Author Topic: UPDATE: Brother's GF Just Facebook-Ranted About Food-Stamps...Need Help  (Read 6854 times)

ReadySetMillionaire

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Original Post: http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/brother's-gf-just-facebook-ranted-about-food-stamps-need-help/

TL;DR: Talked with brother, GF, and mom about finances for two hours on Sunday. GF's bills were worse than imagined--her car payment is $528 per month. She is not willing to take a semester off school and can't get rid of the car. They don't really have a plan and I'm wondering (a) if they can do anything about their cars (voluntary repo?) or (b) whether I should get my brother alone to discuss whether he should be dating her at all.

...

We ended up having dinner for my brother's birthday on Sunday. I got him a Chromecast and three month Hulu membership to help him cut the chord from cable.

This backfired--the cable company had already shut off their internet and cable. He was also behind on nearly every other bill except rent. The only good part to come from this gift was that it prompted a near two-hour discussion about their finances.

I did my best to acknowledge their frustration--aren't you tired of having no money left? Aren't you tired of having to work this much and having nothing except toys to show for it? Etc. He said he was so far in the whole that he didn't care anymore.

I then (orally) did a line-by-line analysis of their budget. This is where my mom and I were completely blown away.

To reiterate, his GF makes $1,660 per month. I'm not sure why, but I always assumed her car payment was $275. Wrong.

Her car payment is...wait for it...$528 per month ($31,000 total financed). She bought that in November when she assumed she would be getting a raise. Ugh.

Her motorcycle payment isn't $150 either...it's $203 plus $40 for insurance.

Overall, her financial picture looks like this:
  • Income: $1660/month
  • Her Half of Rent: $250
  • Her Half of Utilities: $75
  • Her Half of Groceries: $100
  • Car Payment: $528
  • Car Insurance: $100
  • Bike payment: $203
  • Bike Insurance: $40
  • Gas: $150
  • Three Dogs (they're hers): $100

Totals: $1660 income, $1,546 expenses.

I'm sure I'm missing things, but it was clear to me that my brother (who has been working overtime and has his truck listed to sell) was starting to make progress, and his overtime was actually subsidizing his GF's terrible decisions.

To me, there were only two options: (1) she should take a semester off from school to get a second job to help pay the bills until she can get rid of the car; or (2) let the dealership voluntarily repo the car. She 100% refused to stop attending school (couldn't really articulate why), and most of the subsequent discussion involved the repercussions of intentionally defaulting on her car loan and having the car repo'd. We left Sunday with brother's GF vowing to get rid of her car one way or another--that was the biggest fix of all that needed to happen.

Well, turns out she can't. Her dad won't loan her the money to buy a beater car for her and the dealership won't allow her to take it back until next November.

So here they are, making $3,500 income/month and having at least $4,000 in expenses. I asked them what their plan was and they said...wait for it...that they are waiting to get her student loan refund check to get caught up on everything. Christ have mercy.

As if this mountain of shit wasn't stacked high enough, GF is going to be finishing her masters in psychology within a year or 18 months. She already has a $60,000 student loan debt tab and said she will have at least $90,000 by the time she graduates. I asked her what her plan was when those come due and she said she didn't know.

Honestly, I don't even know where to go from here.

So my question is two-fold:

(a) Do any of you have experience with allowing vehicles to get voluntarily repossessed, or any other alternative means to get rid of their cars? They are paying almost $1300 just in vehicle payments and I think if they can right that ship, they might be alright.

(b) This is harsh, but for the first time ever I'm starting to wonder whether I should get my brother alone and talk to him about whether his GF is good for him. I normally would never do this--in fact, I have never discussed any relationship matters with him in his entire life, but it just seems like my brother is making sacrifices (working tons of overtime, getting rid of his truck), and she is not doing anything on her end to reciprocate. Also, if you add up the numbers, my brother can support himself, but he's basically working overtime to subsidize all of her terrible decisions.

Bottom line, I think she's a sinking ship that is dragging my brother down into financial oblivion. My brother isn't a genius and has definitely made some bad decisions, but I can't help but think he would be much more financially healthy if he moved on from her.

So, where to go from here...
« Last Edit: July 29, 2015, 01:36:48 PM by ReadySetMillionaire »

clifford4970

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Don't really have any advice. Wanted to say sorry and sounds like a messy situation.

dandarc

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Hopefully that Master's in Psychology will pay off down the road in a higher income.  Makes no sense to finish if it doesn't.

trailrated

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Holy fucking shit.

This is a case where Dave Ramsey would actually be an excellent start for them.

Rollin

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Painful to hear.  I wouldn't get too attached to getting him (or them) to change their ways.

tweezers

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Perhaps your relationship with your brother is different than my relationship with my siblings, but if one of them pulled me aside to discuss the suitability of my boyfriend I would have shut them down, and then shut them out.  This isn't your problem to solve.

dandarc

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Perhaps your relationship with your brother is different than my relationship with my siblings, but if one of them pulled me aside to discuss the suitability of my boyfriend I would have shut them down, and then shut them out.  This isn't your problem to solve.
+1 - still isn't OPs problem.  Hard to do, but sometimes you just have to watch the place burn down.

OP - obviously they are aware that you have a decent handle on personal finance.  When they are ready, they may come asking for advice.  Until then, the thing to do is nothing.  Which can be the hardest thing to do.  If you do anything, limit it to convincing your mother to cut them off too.

DeltaBond

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Well, they aren't married, thankfully.  I wouldn't take your brother aside for a specific conversation, I would invite him to do something with you that kinda forces either silence or talking, and maybe hint that you're not happy about the conversation you all had... and at that point, you can see if he's open to venting to you or hearing anything more.

I would be concerned, myself, if my siblings were involved with someone like this... because they'll likely turn to family for help, as they already have.  That's a problem for all of you, not just him, but there's not really a rush, just invite him fishing or to ride with you somewhere that takes a while to get there, and let him talk.


Fodder

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I don't understand why two people need two bikes and two cars.

Depending on climate, sell the car/allow it to get repo'd and just use the bike.  Or sell the bike, sell the car and then finance a much less expensive vehicle if that is possible?

How could someone buy a car that costs over two times their annual income?  that's freaking insane.

I think you're  right to be concerned for your brother....this woman has no clue when it comes to money.  A 90k student debt is a huge albatross around the next at the beginning of a career.  Do the employment prospects even justify such a loan?

I'm just shaking my head.  I have no idea how this situation could be solved without a serious, serious change in attitude.

slugline

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You've gotten them to iterate their problems out loud. This is planting the seed. I think you've done enough, actually.

If they come looking for advice (not a bailout) then you know what to tell them. Be careful that you don't appear to be meddling in their affairs. One too many proddings and you could trigger a "circle the wagons" response on their part. Good luck.

snuggler

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I thought they had Harleys too. Why can't they get rid of those? Shaves off at least $350 in payments each month, not to mention insurance, maintenance, gas, etc.

DeltaBond

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I meant to add something, and this is ONLY if this comes up... if he's worried she can't make it on her own without him... she will.  There will always be someone to bail out someone like her.  If she's close enough to her dad to ask for money to paint over her bad choices, then he'll probably be the new host for her parasitic behavior.

Pigeon

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Perhaps your relationship with your brother is different than my relationship with my siblings, but if one of them pulled me aside to discuss the suitability of my boyfriend I would have shut them down, and then shut them out.  This isn't your problem to solve.

This.  None of this is any of your business, beyond saying no when they ask you for money.  Ditto for your mother.  When they complain about finances, smile, nod and change the subject.

My mother had a cardinal rule about never saying a single negative thing about anybody any of her brood of children dated.  I could have brought home Charlie Manson, and Mom would have said, "He's very nice, dear."  There's something very attractive about coming to the defense of a boy/girl friend who is being disrespected by your family.

ReadySetMillionaire

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The responses stating "stay out of it" are about the responses I expected. I know it's not my business. I've never, ever interjected myself into any of my brother's relationships. That's honestly what I was leaning towards, but just wanted to get a taste of what others thought.

I guess I'm just going to stay out of it. I'll help (via advice) if they ask for it.

DeltaBond

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Pigeon, how has she been disrespected?  Sounds like the OP was very compassionate about how he talked about things.  I'd rather hear honest from those close to me if they think I'm about to make a mistake.

asiljoy

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Perhaps your relationship with your brother is different than my relationship with my siblings, but if one of them pulled me aside to discuss the suitability of my boyfriend I would have shut them down, and then shut them out.  This isn't your problem to solve.
+1 - still isn't OPs problem.  Hard to do, but sometimes you just have to watch the place burn down.

OP - obviously they are aware that you have a decent handle on personal finance.  When they are ready, they may come asking for advice.  Until then, the thing to do is nothing.  Which can be the hardest thing to do.  If you do anything, limit it to convincing your mother to cut them off too.

I think someone said it better on the previous thread, but really, they aren't going to starve. At this point after your most recent conversation, its obvious that they know their issues and that they seem to have an absolutely terrible plan for how they're going to address their issues (her student loans). But THAT'S THEIR BUSINESS. Don't do more for them than they're willing to do for themselves.

Your business is to figure out how your family is going to present a united front when this comes to a head to reduce the stress on everyone else.

Pigeon

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I don't think he's done anything disrespectful yet, but trying to insert himself into his brother's relationship to try to talk him into breaking up with this girl would qualify in my book.  My relationships are my business, not those of my siblings.  Whatever his intentions might be, it's none of his business.

CommonCents

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The best you can do it observe that it seems the overtime is paying for his girlfriend's choices to live beyond her means what with the car, dogs, etc. (and MAYBE ask him how he feels about that).  I would not try to tell him to drop her because that would likely send them fleeing the opposition to get a marriage license.

DeltaBond

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The responses stating "stay out of it" are about the responses I expected. I know it's not my business. I've never, ever interjected myself into any of my brother's relationships. That's honestly what I was leaning towards, but just wanted to get a taste of what others thought.

I guess I'm just going to stay out of it. I'll help (via advice) if they ask for it.

A little late for that now, lol.  Even if you don't talk to him again about it, you can sleep at night knowing you made an effort to help your brother, and most likely planted a positive seed.  Have hope and see what happens.

ReadySetMillionaire

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The responses stating "stay out of it" are about the responses I expected. I know it's not my business. I've never, ever interjected myself into any of my brother's relationships. That's honestly what I was leaning towards, but just wanted to get a taste of what others thought.

I guess I'm just going to stay out of it. I'll help (via advice) if they ask for it.

A little late for that now, lol.  Even if you don't talk to him again about it, you can sleep at night knowing you made an effort to help your brother, and most likely planted a positive seed.  Have hope and see what happens.

I meant stay out of the relationship talk. That's a bridge too far.

As for finances, they know I'm here for advice. But I'm not giving them a penny, and I need to start wasting so much mental energy on this.

Cookie78

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The responses stating "stay out of it" are about the responses I expected. I know it's not my business. I've never, ever interjected myself into any of my brother's relationships. That's honestly what I was leaning towards, but just wanted to get a taste of what others thought.

I guess I'm just going to stay out of it. I'll help (via advice) if they ask for it.

A little late for that now, lol.  Even if you don't talk to him again about it, you can sleep at night knowing you made an effort to help your brother, and most likely planted a positive seed.  Have hope and see what happens.

I meant stay out of the relationship talk. That's a bridge too far.

As for finances, they know I'm here for advice. But I'm not giving them a penny, and I need to start wasting so much mental energy on this.

I think this is a good idea and what you've done so far is about as much as you can do. You've given them some good info and they need to figure it out for themselves. Hopefully they do.

My brother was in a similar relationship and there wasn't really much we could do. Eventually he figured it out on his own.

Cpa Cat

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It sucks, but there is nothing you can do.

A wise person in another thread once said that you should not put more effort into someone's problem than they're willing to.

AZDude

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Quote
(a) Do any of you have experience with allowing vehicles to get voluntarily repossessed, or any other alternative means to get rid of their cars? They are paying almost $1300 just in vehicle payments and I think if they can right that ship, they might be alright.

They could just stop paying it. Eventually the company will come get the car. It will destroy their credit and is somewhat unsavory, but there is always that option. They cannot be forced to pay for the car aside from repoing it, selling it, and suing for the difference. One thing I would definitely not suggest or condone is some kind of stolen car scheme where you drive the car out in the middle of nowhere(or Mexico) and then claim it was stolen, hoping no one ever finds it. It might work, but if you get caught you will end up paying far more in fines and legal fees. An acquaintance tried this sort of dumbass trick twice and got caught the second time(big surprise, right?) and got in big trouble over it.

Regardless, the motorcycles seem to be the bigger problem rather than the cars. They are superfluous and add zero value. Those should be sold, adding like $500 to the monthly budget. That $90K of student loan debt starts 6 months after graduation, with a one year forbearance possible. That is going to be a shitload of money each month. Like $600 at least.

Their situation is hopeless in the short term without drastic changes. Best thing they could would probably be just stop paying on their cars and motorcycles if they cannot sell them, save up for two months to buy $1K beaters or use the bus, and go from there. Declare bankruptcy if they get sued. Its not good, but every month they go farther in the hole.

Suggesting she stop going to school is actually a bad idea, since that starts the student loan clock ticking. She is better off finishing the masters and hoping like hell she gets a higher paying job. More income is probably the only real solution here besides total financial ruin.

Good luck

DeltaBond

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The responses stating "stay out of it" are about the responses I expected. I know it's not my business. I've never, ever interjected myself into any of my brother's relationships. That's honestly what I was leaning towards, but just wanted to get a taste of what others thought.

I guess I'm just going to stay out of it. I'll help (via advice) if they ask for it.

A little late for that now, lol.  Even if you don't talk to him again about it, you can sleep at night knowing you made an effort to help your brother, and most likely planted a positive seed.  Have hope and see what happens.

I meant stay out of the relationship talk. That's a bridge too far.

As for finances, they know I'm here for advice. But I'm not giving them a penny, and I need to start wasting so much mental energy on this.

I understand, similar to my relatives looking to buy a house that will max out their budget and leave no room for repairs, job loss, saving.  Its hard to watch.

Josiecat

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Stay out of it.  It is not your problem.  When they come to you for money, the answer is 'NO'.

myrax

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Quote
Suggesting she stop going to school is actually a bad idea, since that starts the student loan clock ticking. She is better off finishing the masters and hoping like hell she gets a higher paying job. More income is probably the only real solution here besides total financial ruin.


I strongly second this. Once you run down the six months you don't get it back, so she'd be okay for the semester she takes off but she would have to start paying immediately when she graduates. I found this out when my husband finished school and also told me he had forgot to submit paperwork showing he was enrolled one semester years before I met him.