A Friend in need , how can I help

Breedlove

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My wife and I are both retired , been retired for over six years . Sometimes my wife takes contract consulting jobs . We have very good friends of ours . He is a truck driver , she is a teacher . They have never planned for retirement he is 71 and she is 55. He called last night and said he is losing his long distance truck driving loads . He has been doing long distance haul for 26 years . The poor guy weighs over 400 lbs has to walk with a walker or mobility scooter. For this reason he is pretty much sunk in his truck driving career . Lucky he made it this far. He called and said his bills are closing in . He said 30k in credit cards , 40k in home improvements and other misc bills . He fell for the solar panel scam , they sold him panels then told him he had to add onto his house to get the full affect of the Sun , then sold him a generator. I want to help these friends , but dear wife said we will not finance them on anything . A lifelong friend I m concerned for them.
 
What a tough situation, Breedlove. I personally agree with your DW that this situation is way bigger than you can make a dent in. They need professional financial counseling - if they are agreeable to that and you want to spend a few hundred $$ to cover the cost, that might be appropriate. As friend's DW is 55, can she get a job to at least keep them afloat while they figure out the debt issue (assume he will at least get some SS)? They can also call 211 for food pantry info, etc., and clearly need to get a handle on their essential expenses.

Good for you to want to help, but make sure your boundaries are clear before you wade in. Good luck to all.
 
I have to agree with MB. They need professional help to figure out what to do to stop the bleeding and get a plan in place. As a friend, you really can't do much except give advice and maybe help pay for counselling.
 
I just don’t understand how people our age can get themselves into this situation . He gets SS and he is a vet so his medical is covered . He always took this dumb attitude he would work till he dies. At this point we think his wife needs to pick up some slack . They have a 35 year old son living with them so he needs to pay rent . I am going to suggest financial counciling if he will take it we would pay for it.
 
I just don’t understand how people our age can get themselves into this situation . He gets SS and he is a vet so his medical is covered . He always took this dumb attitude he would work till he dies. At this point we think his wife needs to pick up some slack . They have a 35 year old son living with them so he needs to pay rent . I am going to suggest financial counciling if he will take it we would pay for it.
There is a world full of people like this just living on the edge. He is not unique.
 
Good Luck. I suspect they will think a good friend would just give them the counseling money, since they view money as what they really need. Sad.
 
I have to agree with MB. They need professional help to figure out what to do to stop the bleeding and get a plan in place. As a friend, you really can't do much except give advice and maybe help pay for counselling.

^ What they said.

Be very careful you don't get sucked into helping them to the point you harm your own financial well being.
 
I have a cousin like that, who was put on earth as a bad example. They blew through a $1 Mil inheritance, and now need financial aid.
My BIL, bless him, tried to show them how to budget, but it fell on deaf ears.
 
May I ask how you came by this information? It's not normally the type of info you share with others. I'll assume for they now they shared voluntarily. Why would they do that you might ask. Well they either want money from you or they have realized they dug a hole so deep they cannot get out and would expect you to have some magic solution. Of course you don't have a magic solution because there isn't one. Stay away from this problem. You have no solution to it, any advice you give them with fall on deaf ears because "one thing" won't do anything to fix the problem. Your friendship might well end as they struggle about money but it's not your struggle.
 
Do NOT give them money unless you consider it a gift and you won't be disappointed if it only helps them temporarily and they end up right back where they started just a short time later. This doesn't sound like a short term fix. Unless you have control over their spending (which you probably don't), you'll probably just be disappointed later.
 
BFF who died last year (and left 500K debt for his DW to deal with) always had money to buy what he wanted and have the experiences he wanted so he actually had enough income. His issue was that he couldn't wait. He'd borrow everything he could (Mortgage, 2nd mortgage, CC, bank, CU, store account, car loan, etc.)

I counseled him a few times and he always agreed that I was right but he simply could not put his desires on hold for even a short time period. I always over paid him for helping look after my car and I always paid when we went out to dinner. But, no amount of money would have ever satisfied his "need" for things and "fun." It is a disease - not of poverty but of "desire for stuff."

I have no idea about OP's friend's situation, but a truck driver shouldn't be racking up CC debt at 71. MOST people have enough money, but they may not have the ability to make good choices no matter how much money they have or how much money you give them. It IS a disease. Sorry if that sounds fatalistic, but I've seen it too many times to think otherwise in most situations. Choices are much more important than money though there are exceptions and YMMV.
 
I'm not 100% a fan of his but this is just the sort of case where I'd recommend Dave Ramsey's program. Find out if there is a Financial Peace University class in your area and offer to pay for them to attend.

Do not give them money. That would just be putting a band aid on a shotgun wound. 70K+ in debt at 71 years old and at a point where he can no longer work and SS isn't enough. What did he think was going to happen? I guess he hoped he'd die before he had to deal with it. Of course, that would have left his wife in even worse shape without his income. These stories are sad but self-inflicted so it's hard to feel too sorry for them.
 
I have lived this with DS who is a terrible money manager. How two people raised by the same parents end up so different in their ability to manage their financial life is a bit of a mystery to me, especially when their parents were frugal and careful with finances. There is a gap or something not being taught even by parents doing it right. They simply may not know how to teach proper financial management.

Having said this, I am guessing it is really too late to help your friend financially out of his jam. But, if you want to invest some time in making lives better, I feel our schools should be doing a better job teaching our children about personal finances. I have not worked on such a program but if someone could advocate and ultimately get a 'managing money for daily living' program in our schools, it might go a long way to reducing bad money management behavior. If you elect to try this monumental task which may not be successful, at least initially, it could be done in honor of your friend.
 
I would recommend consumer credit counselors. It’s a non profit organization- assuming it is still around.
Help your friend research the organization and ensure that he doesn’t get caught in a for profit one.
CC will give advice based on his situation and can negotiate with the banks/credit cards.
Find one close to him and offer to go with him. People in this situation typically highly stressed and anxious are unable to make the next step on their own.
 
Do not give them money. That would just be putting a band aid on a shotgun wound. 70K+ in debt at 71 years old and at a point where he can no longer work and SS isn't enough. What did he think was going to happen?
That's the problem with people like that, they simply cannot forego immediate gratification if there is a way - any way - to satisfy that desire RIGHT NOW. As others suggested the most the OP should do is pay for a fee-only financial advisor or Dave Ramsey's course. The OP's friend is Ramsey's target audience and this is one of those rare cases when I'd also recommend DR's course.

And I agree, don't give them any money. It will not help and will only lubricate their problem.
 
My DW has said if I give a dollar she will change passwords on all my accounts. I consider my wife and I blessed by god that we don’t feel this pain. We have known my friend since HS . My DW reminded me that he always maxed out his credit cards as a young man. We just returned from vacation when he called me to talk about this . My wife says he is throwing a guilt trip on me because we had money for a vacation . I talked to another friend the three of us grew up together . He said he is going to suggest a credit counselor .
 
Sorry to hear your friends are in this situation. I agree with the recommendations to not give them any $. If you have the time you might help them research bankruptcy law in your state & how it might apply to them. In many cases you can keep your home, but the fact some of the debt is "home improvement" may impact that. Other topics to research: credit counseling, food banks, could his loss of some of his work make him eligible to collect unemployment / have access to job search help? The teacher needs to be signing up to teach summer school if it's not too late & if it is she needs to find a summer job. The 35 year old son already has a job? If yes he definitely needs to contribute as much of his pay as possible. If not he needs to get a job ASAP. Is the trucker able to get short haul jobs? If not, he can try to get a work from home job - many call center type jobs are going to WFH now. Please keep us updated & good luck!
 
I have lived this with DS who is a terrible money manager. How two people raised by the same parents end up so different in their ability to manage their financial life is a bit of a mystery to me, especially when their parents were frugal and careful with finances. There is a gap or something not being taught even by parents doing it right. They simply may not know how to teach proper financial management.

Having said this, I am guessing it is really too late to help your friend financially out of his jam. But, if you want to invest some time in making lives better, I feel our schools should be doing a better job teaching our children about personal finances. I have not worked on such a program but if someone could advocate and ultimately get a 'managing money for daily living' program in our schools, it might go a long way to reducing bad money management behavior. If you elect to try this monumental task which may not be successful, at least initially, it could be done in honor of your friend.

While I don't disagree the schools could teach money management, knowledge alone is not enough.

The obesity epidemic is proof of that IMO. I see many people who are more than a touch overweight. . . . who don't get a speck of exercise in a week unless it is by accident. . .

I used to w*rk with a lady who was diabetic and OOO for having her toes cut off. . . She returned and was telling us what it was like WHILE EATING CANDY.

I could go on but I think you get the point. . .
 
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My DW has said if I give a dollar she will change passwords on all my accounts. I consider my wife and I blessed by god that we don’t feel this pain. We have known my friend since HS . My DW reminded me that he always maxed out his credit cards as a young man. We just returned from vacation when he called me to talk about this . My wife says he is throwing a guilt trip on me because we had money for a vacation . I talked to another friend the three of us grew up together . He said he is going to suggest a credit counselor .

I think your DW was pretty clear, and under those circumstances, I would respect her wishes.

It reminds me of a friend/ former co-worker who was awful with money. She would ask me for financial advice - and then completely ignore it and ended up going through all of her money from the sale of a house and two law suits. She came into my office actually crying that she owed the IRS $3,000 (didn't withhold enough after taking SS while working). I felt sorry for her, and momentarily considered taking the money about of the bank and handing it to her, but thought of the ways she had wasted the money, such as taking relatives on cruises, paying for parties, a lawyer for her son's criminal case, a truck for her son, etc. and felt that it would not be fair to my family to give her that money. Instead, I advised her to contact the IRS regarding a payment plan. Since that time, the few instances that she mentioned being broke and/ or needing money, I tell her that she should contact her children or granddaughter about that after all she did for them. (She does not like that response.)

The thing about your friend is - he has to be willing to do the work, budget, and stop the impulse buying. (My friend never did and is still working pushing 80.)

You and your other friend can recommend free credit counsel, that the 35-year-old take over paying the mortgage or HELOC (if there is one) and property taxes so they don't lose the house (as opposed to just handing him more money to spend), and the wife pick up summer school or tutoring.
 
I've learned my lesson helping someone in a similar situation. Money can solve an immediate problem but it does little for the long term. Handling money requires maturity and discipline, without that they'll be right back to where they are now.
Agree.... my best friend's oldest sister has had financial trouble her whole life... caused 2 divorces... one time her mother called to talk to me about if she should 'help her out'... I said any money given would be wasted because it is her nature to not do what is needed...

I had talked to her many times about tracking where she spent money etc. and if she did she never mentioned it... just had cars repoed, evicted from houses and apts, and other problems... you cannot fix that with cash...
 
My DW has said if I give a dollar she will change passwords on all my accounts. I consider my wife and I blessed by god that we don’t feel this pain. We have known my friend since HS . My DW reminded me that he always maxed out his credit cards as a young man. We just returned from vacation when he called me to talk about this . My wife says he is throwing a guilt trip on me because we had money for a vacation . I talked to another friend the three of us grew up together . He said he is going to suggest a credit counselor .
Your wife is correct in my opinion.
You can be a listening ear and guiding voice towards credit counseling and any other suggestions. If his wife is still teaching, she will need to continue at least until 65 and hopefully has a pension. If their son is not paying them any rent, etc, he should step up and pay.
They may end up losing their home, and that is sad. But you didn't get them into this, and throwing money at them won't get them out, until they choose to change their ways.
Once you give them money, they will keep coming back. So if that is a choice for you, then set some very firm boundaries.
Tough to see people we love go through things like this.
 
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