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Old 06-20-2012, 03:33 PM   #101
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Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
I've been saying this, earlier in the thread. I think we hear so many stories like this that we collectively start suffering "compassion fatigue". And so many people seem to need our help that we start "weeding them out" by assessing how "irresponsible" (according to our own definitions of responsibility) they were, and declining to assist those who don't pass that test.

I personally think we'd be a better society if there was a little more humility, a little more "there but for the grace of God go I" feeling out there, that people would realize that very few people have 100% bulletproofed their own lives and finances, and that a bad break can undermine even the best laid plans. We need to stop pretending it can't happen to us, in other words. Try as we might, our preparation and decision-making isn't so perfect that we're immune.

A nice post.... but I will hone in on the person's definition of "irresponsible" that you mentioned... to me, that is the key...

Say you had a relative who made $500K per year... and spent it all and more... then the $500K stopped for whatever reason.... they are hard up and now need your help... and it is not a small amount to you... are you willing to help I think not many people would...

And say that they continue to do the same thing over and over again (like the gambling SIL).... are you going to help I think not many people would....

Every time you help someone, it is through your own filtering system.... some people weed out more than others... it does not make them less compassionate IMO...
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Old 06-20-2012, 03:49 PM   #102
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I agree with the sentiment expressed so nicely by Nun and Ziggy. Framing this as "savers vs irresponsible individuals" nicely leaves out so much of life that is beyond our control, for those that achieve and for those that suffer. Personal responsibility matters, but there is much more to this.

We have friends and family that appear unable to make positive financial choices. They are intelligent, understand math and work hard yet obviously fail in some way because something impedes them seeing the unavoidable negative outcome of the decisions they make. This dooms them to an unfortunate financial future, and it is not clear how to help them change this.
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Old 06-20-2012, 04:10 PM   #103
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A nice post.... but I will hone in on the person's definition of "irresponsible" that you mentioned... to me, that is the key...

Say you had a relative who made $500K per year... and spent it all and more... then the $500K stopped for whatever reason.... they are hard up and now need your help... and it is not a small amount to you... are you willing to help I think not many people would...

And say that they continue to do the same thing over and over again (like the gambling SIL).... are you going to help I think not many people would....

Every time you help someone, it is through your own filtering system.... some people weed out more than others... it does not make them less compassionate IMO...
I don't think I'd let the relative become homeless. So I'd probably take them in... but assign them chores the same as I do my other freeloaders (aka my kids). And they'd have curfew, expected daily activities (job hunting, retraining, whatever the equivalent of going to school would be.)

I suspect if I had a relative who was blowing through $500k/year... they wouldn't last long at my house. Too many restrictions and obligations.

But if they were truly down/out. They'd have a roof over their head and 3 meals a day.
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Old 06-26-2012, 03:48 PM   #104
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I not feel sorry for people with stories like hers.
She may have been foolish in counting on working into her 70's; but I didn't get the sense from the article that she is lazy or has refused to take jobs that are on offer to her.

Matthew 7:1 applies.
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Old 06-26-2012, 05:28 PM   #105
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A nice post.... but I will hone in on the person's definition of "irresponsible" that you mentioned... to me, that is the key...

Say you had a relative who made $500K per year... and spent it all and more... then the $500K stopped for whatever reason.... they are hard up and now need your help... and it is not a small amount to you... are you willing to help I think not many people would...

And say that they continue to do the same thing over and over again (like the gambling SIL).... are you going to help I think not many people would....

Every time you help someone, it is through your own filtering system.... some people weed out more than others... it does not make them less compassionate IMO...
I agree that at some point, helping folks recover from horribly self-destructive behavior can become enabling, and that's not necessarily "help" in the long term. But neither is insisting on a "perfect record", batting 1.000 so to speak, on our opinion of the choices they made before wanting to extend a helping hand.

Like with many so other things, I sense that human compassion and charity operates like a pendulum. Sometimes we're so eager to help anyone who is down that we enable them to keep making the same horrifically bad decisions over and over again -- like handing a drink to an alcoholic with three DWIs on the record. This is not doing them any favors long-term -- not to mention that when financial assistance is involved it feels like flushing cash down the toilet.

But there are other times, when the pendulum is in the other direction, when people feel "compassion fatigue" and what I call "post-bailout fiscal tightwad syndrome" (really not meant as pejoratively as it sounds there), where even occasional and relatively slight lapses in "perfect judgment" are met with indifference or even outright hostility because they "made their own bed".

Like so many other things, I think there is a balance between the two, a happy (well, maybe not so happy given the subject) medium between these two. A society that keeps enabling blatantly self-destructive decision-making is doomed to get a lot more of it. But one that forgets that none of us are perfect and almost all of us have *something* (whether we see them or not) that could economically bring us to our knees, well... I don't think that's a wonderful society, either.
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Old 06-26-2012, 09:15 PM   #106
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I agree that at some point, helping folks recover from horribly self-destructive behavior can become enabling, and that's not necessarily "help" in the long term. But neither is insisting on a "perfect record", batting 1.000 so to speak, on our opinion of the choices they made before wanting to extend a helping hand.

Like with many so other things, I sense that human compassion and charity operates like a pendulum. Sometimes we're so eager to help anyone who is down that we enable them to keep making the same horrifically bad decisions over and over again -- like handing a drink to an alcoholic with three DWIs on the record. This is not doing them any favors long-term -- not to mention that when financial assistance is involved it feels like flushing cash down the toilet.

But there are other times, when the pendulum is in the other direction, when people feel "compassion fatigue" and what I call "post-bailout fiscal tightwad syndrome" (really not meant as pejoratively as it sounds there), where even occasional and relatively slight lapses in "perfect judgment" are met with indifference or even outright hostility because they "made their own bed".

Like so many other things, I think there is a balance between the two, a happy (well, maybe not so happy given the subject) medium between these two. A society that keeps enabling blatantly self-destructive decision-making is doomed to get a lot more of it. But one that forgets that none of us are perfect and almost all of us have *something* (whether we see them or not) that could economically bring us to our knees, well... I don't think that's a wonderful society, either.

I agree.... I would not expect someone to be perfect at all... in my example, the person was irresponsible for many years not putting aside a rainy day fund, or anticipating that something bad could happen...

There are a lot of people that I would help (and have over the years totaling a few tens of thousands).... but I did tell my nephew one day when he was still young that the one thing where I would not help is if someone is taking drugs.... I have seen a number of people spend all their savings trying to 'save' their child and the child always relapsed... I have two kids and if they get into drugs I know that it will be a fight with DW as she would want to help as much as possible... I would only help with my love and time, but no money....
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