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Neither a Borrower .....

February 6th, 2009 at 10:29 am

I feel mean, and I'm hoping you all can make me feel better. One of DH's co-workers, a great guy who we've known for years, is in continuing financial trouble. It's not him, it's his wife who hops from job to job and continually spends WAY too much on their children--we're talking $500 on a first birthday party.

You know where this is going--they're losing their house, and have 16K on credit cards. DH wants to pay their credit cards with OUR emergency fund and have co-worker pay them back so they won't lose the house.

I have had bad experiences lending to friends, and am not convinced that Co-worker's wife has changed her ways. I am pretty darn adamant against it, but DH is giving me a big speech about helping people etc and my religious and moral values being misplaced. So I feel mean.

29 Responses to “Neither a Borrower ..... ”

  1. dmontngrey Says:

    No. No No No No NO! Not mean at all and if you can't freely GIVE the money to them with no strings attached, then don't do it. It's a very unfortunate situation but you are already aware of where this is heading. Stick to your guns on this one!

  2. ceejay74 Says:

    Yeah, what dm said. If you were paying his cards with the extra money you leave on the street with the garbage anyway, OK. Wink But that's your emergency fund you're talking about!

    I've loaned money three times. I've been paid back once (on the smallest amount). I'm still bitter. I'll never loan money to friends or family again. This would ruin your relationship with the guy, because if he's in trouble now, he's not going to be able to pay you back later.

  3. creditcardfree Says:

    I would agree, do not loan them any money. There are other ways to help. Give a weeks/months worth of food, pay their electric bill, something that would help them with cash flow without paying all their credit cards off. Give it as a gift....not a loan.

    Best wishes to all of you.

  4. thriftorama Says:

    hell no.

  5. nance Says:

    Don't give in to your husband on this one! With his wife's spending habits, and this man's inability to control what she does, you will never get your money back.
    If they loose the house, they can rent an apartment, and learn to live within their means. That is the best gift they can give each other. Paying off their credit cards won't save the house. Credit card bills are the LAST thing these people should be worrying about.
    Give them a gift of Dave Ramsey's "Financial Peace University" if you want to help them learn to help themselves.

  6. monkeymama Says:


  7. Nika Says:

    As far as religous or humanitarian angle, remember that this is the problem of their own doing.

    They did not get hit by a drunk driver or had a stroke... They got THEMSELVES into this situation and it not unfair at all that they experience consequences of their behavior.

    Your family should not be put at risk in order to remove these consequences from them! And they should stop seeing themselves as victims of unfortunate circumbstances if they don't want to be broke forever. Giving them money will only encourage them to continue down the same path, it will just postpone the inevitable.

  8. monkeymama Says:

    No way. Totally with you on this one. DM says it well.

    Don't even get me started. There is nothing virtuous about giving money to people who can't manage it. Ugh.

  9. my english castle Says:

    Thanks for all your support. I did find a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace class at a church near them, and I've offered to send them there. But I think that unless they get honest with one another, they can't ever get better. I feel better already.

  10. Analise Says:

    PLEASE DO NOT use your EF to pay their CCs!!!! It will be the end of your friendship and cause resentment/problems between you and your dh if they do not repay in a timely manner. Trust your gut on this one... the wife likely has not changed her spending habits and this bailout will only be a "band-aid" on the problem. However, if they feel close enough to you and you are comfortable doing so, perhaps you can sit down with them, review their finances, and help them come up with a financial intervention plan (like developing a budget, how to cut expenses and live within or below means). I like the Dave Ramsey idea, but don't spend $$ on that unless you know they are willing and eager to participate.

  11. mom-sense Says:

    I am with all of the above.

    If you can't "gift" it, don't give it. Great point previously stated.

    Love the idea of a Financial Peace class as a gift.

    Don't jeopardize your financial security because of someone's stupidity. And in today's economic times, I wouldn't be stupid enough to think I'm secure.

    Let your DH read all of these comments.

  12. Ima saver Says:

    I agree with all the others, please don't lend them the money.

  13. whitestripe Says:

    once their credit cards are paid off, what exactly are the wifes plans? is she suddenly going to become a 'good girl' and not spend any money? by giving them the money to pay their credit cards, you're essentially enabling her to spend MORE money. Tell me, how will they cope paying off their house, their loan to you guys, AND the further payments on their credit cards that the wife has racked up again?
    unless they have to do the hard yards and pay it off themselves, the wife is never going to learn. they say its easy to climb up a tree and harder to climb down. its the same for debt. its VERY easy to rack up the debt, very hard to clear it all. if you pay their debt, you're allowing them to take two easy paths. thats not the way life works.

  14. LuxLiving Says:

    Uhmmmmm, no way on God's green earth!!!

    The scripture is that the poor will always be among us. I'm of the teach a man to fish theory. If you can assist them in learning to budget, and they are eager to learn, help them.

    Cash is not the answer here. Tell DH Lux is sorry, but how is putting your family in the path of financial ruin a smart decision????

    Keep your oxygen mask on - and assist them in getting one of their own, by educating them, not bailing them out.

  15. frugaltexan75 Says:

    What the others said. No way. No how. Not a good idea at all.

  16. lizajane Says:

    Ditto all the other comments. But I do want to add your husband is a very generous person to even consider helping his friend out that way. Wow!

  17. Thrifty Ray Says:

    The best gift you can give them is to let them learn from their mistakes. People do not learn unless they experience the consequences of their actions. Cruel...no. Offer financial advice if they ask...perhaps have them over for dinner once in a while...but keep your emergency fund.

  18. Broken Arrow Says:

    Castle, you are not being mean!

    Now remember, this is coming from a guy.

    Giving or loaning money to someone who has not learned their lesson and changed their ways is simply "feeding their habit", NOT helping them as friends should help one another.

    If you give them money, they will learn nothing. If you don't, they might finally learn and it may lead to a better future.

    Where is the morality in giving money to a drug addict, knowing full well they will spend it on more drugs to feed their addict? No, that is not the way to help. Please help them, genuinely help them, by NOT spending your EF on them.

  19. my english castle Says:

    Thank you all for your support.
    I've forwarded the info and your comments to DH--as well as the stuff on Financial Peace U, which is made for them, I think.

    I went through a similar thing years ago with a BIL who was a cokehead. DH is always a soft touch, and I guess my role is to be the sensible one.

  20. LuxLiving Says:

    Someone posted this link over on the forums - perfect for forwarding to your husband's friend/coworker:


  21. asmom Says:

    Oh dear God, No, a thousand times NO!! I can appreciate your husband's charity but you must take care of yourself first. If they lose their home, will they be homeless? Will they miss meals? Then by all means, offer them some help, perhaps some groceries or something but you should not even consider loaning that type of money. By the way, it would not be a loan but you would have to consider it a gift.

    Ask your hubby if you are in a position to weather a layoff, illness or house disaster painlessly without any need for that 16K. Why should you risk your financial security for people who have chosen to live above their means?

  22. Nika Says:

    So what did your husband say after reading all of these posts? And what is going on with his friend? Update us pls!

  23. my english castle Says:

    First a couple of nice words about DH. He is easy and breezy with regards to money. He regularly gives up cash to homeless people and constantly wants us to give more to charity. He grew up poor, spends very little, and without blinking, wore my dad's old shirts that my mom insisted we take after dad died. He gets lunch free at work, and his big expense is $1.12/day for coffee.
    Money just doesn't matter to him.

    As most of us know, that has a good and bad side. I sometimes feel like I'm shouldering all the planning myself, planning for DD's college fund, to pay off the mortgage, retirement, and insurance. I think much more about how we can save a couple of bucks on groceries, insurance, taxes everything. I'm a detail person. In reality, I probably just like it.

    So, I talked this through with him again, showed him all the posts, and he had two comments: "Man, all the people on that list are just like you." I guess that's a compliment (or not) for many of us. And then he shrugged it off and said he was just worried about his co-worker, and maybe we could do other things to offer our support.

    No drama, no nothing. But I will post when we hear more about the co-worker's situation. And thank you all for your comments. I do think the number of similar comments made him rethink the situation.

  24. whitestripe Says:

    i appreciate your hubby's good nature, but the main thing that sticks in my mind is that these people have done it to themselves, spending money they dont have on things they dont need. there is a difference with giving to the homeless or to charity: hopefully the homeless and charities are using the money for neccesities and food, which this couple aren't.

  25. TryingHard Says:

    I'm glad you two talked about the situation thourally and looked at other options for this couple. I agree with everyone else on this blog....ABSOLUTELY DO NOT "loan" your hard earned money to bailout a couple, especially if you have doubts about their commitment to their finances. I've had experiences with "loaning" friends money and it has never ended well. Good luck to both of you!

  26. Ralph Says:

    "Man, all the people on that list are just like you." I guess that's a compliment (or not) for many of us.
    Man, it is fun being here with all you uber-responsible people!

  27. Lost in Thoughts Says:

    I know DH wants to help, but NO! Lets not take the economy and fit it into a personal version of your life.

    I don't believe that the bailout is going to help the U.S. economy, so bailing out irresponsible friends isn't going make them able to take care of their own (or your) money. Its not that you shouldn't loan to friends, its WHEN you should loan to your friends. Its what you're supposed to do in time of need, like in the case of a tragedy or something that can't be helped. NOT what you have to do when someone is being an idiot with their money, especially when they have no plans to start being responsible after they take the loan.

    To Ralph: I feel like if you are going to make a snarky sarcastic comment like that, you should throw your money to every hobo and needy person who wants it. Can you afford that? Maybe give it to a drug addict, because they are REALLY in debt and need your help. If a friend of YOURS who was deeply embedded in debt because of irresponsible spending many times over asked you to bail them out, would you? Would you just give them a free ride out of the situation they put themselves in? i hope not.

    I don't know about you, but when I was a child, if I got myself into a mess, my parents made me get myself out financially or otherwise. It made me more RESPONSIBLE, which is the REAL issue here. It will make the couple stronger if they figure it out on their own. Don't look down your nose at people who have grown up taking RESPONSIBILITY for their own actions. If we had it your way, we would all be a part of a nation of wimps. That is all.

  28. Amber Says:

    Wow $500 on a birthday party hmmm I had a friend to spend $3000 on her kid's first birthday. Me personally would give him a gift but not pay his cc in hopes of being paid back. Money changes everything

  29. gamecock43 Says:

    "Man, all the people on that list are just like you." Hahahaha. That's a funny line. I would appreciate your husbands kind heart and just be the bad guy here and say...you spent the money already. On clothes. It's gone. No giving it away.

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