Friends With Money Problems

Friends With Money Problems

Yesterday morning I was at the gym and I noticed this young man lifting weights. The problem with his lifting was his form. He was trying to lift weights that were too heavy for him, he wasn’t getting a full extension on his repetitions and based upon what I saw he was close to hurting himself. I noticed several people watching him, but no one stepped in to correct his form. And I fully admit I didn’t step in to give him some advice.

That incident at the gym got me thinking about the purpose of this blog, discussing money with friends and colleagues, along with a great post by Even Steven Money.  As I was thinking about these things the question that entered my head my mind was when/if do you talk with your friends/family about money?

Money, of course, is one of the taboo topics that people say shouldn’t be discussed. I disagree. i think we should talk about it more. Not necessarily intimate details about your own personal financial picture, but basic principles. The reason why we buy things, how people approach money, etc?

I guess this question arose because I have been thinking about this situation for a while. I have a good friend who has got really bad money habits. He is constantly broke, goes out to eat all the time, pays his credit cards sporadically, yet only has one or two bills that he has to worry about. I know that he would have extra money at the end of the month if he didn’t do these things. He complains that he can’t save any money. I want to scream at the top of my lungs  there is a reason you don’t have any money. It is because you spend it all on yourself and frivolous stuff. It also doesn’t help that this person is almost 40, hasn’t got a dime to his name, and complains that he can’t get ahead.

So far I have stayed out of this. I haven’t given him advice. I haven’t had these philosophical discussions, but the decisions he is making are contributing to his own bad behavior. It is really hard to hold my tongue.

I am no financial genius. God knows I have made plenty of mistakes and continue to do so. I made a big financial mistake in China (the scam). And perhaps I have no right to give advice. So when should you talk to your friends/family about money? Do we just let them sink? Let them continuously struggle? I am not saying a conversation with me will help at all. But I don’t think my friend has really even thought twice about what he does. Or when he does he blames it on other circumstances.  He lives with his parents, pays no rent, has basically his car payment, student loan, and food for expenses. That is it.

I could be missing something about his financial situation but based upon his complaints, what he tells me he spends his money on (last week he talked about this new suit he bought and then said he didn’t have money to go to lunch) he just seems to be making irresponsible monetary decisions. In those situations, what do you do? Should I broach the subject? I mean i know he is not my responsibility, but when he constantly complains about money and I know that he is wasting it it just seems like I should say something.

Thoughts on this dilemma? How have you handled this before with friends?

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