Author Topic: Telling a friend NOT to get engaged to spendthrift..  (Read 10229 times)

cbr shadow

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 471
Telling a friend NOT to get engaged to spendthrift..
« on: May 10, 2013, 02:08:04 PM »
I'd like some advice about how to tell a friend not to get engaged to a spendthrift.
My friend (we'll call him Mike) has always been "cheap".  We used to make fun of him in college for pinching pennies so hard.  He'd sneak no-name beer into college bars to save on $1 draft beer, or bring Mcdonalds double cheeseburgers ($1 each in our college town) to dinner in his jacket pockets to save money on dinner, or (last example I promise) buy a bunch (50+) of mcdonalds cheeseburgers on $0.49 day to put in his freezer and heat up later.

Anyways fast forward to now, about 5 years after graduating college.  He has been single and works in IT now, making good money.  He saved a lot of money up during that time. About a year ago things all changed.. He met a girl online that is really not good for him (in my opinion).  She has over $100k in school debt (masters in counceling) but makes $10/hr at her main job with no benefits.  Since there are no benefits she also works at starbucks 20 hrs/wk.  Because of this she's always tired, wont go out, constant headaches, they fight a lot, etc etc.. on to the financial part...

They go out to eat every day, along with other bad decisions, so he's not saving money anymore.  He pays for 80% of rent since she can't afford it.  She wanted a $1500 puppy so he bought it for her and now it has expensive health issues that he's covering.  She has a $26k Jeep that she can barely afford, an HOUR commute in it getting 13mpg, and a bad shopping problem.  In total $100k in school debt and $21k Jeep loan at......get this.... 14% interest!  How is that even possible?  Also she has very bad credit, and he's now buying her a much needed Iphone 5.

There's even more to it than I just listed but you're probably getting bored with my post at this point so I'll end the list there for now.  Obviously it's a train wreck. 

So he said something about getting engaged and I thought WTF?  I explained that her debt would now be his debt if he went through with it.  He understands and starts going off on how bad she is with money, but later the getting engaged thing comes up again..  How do I tell him (without losing him as a friend) that she's TERRIBLE for him and that it would be the mistake of a lifetime to marry her?

On top of the financial stuff, all of the eating out has made him gain a lot of weight.  It'd be a less terrible situation if they got along well or if she treated him well, but neither is the case!  I want to sit him down and say "So what are the GOOD things about her that make you think you should get married?  List them".


Dynasty

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 181
Re: Telling a friend NOT to get engaged to spendthrift..
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2013, 02:22:15 PM »
He's in luvvvvv!

I think the best advice you can give him is to have a very long engagement, and implore she pay her debt off prior to marriage. And maybe preselect a good attorney to write up a prenup so her debts stay hers.

That's pretty unlikely though.

@ $10/hr, $100K + debt is not being repaid anytime soon. And that's why she wants to marry him! So Prince Mike can rescue her from the evil creditors. And then complain about the hour long commute, crappy gas mileage, and drop out of the work force.

Seems like a win for her. Unfortunately for Mike, he's being blinded by her... Let's see. What's a politically correct word I can use? Is assets okay? Probably not. Mike's being blinded by her affections.

$1500 puppy?

totoro

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2146
Re: Telling a friend NOT to get engaged to spendthrift..
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2013, 02:24:18 PM »
Unfortunately, he probably has some unworked-out stuff himself that keeps him stuck in place and it does not sound like he is asking for help.

As a friend, it can be hard to make a dent in this.  He just won't see it the way you see it. 

I went to a program called "Choices" run by a woman named Thelma Box (offered in Texas).  IMO if you could suggest this or something like this to him as a way to get ready for marriage this could help a lot.  It is self-development and works for relationship readiness.  There are other marriage courses out there.  These types of programs tend to open peoples eyes a bit and help them get emotionally healthy.  The real issue is that he is likely not emotionally healthy and his previous habits may have been an expression of this.

Another option would be to pair him up with someone who has come out of a bad marriage and ask the person if they would speak with him on what they would have done differently.

Barring this, you can express your concern but let him know you are his friend through thick and thin if this is how you feel.  He may need you later.

RewardTraveler

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 27
Re: Telling a friend NOT to get engaged to spendthrift..
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2013, 02:32:25 PM »
I'm not sure there is a good way to tell him not to get engaged, in all likelihood he would choose her over you and it could hurt/destroy your friendship.  The most you could realistically expect is to push him to get a prenup (preserve his assets and protect him from her debts and future alimony).  Maybe bring up the benefits of them keeping their finances separate and push him to get her to cover more of the expenses.  Depending on how passionate your friend is about these things, they could lead him to reconsider the engagement without you actively suggesting such a thing.

At the end of the day, though, if they are truly compatible (sounds like you think they're not) and if he isn't striving for FIRE, then they could lead a perfectly happy life together.

cbr shadow

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 471
Re: Telling a friend NOT to get engaged to spendthrift..
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2013, 02:40:24 PM »
Thanks for the responses.  I actually did say to him once, "Mike from these stories you're telling me it sounds like you guys fight a lot and might not be right for eachother..have you thought about going back on the market?  There are a LOT of single women in Chicago waiting for Mr. Right".  He said "Yeah but then I'd have to start all over again.. Plus I can't be this fat and looking for a girl.  I need to lose weight first".

So I'm not really sure WHAT is going on there... 


Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5748
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Telling a friend NOT to get engaged to spendthrift..
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2013, 03:02:16 PM »
Thanks for the responses.  I actually did say to him once, "Mike from these stories you're telling me it sounds like you guys fight a lot and might not be right for eachother..have you thought about going back on the market?  There are a LOT of single women in Chicago waiting for Mr. Right".  He said "Yeah but then I'd have to start all over again.. Plus I can't be this fat and looking for a girl.  I need to lose weight first".

So I'm not really sure WHAT is going on there... 


Bottom line: this is a little bit of a no-win situation.  More than a few friendly nudges are likely to cost you a friend.  Everyone is young and dumb.  We all make mistakes.  I know I did.  Hopefully the mistakes are kept to a minimum and don't last too long or cost too much.

As for the weight thing:  I have a close friend that is exactly like that.  I've heard that exact quote.  I'm pretty sure in her case it's a defense mechanism to not deal with life right now, but do it ever so slightly later.  In my case, my friend is in about her 23rd year of putting it off.   You only get one shot here (unless you're a Buddhist).   

Paul der Krake

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5087
  • Age: 12
  • Location: UTC-10:00
Re: Telling a friend NOT to get engaged to spendthrift..
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2013, 03:38:39 PM »
Thanks for the responses.  I actually did say to him once, "Mike from these stories you're telling me it sounds like you guys fight a lot and might not be right for eachother..have you thought about going back on the market?  There are a LOT of single women in Chicago waiting for Mr. Right".  He said "Yeah but then I'd have to start all over again.. Plus I can't be this fat and looking for a girl.  I need to lose weight first".

So I'm not really sure WHAT is going on there...
Sounds like settling to me.

You will have better luck before he gets engaged. There are people who break up/come to their senses during the engagement period, but that's a major barrier once the commitment has been made.

How are his family and other friends reacting to the news?

EMP

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 344
Re: Telling a friend NOT to get engaged to spendthrift..
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2013, 04:07:05 PM »
Also, not to generalize, but how many women has this dude dated?  I'm imagining someone with pretty limited experience based on the IT work and the lack of social skills illustrated by your examples of his cheapness. 

AJ

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 906
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Oregon
Re: Telling a friend NOT to get engaged to spendthrift..
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2013, 04:18:37 PM »
"Mike" is an adult, and (presumably) capable of making his own decisions. If you tell him "that it would be the mistake of a lifetime to marry her" it will imply that you don't trust his judgement and think you know better who would make a good life partner for him. Not only is that insulting, but it probably isn't true.

Since she has a masters in counseling, it shouldn't be hard to convince her (and, by extension, him) to go through some standard pre-marriage counseling sessions. You could probably find some stats on how it improves happiness in relationships or some-such so it doesn't look like you're trying to break them up. A professional counselor should be able to spot her money issues and his insecurity issues from a mile away and help them both deal with it without you getting caught in the crossfire.

Dynasty

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 181
Re: Telling a friend NOT to get engaged to spendthrift..
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2013, 04:19:42 PM »
Also, not to generalize, but how many women has this dude dated?  I'm imagining someone with pretty limited experience based on the IT work and the lack of social skills illustrated by your examples of his cheapness.

My thoughts as well. Lack of experience with the ladies, scarcity mentality, take what you can get.

I Love Cake

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 124
Re: Telling a friend NOT to get engaged to spendthrift..
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2013, 04:29:05 PM »
I find that MANY people take the path of least resistance. And for him, that would be marrying her. And then he may spend the rest of his life complaining about her spending habits, how he can't lose weight and that she yelled at him again

Only he can decide to sidestep this fate and end the relationship. But doubtful he will.


Are you single? If so, any chance the two of you can go on a trip together-somewhere lots of singles mingle? It may show him there are plenty of fish in the sea

Are you married? If so, maybe you can tel him how amazing your spouse is and all the wonderful things about your spouse

You can try to have one last heart to heart with him. Tell him that as his friend you implore him to look at what he is doing. A few small inconveniences now may prevent a lifetime of misery

I Love Cake

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 124
Re: Telling a friend NOT to get engaged to spendthrift..
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2013, 04:30:23 PM »
oh and pretty clever with the tossing McDs cheeseburgers in the freeezer

sheepstache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2419
Re: Telling a friend NOT to get engaged to spendthrift..
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2013, 05:15:36 PM »
I think everyone's given pretty good advice.  I'll just add on to the idea of getting him to consider his options.  Sounds like he has terrible self-esteem when it comes to the ladies so think about ways to work on that.  Be his wingman when you go out together.  Try to hook him up with an acquaintance.  Like, spread the word in your social network that you know a really great guy who's looking to settle down.  It might sound manipulative but I think in the past when there was an expectation that people would marry, society was geared towards getting couples together.  Now that everyone is on their own, individuals are faced with the daunting task.  The intimidation of figuring out how on earth you're supposed to find people to date may even be greater than lack of confidence in your value as a date. 

nktokyo

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 370
Re: Telling a friend NOT to get engaged to spendthrift..
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2013, 05:34:56 PM »
At least make sure he gets a prenup so when this implodes he keeps his money and she keeps her debt...

GoStumpy

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 243
    • YNAB = The ultimate budgeting software
Re: Telling a friend NOT to get engaged to spendthrift..
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2013, 08:11:57 PM »
I can't add much, but what I can say is, he needs you man.  He needs a friend that will tell it to him straight.  He does NOT need another 'whatever you think is fine' kind of friend.

He need honesty.  He needs to think about these things the RIGHT way, not the love-blind way.

If your friendship is strong, it will persevere.  You aren't calling him an idiot, but you ARE saying he's not looking at the whole picture.

There are a ton of great books that he could read to help, I recommend "Secrets of the Millionaire Mind" by T. Harv Eker.  That book is doing me very well for opening up my THINKING to a better place.  It all starts with thoughts!

Anyhoo, best of luck, keep at it, and keep inviting him over without his girlfriend for some 'guy time'.  Weekly is usually good.

Jamesqf

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4047
Re: Telling a friend NOT to get engaged to spendthrift..
« Reply #15 on: May 10, 2013, 10:27:56 PM »
Seems like he might save money, and have a better relationship, by checking out some of those "sugar babies" sites.

limeandpepper

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4538
  • Location: Australasia
Re: Telling a friend NOT to get engaged to spendthrift..
« Reply #16 on: May 10, 2013, 10:29:21 PM »
On top of the financial stuff, all of the eating out has made him gain a lot of weight.  It'd be a less terrible situation if they got along well or if she treated him well, but neither is the case!  I want to sit him down and say "So what are the GOOD things about her that make you think you should get married?  List them".

Thanks for the responses.  I actually did say to him once, "Mike from these stories you're telling me it sounds like you guys fight a lot and might not be right for eachother..have you thought about going back on the market?  There are a LOT of single women in Chicago waiting for Mr. Right".  He said "Yeah but then I'd have to start all over again.. Plus I can't be this fat and looking for a girl.  I need to lose weight first".

So I'm not really sure WHAT is going on there...

Okayyyyy.... so it sounds like he's basically staying with her because he's overweight and afraid he can't get another girlfriend if they break up, and he'd rather be unhappy in a relationship because he doesn't know how to be happily single, etc etc. This is a BAD reason to stick with someone. He needs to work on himself first - both mentally and physically. And when he's well-adjusted, in the unlikely event if he still wants to be with her, at least it'll be a more informed decision.

icefr

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 325
Re: Telling a friend NOT to get engaged to spendthrift..
« Reply #17 on: May 11, 2013, 09:06:04 AM »
This Ask Team Practical post at APW a few weeks ago was on the same thing, if you want a girl's opinion: http://apracticalwedding.com/2013/04/breaking-up-a-friends-wedding/ In that case, they were already engaged.

Thanks for the responses.  I actually did say to him once, "Mike from these stories you're telling me it sounds like you guys fight a lot and might not be right for eachother..have you thought about going back on the market?  There are a LOT of single women in Chicago waiting for Mr. Right".  He said "Yeah but then I'd have to start all over again.. Plus I can't be this fat and looking for a girl.  I need to lose weight first".

So I'm not really sure WHAT is going on there... 

So if he's never had a relationship before, maybe he doesn't know that fighting all the time isn't normal. I had a relationship where people kept telling me maybe things weren't right and it took a while before I listened to them. The best thing you can do, as the friend, is to keep on listening. Just keep listening. Eventually he'll get it, whether it's after a wedding or before.

Is there anything you can do to help his self-esteem? Gym buddy? Run buddy?

BPA

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1202
Re: Telling a friend NOT to get engaged to spendthrift..
« Reply #18 on: May 11, 2013, 09:12:09 AM »
"Mike" is an adult, and (presumably) capable of making his own decisions. If you tell him "that it would be the mistake of a lifetime to marry her" it will imply that you don't trust his judgement and think you know better who would make a good life partner for him. Not only is that insulting, but it probably isn't true.

Since she has a masters in counseling, it shouldn't be hard to convince her (and, by extension, him) to go through some standard pre-marriage counseling sessions. You could probably find some stats on how it improves happiness in relationships or some-such so it doesn't look like you're trying to break them up. A professional counselor should be able to spot her money issues and his insecurity issues from a mile away and help them both deal with it without you getting caught in the crossfire.

+1

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8299
Re: Telling a friend NOT to get engaged to spendthrift..
« Reply #19 on: May 11, 2013, 09:16:37 AM »
Thanks for the responses.  I actually did say to him once, "Mike from these stories you're telling me it sounds like you guys fight a lot and might not be right for eachother..have you thought about going back on the market?  There are a LOT of single women in Chicago waiting for Mr. Right".  He said "Yeah but then I'd have to start all over again.. Plus I can't be this fat and looking for a girl.  I need to lose weight first".

So I'm not really sure WHAT is going on there...

Not to make a huge generalization (but I will anyway), in my experience, men don't end relationships (get a divorce, go on the market), unless they already have someone lined up.  My experience is with older men (50's, 60's) who cheat on their wives and younger men (20's) who cheat on their girlfriends.

Only a couple of my friends ever ended a marriage or a relationship because it needed to end and there wasn't anyone already waiting.  I guess these were my friends in their 30's.

icefr

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 325
Re: Telling a friend NOT to get engaged to spendthrift..
« Reply #20 on: May 11, 2013, 10:55:37 AM »
Not to make a huge generalization (but I will anyway), in my experience, men don't end relationships (get a divorce, go on the market), unless they already have someone lined up.  My experience is with older men (50's, 60's) who cheat on their wives and younger men (20's) who cheat on their girlfriends.

Only a couple of my friends ever ended a marriage or a relationship because it needed to end and there wasn't anyone already waiting.  I guess these were my friends in their 30's.

Hah. So many women do that too. I think humans are just super afraid of being alone, sadly.

cbr shadow

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 471
Re: Telling a friend NOT to get engaged to spendthrift..
« Reply #21 on: May 13, 2013, 12:31:14 PM »
Thanks for all of the information and advice on how to handle this.  I was with him this weekend and added some subtle hints.  I think you're right about his self-esteem since he seems to be in the relationship because he doesn't think he can get into a better one.

Another part of this that comes back to MMM is that BECAUSE she doesn't make much money and works so many hours he feels like she "deserves" a lot of this wasteful stuff that she has. 

He said he went through her budget and it was way off, and asked what I would do.  I said if I was in his situation and wanted to get her budget under control I'd cut out all of the waste.. Get a cheaper car with better fuel efficiency, get rid of the Iphone5, cancel cable, stop spending $500/month on going out to eat (not an exaggeration) etc..  There's TONS to cut.  He said "well I can't expect her to not have anything.. those are things she likes.. she'll be miserable".  But I asked "is she happy now, with all of those things and a $400 deficit in the budget?"  He said "No, she's miserable now".

As far as his self esteem, I'm part of a gym that is $10/month and less than a mile from his house.  I suggested that before work he meets up with me to workout but he said no.  We go about twice/week to the forest preserve to hike with our dogs, but that's not nearly enough to lose any weight.

icefr

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 325
Re: Telling a friend NOT to get engaged to spendthrift..
« Reply #22 on: May 13, 2013, 04:56:53 PM »
^^^ This is HUGE. (no pun intended) Drag his ass there. Don't even give him the option - just sign him up, pick him up, drive there. If he tries to weasel out, yell at him. He'll either shut-up and accept the help or he'll yell back.

I totally pick friends up to go to the gym. It's great - gym is way better with a gym buddy! Social time!

mikefixac

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 313
  • Location: Brea
    • Uncommonly Brilliant
Re: Telling a friend NOT to get engaged to spendthrift..
« Reply #23 on: May 13, 2013, 05:55:18 PM »
Send Mike this thread.

I dated this woman. Oh man, was she beautiful. Way better than "I deserved". And spent lots of money on her. Saw the error of my ways, and cut my losses.

Great nookie, but empty pocket bookie.

From one Mike to another, dump her.