Author Topic: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?  (Read 14146 times)

frugalfoothills

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Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« on: January 24, 2018, 03:37:46 PM »
The first part of this post will be long (and mostly a vent-session for me), so feel free to skip to the bottom paragraph if you'd like to avoid my sob story! :)

I bought my home in 2013. Shortly thereafter, I asked a friend of mine if she'd like to move in and rent a room from me. She works for a non-profit and at the time was making very little money, so I knew a traditional rent situation for her was probably out of the question. I figured this would be a mutually beneficial arrangement for both of us and we settled on a very low payment for her: $400/month, no utilities.

Over the years she has become one of my closest friends and I love pretty much everything about living with her. She's an easy roommate and we get along great. That being said, she is TERRIBLE with money. Within a year of moving in, she had stopped paying rent and me being the non-confrontational person I am had avoided asking her about it.

On two occasions since then, I've brought up the (enormous) back-rent owed and wiped the slate clean. Once in 2014 (a year after she moved in) and then again in 2016. I told her to forget about the hole she was in and just start fresh from there. She's had a rough life and I really admire her dedication to her work in the non-profit sector, and realize it doesn't pay what a corporate job would pay.

Shortly after our re-wiping of the slate in March of 2016, she stopped paying rent again. Then in late 2016 she saw a pay increase to $47,500 annually (this was a HUGE bump for her as she was previously making close to $30k) and made multiple comments about how great it was going to be now that she'd be able to start paying rent. Most of those words ended up empty promises, though, and she only paid me $1680 between July of 2016 and April of 2017. That equals 4 months (and some change) rent over a 10 month period. Not awesome.

Everything changed come May of 2017 when she decided that she needed to replace her paid off truck which she'd inherited from her grandparents. She lives paycheck to paycheck (obviously) and I assumed she would go out and buy something cheap and practical. I knew she'd need to finance the entire thing, but I was thinking there was no way she'd spend more than $5k or so.

She bought a 2015 Toyota Tundra double-cab for $37,000. I almost stroked out at that point. (Sidenote: she doesn't haul things, she doesn't tow things, she doesn't off-road, this truck DOESNT EVEN HAVE 4WD! I CANNOT DEAL!)

That was a huge wakeup call for me and I realized that if she had the money lying around to make what I'm assuming are GARGANTUAN payments on this RIDICULOUS vehicle each month, then she had the money lying around to pay me rent. This hurts because it is a tangible confirmation of my worst fear: she is, and has been, able to pay her rent--she just wasn't because she didn't want to. I feel taken advantage of and (quite frankly) stupid. Also, I have to look at this fucking idiotic truck parked in my driveway every day... a constant reminder of how little she values her living situation/our friendship/me in general.

I have tried to have conversations with her about money and budgeting in the past (she does ZERO budgeting), and they usually end with her in tears telling me that she's embarrassed because she's just "bad with money" and ashamed of it. But then she goes and does such stupid shit (LIKE BUYING A $37,000 TRUCK SHE DIDNT NEED????????) and makes zero attempts to make a budget or change her spending habits. I'm starting to resent her and it's impacting our friendship. Like I said, she's otherwise a truly wonderful person.

All of that to say... has anyone here had to have awkward conversations about finances with someone NOT your partner/family? I feel like if we were related (or even romantically involved) I'd have more of a right to force her to talk finances with me. As she's just my friend, it feels very awkward and out of line for me to say "sit down with me, show me your paychecks, show me your spending, and we're making you a budget." On the other hand, her complete & total lack of discipline in this area has a direct negative impact on MY financial situation, so I do feel I have SOME leg to stand on...

What was your situation? How did you handle it? Did it help your relationship or ruin it? I am not threatening eviction, and I don't want to ruin our friendship. I just want her to pay her fucking rent!!!!!
« Last Edit: January 24, 2018, 03:41:11 PM by frugalfoothills »

PoutineLover

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2018, 04:05:19 PM »
Wow this is a shitty situation. You have let her get away with this/walk all over you for years, so now she probably feels that she can get away with it always. Are you sure she's that good of a friend? If you are not considering eviction, there are no consequences for her to continue getting away with this.
Going forward you should draw up a lease with the amount stated, maybe consider making it a weekly or biweekly amount that coincides with her paychecks.
Tell her that as a condition of the lease she has to set up automatic payments to you. You don't need to see how she spends the rest of her money, it doesn't matter to you if she gets her truck reposessed, or if she can't afford groceries or whatever sob story she has. She is showing zero respect for you as a friend, and unfortunately you have set a precedent that will be hard to change. Tell her that your finances are suffering due to her actions and that you can't afford to keep on letting the rent go. I hope she is an incredible person otherwise, because I don't think I could stay friends with someone who treated me that way. You need to be able to assert your needs and boundaries, and the fact that it has gotten to this point makes me think you might need some help in that area too.

ixtap

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2018, 04:07:34 PM »
You don't have to talk to her about budgeting. You need to tell her that the truck is a daily reminder that paying her rent and maintaining a relationship with you are low priorities for her. If the rent priority doesn't change immediately, she will have to move out by X.

radram

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2018, 04:12:05 PM »
She has proven she will never pay rent unless forced to.

You have to decide if you want her living there for free, or you want to force her to pay rent.

Once you make that choice, come back and tell us. Then we can help.

calimom

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2018, 04:42:23 PM »
And no "truly wonderful person" takes advantage of their friends in this fashion. I'd get pretty bored with the tears and the "I'm so bad with money" lame excuses.

slappy

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2018, 04:51:44 PM »
You don't have to talk to her about budgeting. You need to tell her that the truck is a daily reminder that paying her rent and maintaining a relationship with you are low priorities for her. If the rent priority doesn't change immediately, she will have to move out by X.

This is perfect.

sokoloff

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2018, 04:57:01 PM »
I am not threatening eviction, and I don't want to ruin our friendship. I just want her to pay her fucking rent!!!!!
The former underlined section is the easiest (and quite possibly the only) way to accomplish the latter underlined section.

Noodle

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2018, 05:01:32 PM »
I'm sorry your generosity and your friend's issues (whatever they are) have led you to this place. As a fellow confrontation-hater, and a person with a famiy member who acts like this, I sympathize!

That said, it sounds like it is time to put your foot down. I was paying $400/month rent when I was a very poor non-profit worker making way less than her and had car loans and student loans to boot, so barring something we don't know about, the rent has been affordable for awhile. In my area of the non-profit world, there is a lot of research to show that people don't value things that are priced too low. It sounds like your friend may have concluded that since it wasn't that much money and you weren't pressing her, you didn't need it and she wasn't obliged to pay it as she did "need" it.

I think you need to sit her down and just tell her that the current situation doesn't work for you anymore. You need rent every month (and I would raise it, actually, maybe not to market but somewhat) and you need it paid by electronic transfer. I wouldn't use the language "can't afford" because that provides an opening for them to argue that you can afford it. Stick to "doesn't work" or other neutral language. She will cry and fuss and try to show why you're being unfair, or go limp. Just keep repeating yourself. Don't get sucked into helping her figure out a budget, or tell you what she can afford. Tell her you understand if she wants to make a change in her housing situation, and she should let you know what she wants to do in X (2-3) days. Be prepared if she says she wants to move out to let her know how long she has (look at your local tenant law.) If you need to practice this dialogue with a different friend (or a therapist) or have someone else in the vicinity while you have the conversation, do it.

You're not evicting her (now). You're making a choice and giving her a choice about what to do in response. I know you said you don't want to lose a friend, and I get it. But you probably can't keep the friendship as it's always been and also have a healthy business (landlord-tenant) relationship. Remember that she's the one who's been acting unfriendly by stiffing you on money she owes you, month after month after month. Maybe she is just one of those people who needs to keep business and friendship separate.

NoraLenderbee

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2018, 05:18:13 PM »
Add up the amount of rent you have forgiven/not gotten over the years. This the amount YOU are paying so that she can continue refusing to be a grown-up.

COEE

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2018, 05:36:16 PM »
She's not a friend, she's a mooch.  Kick her ass out.  Find a new renter.  Never let a single payment slip by even 1 day or... yep, you guessed it, kick their ass out too!

Really, my wife and I were making $40k/year combined and paying a $900 house payment AND cash-flowing most of our undergrad at one point.  $400 is nothing at $30k/year - really only like 16% or so of her initial income... totally manageable.  You should have kicked her out years ago.

Think of it this way - you probably paid for half of her truck... $400/mo * 4 years = $19,200

Kick her ass out TODAY!

I hope you're as pissed off as I am thinking about this!  RAR!

thingamabobs

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2018, 05:56:25 PM »
ďIím so glad that youíve gotten a handle on your finances to be able to afford such an expensive vehicle. Here is the total of your rent that would catch us up to today and how much youíll be paying going forward if you decide to continue living here. Please sign here to acknowledge that you understand this.Ē

frugalfoothills

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2018, 06:05:37 PM »
I really appreciate all your responses, even those that were hard to hear. I know Iím too emotionally invested in the situation to be unbiased about it. Itís just so frustrating to want someone to DO BETTER, when doing better is totally within reach, and yet... they donít. I also feel guilt because I know Iíve played a role in this behavior because Iíve pretended itís not an issue for so long (Iíve never explicitly said she doesnít have to pay rent, but my lackadaisical attitude toward her has led her to believe this is the case.)

It is good to hear from others who have been in a similar situation to hersóyouíre right, thereís really no excuse for her not to be able to come up with a measly $400.

ysette9

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2018, 07:41:51 PM »
This are the kind of situations that remind me of the Crucial Conversations training I had at work long ago. That has probably been the best training I have ever been to, and I have been though a ton. You can pick up the book from your library. I don’t remember all the details, but it gives you a set of concrete steps for how to hold conversations like this.

You should first do some self reflection and figure out what you really want out of all of this. Your back money? Your friendship? Regular rent? To not feel disrespected and taken advantage of? What are you willing to give in on and what will you stand firm on? Get that straight first.

Then you follow the book and “start with the heart”. You need to set a tone of mutual respect when you start the conversation so your roommate doesn’t feel attacked. You may ask permission to have a conversation. Talk about a pattern of what you have observed and how that makes you feel “I feel like you don’t respect me or our friendship”. Don’t call her names but just point out behaviors and the impact they have on you. Once you’ve said your piece be sure to listen to her. Be respectful and understanding but Stand Firm. Not having a backbone is how you got into this mess. Write it down ahead of time if it will help you think and stick to a script.

It is super tough but these things do get easier with practice.

Chrissy

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2018, 08:38:05 PM »
Your friendship is already ruined.  She ruined it by not living up to her side of the deal twice already.  Do you really need to go through it all again a third time?  Despite her financial betrayal, you have NO STANDING to get into her finances.  She may owe other creditors, too, but they can't force her to budget.  They can harass her (to a point) or sue her, that's it.

The conversation I suggest you have is the one where you say how great it is that both of you are finding so much success!  Explain you're ready for the next chapter in your life, and feel you can take on the home and living alone now.  But, of course, you care about her, and want her to be comfortable with the transition...  would 2 months be enough time for her to find a place? 

Then, negotiate an exit timeline.  That is NOT a threat, and it's NOT eviction.  The two of you aren't married, so this was bound to happen eventually.  Schedule painters to come in the day after she's supposed to be out, and make sure she knows about it.  Mention how AWFUL the fumes are gonna be!  Gosh, you might have to have that room closed off for WEEKS!

P.S.  You bring up finances and she cries about it???  That's blatant manipulation, and it's not how adults behave.  I have a sneaking suspicion she will try to tell you she can't afford to move out or pay you because of the truck... at which point, you mention that the truck is so great, you're sure she could get a very fair price in no time.

The Fake Cheap

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2018, 08:46:45 PM »
You may also want to consider that you aren't helping your "friend" at all.  You're not teaching her any life lessons by letting her get away with essentially living rent free.  If you truly think there is hope for your "friend" show her the money you have given her, ALL the missed rent payments, and maybe wipe the slate clean again* (your call) and say " starting Feb 1, I need $500 per month (or whatever amount you decide), on the 1st of each month, no exceptions, I think this is fair considering I've given you $$$$ over the last x years."  If that doesn't turn on a switch in her head, it's never going to be turned on. 

I know you realize this by now, but you've been enabling this person since the very first missed rent payment.  So you are partly to blame.  That very first rent payment, you should have asked for it shortly after it was late, once the tears came about "being bad with money" you should have decided if it was ok to likely not get rent most months in the future, if not, you should have changed the arrangements then and there.  The whole given an inch take a mile kind of thing. 

I had a similar roommate long ago, not a friend, just some dude who borrowed rent from me one month, didn't pay me back, and then ASKED AGAIN the next month for the same.  I _lost_my_s**t on him, which I'm sure he wasn't expecting, since I'm the quiet type, and he paid me back shortly after, and paid his own rent...shocking!!!

*I'm only suggesting this because I can't ever see this person paying back months/years of rent

SwordGuy

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2018, 09:04:37 PM »
I really appreciate all your responses, even those that were hard to hear. I know Iím too emotionally invested in the situation to be unbiased about it. Itís just so frustrating to want someone to DO BETTER, when doing better is totally within reach, and yet... they donít.

Why on earth would she be motivated to DO BETTER when she's got a sap she can milk out of free rent?

Sorry to be harsh but that's what it is.  She is a mooch and you are her mark.

katscratch

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2018, 09:14:31 PM »
I'll be another voice that says she's been able to afford $400/month for a very long time, so I don't in fact believe she's a good friend - she's shown complete disrespect for you in this regard. For years.

I was making $36k/yr and bought a $95k house w mortgage, am a single mom with at that time a preteen kiddo using my utilities and eating my food ;) and had both student loans and credit card debt paid monthly.

And there are quite a few forumites living off half of $60k salaries to build their stash. She's not bad with her money. She has been spending it exactly where she wants to.

I agree that the solution most likely to keep your relationship is to ask her to move out.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2018, 09:22:39 PM by katscratch »

Vibrissae

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2018, 09:47:52 PM »

I feel you. Oh, how I feel you. I am terrible at confrontation and boundaries, and I let a non-rent-paying friend live with me for ten years. TEN YEARS. Don't be me.

If you think you can stand to live with her going forward without being eaten up inside by resentment, you need to create a lease agreement with specific terms of what rent she needs to pay, when it's due, and when this agreement goes into effect. I'm not a lawyer and can't swear to the validity of this page, and it probably goes into way more depth than you need in your situation, but it may at least give you a few ideas: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/terms-lease-rental-agreement-29776.html. Also, familiarize yourself with tenant laws in your state. Ideally you'll never need to have any formal legal proceedings, but it's good to have this info in the back of your mind.

Most important, there HAVE to be consequences for her not paying rent, and they HAVE to be spelled out and enforced. You've already given her a couple of free passes, and you are 100 percent justified in being done. So she's "bad at money"? Tough; she's a grown-ass adult living in the real world. If she makes the decision to buy an expensive new truck, she has to own that decision and live with it. Maybe being homeless will inspire her to become less bad at money.

Don't even try to educate her about budgeting unless she asks you to and voluntarily turns over all her financial information. And if she doesn't follow through, it's on her, and you are, again, totally justified in saying, "Sorry, tried that, didn't work." You're not her parent; don't even get into that dynamic.

If you want to bring emotions into it, you can tell her exactly how hurt and used you feel that she chose to spend $$$ on a truck while owing you so much back rent. It may bring you some momentary relief, but to be honest, it's probably not likely to change anything. She may even feel legitimately bad about what she's done, but feelings don't necessarily translate into action. Don't rely on guilt and good intentions. Again, there have to be actual, practical, real-world consequences.

In short, you can't "make" her pay her rent. There is literally no way to do so. You can only say, "This is what happens if you don't," and then follow through on it. Follow-through is essential!!

I know this is going to be really, really hard. She will definitely be upset and will probably resent you; you very likely will lose the friendship. (Miraculously, my friend and I have remained friends even after I evicted her; nobody can understand how we managed that!) It sucks. But in the end, you have to evaluate your own needs and make sure that you're taking care of yourself. Even if she's wonderful and gives to you in other ways--is that really enough to make it worth sacrificing yourself for her? What is she sacrificing for you?

Good luck! I hope you're able to resolve this.




mxt0133

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #18 on: January 25, 2018, 12:40:16 AM »
I had a similar situation where a friend was constantly trying to get others to pay for things stating that he had no money, but then would leave a new car or buy a motorcycle.  The last time I gave him money was for a flight where a group of us took on vacation.  The agreement was that I would be paid back as soon as possible.  My other friends paid me back eventually, but one I am talking about never brought it up, until I asked him when he would pay me back.  He avoided the question and told him that I was not going to let money destroy our friendship, I knew him since 3rd grade, but that it would be the last time he ever sees another penny from me, no matter what the circumstances were.  We remained friends after that conversation, but he never brought up money to me again after.

You have to decided if you can remain friends with this person after all that they did to you.  If you can and want to then you have to let the money go.  If you can't then the friendship is already ruined and you need to cut your losses.

This are the kind of situations that remind me of the Crucial Conversations training I had at work long ago. That has probably been the best training I have ever been to, and I have been though a ton. You can pick up the book from your library. I donít remember all the details, but it gives you a set of concrete steps for how to hold conversations like this.

++1  The book/training should be required reading for everyone to enter adulthood, it's should be like taking a driver's license test if you want to be able to interact with other adults.

JLee

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #19 on: January 25, 2018, 01:16:06 AM »
She's paid you $1680 plus a few months since 2013, so...about $3k? $4k? Over the last four years and 10 months?  That's $23,200 in rent, not accounting for inflation.  Assuming she's paid you $3-4k, she owes you approximately $20k.

If she were to ask you five years ago "Give me $20k by January 2018 or I won't be your friend anymore," what would you have said?

honeybbq

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #20 on: January 25, 2018, 09:46:26 AM »
You may need to look up your rights as a landlord and she as a tenant.

If you don't have a signed, written contract - get one now. Yesterday. You may need to consult a lawyer, she may be considered a squatter and you really may never be able to get her out of the house. The contract should include her share of utilities as well.

One idea, if you would like to 'pass the buck' - suggest that the IRS sent you a letter (make one up if you have to) requiring that you pay taxes on the rent you are collecting since they figured out she lives there. (In reality, you probably are 'supposed' to be claiming this in income, but I'll leave that alone). So since the IRS is "making" you pay taxes on the rent, you really need to collect said rent.

If you can't get the rent, starting the eviction process (again, you may need a lawyer, contracts, etc).

You are really in a terrible situation (not emotionally), I'm not sure you see that yet. You're a good person trying to the right thing but you are going to get screwed!

Syonyk

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #21 on: January 25, 2018, 09:50:48 AM »
$400/mo on $30k income is not that difficult.  I was paying $900/mo plus full utilities on a house on that salary at one point (I'd made the assumption that finding roommates would be easy, and... yeah, not so much).  It sucked, but I was never late on rent.  I certainly wasn't driving a new car around, though.  It's fair to say I spent many evenings working on a vehicle so I could get to to work the next day... I had a few, but they were all quite cheap.  Fortunately, there was some parts commonality between them.

dcozad999

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #22 on: January 25, 2018, 10:03:48 AM »
I used to allow a good friend, who only made $26k, live with me for $300/month flat, no utilities. He had a car payment, ate out pretty much every day, and STILL made every single rent payment  without me even having to ask. 

That's a good friend. What you have is a mooch.

Psychstache

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #23 on: January 25, 2018, 10:14:19 AM »
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/index.php?topic=55157.0

See this thread for great advice from @TheGrimSqueaker who is awesome with this stuff.

Don't let this 'Jack' stall your sanity like what happened to OP in the other thread.

Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk

frugalfoothills

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #24 on: January 25, 2018, 10:45:24 AM »
Thank you ALL for the replies. I won't reply to each one as I'm at work and don't have a ton of time, but I read them all and am trying to take your advice to heart.

The one conversation we did have about it (very awkward, tear-filled on her part)--I tried to frame it the way most of you have suggested. A lot of "I feel this way when you don't pay me rent" and "I feel you  may think I don't notice or don't need the money, but that's not actually true." She did pay the full $400 after that conversation despite the tears and a lot of talk about how she wasn't sure she'd have it... but I am dubious about this next due date. She has made multiple comments about how she's "strapped for cash" lately with things like truck taxes coming due, a medical bill for a (voluntary) sleep study she had done, etc. All I can do is roll my eyes and hope for the best... that she sticks to her word and continues to pay. I agree that it's gone on too long at this point and if she falls off the wagon again, it's probably time to Do The Hard Thing and rip off the Band-Aid. Can't be supporting a 30-year old for free.

As an aside... how do people constantly find themselves on the back foot when it comes to TOTALLY FORESEEABLE EXPENSES as though they're some type of huge surprise they never could have seen coming? You bought a truck, you didn't expect a tax bill? You asked to have a sleep study done, you thought it would be free? You arranged to go on a trip to the mountains for the 5th year in a row, you didn't think you'd need to set aside some extra cash for that? Christmas happened, on the same exact day of the year, for the thirtieth year in a row, and you were surprised?

Boggles the mind.

YttriumNitrate

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #25 on: January 25, 2018, 10:52:11 AM »
It sounds like your friend is quite scatterbrained when it comes to finances, so here's what I suggest:

SET UP AUTOMATIC RENT PAYMENTS

I use Cozy to automatically collect rent, and I recommend you use a similar program to do the same. Your friend is going to forget to pay rent, so you want a system where they don't have to remember and the only way you don't receive the rent is if they actively choose to stop the payments.

ysette9

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #26 on: January 25, 2018, 10:57:21 AM »
Good job with the talk.

What strikes me though is that this sounds emotionally exhausting. Do you really want to have to deal with all of that juvenile crap each month to get your rent? When my toddler whines and cries like that I make her go into her room and let the emotions out until she can be calmer and join us again.

This person is not a child and you are not the parent. I don’t think dealing with all of this crap is worth $400/month. I say give her plenty of notice that she needs to find another place to live and then get a new roommate at full market rate.

AnswerIs42

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #27 on: January 25, 2018, 11:05:22 AM »
It sounds like your friend is quite scatterbrained when it comes to finances, so here's what I suggest:
SET UP AUTOMATIC RENT PAYMENTS
+1, and I would refine this further to "Set up automatic rent payments to go out the day after she gets paid". That way you can perhaps avoid "I had to cancel the payment because I had no money left" whingey excuses.

Laura33

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #28 on: January 25, 2018, 11:09:29 AM »
Oh, jeez, that's thorny.  Really sorry.  But to quote Ann Landers:  no one can take advantage of you without your permission.  I think you're so upset by this because you thought you were bending over backwards to be a good friend, and now you're starting to feel taken advantage of -- like your friendship matters more to you than to her, because why the hell would she buy a $37K truck when she can't even be bothered to pay you a measly $400/mo.?  I think that is perfectly natural and understandable.  But I think the way out of the situation is to try to take a step back from the immediate emptions and look at how your relationship with her has developed, what patterns you have fallen into.

Step one is recognizing that your values and priorities are what you do, not what you say.  She has shown you, as clearly as she possibly can, that she values her toys over her commitments to you.  And you have responded with, "oh, gee, that's ok."  So to be straight:  there is not one single damn thing you can say to her to persuade her to pay the rent.  Because your behavior for all these years has already persuaded her that she doesn't have to -- that no matter how hurt/frustrated/angry/adamant/whatever you are now, you'll end up letting it go.  Because you always have.  So why in the world would she expect this time to be any different?  You've already said it won't be!

If you want to change her behavior, you need to change your own.  And since your words are meaningless, that means either insisting on automatic transfers from her bank account to yours, or evicting her.  But that only works if you are actually willing to evict her, and you say you're not -- in which case, insisting that she behave differently will again be meaningless, because you already know that you won't follow through.  So if you are not willing to boot her out, your only remaining choice is to decide, affirmatively, that her friendship is worth letting her live with you for free for as long as she wants.  That means stop demanding rent, which she is clearly unwilling to pay, and you are unwilling to collect.  Just tell her straight up that she has a room for as long as she wants it, and ignore the Giant Honking Truck in front.  That doesn't sound like a good option?  Well, then, I'm sorry to say, your only other option is to go back to eviction. 

My impression from the vent above -- and believe me, I get the frustration -- is that you are infantalizing her, treating her as less competent, less able than you.  You pity her because she came from a poor background, because she didn't have much, and because she chose a career path in which she continues to not make/have much money; and then you are frustrated and sad for her because she makes poor spending decisions* with the little that she does have.  This has led you to assume a superior/parental role with her:  it's your job to "fix" her, to help her see the error of her ways, to help her learn to manage her money better; when she fails to fulfill her responsibilites, your immediate response is to pry into the details of her finances so you can "help" her figure out why she is making poor decisions (a/k/a "control").  And she is responding just as any powerless teenager would:  with rebellious behavior ("I'll buy myself a truck if I damn well want to!"), followed by pitiful excuses ("I'm so poor and weak, please pity me, I just don't know what I am doing") when called on her behavior.  And when you let her get away with it, you are in fact further weakening her, because you are teaching her that she can skate through life by infantalizing herself -- that emphasizing her own helplessness allows her to avoid her responsibilities.

So, again, if you want to change the dynamic, that starts with you.  Start from the assumption that she is a grown-ass woman, who is competent to run her own life as she sees fit, and capable of dealing with any consequences.  Tell yourself that her finances are none of your business -- it is not your responsibility to "fix" her, and indeed it is a huge invasion of her privacy to pry and attempt to control how she spends her money.  The only thing she owes you, and the only thing you can ask of her, is that she pays the rent, in full, when it is owed.  And because she is an adult, if she fails to fulfill that responsibilty, she can pay late fees; if she repeatedly fails to come through, she can be evicted and find another place to live.  Because this is how adults operate -- we don't always get it right the first time, but we deal with the consequences, and realize, damn, that was a bad idea, and we don't do that again.  So if you really want to do right by her, you will help her to learn to behave like the competent, capable adult she can be, not continue to prop her up in an eternal childhood.

I just saw your follow-up post, so let me help clarify:  people can be surprised by truck taxes and Christmas and all of those things because they know that if they run short of cash, their dear friends will cut them $400 of slack, and they'll be able to skate by.

I actually completely disagree about the emotional discussions here.  I think that is entirely appropriate for an initial conversation with a friend who has behaved poorly a couple of times.  But we are beyond that here -- there is a strong pattern that has developed over years, and so that "I feel" gets you exactly what you got here: she is guilting you into forgiving the rent, and you are guilting her into paying it, and the "winner" is the one who makes the other feel bad enough to cave (until next month, when the cycle starts again).  This is yet another example of the adult-child dynamic you guys have going here.  I think you need to step away from all of the emotional entanglement here -- stop with the talking, stop with the explaining, stop with the trying to be understood, stop with the "helping."  Just tell her what you expect, unemptionally and dispassionately, and follow through if that expectation is not met. 

*As you define them -- as another poster pointed out, she's spending her money exactly how she wants to.  It's just not on you.

vogon poetry

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #29 on: January 25, 2018, 11:24:08 AM »
This whole thread is pertinent to your interests: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/antimustachian-wall-of-shame-and-comedy/roommate-rant/
but especially Grim Squeaker's advice on dealing with mooches.
in part: "It's not the emotion part that's killing you, though. It's the fornication donation. Forget the money and incidentals, the major thing you should not be giving is ONE SINGLE FUCK about whether the moocher in your life experiences the consequences of his own bad decision making, or what his opinion of you might be. (ETA: I'm using the word "he" as a generic here; many moochers are female. I'm also discussing just one moocher, but if you have a swarm of them, my advice applies equally to all of them.)

Seriously. Cut it with the fuck-giving. You've allowed yourself to care more about his situation than he does, and that's messed up because it's sucking you into an sharknado of codependent bullshit. You're also allowing him to rewrite your boundaries and take shameless advantage of you. That's also crap. Worst of all, you've bought into the notion that this idiot's opinion matters somehow in the great scheme of things. Parasites are not people whose opinions matter. I mean, they do deserve the basic respect we give all human beings (as in, we don't load them into catapults and use them for skeet, and I don't use them to test the sharpness of my scythe), but you don't actually need to give them anything except a cordial "no". "

newgirl

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #30 on: January 25, 2018, 11:35:03 AM »
I know you said that you don't want to evict her, but at the very least, you should have a conversation with a lawyer about what you are legally able to do and how you could do it. The problem is, that if you don't have a written contract with her, it's possible that after this amount of time she could claim squatters rights, refuse to pay you another dime, and depending on your state and local laws, you may have little to no recourse to evict her or collect any money from her in the future.

Even if eviction is not what you want to pursue right now, I think you need to have a complete understanding of all your options and the legal implications.

ysette9

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #31 on: January 25, 2018, 11:38:38 AM »
@Laura33 nails it again

Sibley

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #32 on: January 25, 2018, 12:27:49 PM »
My former roommate was willing to pay rent, but never remembered. I would bug her about it EVERY month, and after about 6 months she setup an auto payment. I didn't even need to ask her to do it.

If it were me OP, even if she started paying rent on time every month, the relationship has been so badly damaged that I would want her gone. Good luck.

frugalfoothills

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #33 on: January 25, 2018, 02:04:30 PM »
You guys are great. It's also EXTREMELY validating to hear a chorus of "YOU SHOULD BE PISSED OFF!" echoed back at me, when her behavior honestly had me questioning/feeling ashamed of the resentment I'd started to feel about this situation. It's good to feel justified in my anger. ;) It's also REALLY helpful to hear that I need to back the fuck OFF when it comes to feeling like I can force her to budget or manage her finances. You're all right, that's her problem, not mine, and that's crossing a line I don't need to cross here. I have plenty of other Spendypants friends and I don't feel the need to do that to them. Ultimately, none of it matters as long as I'm getting my four hundred bucks.

In other news, she just texted and said she'll be home late because she's headed to happy hour with some coworkers. There goes another $40! Who cares when money grows on trees, am I right?

Parizade

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #34 on: January 25, 2018, 03:09:14 PM »
You guys are great. It's also EXTREMELY validating to hear a chorus of "YOU SHOULD BE PISSED OFF!" echoed back at me, when her behavior honestly had me questioning/feeling ashamed of the resentment I'd started to feel about this situation.

I'm going to share a quote with you that has been very helpful for me in these kinds of situations:

ďIf, instead, you find yourself often pitying someone who consistently hurts you or other people, and who actively campaigns for your sympathy, the chances are close to 100 percent that you are dealing with a sociopath.Ē
― Martha Stout, The Sociopath Next Door

I know you won't want to hear this, but I think your "friend" might be a sociopath or a narcissist (or both). Clearly she is good at maintaining her mask of normalcy, but consider what it takes to use another human being the way she has used you. She regularly inflicts financial and emotional injury on you when she doesn't pay rent, and she does so without empathy or remorse. A normal human being who is capable of empathy would not take advantage of a friend in this way. A normal human being who is capable of remorse would work at making amends with you. Instead, she goes out and buys a truck she doesn't need and can't properly afford, a status symbol screaming ME ME ME look at ME. And it you confront her on it she will weep and beg for sympathy.

It's time to remove this blood sucking parasite from you life, before she does something even worse to you.

frugalfoothills

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #35 on: January 25, 2018, 03:11:32 PM »
You guys are great. It's also EXTREMELY validating to hear a chorus of "YOU SHOULD BE PISSED OFF!" echoed back at me, when her behavior honestly had me questioning/feeling ashamed of the resentment I'd started to feel about this situation.

I'm going to share a quote with you that has been very helpful for me in these kinds of situations:

ďIf, instead, you find yourself often pitying someone who consistently hurts you or other people, and who actively campaigns for your sympathy, the chances are close to 100 percent that you are dealing with a sociopath.Ē
― Martha Stout, The Sociopath Next Door


I know you won't want to hear this, but I think your "friend" might be a sociopath or a narcissist (or both). Clearly she is good at maintaining her mask of normalcy, but consider what it takes to use another human being the way she has used you. She regularly inflicts financial and emotional injury on you when she doesn't pay rent, and she does so without empathy or remorse. A normal human being who is capable of empathy would not take advantage of a friend in this way. A normal human being who is capable of remorse would work at making amends with you. Instead, she goes out and buys a truck she doesn't need and can't properly afford, a status symbol screaming ME ME ME look at ME. And it you confront her on it she will weep and beg for sympathy.

It's time to remove this blood sucking parasite from you life, before she does something even worse to you.

This is amazing. She loves that book, has read it multiple times. I'm cracking up.

FireHiker

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #36 on: January 25, 2018, 04:04:14 PM »
You absolutely should be pissed off! My mom did the same thing (sort of) to a friend of hers that your roommate is doing to you. After losing her job, she was offered her friend's parents' old house for a bit to "get back on her feet." She lived there five fucking years, without looking for another job, without paying rent, and did not save up a single damned penny. When her friend insisted that she pay (a very reasonable, below market) rent, my mom moved out and found another "free" situation that didn't last, and is back to mooching off of her sister. During those five years I had a fair bit of visibility into her finances, and knew she was spending $500-$900 on useless shit off ebay every month. I hate seeing someone take advantage of someone else's kindness. I hope you can be firm and fix your situation!

frugalfoothills

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #37 on: January 25, 2018, 04:29:30 PM »
This thread and discussion has really helped me do some self reflection and I realize this isn't the first time I've been in a situation like this. I mentioned that I bought my house in 2013 but I didn't mention that I was 23 at the time. I was able to buy my house because after college I fell into an unbelievable living situation... I moved into a family owned house rent free for 2 years and saved up a little cash for a down payment. Questionable decision at the time as I wasn't truly financially stable enough for home ownership if I'm being honest, but one that worked out in my favor as my home has appreciated over the past four years and I have about $50k in equity based on current market values.

Anyway, I was dating a guy at the time who was in a rough financial situation. Lots of student loan debt, low paying job, family that wouldn't help him.....  sound familiar?

When I bought my house I offered him to move into the family owned house RENT FREE so he could save money. Only expenses he'd owe were about $800/year in prop taxes and any monthly utilities. He was also supposed to do some basic upkeep on the property to keep it looking lived-in. Not a bad situation.

Anyway, fast forward two years and he hadn't saved a dime, his truck was dead with $0 to replace it, and he owed $800 for the last years prop taxes. Guess who ended up having to pay them? I'll go ahead and punch my own face here.

I ended up breaking up with that dude. Maybe I need to take a page out of my own book and break up with my tenant.

Catbert

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #38 on: January 25, 2018, 04:38:04 PM »
Yes, I think you need to break up with your tenant!   Get as much money as you can out of her (good luck) and/or get her to sign a promissory note.  But you do need to give her a 30 day notice.  Your relationship of host/parasite isn't going to change.  Even if she pays for a while, she'll revert to her parasite mode and you'll keep giving her one more chance.

Psychstache

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #39 on: January 25, 2018, 04:39:12 PM »
Maybe you should channel your caring/giving/savior spirit into a structured activity, like becoming a Big Sister, so you don't get pulled into charity cases in your personal life.

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Linea_Norway

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #40 on: January 26, 2018, 12:18:25 AM »
This thread and discussion has really helped me do some self reflection and I realize this isn't the first time I've been in a situation like this.

<...>

Maybe I need to take a page out of my own book and break up with my tenant.

Well done with your self reflection! I hope it will help you in the future, being aware of your characteristic.

Parizade

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #41 on: January 26, 2018, 06:21:00 AM »
This is amazing. She loves that book, has read it multiple times. I'm cracking up.

OH the irony! I'm cracking up too :-)

This thread and discussion has really helped me do some self reflection and I realize this isn't the first time I've been in a situation like this.

There's nothing wrong with empathy, but you should treat it like money and PAY YOURSELF FIRST! Pour your empathy into extreme self-care first, only share the leftover empathy with others.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2018, 06:29:23 AM by Parizade »

sea_saw

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #42 on: January 26, 2018, 06:58:18 AM »
I just wanted to draw your attention to something you wrote: 

It's also REALLY helpful to hear that I need to back the fuck OFF when it comes to feeling like I can force her to budget or manage her finances. You're all right, that's her problem, not mine, and that's crossing a line I don't need to cross here.

In other news, she just texted and said she'll be home late because she's headed to happy hour with some coworkers. There goes another $40! Who cares when money grows on trees, am I right?

Do you see what happened here - how quickly you forgot the boundary you set up only moments before?

I can't second @Laura33 enough on this. Your options are:
1) make her spending none of your business, evict her if she does not pay rent to you
2) make her spending none of your business, allow her to continue to live with her regardless of rental payments
3) stay invested in her spending habits and continue in an enmeshed parent/child, enabler/user, push/pull dynamic

The change has to come from within you. She may respond surprisingly well to a no-fuss 'OK let's set up an automatic transfer' and then not worry about it again, if you don't put yourselves through a monthly conversation (and thus apparent 'choice'/negotiation). She may well also not be able to accept that. You won't know until you try. But you getting angry and invested about what else she spends her money on will not get you to any territory you're not already intimately familiar with.

Good luck! Changing lifelong behaviour patterns and coping mechanisms is HARD! But so worth it, when they've outgrown their usefulness.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2018, 07:04:17 AM by sea_saw »

Mikila

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #43 on: January 26, 2018, 07:12:04 AM »
You are a good friend to her, but she is not a good friend to you.  You are not a priority to her.  She is taking advantage of your kindness and that will not stop until you forcibly cause it to stop.  The only friendship to ruin is on your side, not hers.  She evidently sees you as a benevolent sugar mama.  She does not respect you, or else she would not treat you like this.  Evict her as soon as possible. 

Pigeon

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #44 on: January 26, 2018, 07:15:02 AM »
Quote
I am not threatening eviction, and I don't want to ruin our friendship. I just want her to pay her fucking rent!!!!!

She has demonstrated to you repeatedly that what you want is unpossible.

You have two choices.  You can continue to value her "friendship."  (Would you treat a friend in this manner?  I wouldn't.)  If you go that route, I think for your own mental health, you should just resign yourself to giving her free board forever.

You can try to evict her.  You will not be able to do this and keep a nice relationship with her.

AnswerIs42

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #45 on: January 26, 2018, 08:09:49 AM »
This is amazing. She loves that book, has read it multiple times. I'm cracking up.

Maybe she's using it as an instruction manual!

Parizade

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #46 on: January 26, 2018, 08:17:36 AM »
This is amazing. She loves that book, has read it multiple times. I'm cracking up.

Maybe she's using it as an instruction manual!

Either you read my mind or all Douglas Adams fans think alike :-)

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Mmm_Donuts

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #48 on: January 26, 2018, 09:58:36 AM »
This post made my blood boil just reading it. I would have lost it with this person long before the truck was purchased and the truck purchase would have made me pack their bags for them and throw them on the sidewalk. Agree 100% with Laura33. There has been a lot of enabling in this relationship. You have to set a very firm and clear boundary - if rent is not paid on time, your tenant has 30 days (or  whatever the law is in your area) to find new accommodations and move herself on out. She is not your friend - she sounds like a masterful manipulator and you need to say enough is enough.

I have had a situation where a house guest overstayed her welcome. She was staying with us for free, was going through a rough patch and we offered her a place to stay while she sorted her life out. She did not try very hard to find a job or place to live, so after a couple of months we gave her a deadline. She fully understood and left by that date. If there was no deadline, no communication about our wishes, sheíd probably still be here. You just have to be firm and follow through. Letting her know you are changing the rules, maybe with a contract or some other extremely firm (not ďawkwardĒ) conversation, she will get the picture. But YOU have to be firm on the eviction part in your own mind first. Otherwise she will cry and you will cave. Either let her live there for free indefinitely, or set some extremely firm and clear boundaries: pay the rent in full on the first of the month or else you will be evicted immediately with 30 days to find new accommodations. Tell her you have another tenant / friend in the wings who wants a place to live and will move in as soon as she leaves, since she seems unwilling to pay rent, and you need the money. Treat her like she is on very thin ice and you are not going to put up with this behaviour anymore. This all must be said like you absolutely mean it and without hesitation. There is no middle ground option here, unfortunately.

MrsDinero

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Re: Advice on having awkward convos re: finances?
« Reply #49 on: January 26, 2018, 11:26:19 AM »
You might want to check out the thread "Roommate Rant":  https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/antimustachian-wall-of-shame-and-comedy/roommate-rant/



There is a lot of good stuff in there about dealing with a non-paying roommate.