Monday, July 5, 2010

Lousy Money Manager

Dear Ella,

My friend, Cindy, is a lovely woman, but she has no sense when it comes to money. Cindy is the type of gal who has to have everything – the latest trendy outfit, pair of shoes, car. She has her nails done every week and is forever going to her masseuse. The problem is that she has no money! She lives off some money her parents left her, but that will soon be gone. She has no savings, no RRSPs, no real estate. Her car is leased, her condo is rented and her credit cards are maxed out.

She has come to me for a loan from time to time, but I’ve always managed to weasel out of giving it to her. I feel like I’m standing by and watching my friend self-destruct. At this rate, she’s going to end up homeless.

How do I get through to her?

Lousy Money Manager

Dear Lousy Money Manager,

Cindy may be spending to fill a void. This excessive spending behaviour is no different than any other addiction.

Being a close friend, you have to care enough to actually get involved. You must call her out on what you see and not let her make excuses for her actions. Are you prepared to take her by the hand and lead her through the steps she will have to go through? If you are, here are some practical measures to help Cindy.
For starters, you need to get her to admit she’s in trouble. This will be the hardest part. Let her know what you’ve noticed and try to scare her into reality. Be honest and tell her why you won’t lend her money. If she’s willing to disclose her financial situation, you can show her on paper how she’s setting herself up for disaster.

If you can get through this first step, you can move on to a positive solution. Help Cindy come up with a budget. Write down every expense she has and every bit of money she has to work with. See if she’s willing to be accountable for her spending. This is a huge undertaking, and you need to decide if you can make this commitment. You might want to suggest getting a professional involved.

Don’t be surprised if Cindy isn’t willing to listen, but feel good knowing that at least you’ve planted the seed of concern. Let her know you will be there when she comes to terms with the fact that she needs help.

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