Author Topic: How can I save my brother from himself?  (Read 25202 times)

MoneyCat

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1754
  • Location: New Jersey
How can I save my brother from himself?
« on: April 23, 2016, 02:44:20 PM »
My brother has been posting some really hardcore anti-capitalist stuff on social media for the past year along with a lot of inaccurate Bernie Sanders supporters memes. This has led to quite a bit of friction between us, because ever since discovering frugalism and anti-consumerism about seven years ago, my life has changed from hand-to-mouth, paycheck-to-paycheck subsistence living to property ownership, debt-slaying, hardcore investing, and strong embrace of capitalism.

A couple of days ago, I got a call from a mysterious number on my cell phone, which I allowed to go to voicemail because I don't immediately answer for callers I don't know. The voicemail indicated that they wanted to talk to me about my brother. I looked up the phone number online and apparently it's a student loan collection agency that likes to harass family members of debtors.

I knew my brother wasn't doing great. He recently got kicked out of my parents' house after living there rent-free for years. He has a college degree in audiology that he isn't using. He's been wasting his adult life working in a hotel for low wages. I had no idea, though, that he had screwed up his credit by defaulting on his student loans.

We grew up in poverty and nobody except for myself and one older brother has any idea how to handle money. I contacted my brother and offered to give him a rundown of how to fix his credit and get back on track financially, but he has ignored my messages. I'm feeling pretty frustrated, because I am an expert in these matters and I know exactly what he needs to do to improve his life, but I can't seem to get through to him.

Anybody have any advice here? He's my brother and I don't want to give up on him when he's suffering and I also don't want to be getting collection calls for his debts.

lizzzi

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2111
Re: How can I save my brother from himself?
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2016, 02:55:21 PM »
Well, it sounds like you've tried, and just been ignored. I would let the chips fall.

Kris

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4514
Re: How can I save my brother from himself?
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2016, 02:58:39 PM »
He doesn't want your help, for whatever reason. Whoch means that you can't help him, at least not right now.

I think the best course of action is to just give him a heads up that the loan agency contacted you. And then tell hm, "If you ever want some help with getting a hold on your finances, I would be more than willing to help."

Then back off completely. If he wants the help, he will come to you.

Blueskies123

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 81
Re: How can I save my brother from himself?
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2016, 03:12:57 PM »
This is the background of many socialists or anti-capitalists.  They feel like victims rather than taking personal responsibility.  This is not going to end pretty.  Maybe he can find a union job somewhere.

pbkmaine

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8376
  • Age: 63
  • Location: The Villages, Florida
How can I save my brother from himself?
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2016, 03:33:27 PM »
Under no circumstances should you give any information to the collection agency. You do not want them to latch on to you.

jim555

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2110
Re: How can I save my brother from himself?
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2016, 04:03:56 PM »
You can't save anyone from themselves.  And definitely never give him a loan.

Jim2001

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 203
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
Re: How can I save my brother from himself?
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2016, 08:05:04 PM »
I've got at least two family members whom I love dearly, but are horrible with financial decisions.  I've offered my opinion over the years, but to no avail. 

As others here have said, you can't save someone who isn't asking for help. 

If you don't like the social media rants, un-friend or block him.

Don't respond to his debt collectors, it's not your debt. 

Don't "lend" any money unless you absolutely don't care if you never see it again and from day one, consider it a gift with no strings attached.

meep

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 34
Re: How can I save my brother from himself?
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2016, 08:24:57 PM »
"I'm feeling pretty frustrated, because I am an expert in these matters and I know exactly what he needs to do to improve his life, but I can't seem to get through to him."

Yeah...I wouldn't want your help either.

Metric Mouse

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5299
  • FU @ 22. F.I.R.E before 23
Re: How can I save my brother from himself?
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2016, 07:06:06 AM »
"I'm feeling pretty frustrated, because I am an expert in these matters and I know exactly what he needs to do to improve his life, but I can't seem to get through to him."

Yeah...I wouldn't want your help either.

You made me snort my whisky!

ender

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4942
Re: How can I save my brother from himself?
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2016, 07:34:46 AM »
Under no circumstances should you give any information to the collection agency. You do not want them to latch on to you.

idk, you could give them information like "I am not <brothers name>. Calling me is in violation of the FDCPA and any additional attempt to contact me will be met with a lawsuit for violating that agreement. Please confirm you have entered this information into my file" on a recorded line.

And then file a small claims court case against them if they continue and deliver it via certified mail.

Though I think that leaving messages is also against FDCPA already? Guess it depends on what type of message.

vhalros

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 309
Re: How can I save my brother from himself?
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2016, 09:55:57 AM »
My advice would be not to make it into a political argument with him, because then your chances of helping him diminish. Some questions about his effectiveness aside, I'm a pretty big supporter of Sanders, but also very frugal and deliberate with my investments. I don't want to derail this into a political discussion; I just want to point out that these things are not incompatible. You have a much better chance of changing your brothers spending habits than his political outlook.

JAYSLOL

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1234
Re: How can I save my brother from himself?
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2016, 11:12:13 AM »
My advice would be not to make it into a political argument with him, because then your chances of helping him diminish. Some questions about his effectiveness aside, I'm a pretty big supporter of Sanders, but also very frugal and deliberate with my investments. I don't want to derail this into a political discussion; I just want to point out that these things are not incompatible. You have a much better chance of changing your brothers spending habits than his political outlook.

I also agree that these are not incompatible, no candidates that I know of are entirely mustachian or anti-mustachian.  I also believe you can be a firm advocate for capitalism and socialism, they aren't exclusive of each other until you get to an extreme of either one and that even the most left-wing socialist democrats (like Bernie) and the most right-wing republicans still fall more towards the middle than towards the extremes of communism and fascism (despite what they claim of each other).  As far as convincing a family member to improve their life situation, it's probably best to leave politics out of it entirely and focus on how to change his mindset about how money and wealth work and operate in ones life.  I started reading this blog because a family member sent me a link and said I might find it interesting (although not out of concern for my finances, but just because it does actually interest me).  I wish you good luck

little_brown_dog

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 915
Re: How can I save my brother from himself?
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2016, 11:27:39 AM »
I don't understand how his support of Bernie Sanders plays into his debt issues. There are a lot of well off, responsible, and very financially savvy Bernie supporters, particularly in liberal areas of the US. Most of these people just want things like universal healthcare, paid maternity leave, and for public universities to be accessible to the public without requiring thousands of dollars in tuition. They aren't automatically financial idiots. I actually like a lot of Bernie's messages and guess what, we paid off over 100k in student debt in 5 years. Actually, come to think of it, most of the Bernie supporters I know tend to be BETTER at managing their finances than the average American.



prognastat

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 781
  • Location: Texas
Re: How can I save my brother from himself?
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2016, 12:55:18 PM »
It might be related, but it might not. Out of the options available this election Bernie would be the least terrible option in my opinion. I would definitely be paying more for his plans than I would get out of it by far, however I feel it would be worth it to pay the price for that.

However there is also separating what you believe should be and what your actual situation is. There are plenty who support Bernie with good intentions rather than self interest. However there are also some who see their self interest in it and that is what convinces them.

Now I'm going to assume since the OP believes that his brother could live better that he isn't in a situation where he couldn't dig himself out. It is one thing to say we should be better about taking care of people, it's another to say it should be that way and so I'm not going to work at improving myself due to this.

I would agree that attacking his political belief is going to be counter productive, plus I don't even believe it is an obstacle in the first place. If he is using his political beliefs as an excuse not to work at it it isn't the political belief causing the issue it is his mindset.

Now as far as what to do it's going to be tough, but if reaching out hasn't worked the best step would be to wait till he comes for help, or speak with the rest of the family and agree that if he is looking for help he is going to have to be doing something. An example is say he comes to borrow money or asks to stay for a while since he has nowhere to live. At that point you can use that as leverage to get him to work on his financial side. He is going to have to first have realized he needs some kind of help though even if he isn't wanting financial advice.

However if he is asking you for something and you are willing to provide it you can say hey I am willing to help out by giving you X amount of dollars per week/month or let you stay rent free if you agree to do Y to work towards financial stability and if you don't then I will stop/you will need to leave. If you can get the rest of your family to agree to stand strong in such requirements he won't be able to just skip you and go to someone else.

Don't offer more than you can afford to. Risking your own finances is only opening the door to even worse possibilities. Don't cosign stuff or loan amounts that if you did not get them back would put your financial wellbeing in danger.

If he declines then he is an adult and you can only do so much until he has to live with his own decisions.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2016, 01:46:36 PM by prognastat »

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5790
Re: How can I save my brother from himself?
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2016, 01:10:31 PM »
He hasn't asked you for $ so I would stay out of his business.

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3032
Re: How can I save my brother from himself?
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2016, 04:07:09 PM »
He might be struggling with some mental health issues. I would be supportive, but distant.

NorCal

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 770
Re: How can I save my brother from himself?
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2016, 07:45:58 PM »
Trying to tell people how to live their lives never goes well.  The only thing that's less effective is trying to convince someone that their politics are wrong.

One thing that might help is small advice/assistance over time.  Maybe offer to help review his resume and help him practice for interviews under the pretext of you being part of the interviewing process at your work.  Or if it were appropriate, mention some student debt consolidation options that you recently heard of.

The goal is to get pique his curiosity to help him start researching it on his own.  He might take it to heart if he learns it for himself. 

Primm

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1323
  • Age: 50
  • Location: Australia
Re: How can I save my brother from himself?
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2016, 01:20:55 AM »
He might be struggling with some mental health issues. I would be supportive, but distant.

My thought exactly. That type of behaviour is often indicative of mental health issues, maybe he needs your help but not in a financial sense.

Good luck.

Gondolin

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 571
  • Location: Northern VA
Re: How can I save my brother from himself?
« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2016, 08:23:44 AM »
Quote
That type of behaviour is often indicative of mental health issues

What type of behavior are you referencing? Supporting Bernie Sanders? Being underemployed? Defaulting on student loans?

Please cite exactly what "behavior" led to this diagnosis.
I don't mean to sound aggressive but, no one in this board is qualified to make such a judgement.

(Once again, Primm, I don't mean to attack you personally. This is really just a small rant against a theme I see on this forum (and many others) - arm chair psychiatrists diagnosing strangers over the internet based on very short, second hand or one sided text descriptions. It's irresponsible, dangerous and drives me batty.)

Primm

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1323
  • Age: 50
  • Location: Australia
Re: How can I save my brother from himself?
« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2016, 10:09:17 PM »
Quote
That type of behaviour is often indicative of mental health issues

What type of behavior are you referencing? Supporting Bernie Sanders? Being underemployed? Defaulting on student loans?

Please cite exactly what "behavior" led to this diagnosis.
I don't mean to sound aggressive but, no one in this board is qualified to make such a judgement.

(Once again, Primm, I don't mean to attack you personally. This is really just a small rant against a theme I see on this forum (and many others) - arm chair psychiatrists diagnosing strangers over the internet based on very short, second hand or one sided text descriptions. It's irresponsible, dangerous and drives me batty.)

A general inability to function successfully in society. I never made a diagnosis, I said that " That type of behaviour is often indicative of mental health issues".

Arm chair psychiatrist? Hardly. I'm merely suggesting that if the OP wants to help, helping their brother to get to a medical professional for an assessment may prove more fruitful than providing financial advice.

MoneyCat

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1754
  • Location: New Jersey
Re: How can I save my brother from himself?
« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2016, 01:44:11 PM »
"I'm feeling pretty frustrated, because I am an expert in these matters and I know exactly what he needs to do to improve his life, but I can't seem to get through to him."

Yeah...I wouldn't want your help either.

Yeah, I generally avoid people who are knowledgeable about important topics too. [/sarcasm]

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5790
Re: How can I save my brother from himself?
« Reply #21 on: April 29, 2016, 01:47:29 PM »
For whatever reason he is not ready and it really is his business not yours.

Warlord1986

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1302
  • Age: 33
Re: How can I save my brother from himself?
« Reply #22 on: April 29, 2016, 01:57:03 PM »
I dunno, I'd agree that Bernie supporters have mental problems.

All joking aside, you can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped. Your brother is drifting through life and it sounds like he's resistant to doing anything that would improve his situation. That's his choice. You don't have the right to interfere with that.

Speaking from experience, if you spend a few calls telling debt collectors about the time you lent your sibling $300 and how he has yet to pay you back and if they find him to let you know, they'll eventually leave you alone. This works best if you sound like a huffy teenage girl.

Mr. Green

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1986
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Wilmington, NC
Re: How can I save my brother from himself?
« Reply #23 on: April 29, 2016, 01:59:34 PM »
It's impossible to help someone that doesn't want to help themselves. It sucks, but it's true.

meep

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 34
Re: How can I save my brother from himself?
« Reply #24 on: April 29, 2016, 05:39:52 PM »
"I'm feeling pretty frustrated, because I am an expert in these matters and I know exactly what he needs to do to improve his life, but I can't seem to get through to him."

Yeah...I wouldn't want your help either.

Yeah, I generally avoid people who are knowledgeable about important topics too. [/sarcasm]

Not so knowledgable if you missed my point.

dess1313

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 441
  • Location: Manitoba Canada
Re: How can I save my brother from himself?
« Reply #25 on: April 29, 2016, 06:10:41 PM »
you can lead a horse to water but you cant make him drink it

some people learn best by their own mistakes.  keep your hands and your money in YOUR pocket.  Down the road if he asks for advice, help in little ways that you can, but do NOT lend him money.  keep the politics off the table where possible, and let him learn on his own.  as for the collection calls, just screen your phone calls.  there's not much else you can do.  make sure there is nothing with your name on it that he has access to for $$.  keeping yourself separated is about all you can do.

honestly as a canadian with an outside view, bernie sanders sounds like the most sane candidate you actually have running right now.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2016, 06:12:38 PM by dess1313 »

desk_jockey

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 242
Re: How can I save my brother from himself?
« Reply #26 on: April 29, 2016, 06:56:38 PM »
Ender already nailed the debt collector calls.  "Collectors usually are prohibited from contacting third parties more than once. Other than to obtain this location information about you, a debt collector generally is not permitted to discuss your debt with anyone other than you, your spouse, or your attorney."  https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0149-debt-collection

As to the relationship with our brother, I would try one more time in person.   I would grab a coffee one-on-one and try to discuss it.  He might be more receptive than by phone.   If he doesn't bit then I would respond something to the effect, "OK, I won't bring it up again but if you ever want to talk about it then I would be happy to help you figure out how to best deal with the situation" and then leave it at that. 

Tony H

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 26
Re: How can I save my brother from himself?
« Reply #27 on: April 29, 2016, 07:31:36 PM »
Anybody have any advice here? He's my brother and I don't want to give up on him when he's suffering and I also don't want to be getting collection calls for his debts.

It sounds to me as you wish to fix your brother....   Short answer, you can't!
I know that my answer sounds brutal, but it isn't...   It is simply the truth.  Believe me I tried until I failed and put major hurt on my own family.

I believe the best that you can do is suggest that you have a better way and wait for him to ask how.  The question of how may never come from him or it may take until he hits rock bottom.  We can't know.

The one thing that I will suggest to you is that you never give him any money to help as this will only enable him to continue his downward spiral and make things worse.   


clarkfan1979

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1916
  • Age: 40
  • Location: Pueblo, CO
Re: How can I save my brother from himself?
« Reply #28 on: May 01, 2016, 02:36:55 AM »
I'm really sorry, but if he doesn't want any help, you can't help him.

Just tell him that you love him. That is all you can do right now.

Cyaphas

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 495
  • Age: 37
  • Location: DFW, TX
Re: How can I save my brother from himself?
« Reply #29 on: May 01, 2016, 04:08:46 AM »
This is the background of many socialists or anti-capitalists.  They feel like victims rather than taking personal responsibility.  This is not going to end pretty.  Maybe he can find a union job somewhere.


You realize a corporation is a union of owners right?

Deano

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 213
Re: How can I save my brother from himself?
« Reply #30 on: May 01, 2016, 05:22:49 AM »
This is the background of many socialists or anti-capitalists.  They feel like victims rather than taking personal responsibility.  This is not going to end pretty.  Maybe he can find a union job somewhere.

How many times has Trump declared bankruptcy?

Right, when born rich it doesn't matter, we give a free pass.

Gary123

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 61
Re: How can I save my brother from himself?
« Reply #31 on: May 01, 2016, 08:37:01 AM »
My advice is if you can help him financially than offer advice along with your generous help.  If he hasn't asked for it than respect his privacy and leave him in peace.

Give him the book Fatal Conceit by F.A. Hayek for Christmas and hope he reads it.

LeRainDrop

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1841
Re: How can I save my brother from himself?
« Reply #32 on: May 01, 2016, 09:08:27 AM »
I'm really sorry, but if he doesn't want any help, you can't help him.

Just tell him that you love him. That is all you can do right now.

+1