In Debt, Discussions, Money

A Family of Parasites

We know a friend who makes about $150,000 a year which is a SOLID INCOME. Before he was married, he had lots of savings and worked really hard to get there, living frugally.

He got married and bought a house, two kids later, his in-laws and his own parents moved into the house to help take care of the kids (they’re all retired).

Everything was going great and his wife made the most amazing lunches we salivated over when we all ate together, I almost wanted to ask if she would make me one too. Haha.

Fast forward 5 years and we happened to meet at the market, and started to catch up.

He confided after about a half hour of casual chatting (we are good friends) that he was about to drop $15,000 on a vacation for the entire family but was heavily in credit card debt (not sure what the number is).

Also, he revealed that his wife after going through and expensive education which he funded, has still yet to find a job (refuses to?) so he is the sole breadwinner. She also stopped cooking, and they have someone to clean the home now because she doesn’t want to do that either. This is without a question, a case of someone taking complete advantage of someone else; there are no health problems or any critical issues that would factor in whatsoever.

As it stands, he is fully supporting 5 adults and 2 kids on his income and her extended family back home.

We sat there, sort of stunned. We didn’t say anything naturally, as we don’t dispense unwanted advice to those who haven’t asked for it, but there is a saying in France that sums this up perfectly:

Trop bon, trop con

(Roughly translated: Too good, too idiotic, meaning that you’re so nice that people take advantage of you.)


He is really a good guy. A rarity, as he is so generous and works really hard as well.

He makes a shed load of money, but after taxes it is $80,000 or approximately $6667 after taxes, which normally would be enough but only if you don’t save anything significant and everyone sticks to a normal budget for eating and so on.

We’re not sure if he even has his place paid off (it isn’t super expensive), but what struck us was the extravagant spending, coaxed on by his wife to ‘treat’ her family to a vacation when they can’t afford it.

All I could say was: He needs to grow a backbone.

It is hard to see the forest for the trees when you’re in it (you don’t realize you’re lost), but the main red flag for me was the lack of savings, the heavy credit card debt, and the overspending to help family members when you frankly can’t afford it.

I already know what I’d do if I were in that situation and made aware of it, and it would be to start cooking again (they eat out for all three meals a day for the entire family), firing the housecleaner, and going on vacation and having mini luxuries (you have to live after all) but not at the expense of $15,000.

His entire family would get off scot-free because he is the only one who is in debt (in name), and making the money. What would happen if something happened to him? No idea, but I’m scared for him.

I surely spend a lot of money. A TON of money each year, and I don’t need to, but I have savings, I am not going into debt for it, and I have a solid 30+ years ahead of me to make more money, which is a good thing because I enjoy my career and seem to have found a good groove in working then taking time off as a freelancer.

His situation scares me.

I hope things work out for him but I am not so optimistic as I once was.


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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K (savings rate = 85%). I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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8 Comments

  1. Lisa

    Oh man, I feel for this guy! Half of me says “get a backbone” while the other half of my sympathizes, knowing how persuasive your loved ones can be.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      You’re telling me! We buttoned ours lip though.

      Reply
  2. Stephen

    $15k for a vacation for I assume just the 4 immediate family? If it’s for all the in laws too that might be a good deal! haha…I can’t imagine supporting that many people, especially the other adults. If you’re retired you better be able to support yourself. I know things can happen like illnesses but other than that you better not expect others to foot your bills. Good luck to your friend and growing a backbone >_<

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      $15K for just his wife and her parents (3 adults), for a month. He isn’t going, he has to work. 🙁

      Reply
  3. T
    Tim

    It sort of reminds me of this post on another blog: https://theescapeartist.me/2014/07/20/feminism-for-guys-or-how-not-to-be-a-walking-wallet/

    He needs to stop acting as a walking wallet to the family and set some expectations around other contributing to the family as well.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I hear you, Tim. It kind of scares me on his behalf. I am probably very unusual in the sense that I am rather militant about 50/50 splits on things, because I hear a lot of colleagues (male) complain about how their wife does this and that… but I also hear a sense of pride in their voice that they’re the SOLE breadwinner bringing home the bacon, and yet, when we talked to him, I felt like he was just.. desperate. He looked so sad.

      Reply
  4. r
    raluca

    I agree that this is not a normal situation – one person works and 5 adults and 2 kids enjoy the benefits, but maybe this is not the entire story. For example his wife might have to care for their ailing parents. 4 older people are a lot of work if they have limited mobility and other health issues. Or maybe they don’t need care, but they are unable to take care of the children like they first though so she has to care for the kids.
    To be sure, 15.000 dolars for a vacation is too much money when you are in debt. Actually, I would consider it too much money when you are not in debt as well, but that’s my stinginess showing. I would not agree to put my savings in peril in order to treat familly members to a vacation. We can take vacations together, sure, and I might even pay some of the costs, but there is a limit to my generosity and it does not extend to a luxury vacation for everyone while I bust my deriere working for the money. There are free things we can do as a familly that would be just as nice.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      That’s true that she might be caring for all, but as I understood it, that is not the case because they’re the ones going on vacation for $15K!!!!

      🙂 credit card debt for a vacation is dumb, doing it while in debt and for $15k is dumber. I don’t mind vacations while in debt but for a reasonable amount!!!

      Reply

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