Author Topic: Cascade of Miracles  (Read 4488 times)

foghorn

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 55
Cascade of Miracles
« on: December 22, 2018, 07:05:36 AM »
I hope this is the right place for this topic.

I have a long time friend (we were former co-workers) that is the most anti-mustachian person I know.  He and his wife make well over $300,000 a year but have little to no net worth.  He regularly makes it a point of providing me with the details of their personal finances.  For example, I know the income mentioned above and the fact that they have over $900,000 in debt across several mortgages, car loans, personal loans and credit card debt.

The hard part is his insistence that the Cascade of Miracles will not only pay off all of his debt, but will also put millions in the bank before he retires. 

For example:
- His employer will only do well, with great news (so assured employment).
- Because of a strong employer, his stock options will be worth a ton of money (even though they are way under water now).
- Even if things went bad where he works, he is so awesome that he will get another great job in no time.
- His mother in law (who he claims has some resources) will die at just the right time and leave he and his wife her share of the inheritance.
- That no matter what happens, he is so smart that he can manipulate any situation to his benefit.

When he does not talk about his money he can be a good friend.  But there are times when he just goes on and on about how all of these great things are going to happen and how awesome his retirement is going to be.  It can be difficult to deal with and my patience as a friend can get stretched.  If I ever try to suggest some frugality, I only hear about how I should spending my money. 

This whole thing falls between funny and sad.





ysette9

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5345
  • Location: Bay Area, CA
    • Insert Snappy Title Here (Journal)
Re: Cascade of Miracles
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2018, 08:05:37 AM »
That is so painful to read. It must be worse to listen to in real life.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 909
Re: Cascade of Miracles
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2018, 10:40:01 AM »
I've got one of these friends. He makes all the right noises about finances but in reality

- He'll be able to keep working in a high paying but extremely labour intensive job despite staring down joint surgery as we speak
- Even if he has to leave, he'll be able to find a job that pays the right amount
- He'll be able to pay off his mortgage before retirement age even though he's made no real headway on it in the last decade of high income.
- Despite the fact that he has no savings, he'll buy a rental or 10 in the next 10 years that will absolutely increase in value to the point where he'll be able to retire in the next 15 years
- And he'll still have a lifestyle where he gets to spend with impunity and travel.

And apparently I'm the one who's bad with money..... you know, because I live in a 'shithole', buy everything second hand and don't care to drop $100 a week on wine.

I like the term 'cascade of miracles'. Very apt.

aasdfadsf

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 113
Re: Cascade of Miracles
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2018, 04:32:55 PM »
Dude sounds delusional. He's probably just trying to rationalize why he has high income but nothing to show for it. BTW, how do they blow through $300k a year?

And I really hate when people who have high paying jobs take it totally for granted and seem to think that there's always another job like that, one that pays 4 times the median family income, just for them!

Kronsey

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 133
  • Age: 33
  • Location: Midwest
Re: Cascade of Miracles
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2018, 04:52:13 PM »
BTW, how do they blow through $300k a year?

As those types progress in their careers, get raises, bonuses, etc they have already purchased something new with a payment before the extra money hits their account.

Extra money must be spent. Savings is a completely foreign concept. Frugality is wrong/evil.

That's how!

marty998

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6480
  • Location: Sydney, Oz
Re: Cascade of Miracles
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2018, 04:53:17 PM »
I also like the phrase "cascade of miracles"... good one OP.

Dude sounds delusional. He's probably just trying to rationalize why he has high income but nothing to show for it. BTW, how do they blow through $300k a year?

And I really hate when people who have high paying jobs take it totally for granted and seem to think that there's always another job like that, one that pays 4 times the median family income, just for them!


We have some staff at our office who up and leave at the drop of a hat, long holidays, travel, career breaks.... they think they can't walk back into $100k jobs.

By the time they do come back they'll find we've been busy automating their job, and their skills are no longer useful to us.


AnnaGrowsAMustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 909
Re: Cascade of Miracles
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2018, 07:29:51 PM »
Dude sounds delusional. He's probably just trying to rationalize why he has high income but nothing to show for it. BTW, how do they blow through $300k a year?

And I really hate when people who have high paying jobs take it totally for granted and seem to think that there's always another job like that, one that pays 4 times the median family income, just for them!

Funny thing is that I have other friends who have been in a heavily subsidised living arrangement, paying nowhere near market rent, for YEARS and has nothing to show for it. No financial advancements made. Anyway, delusional dude regularly comments on these friends, and how little they have achieved despite some very great benefits. I say nothing.....

And according to delusional dude I'm crappy with money and have never really 'applied myself'...... you know, other than the degree, the post grad, the multiple jobs that have finally into a decent earning level, the savings despite a far lower income than him etc etc.

Rant over.

aasdfadsf

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 113
Re: Cascade of Miracles
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2018, 08:35:39 PM »
BTW, how do they blow through $300k a year?

As those types progress in their careers, get raises, bonuses, etc they have already purchased something new with a payment before the extra money hits their account.

Extra money must be spent. Savings is a completely foreign concept. Frugality is wrong/evil.

That's how!

Oh yeah, I've known too many people throughout my life who think that the second they have any amount of excess cash in their pocket, they simply must spend it. So it was kind of a rhetorical question.

But when you look at the actual details of how they manage to spend it all, it's fascinating. The pointless wastefulness of it is genuinely impressive. It's like watching Brewster's Millions. You gotta be creative to blow through that level of income.

Luckystepho

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Re: Cascade of Miracles
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2018, 02:26:00 AM »
I have a friend like this. Drives a huge BMW. Goes shopping every day for clothes and stuff for the house, latest gadgets, hair done, nails done and facials every week...

She 'works' a few hours a week at her business but I'd estimate that she works no more then 5-10 hours a week... she likes to portray herself as a successful businesswoman but in reality I know her ex-husband is still giving her half of his income!

I could weep at the amount of money she blows through...

foghorn

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 55
Re: Cascade of Miracles
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2018, 06:42:50 AM »
Dude sounds delusional. He's probably just trying to rationalize why he has high income but nothing to show for it. BTW, how do they blow through $300k a year?

And I really hate when people who have high paying jobs take it totally for granted and seem to think that there's always another job like that, one that pays 4 times the median family income, just for them!

He and his wife had several homes at one point ("only two now" plus some sort of bridge loan and the credit card and auto debt).  They were going to be smarter than everyone else with their houses and sell at just the right time and make a ton of money. Of course, that did not work and ended up paying mortgages on homes they were not living in and paying for a piece of land they needed to walk away from.  All of that was a huge money loser.  As you might imagine, during that time, every penny was going to debt service, so no money going into 401k or any other other investments.

The latest regular updates involves the stock options I mentioned above. They are going to go sky high (right?) and put millions into his pocket.  All will be good (sarcasm). 

Frankies Girl

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3009
  • Age: 81
  • Location: The laboratory
  • Typical Ghoul Next Door
Re: Cascade of Miracles
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2018, 08:02:33 AM »
Sometimes being that delusional does end up working out for those types since they are so full of optimism, they don't get discouraged by bad luck/poor planning/their own failings and just keep working the angles until they dig their way out. And for some reason, folks like this do tend to have better luck than others - they always do seem to get bailed out of stupid situations, so they generally never learn any sort of lesson about not tempting fate.

I always said it was better to born lucky than anything else...

I honestly would ask a close friend to tone down the money thing if it was getting annoying to listen to, but otherwise just marvel at the disconnect and be a bit jealous about the apparent luck they have to walk along a razor's edge blissfully unaware how close they come to falling each time.

And should go without saying that you don't offer to be a lifeline for any of their stupidity.

Kronsey

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 133
  • Age: 33
  • Location: Midwest
Re: Cascade of Miracles
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2018, 11:15:46 AM »
But when you look at the actual details of how they manage to spend it all, it's fascinating. The pointless wastefulness of it is genuinely impressive. It's like watching Brewster's Millions. You gotta be creative to blow through that level of income.

Completely agree! It is magical on some levels. It would be a full time job to figure out how to throw away hundreds of thousands each year. Kinda like a game show... Spend that cash before the weekend is over!!!

FIRE47

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 346
Re: Cascade of Miracles
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2018, 12:46:56 PM »
Sometimes being that delusional does end up working out for those types since they are so full of optimism, they don't get discouraged by bad luck/poor planning/their own failings and just keep working the angles until they dig their way out. And for some reason, folks like this do tend to have better luck than others - they always do seem to get bailed out of stupid situations, so they generally never learn any sort of lesson about not tempting fate.

I always said it was better to born lucky than anything else...

I honestly would ask a close friend to tone down the money thing if it was getting annoying to listen to, but otherwise just marvel at the disconnect and be a bit jealous about the apparent luck they have to walk along a razor's edge blissfully unaware how close they come to falling each time.

And should go without saying that you don't offer to be a lifeline for any of their stupidity.

Indeed they do seem lucky don’t they... there are several things that are likely going on though if I may speculate - someone with this attitude to money may often come from money, an easy source for a bailout.

There is probably some survivorship bias - the guy who finally had to take his lumps after losing his high income job and declare bankruptcy probably isn’t talk much about it.

Lastly as you say optimism itself can go a long way, and often they may have reasons to be optimistic after all they likely have some in demand skills or personality that gains them all of that income in the first place, and very likely they can continue making more.

golden1

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1544
  • Location: MA
Re: Cascade of Miracles
« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2018, 05:00:17 AM »
My brother in law lives like this.  He is in his late 40s, works a very physical job, supports his wife, has no savings or health insurance.  He is counting on:

1) Never getting really sick.
2) Being able to work 70 hour weeks forever
3) His parents giving him “loans” whenever he needs them.
4) Continuing to live in his parents home with his wife until his parents die. (He does pay rent, but a very small amount, just enough to cover utilities basically)
5) Having an inheritance when his parents die in 20 years

The last one ought to be interesting since his parents are planning on using a reverse mortgage or HELOC to drain the equity out of the house before retirement.  They also put the house partly in my husbands name since they don’t trust my brothers wife (long story).  There likely won’t be much equity left by the time my in-laws pass, which won’t be for a long time, hopefully.

MarciaB

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 483
  • Age: 58
  • Location: Oregon
Re: Cascade of Miracles
« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2018, 07:08:56 AM »
My brother in law lives like this.  He is in his late 40s, works a very physical job, supports his wife, has no savings or health insurance.  He is counting on:

1) Never getting really sick.
2) Being able to work 70 hour weeks forever
3) His parents giving him “loans” whenever he needs them.
4) Continuing to live in his parents home with his wife until his parents die. (He does pay rent, but a very small amount, just enough to cover utilities basically)
5) Having an inheritance when his parents die in 20 years

The last one ought to be interesting since his parents are planning on using a reverse mortgage or HELOC to drain the equity out of the house before retirement.  They also put the house partly in my husbands name since they don’t trust my brother's wife (long story).  There likely won’t be much equity left by the time my in-laws pass, which won’t be for a long time, hopefully.

I would love to hear the long story!

carolinap

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 45
Re: Cascade of Miracles
« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2018, 05:11:31 AM »
I've saw this insistence in a Cascade of Miracles when I have talked about parenting with fellow single women. At the same time that there are articles talking about how you need a crazy amount of money to raise a child, there are overly confident people who believe that:

1) their child will never get REALLY sick
2) their child won't have any kind of special health needs continuously
3) their child will be academically inteligent, landing on high school scholarships and uni scholarships
4) you will NEVER opt for more expensive / more practical things for your daily life like daycare (the grandparents will want to be with their child ALL THE TIME), disposable diapers, cleaning help and practical meals
5) you and your partner will be employed all the time in high paying jobs

Of course as a mustachian usually you aim for all this things, and being paranoid can get expensive (there are a few MMM articles about it) but mustachians usually are able to handle a problem or two, and don't overlook this in their plans to be a parent.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2018, 05:13:53 AM by carolinap »

Just Joe

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3142
Re: Cascade of Miracles
« Reply #16 on: December 26, 2018, 05:34:18 PM »
That their child will be motivated to work hard if not academically gifted....
« Last Edit: December 30, 2018, 05:19:36 PM by Just Joe »

Spiffsome

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 209
Re: Cascade of Miracles
« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2018, 04:48:08 PM »
I wish I could buy some of these people's confidence. I know that I could do much less stupid things with it than they do.

SunnyDays

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 453
Re: Cascade of Miracles
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2019, 06:43:36 PM »
It's called Magical Thinking.  Prevalent among 7 year olds.

jengod

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1220
  • Location: Near LAX
Cascade of Miracles
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2019, 08:18:00 PM »
My husband has the same kind of magical thinking but we have zero debt and a paid-for home and massive savings, so even if there were to be a “cascade of disaster” (much more likely to my pessimistic, anxious mind) instead of a “cascade of miracles” we have a series of stop-gaps in place to hopefully minimize the damage.

We have a different relative who has the same kind of deranged resistant-to-caution-or-logic optimism. He has taken out three different mortgages in the last year. Maybe it will be fine but his real-estate investment track record is spotty at best, IMHO. I’ve known him 15 years now and he seems prone to, shall we say, impulsivity and poor judgment.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2019, 08:21:17 PM by jengod »

Kalergie

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 212
  • Location: European expat living almost everywhere
Re: Cascade of Miracles
« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2019, 03:18:53 AM »
I kind of envy this "positive" attitude. I worry way too much which can't be healthy either. That being said, if I had to be on one extreme end of the spectrum, I'd chose the conservative end rather than Monster trucks, Caribbean cruises and Mcmansions on credit!

FireHiker

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1114
  • Location: So Cal
Re: Cascade of Miracles
« Reply #21 on: January 04, 2019, 10:27:30 AM »
My husband's sister and her husband have this same outlook without the income. They had their own business but after poorly managing it they went through bankruptcy and lost their house (6-7 years ago now). Our brother-in-law works his butt off, but they have this "I work hard/I deserve it" mentality where they spend way more money on eating out/etc than I can fathom. They have no retirement. My husband's sister is working in a hobby which I don't think actually makes any money; I just hope she's actually getting paid legally now so that she'll have social security credits someday. Their belief is that they will "manifest wealth" or something with being positive, and to not ever worry about it. They posit that they don't need to worry about ever being homeless because "they have family", but they lived a couple years with her twin and twin's husband and it was super toxic and awful... Fortunately their daughter really has her act together. Unfortunately for her she'll probably end up having to support her parents someday.

phildonnia

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 89
Re: Cascade of Miracles
« Reply #22 on: January 04, 2019, 10:44:07 AM »
I like the term 'cascade of miracles'. Very apt.

That's an excellent name for an MLM business.  Trademark it now!

pachnik

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1832
  • Age: 55
  • Location: Vancouver, BC
Re: Cascade of Miracles
« Reply #23 on: January 04, 2019, 10:51:29 AM »
I like the term 'cascade of miracles'. Very apt.

That's an excellent name for an MLM business.  Trademark it now!

I lol'd when I read this.  Absolutely agree, "Cascade of Miracles" would be a wonderful name for an MLM.

Kronsey

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 133
  • Age: 33
  • Location: Midwest
Re: Cascade of Miracles
« Reply #24 on: January 04, 2019, 11:37:38 AM »

. ................Our brother-in-law works his butt off, but they have this "I work hard/I deserve it" mentality where they spend way more money on eating out/etc than I can fathom................


Really sad reading about your family. The part above reminded me some of myself. I started a business and probably risked too much in doing so. My wife was a SAHM and I was our only income source. I got so caught up in trying to build the business that it became my entire life. I am still recovering from that and some of the health issues that popped up were mainly caused by the stress (IMHO).

Overall, it has worked out ok for us, but when we were going through it, neither of us had any energy/ability to cook at home. I was working 24/7 and my wife was basically trying to keep the pieces of our life from falling apart. It was very tough emotionally.

I'm not excusing the behavior, just pointing out that even "financially savvy" people can get stuck on that treadmill and not know how to get off. This scenario is a very big problem in our "pull yourself up by the bootstraps" culture that absolutely worships/idolizes entrepreneurship. Many people get things so mixed up that their entire identity is wrapped up in the business.

I am thankful to have made it through that rough stretch, and I am still trying to put proper boundaries in my life to make sure it doesn't happen again.