Author Topic: When good people do stupid stuff  (Read 7084 times)

CU Tiger

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When good people do stupid stuff
« on: May 27, 2014, 10:58:48 AM »
Preface: I know that my friends’ money problems/decisions are not my business, and I should just let it go – but these are friends I love and seeing them make these bonehead moves makes me sad. And also, honestly, frustrated.

Married couple. One of them was unemployed for 11 months during 2012, and they had to cut down their expenses during that time. Fine, they managed that, but it meant that for almost a whole year, they missed out on retirement savings/retirement matching from an employer.
Friend got job, a good job without the stresses in his old position. Pay was slightly less, but the overall situation was good.

Last year, friend got a small inheritance. He walked away with over $40,000 when all the checks had cleared. I was talking to him about how this was a chance for them to dump massive amounts in retirement and emergency funds. He was all…that would be a good ideaI did not put anything in savings while I was unemployed….

Instead, they spent it ALL on a new kitchen. It’s a beautiful kitchen, really lovely, but….but… emergency funds? Retirement savings? Smart decisions? I’m proud of myself that not once did I say anything snarky about the situation, because it is their money and none of my business (she says through gritted teeth).

Last month friend tells me that he’s doing so well at his job that when bonus time came around he got a $10,000 bonus. He had to pay taxes on that, but he still cleared about $6500. Which they immediately spent on: Tiles for the kitchen backsplash and house repairs.
Every time I think about it my head just about explodes. It’s like any time “extra” money comes into his life, he sees it as fun money. My husband just told me to button my lip and keep my thoughts to myself, and that’s exactly what I intend to do…but I figured it was safe to blow off a little steam here about it.

Remind me that smart people make goofy decisions all the time and that is their right….and I need to make like Frozen and LET IT GO!
« Last Edit: May 27, 2014, 11:02:48 AM by CU Tiger »

homeymomma

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Re: When good people do stupid stuff
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2014, 11:07:47 AM »
I have trouble judging people harshly for this stuff. I always assume they have a retirement plan in place and they just make more money than me. I guess considering the statistics I should stop assuming that, though! The 40,000 kitchen does seem crazy by any standard. Was their old kitchen really old? I hear kitchen upgrades can add the most resale value to a house... maybe they saw it as an investment in their home?

Seems crazy to me! I would do a lot of stuff with a 40K windfall and none of them include a house reno. But again, maybe I'm just not in a position to consider that type of thing, while they are.

Is this a keeping up with the joneses mentality or just giving people the benefit of the doubt?

greenmimama

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Re: When good people do stupid stuff
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2014, 11:09:20 AM »
I would be really sad for them too, but you are right, it isn't your business.

As long as they aren't asking to borrow money from you, just Let It Go!!!! Let It Goooooooo!!

Mrs.FamilyFinances

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Re: When good people do stupid stuff
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2014, 07:53:39 PM »
It is incredibly hard, especially when it comes from a place of genuine care. I have a similar friend, between her and her husband, they are spending everything they make, and then some, but still feel like they somehow have "the system" figured out.  It breaks my heart to hear her say they can't have another baby because they can't afford the extra daycare bill, but also can't afford their mortgage if she doesn't work. I want better for them!!!!


 At the end of the day I have to just listen and try not to offer solutions or examples, because they don't want them.

kite

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Re: When good people do stupid stuff
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2014, 05:05:40 AM »
When people share their financial stories (positive and negative) I just assume from the outset that I'm getting only part of the story.    Like with things on the news, when all the facts are finally known,  it isn't ever like it first seemed.  Makes it easier to reserve judgment.   

Adventine

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Re: When good people do stupid stuff
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2014, 08:29:31 AM »
I need to learn how to do this too. I need to LET. IT. GO.

It's so hard, though!

somepissedoffman

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Re: When good people do stupid stuff
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2014, 09:53:18 AM »
Remind me that smart people make goofy decisions all the time and that is their right….and I need to make like Frozen and LET IT GO!

Now that's going to be stuck in my head all day...

sleepyguy

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Re: When good people do stupid stuff
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2014, 10:05:24 AM »
We've all made silly decisions... I know I've made a bunch of 5 figure BAD decisions, learnt from them (hopefully) and moved on.

What does annoy me to no end is peeps who complain about money work... and for years do the EXACT same thing.

frugalecon

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Re: When good people do stupid stuff
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2014, 10:43:58 AM »
I get more upset when family members do stupid things, because they are more likely to expect financial assistance. I certainly shake my head at things friends do, but they don't actively upset me. As an example, I have a friend who has been unemployed for some time, long enough that he exhausted his unemployment benefits. He has started looking for work, while depleting his meager retirement accounts, but then he told me that he had put his job search on hold, because he heard that Congress might pass an additional "emergency" unemployment extension. He was concerned that, if he found a job, he might not qualify for retroactive benefits for the period of time he was unemployed after he exhausted his benefits. He didn't want to jeopardize the "free money" by getting a job. Now this person is 62 years old, and odds are that he will never work again, but I was aghast that he wasn't pounding the pavement as aggressively as he could. But in truth it made me feel more sad than mad.

galliver

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Re: When good people do stupid stuff
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2014, 11:28:53 AM »
Sounds like your friends are saving for emergency/retirement during the normal course of things, and didn't go into debt for their remodel(s) or during their period of unemployment. They used their windfall differently than you would, differently than most people here would...but I don't think it's fair to go straight to "stupid." Maybe if they throw $40k at the kitchen again it 2 years when they get tired of the tile color or something.

payitoff

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Re: When good people do stupid stuff
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2014, 12:00:09 PM »
yes, same here, i love these people and i just watch them getting drowned deeper in debt and they know!

my bestfriend just leased a bmw X3 and bmw 3 series for her and her husband, bought an extended warranty and more miles per year. ONLY increased their new car payment to $170 per month.  not much for switching from toyota to bmw she said. im gonna cry.


Nords

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Re: When good people do stupid stuff
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2014, 12:09:11 PM »
Remind me that smart people make goofy decisions all the time and that is their right….and I need to make like Frozen and LET IT GO!
You could think of it this way:  they're going to be contributing to Social Security and Medicare for many, many years.  If enough other people agree to do this then the funds may not need as much modification to regain financial stability.

homeymomma

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Re: When good people do stupid stuff
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2014, 12:29:00 PM »
yes, same here, i love these people and i just watch them getting drowned deeper in debt and they know!

my bestfriend just leased a bmw X3 and bmw 3 series for her and her husband, bought an extended warranty and more miles per year. ONLY increased their new car payment to $170 per month.  not much for switching from toyota to bmw she said. im gonna cry.

They lease 2 bmws for $170/mo?

payitoff

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Re: When good people do stupid stuff
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2014, 01:04:46 PM »
yes, same here, i love these people and i just watch them getting drowned deeper in debt and they know!

my bestfriend just leased a bmw X3 and bmw 3 series for her and her husband, bought an extended warranty and more miles per year. ONLY increased their new car payment to $170 per month.  not much for switching from toyota to bmw she said. im gonna cry.

They lease 2 bmws for $170/mo?

$170 more from their old car payment combined.  their car payment used to be about $1200/month for both cars now its 'only' $1370/month . but they dont realize that their old cars were purchased versus these new ones were leased.

homeymomma

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Re: When good people do stupid stuff
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2014, 01:11:23 PM »
yes, same here, i love these people and i just watch them getting drowned deeper in debt and they know!

my bestfriend just leased a bmw X3 and bmw 3 series for her and her husband, bought an extended warranty and more miles per year. ONLY increased their new car payment to $170 per month.  not much for switching from toyota to bmw she said. im gonna cry.

They lease 2 bmws for $170/mo?

$170 more from their old car payment combined.  their car payment used to be about $1200/month for both cars now its 'only' $1370/month . but they dont realize that their old cars were purchased versus these new ones were leased.

Ah yes that makes much more sense. Holy cow! That's more than we put in all our retirement accounts combined! Man I'm jealous they have that kind of money to throw around.

Dr. Doom

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Re: When good people do stupid stuff
« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2014, 01:44:57 PM »
We've all made silly decisions... I know I've made a bunch of 5 figure BAD decisions, learnt from them (hopefully) and moved on.

What does annoy me to no end is peeps who complain about money work... and for years do the EXACT same thing.

+1 to both making bad decisions in the past and being kind of irritated with folks who just can't seem to identify the problems which are preventing them from living something closer to their dream life.

I have a terrific friend who currently lives in a suburb and was initially thinking of moving his family to an even more remote place in order to save money.  The only problem?  He started to get a taste of how much more house he could buy in the lower COLA area.  Now he's probably going to end up "upgrading" his house and saving almost nothing over his current residence -- maybe even spending more per month because of increased sq.ft. and heating/cooling/landscaping/maid service.

Same guy complains nonstop about the stress of his job.  He has a very, very hard time changing what appears to be his default wiring, which is to consistently upgrade his lifestyle.  And he sort of knows he's doing it, and yet still can't seem to help himself.  It's both fascinating and frustrating to me because I really want the best for him but I don't want to be overbearing in terms of telling him how to live his life.

frugalecon

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Re: When good people do stupid stuff
« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2014, 01:46:08 PM »
yes, same here, i love these people and i just watch them getting drowned deeper in debt and they know!

my bestfriend just leased a bmw X3 and bmw 3 series for her and her husband, bought an extended warranty and more miles per year. ONLY increased their new car payment to $170 per month.  not much for switching from toyota to bmw she said. im gonna cry.

They lease 2 bmws for $170/mo?

$170 more from their old car payment combined.  their car payment used to be about $1200/month for both cars now its 'only' $1370/month . but they dont realize that their old cars were purchased versus these new ones were leased.

Wow! When you throw in gas, insurance, and (I am guessing) detailing, they are probably spending. $2k/month on cars. I would be waking up in a cold sweat every night if I were in that situation.

payitoff

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Re: When good people do stupid stuff
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2014, 02:01:16 PM »
yes, same here, i love these people and i just watch them getting drowned deeper in debt and they know!

my bestfriend just leased a bmw X3 and bmw 3 series for her and her husband, bought an extended warranty and more miles per year. ONLY increased their new car payment to $170 per month.  not much for switching from toyota to bmw she said. im gonna cry.

They lease 2 bmws for $170/mo?

$170 more from their old car payment combined.  their car payment used to be about $1200/month for both cars now its 'only' $1370/month . but they dont realize that their old cars were purchased versus these new ones were leased.

Ah yes that makes much more sense. Holy cow! That's more than we put in all our retirement accounts combined! Man I'm jealous they have that kind of money to throw around.

that plus when you add up the total amount owed on cars its almost or more than how much you make per year! im hyperventilating just thinking about it! 
and all this time, i have been open to mustachianism with her, with my debt payoff plan, buying used cars and taking the bus to cut on gas, how i plan to retire sooner,  whole nine yards. the irony of it.

Cassie

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Re: When good people do stupid stuff
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2014, 03:08:41 PM »
I think the hardest part is seeing people make foolish decisions & then complaining about not having enough $ for other things. That is the thing that really bothers me.  If your friends do not complain to you about $ then it probably would not bother me much. 

CU Tiger

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Re: When good people do stupid stuff
« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2014, 05:53:46 PM »
I am going to work on being less judgy... After all, my friends may not plan to retire early...or ever. And just because I choose to focus on saving and investing does not mean that their kitchen is stupid.

Enjoying everyone's viewpoint, thanks!

CarDude

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Re: When good people do stupid stuff
« Reply #20 on: May 30, 2014, 07:19:39 AM »
Yeah, it's easy to think "if I had that money, I'd spend it so much more wisely!", but it's best not to (even when you know it's true).