Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Deep In Debt

337/365: The Big MoneyImage by DavidDMuir via Flickr
How do you help a friend in who is in financial trouble? A friend had his car repossessed. He works with me, he has a good job and is paid well. But he has a problem with handling money. There have been times he would want me to loan him money. I don't loan money and it kind of upset him. 
I would talk to him about how I take care of my finances. I told him what satisfaction and peace I had by being organized. I explained how he could apply it to his life. He listened but never took my advice. I tried to keep our conversation on a pleasant level but it got frustrating when he would never follow thru. 
Now with the car repoed this was where my patience became lacking. I told him he had to do something different or it would get worse. I said that I cared about him and his family's problems. I said I see you doing things wrong with money. I don't want to butt in, but you need help. What is it going to take to wake you up?
You guessed it, he didn't take it all to well. He was quite angry and defensive. He gave me lots of excuses for his behavior. He said it's so bad he can't do anything about it. That he doesn't have the money to work it out. 
He was so adamant and entrenched in his opinion. I was afraid this could end our friendship. This had been going on for many years but now it was coming to a head. I thought who am I to to be telling him what to do. I don't have this money thing down perfectly yet. I make mistakes to and I'm still learning. Maybe I should just back off. But as a parent I am not perfect , yet I still correct my children. 

I can see there is a hopelessness he feels about his situation. A comfort zone that is hard to move out of. When finances should be a matter of arithmetic, its mostly becomes a mix of behavior and emotion. 

I'll keep trying to help him. But he's on a progressively downward slope. It's seems the behavior resembles someone that drinks or is on drugs. They don't admit there is a problem.  Then hopefully someday they admit they have a problem and ask for help. All you can do in a situation like this is be patient. You have to realize their success or failure is in their own hands no yours.

Larry Burkett said,"debt is not the problem; it's the symptom." I believe failures with controlling your money is a behavior problem. You have to change behavior. The behavior that can wreck your finances is lack of planning. Planning for today and the future.

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  1. With most behavioral problems (and I include alcoholism and drug abuse in this category), your friend is going to have to hit rock bottom before he seeks out any help. It will be painful to watch, but has got to want to fundamentally change his life before any real and lasting behavioral modifications can take place. It will be painful to watch, but don't give him any money or bail him out of tight spots, he needs to hit bottom.

  2. I can only walk with him an show him what to do. Its up to him to take the first step. Then will proceed together.


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