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Old 01-31-2011, 08:45 AM   #41
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There can be two sides to this.

One friend made a lot of money and spent it all. While he wasn't in debt, he had no savings either. He told me that he enjoyed working, enjoyed spending and intended to work until he died. He did, he died a few month ago at 53. He didn't end up the richest man in the graveyard, but his kids will do well on the insurance payout (at least he planned for his possible demise).
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Old 01-31-2011, 08:52 AM   #42
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Does anyone else have this problem? And how do you deal with it? I can imagine that this sort of thing would be even more difficult with family members.
Not so much with friends, all of whom seem to be doing fine financially, but with family, some of whom I see heading for a financial train wreck.

DW's siblings are married to people who have consistently lived beyond their means and are just now realizing that perhaps they should put the brakes on spending. Not that they're actually doing so, mind you, but the reality is in the "early dawn" stage. And unless they plan to work for another 20+ years they're out of time.

One BIL's "plan" to fund his retirement health insurance is the 1/4 of FIL's estate he expects/hopes to receive. This is the same guy who last year spent the bucks for two weeks on a Mediterranean vacation and the year before "limited" his daughter's wedding expenses to $20k. He will get a pension though. All of about $600 a month.

DW and I spend that much at the grocery store!

And don't get me started on the other "Spendarina"....

DW and I are also regarded as being somewhat boring and dull by the same folks.

Three or five years from now I will have little sympathy for the cries of "poor me!" emanating from that direction.
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Old 01-31-2011, 09:11 AM   #43
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As far as a bail out for friends, I learned my lesson several years ago. I only got stuck for $400, TG, but the Bank of Freebird is forever closed.
Darn, there goes my venture capital I need to set up my business towing icebergs from the Arctic Circle and selling the water to Las Vegas...........
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Old 01-31-2011, 10:49 AM   #44
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We have relatives and friends who are in similar situations. It is hard for me to hear their desperate stories. I find comparing myself to those who are in the lifeboats, hovering above those who are stuck in the cold water - a scene from the movie, "Titanic." I do want to see myself as generous and kind.

One person doesn't want to come over because he seems to compare our paid-for home to his circumstances.

But, I get much joy being around the free spirits (artists, healing arts therapists, etc.)! However, I can sense a simmering resentment toward us, especially when they once more have to move to cheaper digs. Come to think of it, maybe they don't have a lot to offer to a friendship.

The answer, it seems, is to create some healthy clear boundaries. "No, we don't want to live with you. Yes, we will offer you a meal if you are hungry. Yes, help yourself to the tomatoes in the garden. We can even have a canning party. Here is the phone number to the local food bank...But, know that I did not have anything to do with your unfortunate circumstances, and no, we can't afford to (nor do we want to) bail you out."

Unfortunately, as the metaphorical credit tide recedes to the ocean, things are only going to get worse in the coming years, as the bills come due.
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Old 01-31-2011, 10:58 AM   #45
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I haven't read the whole thread.

But my reaction is that this is the baby boomers in a nutshell. There are millions and millions of people in this debt/no savings situation.

I suspect that in the end, they will get something, and the rest of us will just have to pay more.

that's the way it is going to come down.
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Old 01-31-2011, 11:20 AM   #46
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The answer, it seems, is to create some healthy clear boundaries. "No, we don't want to live with you. Yes, we will offer you a meal if you are hungry. Yes, help yourself to the tomatoes in the garden. We can even have a canning party. Here is the phone number to the local food bank...But, know that I did not have anything to do with your unfortunate circumstances, and no, we can't afford to (nor do we want to) bail you out."
Tough love, and I agree 100%.
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Old 01-31-2011, 11:48 AM   #47
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Darn, there goes my venture capital I need to set up my business towing icebergs from the Arctic Circle and selling the water to Las Vegas...........

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Old 01-31-2011, 12:01 PM   #48
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I don't know how to deal with my friends. I have friends who didn't save for retirement who are one bad event away from destitution. One friend in particular barely keeps afloat with her employment but constantly needs cash infusions from relatives, has a stack of credit card bills, and always says she wants to go with me on this vacation or that trip even though she can't afford it. It's all wishful thinking. Boy, she wears me out just thinking about her.

Another friend has serious health problems but just cashed out a IRA to do house improvements, lives on credit cards, has no retirement savings, just a very small pension.

When I offer advice it is typically rejected for one reason or another, so I don't offer it anymore. I try to avoid any conversation that appears to lead in the direction of finances. But that causes some stress for me, as I have to monitor myself, avoid talking about certain things, etc.

Unfortunately, these are long time friends that I would have difficulty saying goodbye to. So, I guess I am just going to have to limit my involvement with them. It's sad. Does anyone else have this problem? And how do you deal with it? I can imagine that this sort of thing would be even more difficult with family members.
Oldbabe... My outlook on life mirrors yours in many ways and I hate to say this - I think you're creating a problem here!

Personally, it would never cross my mind to distance myself from a friend solely based on different financial choices. I understand your concern and your desire to help them get on better financial footing. However, (1) your friends are not asking for advice, (2) your friends are not hitting you up for money, nor are they treating you like an ATM. Can you accept them as they are and focus on all other things that made them your friends in the first place? Live and let live. Alternatively, ask yourself, would you like if they kept on approaching you and questioning your life choices?

Now, if you had other problems are like Loop Lawyer - that's a whole different story. Like Loop Lawyer, I have have been treated like a bank (but unlike bank, I was expected to extend loans with no need for repayment). At some point, I said "no" (which opened flood gates to all kinds of insults) and which, inevitably, put us on the road to estrangement. Like Loop Lawyer, I think the reason #2 is the real killer.

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..snip...
The consequence of their decisions to live irresponsible lives has been a very high degree of estrangement. The specific causes of the estrangement are two: (1) actual requests for money, which I have come to refuse due to bad experiences early on; and (2) anticipated requests for money, which I simply don't want to hear. I find that the second is more upsetting than the first, and this has caused me to cut off contact for the most part. I wish I could figure out how to manage this better, but I can't. Who wants to socialize with a Financial Pig Pen? Not I.
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Old 01-31-2011, 12:29 PM   #49
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+1 I have relatives whose idea of thrift is growing their own marijuana
I think I know some of those folks, too!
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Old 01-31-2011, 12:33 PM   #50
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In 3 generations of my extended family, I don't believe any of us has ever encountered this issue with family. Friends, I would not know except in my own case, and it has never happened to me.

My kids are either reasonably controlled spenders, or very skilled at careers in demand, so I have never been asked for anything. They might think that my checks would bounce anyway. One son had a big spender wife, which he really didn't mind as much as her failure to earn. He divorced her, and the settlement will likely be her ER if she husbands it.

There were huge disparities in wealth and lifestyle between my father's family and my mother's. I suppose that might have created tensions, but I was too young to sense these things.

If asked by family and they needed it for temporary things, I would create conditions- go apply for welfare, disability, a job, etc, and I will help you temporarily, as my resources are very limited.

I would imagine that hearing this, most people would try elsewhere, but some might do what I suggested. I would help them, but only if they ceded a certain amount of control to me.

As far as wondering about how my friends will do in the long term, I mostly don't. People often have all kinds of resources that they are not telling you about, just as you have resources that you are not telling them about.

Several years ago I did cut off a relationship when I figured out that the woman was likely to wind up in trouble. It would be close to impossible to be in love or deepy attached and turn someone down, so I am have been more attracted to people who are likely OK, though this information is not easy to come by in many cases.

I don't like our selfish culture, but I am part of it so I might as well not try to change things unilaterally.

As frequent world traverlers, many of you no doubt know that the US is an outlier in how little resposibility is assumed for other that one's own minor children. Elsewhere, especially in non-western cultures, family and community have much stronger moral claim on more successful members.

Ha
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Old 01-31-2011, 12:53 PM   #51
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I think I know some of those folks, too!
2 of the neighbors in my old apartment building were growing. The apartment above me - a 1 bedroom, was raided by the police, and found to have no-one living in it, except for a full house of marijuana plants. The neighbor next door to me used to run powerful fans right by the adjoining wall that made my silverware vibrate. After mentioning it to him, he moved them away from the wall. It took me a while before I made the connection between the fans (that ran 24/7) and the strong smell of weed in the corridor. It wasn't the smell you get when someone has been smoking it - it was the smell that comes from the fact that someone has a very large quantity of it nearby.

It was quite a nice apartment, but it used to bug the heck out of me when I'd sit on the balcony in the early evening to eat dinner and be greeted with the smell of it wafting toward me. Not my cup of tea.

But then this is Oakland.

Luckily my current place is not afflicted this way.
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Old 01-31-2011, 01:23 PM   #52
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I'm taking notes here and hoping to avoid similar situations someday.

We've never had any friends ask for money, but I suspect that most of them think we're barely making it and might be about to ask them for a loan...
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Old 01-31-2011, 01:49 PM   #53
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I'm taking notes here and hoping to avoid similar situations someday.
I don't know why. I understand they grow MJ "out back" in the islands ...

Oh, you meant about the friends/family/money thing ...
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Old 01-31-2011, 02:09 PM   #54
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For the most part the planners and savers think the others are irresponsible and have caused the distance by their poor decisions and occasional requests for unrealistic assistance. For the most part the nonsavers think they have had difficulties in life that were not their fault and blame the savers for the rifts because of their unwillingness to share the good fortune or even acknowledge the lucky advantages they benefited from. I suspect this is a common attitude in that each side believes they are in the right and the problems are the fault of the other.
The fact that each side blames the other does not mean that each side is right in that the other is all, or even partly, to blame.

As regards "good fortune" and "luck," my n'e'er-do-well relatives know better than to "go there" with me. They actually were given greater, not lesser, resources than I was -- precisely because, in the view of our enabling mother, they "needed it more." Translation: The spendthrifts have always needed more money to spend. As college drop-outs, they needed more tuition money because it took them six years, or ten, or longer -- I wish I were making this up, but sadly I'm not -- to earn their college degrees. (I got through a much more demanding school in less than four, winning merit scholarships that then put me through an Ivy League law school. This was "lucky" only in the sense in which good luck comes to those who study past midnight most nights.) And my siblings have no idea about what it's like to defer a vacation for even a month, let alone three years as I have done several times.... So they needed money from mom to buy groceries as they had spent their pay on vacation, don't you see...? And then there is the alcoholism and the drug abuse, which the ne'er-do-wells will never characterize as their "fault" -- listening to them, you might just believe that some stranger had come along and stuck needles into their arms.

I have found that lazy and irresponsible people almost always claim that the well-off are "lucky" or dishonest. What a crock.... It explains nothing whatsoever that happened in MY family, where the one and only well-off person in two generations -- that would be me -- has worked like a dog all his life. Yes, this is self-congratulatory; but I figure that it's safe to say it here, as you folks understand financial responsibility (and the consequences of irresponsibility).
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Old 01-31-2011, 03:03 PM   #55
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...We've never had any friends ask for money, but I suspect that most of them think we're barely making it and might be about to ask them for a loan...
Appearances can be very deceiving. The attorney who drew up our will a few years ago is a personal friend who knows us well, and even he said said something like, some people set up a trust, too, but we wouldn't have to worry about that, as that's only for people who have $1 million. DH and I just sat there quietly and nodded.

We have always stressed to our kids that the people who seemed to be doing well were also people who worked really really hard for what they had (of course, those people might have been spending it all, but they did work hard and we wanted to impress that on the kids).
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Old 01-31-2011, 03:20 PM   #56
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I have both friends and family members in this scenario: in their fifties or older, with $20 (not a typo, twenty dollars!) in their checking account, no savings, no investments in any taxable, or tax-deferred accounts (i.e., $0 in 401K), and no pension. They plan to live on SS when the time comes. I still value their friendship but avoid talking about finances, economy, or any fun projects where money is required. I invite them over for dinner, or I bring my dog to see them, we take walks---something fun that costs little or nothing. I am concerned about them but I do not feel responsible for them if they should become destitute because they have been spendthrifts all their lives while I have LBYM all along.
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Old 01-31-2011, 03:31 PM   #57
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Darn, there goes my venture capital I need to set up my business towing icebergs from the Arctic Circle and selling the water to Las Vegas...........
Plenty of frozen lakes around these here parts...
Chop it, melt it, and send it to NYC in the aqueduct YOU build.
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Old 01-31-2011, 03:41 PM   #58
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Plenty of frozen lakes around these here parts...
Chop it, melt it, and send it to NYC in the aqueduct YOU build.
Here in Michigan we just freeze in a flock of geese and when they fly off they take the frozen lake with them. That is how Minnesota got so many of our lakes.
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Old 01-31-2011, 03:45 PM   #59
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Here in Michigan we just freeze in a flock of geese and when they fly off they take the frozen lake with them. That is how Minnesota got so many of our lakes.
Sounds like a story from "Fried Green Tomatoes"? ...
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Old 01-31-2011, 03:53 PM   #60
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There is a lot of good advice here. For our friends who have no money we decline invites to eat out and instead suggest coming over for dinner to our house. Or playing cards or Wii other cheap entertainment,

Early on the OP asked about not worrying about friends in this situation.

I figure that if you haven't been able to get your act together then when the time comes and you can no longer work and only have SS then you won't be living in a house unless you have boarders like the golden girls. You won't go out to eat, you won't drive a fancy car, but an old clunker. I can do nothing about that as I don't have enough money to bail anybody out.

also it helps not to look rich. The old Millionaire next door look helps.
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