Monday, July 13, 2009

Maybe The Conversations Finally Sunk In?

I've posted before about my neighbor and her money issues.  She has told me more than I want to know about her finances, and has asked for my opinion on a variety of issues.I  try not to preach, I try to educate and inform. The biggest money drain she has had the past few months has been to support her college aged daughter by paying for her apartment, utilities, as well as paying a chunk of change towards her tuition and related expenses.  Not a big deal IF you have the money, but my neighbor does not. My biggest gripe (and I've told her since she asked) is that her daughter had done next to nothing to contribute to the upkeep of the apartment. She was not going to school full time, nor was she working even close to part time.  The daughter is a nice kid, but seems to spend an awful lot of time hanging out with friends and not doing much. 

My neighbor finally told her that the checks were stopping as of the middle of June.  She was not going to pay the utilities and would only fork over 1/3rd the rent for July and none for August.  She told her daughter that if she wanted to keep the apartment, she would have to pay for it herself, utilities included!  Getting a $500 electric bill for ONE month of service (did I mention the daughter left the electric heat on 73F even when she was not home so she could keep her lizard warm?) My neighbor's kid was shocked and angry. I know she was very happy to accept the money and happy to not have to work.  Getting a wake up call was not in her plans.  Neighbors daughter has her boyfriend sort of living with her too and he is not paying anything towards the rent and utilities. He still "lives" at home, but spends most of his nights at the apartment and contributes nothing toward the apartment, from what I've been told, he does not even buy food. Oh dear....

My conversation with my neighbor was that IF she could afford it and IF her daughter was contributing to the costs an IF her daughter was going to school full time and IF she was making a valiant effort to find work, then support away. BUT none of the IF's were happening.  My neighbor can't afford it, her daughter was not making an effort to find work (she told us her last job interfered with her boyfriends band practice......) and she was not going to school  full time. In fact, she was going to take a semester off and fully expected her parents to pay for her living expenses while she "took a break".   My neighbor wants to help her daughters, yet her own finances were greatly suffering.  I know she paid her own mortgage late, she is on a repayment plan for all her utilities, she pays the cable bill weekly to keep it from getting cut off,  I know she maxed our her credit cards, and please don't get me started on the Plasma TV they bought on credit...........

My last money conversation with my neighbor revolved around me reworking my budget for my reduced weekend job. No additional weekend job hours, a complete rethinking of how to spend my money and how to allocate funds.  My neighbor was shocked when I told her that I pretty much live on a cash only basis.  I use my credit card and within two weeks, I pay off the balance. Mind you my credit limit is only $500, but still, I use the card because I'm thrilled I have a credit card again, but I'm not going to go down that slipperly slope of huge credit card balances again.  I told her if I don't have the cash, I don't buy the product.  My neighbor was wondering how she was going to make it though July since she had maxed out her credit card.  Sigh, I had no answer.  I could have told her that all those months of paying for her daughters apartment would have made a huge dent in the credit card balance reduction, but I did not.

I know it was a hard thing for my neighbor to cut the funds. I think it was the right thing to do. I know her daughter was upset, I could see her storming around the house. She has decided to move back home and stops by to drop of her stuff and is looking pretty bitter about it.  If her daughter truly wanted to live on her own, she could have gotten a roommate or asked her boyfriend to contribute to the rent (but wait a real job would interfer with band practice...). 

I am proud of my neighbor for making the tough decision about her money.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh I wish I had your will power with the credit card!!! I had to file bankruptcy when my ex-husband said he would pay off the credit cards in the divorce order. The cards were in my name since he had already screwed his credit up before we meet. He furnished his new house on my cards and then filed bankruptcy himself; which meant I had to pay them off....might I add with NO JOB!!! Good for U.

Bouncing Back said...

I only have the will power NOW that I am a wiser person for the BK. I used to use my credit cards, would pay them down (but not totally off) and when finances got tough, well, lets just say it was not a pretty picture... hence the BK

Moonblossom said...

Maybe you could suggest she have a garage sale it would give her extra money for those bills she might not be able to pay, and honestly I'd be charging my daughter rent even if its $100 bucks a month.

lizzie said...

It is sometimes the way kids are raised. If they are raised with respect and responsibility they dont end up expecting hand-outs all the time.
The eldest of my five sons took a Penny Saver route of 14 homes in our street and the adjoining cul-de-sac when he was ten years old - when he was 12 he took an evening paper route and delivered to the same houses and passed the Penny Saver route to his brother and so on down the line. I never gave them an allowance of any kind. In high school he cleared tables every day and got a free lunch. He worked after school at a supermarket and so did his brothers eventually. He worked his summers and christmas holidays during university and so on an so on.
We always talked about money and we paid for a lot of their college fees etc. They got scholarships and loans, grants and financial aid. The point I am making is if you dont set any kind of example ie
waving credit cards at everything and racking up debt and not involving them in how things are going to get paid for how do you expect them to learn about finances and how a family is run and how to be responsible about money. Planning goes a long way in managing to fund vacations, college, special events and everyone has to be on board.
What is this kid doing with a lizard anyway - is that where her mind is at. I d like a dog but know how expensive it is to own one so I havent got one.
My sons are now well educated, independent, debt free except for their mortgages ( they bought their cars with cash) and I am pretty thrilled with them but I do take a bit of the credit.

Anonymous said...

Lizzie, you deserve many "You Go Girl's"!! That's the way I was raised and I'm better for it...in this day and age it's hard to find those kind of young adults who have a head on their shoulders about the real world. Lizzie, you make Mother's proud!!!

Shevy said...

So Neighbour Girl is one unhappy camper now. Better now than when her condo (downpayment provided by Bank of Mother, no doubt) went into foreclosure!

Because you know that the help would have just increased over time. Along with Neighbour Girl's expectations.

If you helped her mother nip it in the bud, so much the better.

Bouncing Back said...

Great points! My neighbor had her kids "early" and the first 13 years were tough, she feels like she should help them out, even when she can't afford it.

The lizard, well, the daughter has this habit of aquiring pets. It's not only a lizard, but a ferret and a half feral cat as well, now all living at Mom's house and guess who is taking care of them? Yup-Mom.

Dawn said...

Now the hard part is that mom has to stay strong, and not cave under the fact that her now incredibly unhappy daughter is under her roof making mom's life miserable. Good for her for laying down the rules, I hope she sticks to them!

marci said...

Wow, great advice! I admire your strength to share your personal feat with a bk and how you are now feeling financially stable. Way to go! And I hope your neighbor continues to follow the example you set for her.

Bouncing Back said...

marci and dawn-thanks! I hope my neighbor does stick to her her resolution to not "give in" to her kids. I know she needs the money for her own bills. Said child is still pouting, but realizing none of us CARE about the pout.

I do agree, I think said child should chip in for rent, food, utilities or something. I guess it's one small step at a time.

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