Monday, March 12, 2018

Money


I have a friend who runs from pillar to post with money, always on the verge of bankruptcy, lurching from crisis to crisis. For years. I am extremely fond of her and I have always found that criticizing or being helpful without been asked is dynamite to meaningful relationships. So I listen for a while and ask if she has developed a method on improving on this and a rambling type of conversation ensues. Her sense of humour is immense and she could make a statue laugh.

Mark you, she has never asked for help in dealing with her money issues.

Her image to others is important, I think I am one of maybe 2 who know about her real financial situation which is heart breaking. Single mother, not a dime from deadbeat dad through the years, a gambling addiction she has licked with a likeness for weed and booze replacing it. She is my age now and has never gotten ahead even in good jobs with pensions. She cashed the balance of all such accounts out last year (she had me review the papers) due to "hardship" so now her hardship has returned and it's none of my business what she did with the money and she has never volunteered any information as to its disposal.

She got herself into an awful pickle at Xmas. She likes to impress her grandchildren with outrageous gifts ("they're all I have") and she runs around with them in her jalopy, picking them up and dropping them off and utilizing a lot of gas. She can't afford to get her car fixed so it roars off out of here with an ear-splitting decibel level like some mad teenager with a beater.

I, too, had many years of financial struggle, taking in boarders for years, taking in tourists, working two jobs, always behind the 8 ball financially. Always stressed about money.

My path could be Stella's*.

I feel mightily privileged that I have a bank account ergo with not too much in it, but enough to bury me, enough to buy me yarn, to give Grandgirl a small bonus now and again (she knows how impoverished I am)and to fund my car payments and my rent and my groceries and bi-weekly cleaning of my apartment. There won't be any travel in my future and I'm just fine with that. My joy is being in the here and now, cherishing those who are dear to me: my chosen tribe and Daughter and Grandgirl.

I don't imagine Stella is unusual at all. The crisis of single female elders is worldwide, some living in their cars or on the grace and favour of their children. She took out a payday loan** before Xmas, and, an intelligent woman, she did not realize what all the fine print said about fees and usurious interest rates and truly that one can never pay it off. These places are owned by Big Banks and the Canadian government refuses to regulate them. They prey on the hopeless and the poor and the old like Stella. She texted me during the week to tell me how hopeless she felt in the maws of this bloodsucking vulture. She didn't ask for help. Though my care-taking instinct kicked in, I suppressed it. She needs to figure it all out for herself.

And yes, I'm very aware that some lessons never get learned.

And lurching from crisis to crisis is just another addiction. An adrenaline high.


*not her real name
**In 2004, a Toronto Star investigation revealed payday loans carried annualized interest rates ranging from 390 to 891 per cent.

13 comments:

  1. Holy crap! She's as good as buried herself...Does Canada have a system like England's in which High Court Bailiffs come to the door unannounced to collect debt?

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    1. No thank heaven E and the days of the poorhouse are over. I keep my fingers and toes crossed for her. Her income tax refund is on the way so there's that.

      XO
      WWW

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  2. Change genders and you could be me and Stella could be a few of my male friends here of my age. The most admirable aspect of these fellows is the way the live as though tomorrow does not exist. I find that trait very enviable.

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  3. I love your perspective on things Ramana. A male friend/client spent all his retirement funds on a young Russian woman. He was 75, she 25. As I eased him into bankruptcy he told me he never regretted being an old fool as it was the happiest time of his life.

    XO
    WWW

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    1. Super idiot like one of my friends here too. When that happened I gave him this joke to read.

      An older, white haired man walked into a jewelry store one Friday evening with a beautiful young girl at his side. He told the jeweler he was looking for a special ring for his girlfriend. The jeweler looked through his stock and brought out a $5,000 ring and showed it to him. The old man said, "I don't think you understand, I want something very special." At that statement, the jeweler went to his special stock and brought another ring over. "Here's a stunning ring at only $40,000," the jeweler said. The young lady's eyes sparkled and her whole body trembled with excitement. The old man seeing this said, "We'll take it." The jeweler asked how payment would be made and the old man stated by check. "I know you need to make sure the check is good, so I'll write it now and you can call the bank on Monday to verify the funds and I'll pick the ring up Monday afternoon," he said. Monday morning, a very teed-off jeweler phoned the old man. "There's no money in that account." "I know", said the old man, "but can you imagine the weekend I had?"

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    2. I have mixed feelings on your story, Ramana. The fantasy of old men believing that these young woman can be bought/are in love with them. I think all are equally degraded by such assumptions. Never forgetting, either, that these young women feel they have no choice but to sell all they have left, their bodies?

      XO
      WWW

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    3. I agree with you that it is sexist. I shared it with him to tell him that he need not have lost his money on foolishness.

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  4. But surely you can only live as if there's no tomorrow for so long, and then sooner or later like your friend the debts start piling up and you have to draw in your horns. It sounds like your friend has never been much good with money and that ain't going to change.

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  5. And who's to say she's wrong, really? Like Ramana sez. Then again squirrels and sloths. Stella is really happy, very funny, great wit and self-deprecating humour. She makes clear she just vents to me with my permission. We'll see.

    What I love about this is we are all so different and how others operate their lives never ceases to amaze me. I am lucky I am a confidante.

    XO
    WWW

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  6. Your posts have a new vitality, nice!

    later,
    -Moe

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  7. That's sad. And you're right - people do not take well to unsolicited advice. But boy, it's tough to watch a good friend make awful decisions!

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