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Reek of a scam
Old 04-26-2015, 07:04 AM   #1
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Reek of a scam

Now that I have introduced myself in the “Hi I am…” forum, here is my money problem.
My wife of ten years has been a hard working, financially responsible partner. She has a secure computer engineer job with the state. We live comfortably, having a paid off home and rental income. I downshifted from a meat grinder tech job to teaching. My life is all about LBYM and invest for the long term. I choose to live simple, focused and be a lone-wolf investor. But I am finding we are drifting further apart on the money front.
DW is never a DIY’er, she longs to be part of the group. Over the years, I had to be the bad cop to keep her from being sucked in to various MLM schemes. There were vitamins, herbal supplements, antioxidants pills. Every slide they show us, I see only a pyramid. I have been a bit heavy handed and apparently it shows because I am shunned by these friends. It is nonsense. One of the benefit were group cruises that we can join. #%&K, I’d rather be overboard with sharks. We had several big fights over MLM.
While I am frugal, I am not cheap. We bought way too big a house for the two of us, 3000+ sf and pool. That is what she wanted, I am ok with it. Kids don’t live with us. She drives a 2 year new hybrid. I have many toys that I don’t have time for, kayaks, car project, 3d printer, tablet phone.
Here is where things are taking a more sinister turn. DW, through social media, has hook up with old class mates to join a guru investment group based in China. Everything reek of a scam. High initial investment $, unreal rate return, zero transparency, no accountability, unverifiable record. All based on trust. Of course, the circle of friends on the social media have stellar reputations, in her mind. I tell her they are shills and fools. Nothing this good comes knocking. But my words are tuned out, we just argue.
I have come to realize, whatever I am doing is not working. It is up to me to change and adapt. So part of me come to accept it, ie. if we lose a new car, so be it. Some lessons are expensive. A divorce cost more.
What would you do?
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Old 04-26-2015, 07:26 AM   #2
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Divorce?
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Old 04-26-2015, 07:45 AM   #3
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We use 3 divisions of money: hers, his and ours. We don't question each others his/her spending. In our case we agree on the 'ours' which are big ticket items and our investment portfolio.
However, you might want to give her a small piece of the investment portfolio to 'invest' in her Chinese guru investment group. Let her learn the lesson, but don't risk yours.
Good luck!
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Old 04-26-2015, 07:50 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by racy View Post
We use 3 divisions of money: hers, his and ours. We don't question each others his/her spending. In our case we agree on the 'ours' which are big ticket items and our investment portfolio.
However, you might want to give her a small piece of the investment portfolio to 'invest' in her Chinese guru investment group. Let her learn the lesson, but don't risk yours.
Good luck!
If you do something like this make it a small portion of the portfolio and make sure you get an equal portion that you can use on yourself to make up the impact her profligacy has on you. If she miraculously makes a bundle don't bug her to spend the proceeds on you and no matter what don't assume she has found a true "good thing."
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Old 04-26-2015, 07:50 AM   #5
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If I am reading the post right, it sounds like you've played along and now you want to put on the brakes to some extent, that's too bad.

I Googled Let me google that for you and found lots of advice. Take your pick.

If all else fails, can you talk her into limiting her initial investment? Or waiting to see how her friends investments do before jumping in?

Best of luck. And thanks for the reminder, I need to give DW another hug...
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Old 04-26-2015, 08:12 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Iameasy View Post

DW is never a DIY’er, she longs to be part of the group. Over the years, I had to be the bad cop to keep her from being sucked in to various MLM schemes. There were vitamins, herbal supplements, antioxidants pills. Every slide they show us, I see only a pyramid. I have been a bit heavy handed and apparently it shows because I am shunned by these friends. It is nonsense.
While I'm not big into MLM or likely scam investment options.... I think you need to take a step back... or you may end up with half your stuff. Try to understand your rant from her side. As you note, you both have different needs and drivers... she likes to be around others more than you do. While you might like to be with the sharks... but if she wanted to do a group cruise, maybe you should sometimes you should bit your lip and enjoy it for her benefit.
Many MLM are not real beneficial for the later to join... but not all suck up lots of $.. mostly just time. If she wants to do one of these... calmly note your concerns, but be supportive. Let her figure out if this was worth it in her mind. Acting like a strict parent will explode eventually.
The China opportunity... I'd likely run. Bigger issues with these, they first have great returns and then die badly. If you get in... you may have issues keeping at the initial investment, so it could be a bigger black hole than you thought.

Sorry... you put this under Fire and Money, but it sounds like your problem is not based in money, but the dynamics of your relationship with your DW. I would be pretty frustrated if my DW told me I was dead A$$ wrong on everything I wanted to do.

I may have missed your point. I did understand you are frustrated with her desire to get into investment/job schemes you see as waste of time and money. I agree with not loosing too much. From your description, be careful of the dynamics.
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Old 04-26-2015, 08:13 AM   #7
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Call the U.S. Postal Inspection service and see if it is on their radar.

1-877-876-2455

https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/

I have found it helpful to have a phone relationship with a local US Postal Inspector team leader when it came to a relative being scammed.
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Old 04-26-2015, 08:31 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Iameasy View Post
Here is where things are taking a more sinister turn. DW, through social media, has hook up with old class mates to join a guru investment group based in China. Everything reek of a scam. High initial investment $, unreal rate return, zero transparency, no accountability, unverifiable record. All based on trust. Of course, the circle of friends on the social media have stellar reputations, in her mind. I tell her they are shills and fools. Nothing this good comes knocking. But my words are tuned out, we just argue.
I have come to realize, whatever I am doing is not working. It is up to me to change and adapt. So part of me come to accept it, ie. if we lose a new car, so be it. Some lessons are expensive. A divorce cost more.
What would you do?
You're very different people. Probably too different to have this last.
It sounds like you say no to everything, so this is just one more instance, to her ears. As suggested, see if you can get specific facts about this investment. Present the facts to her and see if that makes a difference.
you also need to establish how much of a loss you're willing to suffer before calling it quits on the investment.
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Old 04-26-2015, 08:37 AM   #9
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My DW went into one of these 'investments'.... nothing I could say would change her mind (she is very strong willed).... the good thing for me is that she did not have to invest money into inventory She eventually dropped it since she could not sell much and it took up too much time...


I had a friend who did make the investment... this was back when we were young... I think he put in $2K when that was 20% of total saved... found out that he could not sell anything... IIRC he was able to cut a deal with some other 'distributor' for a 50% loss...

The big problem is that if your DW personality is such that she believes that she will make it... that this time it will be different... then there is nothing you can do.... there was a lady who worked for a BIL... she was big time into these things and was divorced because she would not stop... so yes, it might come to the big D....
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Old 04-26-2015, 08:56 AM   #10
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I really feel for you. The way I see it here are your options:
1) bite the bullet and say nothing other than what you've already said
2) take up with a younger woman
3) use options 1 and 2


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Old 04-26-2015, 09:06 AM   #11
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I agree with the initial thought that perhaps you have been too "one-sided" with things in the past, and there will be an even more difficult challenge with this Chinese "opportunity" - which has an apparently even larger initial investment. Especially if you have your various interests that have been sitting around gathering dust, and which have cost probably several thousand dollars for you to do nothing with as of yet.

The suggestion for the postal service sounds good. How about a Certified Financial Planner? Even if it costs you $500 in hourly fees for them to look at it, see if your wife would accept their recommendation on it before sitting her down in front of a CFP for your 2 sessions. Would be much cheaper than the investment.

Quote:

but if she wanted to do a group cruise, maybe you should sometimes you should bit your lip and enjoy it for her benefit.
Many MLM are not real beneficial for the later to join... but not all suck up lots of $.. mostly just time. If she wants to do one of these... calmly note your concerns, but be supportive. Let her figure out if this was worth it in her mind. Acting like a strict parent will explode eventually.
I think the cruise was the carrot they dangle for the MLM victims sales reps to get them to buy up lots of product and get lots of their family and friends to buy it so they can WIN the cruise. It's probably not a vacation you can book.

But you do have a valid point that - as long as you don't go crazy with inventory - many MLMs don't require THAT much initial investment....so maybe after a $1,000 initial order, she realizes that she's driving all over town and spending countless hours to get just a $50 commission check and that it's not worth it. To drive home the point, make sure she keeps a detailed log of ALL expenses associated with her sales job: car mileage, inventory expenses, maybe a cell phone, etc., so she can see just how much 'profit' this venture is generating.
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Old 04-26-2015, 09:13 AM   #12
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Sounds like a classic introvert vs extrovert clash. Relationships can often work as long as each is respectful of the other, and neither takes to much out of the relationship.

I would agree with dividing the money so it's clear where the investment limits are for each of you. That may be a 50/50 split....which is what you would probably have with a divorce.
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Old 04-26-2015, 09:28 AM   #13
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Why don't you look for a legitimate investment group in your area ? That would give your wife an opportunity to invest & meet people that is not a MLM scheme. Also just take her on a cruise . They are way cheaper than a divorce.
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Old 04-26-2015, 09:37 AM   #14
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I would go the legal separation route. Give her half of everything then at least you can preserve your half. This will make it clear to both of you how much of a deal-breaking this action will have on your relationship.

And this is not the end. You might save your marriage this way. Is it worth saving?

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Old 04-26-2015, 10:20 AM   #15
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My wife of ten years has been a hard working, financially responsible partner. She has a secure computer engineer job with the state. We live comfortably, having a paid off home and rental income. I downshifted from a meat grinder tech job to teaching. My life is all about LBYM and invest for the long term. I choose to live simple, focused and be a lone-wolf investor. But I am finding we are drifting further apart on the money front.
DW is never a DIY’er, she longs to be part of the group. Over the years, I had to be the bad cop to keep her from being sucked in to various MLM schemes. There were vitamins, herbal supplements, antioxidants pills. Every slide they show us, I see only a pyramid. I have been a bit heavy handed and apparently it shows because I am shunned by these friends. It is nonsense. One of the benefit were group cruises that we can join. #%&K, I’d rather be overboard with sharks. We had several big fights over MLM.
While I am frugal, I am not cheap. We bought way too big a house for the two of us, 3000+ sf and pool. That is what she wanted, I am ok with it. Kids don’t live with us. She drives a 2 year new hybrid. I have many toys that I don’t have time for, kayaks, car project, 3d printer, tablet phone.
Here is where things are taking a more sinister turn. DW, through social media, has hook up with old class mates to join a guru investment group based in China. Everything reek of a scam. High initial investment $, unreal rate return, zero transparency, no accountability, unverifiable record. All based on trust. Of course, the circle of friends on the social media have stellar reputations, in her mind. I tell her they are shills and fools. Nothing this good comes knocking. But my words are tuned out, we just argue.
I have come to realize, whatever I am doing is not working. It is up to me to change and adapt. So part of me come to accept it, ie. if we lose a new car, so be it. Some lessons are expensive. A divorce cost more.
What would you do?
Just curious. Is this a second marriage for one or both of you? Whose kids don't live with you? She's a "financially responsible partner" but it sounds like you and she don't have the same goal's. AND you told her that her friends are shills and fools. Maybe it's not the investing opportunities that she's looking at and you two need a marriage counselor.
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Old 04-26-2015, 10:37 AM   #16
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My advice would depend on how high the initial investment is relative to your savings and income. Definitely sounds like a scam though. At what point does the $$$ cost cross the line you would be comfortable with?

Up to a certain point, I would give my DW room to live and learn, after that, there's probably a need for some serious discussions.
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Old 04-26-2015, 11:09 AM   #17
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Why is everyone jumping to the separation/divorce thought... the OP makes it clear at the end that he is looking for non-divorce solutions.

I agree with the folks who propose a limit on this investment, and careful bookkeeping. She might learn a valuable lesson and be less likely to bring another MLM or scam investment to the table if she is forced to go through the process with eyes fully open to the true accounting.

My brother got involved with one of the larger MLM programs (rhymes with Tramway). He didn't like the hard questions I asked like (did you declare a profit or a loss on your taxes last year?)... but after a few years he realized it wasn't bringing in the big bucks he hoped for.... Not sure he would have accepted that if I hadn't been pushing with the fact-based hard questions. He had to go through it and convince himself. Your wife might be the same - limit the amount she invests, and have her do accurate books.
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Old 04-26-2015, 11:18 AM   #18
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Thanks for all your replies.
What a great idea, take DW to a good financial advisor and let him/her evaluate this Chinese guru investment for us. I want to try this.
I also agree we need to put boundaries on what is mine and what is her’s. Let her do what she wants and see what happens.
I don’t think that I have let DW loose all these years to play with MLM and the stakes got higher. In hindsight, perhaps I should have. More recently, due to social media she became drawn to a higher risk game. It is almost like a cult, going in with people she trusts. That is the main ingredient of a con. MLM’s are relatively harmless in comparison. I wish she would just join a MLM instead. The problem is she did not have hardly any interest in investing her money until recently. There is no accelerated learning in equities.
KC, I see your point. I am not ready to take the separation path. We are not there yet. I hope that once the wizard’s shine is off, DW will learn a lesson. I still can feel the pain of pavement rash from 50 years ago.
I do think this is about money, which is vital to achieving FIRE as a couple.
As our cognitive powers decline with age, how will we know when to hand money matters over to a trusted guardian?
Yes! I got permission to spend it down now, on younger women. Dog food don’t taste that bad, I’ve tried it.
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Old 04-26-2015, 11:32 AM   #19
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Two thoughts

1. Have her watch a few episodes of American Greed (CNBC).

2. Ask her if she knows what a Ponzi Scheme is.

Good luck!
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Old 04-26-2015, 12:20 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iameasy View Post
Thanks for all your replies.
What a great idea, take DW to a good financial advisor and let him/her evaluate this Chinese guru investment for us. I want to try this.
I also agree we need to put boundaries on what is mine and what is her’s. Let her do what she wants and see what happens.
I don’t think that I have let DW loose all these years to play with MLM and the stakes got higher. In hindsight, perhaps I should have. More recently, due to social media she became drawn to a higher risk game. It is almost like a cult, going in with people she trusts. That is the main ingredient of a con. MLM’s are relatively harmless in comparison. I wish she would just join a MLM instead. The problem is she did not have hardly any interest in investing her money until recently. There is no accelerated learning in equities.
KC, I see your point. I am not ready to take the separation path. We are not there yet. I hope that once the wizard’s shine is off, DW will learn a lesson. I still can feel the pain of pavement rash from 50 years ago.
I do think this is about money, which is vital to achieving FIRE as a couple.
As our cognitive powers decline with age, how will we know when to hand money matters over to a trusted guardian?
Yes! I got permission to spend it down now, on younger women. Dog food don’t taste that bad, I’ve tried it.
You didn't answer the question about kids. Whose kids don't live with you? Whose ex has them? Who is paying non-domiciliary support for them? Alimony or spousal maintenance?

IMO, what you need to do is be sure that your position vis a vis a divorce doesn't get any worse. Right now, you have not mentioned any concrete-boots on your feet that that will sink you in the muck forever should divorce come. Can you get a permanent official separation in your state that either of you can just turn into a divorce and final property settlement by signing another paper?

There is no such thing and "My money and her money and our money." That is a calming fiction for people who do not understand marital law and practice in the USA. The reality is that if you are married, her money is your money and especially your money is her money, until you get an official property settlement.

I'd do it while the doing is good. For one who is not a domiciliary father, single life is as good as a good, cooperative marriage and much better than a struggle. Once you are in a struggle this pitched, you both will likely be happier single, or released from this relationship to seek others if you are so inclined. No way would I start messing around with other women- younger, older or just the same. Be clean, protect yourself, and go on happily.

And I wouldn't have her do anything. She has had it with what appears to her to be your controlling habits. You are clearly not an important person for her to defer to any longer. Accept reality, praise her, stay out of her hair and think clearly about protecting yourself.

Water moves according to topography and gravity. Unless you have the resources of the Corps of Engineers, just stay out of its way and be sure you do not drown.


Ha
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