Author Topic: Ranting: What's your train wreck story?  (Read 3102 times)

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Ranting: What's your train wreck story?
« on: July 26, 2016, 04:04:09 PM »
I'm new to posting, though I've been following along for a few years.  I need a quick rant.

I have a train wreck friend - you know the kind.  Like a train wreck, it's going to end badly; also like a train wreck, there's the morbid fascination of staring at it all from a safe distance.

I inherited this train wreck friend when I married my husband from his social circle.  He's a really nice guy with good intentions and an abysmal track record.  To be fair before I get started on this rant: I like the guy.  I think he has a lot going for him.  I believe what he tells us is true - he's an honest guy and frankly I'm impressed he's owned up to some of it.  But I'm not particularly close to him and probably don't know all the details (he's fairly close to my husband but I don't share that particularly hobby with them so I see him once or twice a month rather than more frequently).  But he's definitely not a toxic individual - he's fairly intelligent, not the kind of guy you want to delete on facebook because of his idiocy, and all around a decent guy.  He's just... a train wreck with money and decisions.

This friend inherited upwards of $300k last year from a maiden aunt who passed away.  (Who knew there were still maiden aunts like that?) 

At first, things looked very optimistic.  This friend publicly announced that the money would be his saving grace and that he would be wise about spending it.  Good first strides were made.  Debts were paid off (not sure how much, but all of his credit cards are now paid off and are continually paid in full each month).  Back pay to the IRS to make up for three years (?!?!) of not paying and/or ignoring taxes was sent off.  He went to see an actual doctor regarding some health issues, which were taken care of, and was referred to someone for some psych issues, which were officially diagnosed and (as far as I can tell) successfully treated with continuing medication.  So, hurrah, he's got some of his shit together, and he's cleared quite a bit of backlog of crap off his slate. I am genuinely really pleased for him because of this.

Then it started going downhill.  He and his wife are living in a farmhouse that belongs to his family - it's technically owned by his dad still, but they pay no rent.  There's an agreement that they'll buy it from the dad (next year?  Don't know when they moved in, but they agreed to buy it five years from then).  The house and property - which can't be split - are worth nearly a million dollars, and the dad is cutting them a bit of a deal on it but not enough to knock that price down into something easy and reasonable.  They're going to have to qualify for a fairly hefty mortgage in order to keep the house, which appears to be non-negotiable (because it's "in the family").  I don't think the dad can knock the price down much, it sounds like the house is funding his retirement in warmer climes.

Anyways, to qualify for a mortgage, it turns out that a 100+ year old farmhouse needs an inspection.  And lo and behold, it needs some work.  A lot of work.  Over $70k of work, apparently.  And this isn't the kind of work where you can look at it and say, "Well, they upgraded the kitchen and now it's a nice house".  No, this is things like adding a fence, redoing electrical conversations, scraping and painting the exterior, just decades of deferred basic maintenance required to make the place up to code.  My husband has been to this house - he's ready to admit it needed probably $25k of updates to get it up to code, but nothing this friend has mentioned to us, and he's mentioned a lot, has put it anywhere near $70k.

So they're putting all this work into a house they are going to starve themselves to keep, because even if/when they get a mortgage to buy it from his dad - even at a steep discount, should the dad give them one - it's going to require a lot of upkeep.  And did I mention this house is 45 minutes from friend's work? 

His wife, at least, bikes/busses to her work.  Except since they inherited the money, they decided to buy a second car for her, so that she's not trapped in the house with no way to run errands when he's at work.  (At least they bought it used, for cash, a good MPG car, I suppose.  That's something at least.)

They're childfree, "at least until the house is squared away", and after that it's a discussion they're still having.  In the meantime, they've bought not one but two dogs from a breeder two hours north of us because "with all the land it'd be a shame not to have a dog". 

He shows up for hobby night with my husband with craft beer, bags of chips, and fancy meat salamis and the like for snacks.  He'll drop $200 on new hobby supplies without blinking.  He eats out almost every day.  His wife seems to be trying - bikes, grows veggies, cooks at home - but I don't know her too well beyond knowing that she has equally expensive hobbies.  Both of them do the thing where their hobbies could be either free or cheap or even a side hustle but they manage to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on them instead.

My husband and I guess that together, he and his wife bring in somewhere around $80k/year.  They can't farm the land or rent it out to be farmed.  He commutes at least an hour and a half a day for work.  They have spendy hobbies and eat out frequently.  Even if his dad cuts the price of the house in half, even assuming a $200k down payment (which I doubt they'll have), that mortgage would be $300k.  It's mind-boggling; they talk about making ends meet and saving money and fixing mistakes and being smarter and so on - they even made some good decisions in this whole mess - but on the whole, they can't seem to see that they're drowning still.

I wish him all the best, but wow, it's a train wreck and I can't help but wince and wonder where it's going next.


Anyone else have any train wrecks in their life?


gooki

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Re: Ranting: What's your train wreck story?
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2016, 05:19:13 PM »
Maybe being trapped in a mortgage is what they need to build equity and change their habits.

Undefined

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Re: Ranting: What's your train wreck story?
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2016, 08:47:09 AM »
@forummm I do love reading that thread, but since this isn't a relative I didn't know if it would be on-topic enough for that post.

(Then again, what post stays on topic for long, sooooo...)

TheAnonOne

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Re: Ranting: What's your train wreck story?
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2016, 09:11:13 AM »
Maybe being trapped in a mortgage is what they need to build equity and change their habits.

Indeed, though, they could spend 70k fixing it, mortgage it for 3-5 years and lose it all in a foreclosure as well...