When to Help Friends

Most of my friends know that I like to save money and I hate to spend it. This wasn't always the case but most of them understand now. Some of them ask for help, but when we get down to specifics I get these looks like I'm preaching some kind of cult-tactics from high on a mountaintop.

After the initial shock from my "try to hang out less so you don't spend $200/month on eating out and drinking", we generally change the subject :) Not that my friends are alcoholics, but even a few nights a month of dinner and say 1-2 drinks can add up pretty fast.

I am by no means a guru, I preach saving to no one, but if you ask I will share my thought and/or strategies. It is up to you to listen, 'cause I ain't got the time to babysit and hold your hand. If your paying me that's a different story, I'll walk with you all the way to the bank to deposit that check for a small fee :)

To give an example, I have one co-worker who constantly asks me, "how do you save money on what we make." As if we make just enough to keep us out of the poor house, AND SHE MAKES MORE THAN I DO. I tell her the same thing every time, I bring lunch as much as I can, if I forget to bring it, I only spend $3-4 if I have to buy outside (i don't mind eating food from a truck, chicken and rice platter baby) if not, i always keep some dry oatmeal in my desk that can be mixed pretty easy and popped in the microwave. Not as good as Chinese food or even some good ole' Diner food, but it's filling and free. I also don't shop too much (barely ever) for clothing or unnecessary things (nick nacks, accessories, etc.) When I am more financially stable of course I will get myself more wants, but for now, my goals are set and I am getting only what me and family need. I used the shopping and food examples for her because this is where most of her money goes. She is constantly finding a sale somewhere, running up the total on her credit card and instantly regretting it. "You can still return it and get your money back" is what I tell her every time. She of course refuses and says she will pay it off "little by little". I even tried explaining to her that because you are paying it off "little by little" you are pretty much canceling out the "sale" price of whatever you purchased and are actually paying more than the original price for it after 4-5 months of interest charges. Still she doesn't quite understand, "I can't just give everything up". People must really think I live like a hermit, staying at home and just stashing away money for a rainy day. I told her, your not giving everything up, just prioritizing where your money goes, you asked me how to save money, don't kill the messenger. I tried to get her to at least bump her 401K contributions to 6% since that the max for our company match, free money woman...she said she can't afford it. She didn't even know what she had her current 401K balance was invested in, "I think it's all in the long term stock market" I don't even know what that means and I think she was just saying that because someone mention investing for the long term. I thought about telling her to build up at least a $1000 emergency fund but decided against it. Once I get her to bump the 401K (I think this is the easiest step), then we can move on from there.

Needless to say the conversation took a turn elsewhere. She has also has children, when I told her I had a 529 for the piglet, she tells me "I had to pay my way through school and I work hard, let them kids work. Their not getting anything from me." I think this is just a sad way of thinking so we don't even bring up saving for the children anymore.

Should I push harder when friends actually ask for help, or let it go once they are no longer interested? I'm not sure what my duty as a friend is, I hate getting all up in peoples business, and I'm definitely not one to preach to anybody about how to live their life. Where do you draw the line? Some people just aren't ready to take that next step.

Again, I live the way I live because I think it appropriate for me and my family. I'm not a financial planner and I don't pretend to be one. If you have the means to "live the good life" as Kanye says, then live it up. Just make sure to put something away so you can make the rest of your life just as good.

Spend less than you earn, invest in what you know and think long term (not "what's hot" today), minimize debt as much as you can, the rest is yours to play with.

Check out MoneyMonk's post on how simple this really can be.

Thanks for Reading

I Love you Baby

9 comments:

  1. Pinyo said...

    Generally friend and money don't mix. I will make my point, but not push my point. If you really care, may be give her a gift of financial planner who can give her the basic in an hour or two. Some people believe professional more than friends.  

  2. Tired of being broke said...

    I agree with pinyo...friends and money are like oil and water. I generally do me, and them my friends be.  

  3. Single Ma said...

    This post is hilarious! I've had similar conversations, so many I lost count. Especially the ones that assume I, as you say, "live like a hermit." LOL Funny! The most recent one prompted this post: Wealth building equation.

    And here's where I draw the line. If they don't ask, I just listen. If they ask, I tell the truth - not what they want to hear. Such as think you can't afford 401k contributions and misconceptions about saving money. Both of those were written for friends who read my blog. But when they stop listening, I stop talking. Believe it or not, leading by example is the best way to communicate.

    Although you're not a financial planner or guru, you were right on. Personal finance is not rocket science. The basics are common sense.  

  4. Rad said...

    Pniyo and Tired: I thinkm you guys are right. Let them do as they please until they ask for advice, this is what I normally do anyways, just have to stop getting upset when they don;t listen.

    SingleMa: Glad I got you to laugh, I know you lead a hectic life :)"If they don't ask, I just liset" good advice and from credible source. Why do people think you have to be a hermit to save money?? When did this start? Even though I used to think the same way when I was broke and tryin to hustle for every last dollar just so I could spend it that same day :)  

  5. Sistah Ant said...

    I don't get into finance with anyone except my mama and my man, and even then, very cautiously and respectfully. My two best friends and I sometimes wind up on the topic because I'm explaining why I'd rather eat in or something like that. Then when they get into their issues, I'll suggest solutions, but that's 'cause they're my best friends and they know how I am. I just don't get pushy with it. And the minute they get hardheaded/full of excuses, I just shut it. No point in casting my pearls of wisdom to the unappreciative.  

  6. Moneymonk said...

    Thanks for the plug, dude!

    build an EF
    get your debts low
    save money
    track your spending
    fund the 401k

    nobody wants to hear that crap. Even though it's true. I stop giving advice. I heard people say to others so since you have money, can I borrow X dollars, instead of asking them how did you get to where you are.

    Some people like to dig their own hole.

    I don't want your money, I want to know what you do.

    Like Pursuit of Happyness, "what you do...and how you do it? LOL  

  7. Cash till payday said...

    Several time my friends also and me too wants a guru who can direct us in the right path in the critical time specially. Now by your post I got it.Thanks for your such nice suggestions.  

  8. Wonga said...

    Finance is the most complex issue and it should bot be in mixed with relations and emotions I think.As much it is far away with relatives and friends, we are safe on side of finance and relations too.  

  9. payday loans with bad credit said...

    Blog will give information about how to help your friends when they need you in their tough times  


 

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