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Need Advice for a Friend (No, REALLY!)

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Need Advice for a Friend (No, REALLY!)

I was talking to a friend of mine who is married the other day about the good ole days. I decided to talk him how I was a fool with credits and had to rebuild for two long years. As I was telling my story the expression on his face dropped and he started to look down. That was his physical que that he had something on his mind so I asked him what’s up.

He told me he is about $12k in the hole in credit card debt. At first I thought this wasn’t a big deal because I was on the wrong end of larger balances myself.

The problem he revealed was his credit score is in the low 600s / high 500s. His personal cards are all maxed out and some are over the limit. The interest rates are around 29.99% which I found odd but he shortly revealed he has missed payments. He said he had a 90 day late last month. I started to feel bad because they have a house and if they can’t make minimum payments on credit cards I was hoping it was to make payments on their mortgage.

Turns out that’s not the case.

As the story unfolded he revealed that his DW doesn’t know about any of this and is under the assumption his credit score is in the high 700s. He was talking about borrowing from his retirement fund. He can’t use his savings becaus it’s a joint account and his stocks are in a shared portfolio. He told me his credit card debt is more like $20k than $12k.

He seemed adamant about not telling his DW about this. She’s a nice woman but who knows how people will handle news like this. Not so much the money part but the hiding of it. I’m a single guy but I know getting caught lying is a life sentence at Barney’s.

My gut was to tell him that he has to tell her but the timing didn’t seem right. He was pretty upset but felt good telling someone so I didn’t want to lecture / gibe him options on to cleaning this up. Next time I talk to him I’m going to tell him he has to come clean to his DW because if he’s 90 Days late it’ll be a matter of time the creditors will call and send delinquency letters. Isn’t it 120 days until they sell it to collections? So he has about 15 days before it gets to that level.

How do I have this conversation with him? He’s a childhood friend of over 20 years and it’s the first time I’m having a hard time coming up with something. The question is it my place to say anything to him?
Message 1 of 5
4 REPLIES 4
Frequent Contributor

Re: Need Advice for a Friend (No, REALLY!)

Multiple problems here.

 

First, there is the lack of honesty and communication between him and his wife. It doesn't mean that they have to nag and police each other about what and what not to buy, but they should at least inform one another about whats going on. For all he knows, his wife could have $40,000 in cc debt.

 

Second, is his possible spending problem. How did he accumulate the debt? Something tells me it was more than a big HVAC & roofing repair bill. He has a problem and that is yet another reason for there to be full commnincation between him and his wife. They are oblivious to each other's possible vices and this lack of "checks and balances" has created a problem for him.

 

My wife used to be a "debit card only" person until I organized her "credit card portfolio", based on her spending habits, for reward points. We both PIF. I always tell her about my line-up, but she never cares, since she knows I always PIF. I even created a file, on a thumb drive in our safe, that has all of my account numbers, passwords, etc. It's mostly in case something were to happen to me, so as for now, she doesn't care and I have to remind her about it every several years. But the communication is there.

 

Third, and most importantly, he has to realize that this is a serious problem that needs to be solved. Borrowing from his retirement fund is not solving the problem, it is just shifting it around. He will still be the same person and start it up again.

 

As for your question of "Is it my place to say anything?"....I guess that would depend on the dynamics of your relationship. But for most, it's usually wise to stay out of it unless he solicits the help/advice again. You don't want to be seen as the "friend that is just gonna "nag/mother" me about my problems". Because than he will stop coming around and that will be the end of your friendship.

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Message 2 of 5
Frequent Contributor

Re: Need Advice for a Friend (No, REALLY!)

Great advice Omar

 

OP, I would definitely say something, if he felt safe with you to entrust you with this information then he really values your opinion. If you're the smarter of his friends on this type of thing, then you would be doing him a disservice not to help. However, like stated above, I wouldn't call him to nag though. 

 

You could probably ease it into your next convo, "Hey, hows that debt thing working out" and if he goes into detail, let him know you care about your friendship and want to help him get a plan together to fix this. 

 

Also, HONESTY, the man needs to tell his wife right now whats going on, because if things are getting caught up, it could affect her too in the long run. I'm sure he does not want this to be a surprise to her by way of some collections agency. He needs to come clean today, and stop whatever he's doing to rack up so much debt. 

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Message 3 of 5
Valued Contributor

Re: Need Advice for a Friend (No, REALLY!)

I would also agree in saying something to him about it. A true friend will also have to show tough love if you are trying to get or do the best for them. At the end of the day, not saying anything and letting it get worse would bother you even more.

Even though telling her would be difficult, he needs to tell her asap. The reason being is that they are first going to need to fight this battle together if they have any shot at making it through. But the more time passes and worse it gets without telling her, the higher the chance that she is very unforgiving.

                               

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Message 4 of 5
Frequent Contributor

Re: Need Advice for a Friend (No, REALLY!)


@RonM21 wrote:
But the more time passes and worse it gets without telling her, the higher the chance that she is very unforgiving.

This exactly, man she'll be pissed either way but as stated above, she's definitely going to want to know when this all started

FICOs: EQ - 731 / TU - 737 / EX - 727
Garden: 6/1/19 / U 6%
Profile: Aaoa - 4.6y / Aooa - 13y / Aoya - 1m
Wallet:
"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." - BF
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