Author Topic: How not to be a crazy person  (Read 8356 times)

quilter

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How not to be a crazy person
« on: April 25, 2014, 06:27:34 AM »
How do you keep it all in perspective and not be viewed as a crazy person?

For instance, I have two nieces who are taking on big undergrad loans too go to fancy private colleges. Several times I have politely said to in law family, you do realize this could be a massive crisis for them, the way loans are structured now.  Since I put myself through nursing school they take it as jealousy that I didn't go to a fancy school. I am genuinely concerned for them.  They have majors with few job possibilities and tens of thousands in loans.

Then sister called, she was talking about taking a family Alaskan cruise. Between flights and cruise it will cost about $6000 per couple. Now we are FI, the rest don't have a pot to piss in.  Like upside down in mortgages, and living in trailer parks. So I suggested we all chip in and rent a house somewhere, like the outer banks, or cape cod, or Williamsburg va area.  Cost would be more like $1000 a couple, even if we ate a lot of meals out. They can't understand why I would even suggest that.   Of course, going on the cruise is nothing to us, as we have a travel budget, I was just trying to be sensible for them. They will all die poor, at any time could end up homeless.

So how do you manage to be a voice of reason?  Sometimes I feel like shouting ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MINDS

Adventine

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Re: How not to be a crazy person
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2014, 06:39:47 AM »
I feel your pain. I would love to scream the same at some of my family members.

But it just doesn't work that way. The unpleasant truth is that you simply can't be a voice of reason to someone who isn't ready to listen. You can't change your family's spendy ways any more than they can change your Mustachian lifestyle.

The best way to get them to change is to be a living example of your own values. And, if your family is anything like mine, to refrain from any kind of comment that could sound the least bit judgmental.

LibrarIan

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Re: How not to be a crazy person
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2014, 08:17:26 AM »
I know how you feel. I have a relative who has had a FT job for probably like 8 years now and hasn't saved a single penny. They live in a very inexpensive apartment and have a paid off car, but they still managed to piss all their money away on stupid things like excessive eating out and clothes. Being asked for money all the time from this person drives me up the wall. Ugh!

mbl

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Re: How not to be a crazy person
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2014, 08:23:09 AM »
You know what.....mind your own business.   That is always the best course to take.
No hurt feelings, no arguments, no anger.    They're grown ups....they'll have to figure it out for themselves.

In the end you'll die just like they will. and you'll all be even.  You come in with nothing and you leave with nothing.

 So what if they don't have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of?
If they want to blow their money on some trip that's their business.  If it gives them happiness, who are you to piss on it?
Yeah, it's not what you'd do.....get over it. 

Some people have a different mind set when it comes to money and very rarely will you somehow convince them
that a more frugal way is better.   

The biggest challenge is to resist the urge to proselytize.
If someone has asked your opinion, that's one thing, but I suspect that isn't the case here.


oldtoyota

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Re: How not to be a crazy person
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2014, 08:24:49 AM »
People will be rude. People will not make sense. Do not wish otherwise. Do not ask for the impossible.

--a thought from Marcus Aurelius (modified)


tmac

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Re: How not to be a crazy person
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2014, 08:30:16 AM »
I struggle with this. My best friend is suffering the dramatic consequences of a lifetime of unwise spending and, while I thought it was going to be a wake-up call, it seems to be just another excuse for some "I deserve a treat" and "But we NEEEED it!" spending.

I just gotta shut up about it. I've said what I need to say, and more talking isn't going to help. I'm hoping I can model for her how a little self-control now will pay off immediately with less stress and greater happiness.

But I'm not holding my breath.

birdman2003

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Re: How not to be a crazy person
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2014, 09:16:51 AM »
If you had a friend that was super obese and you saw them reaching for a plate of cake and a bottle of Coke, you probably can't say much that will help them.  Your instinct is to shake them and say "Don't you know you're wrecking your health?"  But this won't work (on money or health issues or most other areas where we are concerned for our friends/relatives). I've found that adults have to make their own choices.  Kids don't know better and need your help.  But let adults be responsible for themselves. The best thing you can do is show them love and let them know that you're available to offer advice if they decide they want to make a change.  I think countering their cruise idea with a more reasonable vacation is fine.  But if they don't see the light, you'll have to just wait.

CommonCents

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Re: How not to be a crazy person
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2014, 09:36:48 AM »
You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink!  You provide other options (e.g. renting a house) and then you keep quiet because you can't force them to change.

(For the record, I'm actually not opposed to student loans for private schools, like a lot of folks here are.  I got a degree from a top 10 school, and feel the experience/network it gave me helped me get where I am today in my career.)

Sebastian

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Re: How not to be a crazy person
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2014, 09:51:44 AM »
It's just like being vegetarian/vegan.. Don't talk about it. When I first went vegan (now vegi) I would come to my office with home cooked meals and say oh this is "vegan" this or "vegan" that.. I really brought a lot of unnecessary attention to myself for no good reason.

I understand your situation is a little different because it's family, but I'm in the same boat with my Dad right now. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and he just keeps getting deeper in deeper in debt whilst my net worth keeps going up and up.

I think the only way people will truly listen is if they come to you and ask. I never voluntarily give up unsolicited advice now a days. I'm sure it's hard to see your family get into that debt, but it's their own choice they are adults. Worry about yourself and you'll be much happier :)

soccerluvof4

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Re: How not to be a crazy person
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2014, 10:08:01 AM »
From a different point of view. I have found several people complain about how much private school is costing them, how they are worried how they are going to buy a new car, a new this and that and find it to be a more sneaky way for them to just brag about what they think they have. This irritates me the most but in that case as well , as someone else pointed out just mind your own business. Don't mean that to be rude but why get yourself frustrated over someone else s stupidity. Family or not....just ignore the noise !

elaine amj

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Re: How not to be a crazy person
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2014, 10:16:54 AM »
I just keep my mouth shut mostly and mention tips or give advice when asked. Once in a while I will throw in comments of how I think or some success story to slowly change their way of thinking.

My brother barely makes ends meet. He thinks he is frugal though. I don't know why they can't get ahead - but I try to just keep my mouth shut. His life. My big issue is trying to keep my mother from interfering too much in his affairs. She is desperately worried but frankly, anything she says only makes things worse and my brother already has a whole lot of trouble getting along with her. I think my mom's awesome and I love being with her - but my brother has a whole different view of her because she is always giving him unsolicited advice. So very sad.

As for the trips - I finally decided I have to do what I want on MY terms. Our nephew got married last year in the Dominican over New Year's. His mom didn't ask if we wanted to go - just told us about a year before - oh these are his plans. I was silly and just assumed we would go no matter the cost. About a half a year before the wedding when he finally chose a resort and we got quotes, I was upset when I saw the price. I tried and tried but couldn't get the right plan in place to earn miles/points that I could use for the trip. Finally I told my husband it would end up costing us 2x what our usual trip would be and I felt it was just too much. So we declined. We're still a bit sad and guilty since we would have loved to go. Now I'm planning a quick weekend to Cancun for my husband and I at the end of the year and I'm going to feel a little guilty. But frankly, since we are going because we have the right miles/points plan in place, it is going to cost us barely anything.

HairyUpperLip

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Re: How not to be a crazy person
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2014, 10:18:20 AM »
you saw them reaching for a plate of cake and a bottle of Coke

If it's chocolate cake, I'll take a slice too. And the Coke!

(not obese or fat)

MayDay

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Re: How not to be a crazy person
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2014, 11:12:14 AM »
Like Elaine, we have a very bad family dynamic due to meddling with finances.  My SIL is a financial train wreck*.  My MIL cannot help herself with commenting and suggesting, and offering unwanted advice.  She will.not.stop (and she is a fairly annoying lady under the best circumstances).  It comes from a place of extreme concern that SIL will end up on the streets after MIL dies, but still, it has destroyed their relationship.  Meanwhile, when things get heated, MIL calls my H in to try get him to talk sense into SIL.  Lolololol....  That totally works.  Not.  But H will call SIL, calmly give one piece of advice worded like "oh, did you think about this option? That's what we did and it worked out like this..." Very offhand remark, nonjudgmental.  I think he should stay out of it entirely, but he has found a way to keep the peace and not make anyone mad at him, so his family, his choice. 

*SIL anecdotes:  has a super long commute, and sold her paid off old Toyota corolla to finance a new dodge journey.  She is in credit card debt for vet expenses for her dog (and has been carrying it for five years now, paying minimums).  She smokes.  She makes a decent wage in a very low col area, and is unable to manage her finances to the point that she recently had to move in with MIL.  MIL offered her an older car so SIL can sell her expensive new car that she is underwater on.  SIL cooked up a plan to sell the her new car, sell the free car, buy a newer used car, and still have a car payment.  She currently is offered a 401K match by her employer that she is leaving on the table.

dragoncar

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Re: How not to be a crazy person
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2014, 11:38:08 AM »
Sounds like you're doing a good job walking that line. 

quilter

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Re: How not to be a crazy person
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2014, 11:56:36 AM »
Actually, I don't tell them what to do. As in the vacation scenario, I feel perfectly ok making an alternate suggestion. However when people complain about not having money all the time it makes it difficult to. Keep my big mouth shut.

I know you can't change any body else, but it is frustrating to see them dig deeper and deeper unnecessarily.  If someone is out of work or sick, yes, it can be Very difficult. But not having any money and mindlessly wasting what you do have makes it very difficult but through your own fault.

As far as the schools go for the nieces, they are not in top tier or schools known for specific majors. Just small private schools with $50,000+ price tags. Certainly if you go to a top engineering school it could make sense. One is taking  five years to graduate with a major in women's studies and does not have any job prospects come May when she graduates. Now the family is talking about how unfair the system is.  It is those times I have to bite my tongue.  They want the American dream of a house, children etc but like many here, it will be a long and very hard struggle to get there
« Last Edit: April 25, 2014, 11:58:33 AM by quilter »

William

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Re: How not to be a crazy person
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2014, 01:47:51 PM »
Unfortunately, some people you just can't change.  You can leave books around and hope they read them.  You can lead by example.  But what's the saying... 'minds changed against their will are of the same opinion still'. 

Try not to let it make you crazy.  Ultimately, you're only responsible for yourself.

Frugal Vegan Mom

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Re: How not to be a crazy person
« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2014, 01:55:36 PM »
People will be rude. People will not make sense. Do not wish otherwise. Do not ask for the impossible.

--a thought from Marcus Aurelius (modified)

Love this!!

I think it is a good reminder - sometimes people who are smart and logical have a hard time understanding stupidity and lack of reason.  Just the way some people are, and will always be. 

Also, agree with the other commenters - if your advice isn't welcome, try to say as little as possible and remain neutral, take comfort that it's not you in that position!

quilter

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Re: How not to be a crazy person
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2014, 02:24:55 PM »
People will be rude. People will not make sense. Do not wish otherwise. Do not ask for the impossible.

--a thought from Marcus Aurelius (modified)

Love this!!

I think it is a good reminder - sometimes people who are smart and logical have a hard time understanding stupidity and lack of reason.  Just the way some people are, and will always be. 

Also, agree with the other commenters - if your advice isn't welcome, try to say as little as possible and remain neutral, take comfort that it's not you in that position!

Yes, I am so thankful I am not in their position. I couldn't sleep at night if we had mortgages, car loans, credit cards etc.

marty998

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Re: How not to be a crazy person
« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2014, 04:11:05 PM »
From their point of view, you, me and everyone else here on this forum will always be viewed as the crazy one anyway.

deborah

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Re: How not to be a crazy person
« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2014, 04:57:15 PM »
From their point of view, you, me and everyone else here on this forum will always be viewed as the crazy one anyway.

Think of frugality as another crackpot religion. Prosethise gently. It is a long term project to be recognized as having expertise.

I have found that my family and people around me have gradually come to seek advice from me. I took the line of Mayday's H,
H will call SIL, calmly give one piece of advice worded like "oh, did you think about this option? That's what we did and it worked out like this..." Very offhand remark, nonjudgmental.
and over several years, I am suddenly getting told by my brother that my parents(!) listen to my advice. Not all the time, and I don't think it would work with someone as far away from frugality as Mayday's SIL. But it is starting to work in situations like quilter's vacation scenario - especially when I know what other things they may want to do with that money.

iwasjustwondering

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Re: How not to be a crazy person
« Reply #20 on: April 25, 2014, 05:59:34 PM »
Sometimes it feels like I'm in Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  Today at work I had coffee with a co-worker.  We kind of bitched about the job a little, and then he said, yes, but when you get that W-2, it kind of makes up for it, huh?  I heartily agreed, at which point he said he can't even tell people on "the outside" how much he makes.  So I said, yeah, and if I were to tell people I have saved 70% of my income so far this  year, they'd think it was insane, but if they saw that I've made more than half my income just in bonus this year, they'd get it. 

At that point, co-worker starts coughing and says, well, yeah, but my bonus bought a new car and went toward our basement reno, which is an investment in the house.  And I immediately was like, "Yeah, yeah, of course."  I thought I was amongst a like-minded dude, but not so much.

Cheddar Stacker

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Re: How not to be a crazy person
« Reply #21 on: April 25, 2014, 09:01:49 PM »
From their point of view, you, me and everyone else here on this forum will always be viewed as the crazy one anyway.

I'm starting to realize this.

Me: we should start composting food waste.
Wife: let's buy this $100 composting bin.
Me: let me make one. I have plenty of free materials in the garage.
Wife: I think this is getting out of control. You might have a problem.

It's tough to know where to draw the line sometimes, but I'm not paying $100 for something to throw food scraps in. Yet a "normal" thinks I'm crazy for even considering this.

CarDude

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Re: How not to be a crazy person
« Reply #22 on: April 25, 2014, 09:55:41 PM »
From their point of view, you, me and everyone else here on this forum will always be viewed as the crazy one anyway.

Think of frugality as another crackpot religion. Prosethise gently. It is a long term project to be recognized as having expertise.


Well put.

kaetana

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Re: How not to be a crazy person
« Reply #23 on: April 25, 2014, 09:56:52 PM »
I'm starting to realize this.

Me: we should start composting food waste.
Wife: let's buy this $100 composting bin.
Me: let me make one. I have plenty of free materials in the garage.
Wife: I think this is getting out of control. You might have a problem.

It's tough to know where to draw the line sometimes, but I'm not paying $100 for something to throw food scraps in. Yet a "normal" thinks I'm crazy for even considering this.

I can totally sympathise with this!! I'm not one to give advise on how not to be crazy, because I AM the crazy person. I feel like yelling ARE YOU LOSING YOUR MINDS all the time. I just try to smile through gritted teeth and hold it in until I'm home and can yell whatever I like!

quilter

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Re: How not to be a crazy person
« Reply #24 on: April 26, 2014, 08:07:44 PM »
From their point of view, you, me and everyone else here on this forum will always be viewed as the crazy one anyway.

How true. Yet even the most frugal of us have so many more possessions and spend way more than the poor on this earth.

CarDude

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Re: How not to be a crazy person
« Reply #25 on: April 26, 2014, 08:09:42 PM »
From their point of view, you, me and everyone else here on this forum will always be viewed as the crazy one anyway.

How true. Yet even the most frugal of us have so many more possessions and spend way more than the poor on this earth.

Also very true, and a good point to remember whenever we wish we had just a bit more in savings. We're already unfathomably rich compared to the majority of folks on the planet.