get him to change his ways, downsize, adopt principles of sound finances. Danger is he will rebel and we'll have strained relationship forever. It kills me that he is living with maxed out credit cards, paycheck to paycheck, raising 2 daughters largely on his own (divorced). Completely born into the American consumerism bs. He's 46 now. Do we let let the house of cards fall at some ponit or intervene and try to save him? Any advice?
don't wast your time.
People that usually ask for advice don't listen let alone someone who didn't
JMHO
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Old 03-03-2015, 04:24 PM   #3
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Has he asked for your help? If not, it's best not to interfere. As much as it is difficult, is the conversation worth ruining your relationship? Be there to commensurate if he needs it, but don't offer advice when you are not asked. YMMV.
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Old 03-03-2015, 04:24 PM   #4
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Good luck. This has been addressed here multiple times and the consensus is that they just have to figure it out on their own. I too have a few family members/friends that are on the superspeedway to crashing and burning (financially speaking). Even after seeing how I was able to retire as young as I was (am) they still won't listen. I am sure others will chime in, but be ready to accept defeat.
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Old 03-03-2015, 04:25 PM   #5
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don't wast your time.

People that usually ask for advice don't listen let alone someone who didn't

JMHO

I agree completely. It's like a drug addict: they have to want to change, and even THEN it'll be hard.
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Old 03-03-2015, 04:25 PM   #6
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It sounds like he has been living with debt for so long that he has gotten used to it. I think any "intervention" will go badly. Some just can't be saved.
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Old 03-03-2015, 04:28 PM   #7
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don't wast your time.
People that usually ask for advice don't listen let alone someone who didn't
JMHO
yup
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Old 03-03-2015, 04:40 PM   #8
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No good deed will go unpunished. Save yourself and your brother the grief.

As Flyboy5 noted this has come up before on the forum before and it never ends well, and if the relationship isn't broken forever it will be strained. Commiserate (but don't enable) when the crash comes but that's about the best you'll be able to do.

Now, if he asks you and solicits your advice, that's your open door. But he has to initiate that and want to change. Otherwise he will resist.
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Old 03-03-2015, 04:43 PM   #9
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Ok. I want to put a twist on this. There are 3 of us brothers. 2 of us are fairly well off (both of us will ER in our mid 50's). The younger brother is the issue. So, we have this fantastic trip to Europe planned for the summer. Affordable, not too over the top. Younger brother wants to increase his credit line on his credit cards so he and his 2 daughters can make the trip. Do you pony up $1k each to offset his expenses so his kids get the opportunity or do you leave him alone to figure out the finances on his own and possibly miss or mess up the trip for the rest of us?
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Old 03-03-2015, 04:52 PM   #10
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Do you pony up $1k each to offset his expenses so his kids get the opportunity or do you leave him alone to figure out the finances on his own and possibly miss or mess up the trip for the rest of us?
If it was me, most definitely not. Where I come from trips are discretionary luxuries, firmly in the category of "If you can't pay cash you can't afford it". End of discussion.

Now, others may have a more tolerant view.
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Old 03-03-2015, 04:59 PM   #11
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If it was me, most definitely not. Where I come from trips are discretionary luxuries, firmly in the category of "If you can't pay cash you can't afford it". End of discussion.
+1

If his children and mine were close, or if this trip represented a unique opportunity for them, I might consider inviting his children, but otherwise I'm with Walt on this.
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Old 03-03-2015, 05:06 PM   #12
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If it was me, most definitely not. Where I come from trips are discretionary luxuries, firmly in the category of "If you can't pay cash you can't afford it". End of discussion.

Now, others may have a more tolerant view.
+2. To your original question, you should only offer help in the form of advice (not $) only if/when he asks. And ponying up for vacation, your second question, makes no sense at all, you're enabling - helping him dig a bigger hole.
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Old 03-03-2015, 05:06 PM   #13
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If it was me, most definitely not. Where I come from trips are discretionary luxuries, firmly in the category of "If you can't pay cash you can't afford it". End of discussion.

Now, others may have a more tolerant view.
+3

Also, in response to the original post, you really can't force other people to do things that they do not want to do. That includes changing his financial mindset. Hopefully as he matures, he'll start seeing things your way. Until then, the best thing you can do is to provide him with a good example by managing your own finances in ways that you think are wise. That can be more effective than you think, later on down the road as he remembers and contemplates what you would have done in a given situation.
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Old 03-03-2015, 05:09 PM   #14
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if you are close to the daughters and can afford it you might want to assist them with college, your brother probably didn't plan for that either, much more important then a trip to Europe
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Old 03-03-2015, 05:22 PM   #15
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+2. To your original question, you should only offer help (not $) if/when he asks. And ponying up makes no sense at all, you're enabling - helping him dig a bigger hole.
Enabling, it feels like your helping and many mistakenly believe it's the only way to help. It's not, it keeps the behavior alive.

Your a good well meaning brother. Don't know where I heard this but from someone smarter than me: "People don't change until the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing".

I wish I had an answer you'd love to hear, but I don't.
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Old 03-03-2015, 05:23 PM   #16
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That's a tough situation. You are able to help and want to do so out of kindness, but it doesn't seem fair. I bet your decision would be a lot easier if he LBHM and had no intentions of making the trip, and you could "treat" his family. But to pay under the current situation would seem enabling his spendthrift ways, and send a message that you think he's poor. Hard to know how that might end up affecting the family dynamic.

After typing all that, I still don't know what I would do. Tough, tough choice.
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Old 03-03-2015, 05:38 PM   #17
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I agree with the consensus here that it is probably a waste of time.

In my experience, most people do not "get it" and in fact sometimes get hostile and defensive - as in "I'm not going to give up my (insert brand of completely unnecessary expensive consumer item here)!

It's funny, for years my family and friends sort of looked down on my small apartment and crappy used cars but don't seem to make the connection that my years of frugal lifestyle led directly to my current financial independence and early retirement.


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Old 03-03-2015, 05:40 PM   #18
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I had been trying to help my brother as he was going into retirement. I sent a copy of Millionaire Teacher to him that he claims he read. I tried to get him to roll over his 401k to Vanguard but he said he was going to roll it over to a FA at Well Fargo. I asked him "Does she have bit t*ts?" His answer was "Yes."

You can't help those that don't want to be helped.
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Old 03-03-2015, 05:43 PM   #19
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I had been trying to help my brother as he was going into retirement. I sent a copy of Millionaire Teacher to him that he claims he read. I tried to get him to roll over his 401k to Vanguard but he said he was going to roll it over to a FA at Well Fargo. I asked him "Does she have bit t*ts?" His answer was "Yes."
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Old 03-03-2015, 05:49 PM   #20
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You guys are great! I'm standing down and letting this play out. I don't want to go to my grave knowing I perpetuated this nonsense. I especially liked MRG's quote; "People don't change until the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing". Thanks for the great advice everyone!
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