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July 08, 2009


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I sure hope there aren't many people out there who would make their kids car payments on a Porsche. If you can't afford a luxury car then you shouldn't have a luxury car.

I agree with you on everything. For the first time in my life I had someone ask me for money two days ago, and I'm still mad about it. For that person, it was actually a culturally acceptable thing to do...for me, it was not. I'm trying not to be mad for that reason but it annoys me. I took my time and explained my position and I think all is understood. Now I just have to get over it :)

You'll find this hilarious...I basically agree with all of these except #2, and my feelings on #2 are largely driven by the fact that you've got no leverage to "hold" these people to their commitment, so that's not much of a solution.

I just can't ever imagine asking anyone other than family or having someone ask me to "help" with their child's tuition. you gotta find a way to pay your own way in life - if you can't, perhaps a year of community college or work/part time school is in order here....otherwise, I pretty much agree with the responses....

I agree with Jim. Ever since I was a little boy, I wanted a Porsche. When the time came that I could finally afford one, I simply paid cash for it, on the spot. That was one year ago and I have never been happier.

There was no way I was not going to have it, but there was also no way I was going to go into debt for it, especially since it's clearly an unneeded luxury. (My company give me a company car, which I use for work and pleasure, so I certainly did not need another vehicle.)

The Porsche has also opened many new opportunities for my family and I. Almost every weekend, we show it at car shows or do other Porsche-related events, together as a family. It's great!

I agree with almost all your comments. I would, however consider my employees' financial situation before i make the decision to let them go. And you can get out of a financial emergency by taking an unsecured loan.

Wow, so sad that #1 wasn't so obvious to Money. I can't believe how many things are necessities for our kids and ourselves but not our elderly parents. Its so disgraceful. (And quite the cop out by Money to say "Finally, remember: Opportunity is priceless. Sell your jewelry, sell your car -- whatever you need to do to be able to invest in your child's future." I thought we were having to choose between these tough choices of your dad losing his home and the special school, now we have jewelry to sell?)

Julie - its one thing if this is your own business, but if you are a non-equity manager this is a dangerous road to go down...

I agree with all of your comments. Regarding #3, personal circumstances should have NO bearing on who stays vs. who goes. Otherwise, you end up rewarding the people who can tell the best sob story, not the best performers. Plus, there are plenty of people who keep their personal lives private and separate from work, so an employer can never be sure that it even knows the actual personal situation of each employee. It's very possible that the employees who are in the roughest financial spots are there because of their own poor money habits.

I'll add that I agree with FMF on all counts. Strick and Julie said it well regarding number 3.

We give our 14 year old daughter $9/week allowance (because she's in 9th grade) plus $10/week to mow the lawn. If she wants to go to the movies or go out to eat with friends on the weekend we'll give her just enough to go to the movie. A couple days ago she went to a weekday matinee with friends and asked if I would reimburse her. I said no. The deal is I'll pay for a weekend treat but if I start paying for weekday outings she'll want to go all the time. She accepted it without question because even though she knows I'm a softie, when we make a deal I hold her to it.

My takes:

#1) If you didn't hire your housekeeper as a charity case, why hang on to her as such? That's the easiest cut. Picking between your dad's old house and your daughter's music program depends very much on how sentimental your dad is, how much your daughter is looking forward to the program, and what alternatives you have.

#2) Carefully document the situation with the neighbor's tree, including the warnings you give him about the danger it's posing to your garage. Document any offer to provide him a loan to let him take care of the problem, and definitely document any money you actually pay out for it. In other words, cover all your legal bases, so that if the tree creams your garage because he didn't deal with it OR if you pay to deal with it and he doesn't repay you, you can take him to court and win the money he owes you. For your brother, a mere promise of repayment might be plenty. It's not usually worth taking family to court.

#3) Your own money is for charity. Your company's money is not. Make your business decisions based on business. Everyone you're dealing with is an adult; they can get another job or find a way to cut expenses, and if they can't, that's their problem and their responsibility.

#4) Be honest and straightforward. "I can't afford this, but I can afford [x]" is a perfectly fair response. Of course, be reasonable -- if your buddy cut back for several months to be able to afford to be your best man, do the same. But if it's out of reach for you, there's no shame in saying so.

#5) Your son can do without his Porsche. As for your friend, it's probably better to give than loan money (he can still repay a gift, but he's not stressed or obligated to.) It might be more valuable to help him figure out how to pay for it himself, though, so that'd be my first approach. If he really is doing everything financially right and just doesn't have the money, then I'm perfectly willing to give a gift to help.

These are all pretty much no-brainers, IMO.

Family first (#1), company first if you're an employee (#2), learn to say "no" (#4), and/or "h*ll no!" when appropriate (#5)!

#2 is potentially a stumper, but of course the trick is there's nothing you can actually do in either case. You just have to wait (for your neighbor; or for the tree to fall so you can call your insurance company) or stop waiting (for your relative to chip in). Fortunately, counting your blessings helps pass the time!

#1. My housekeeper is a family friend who used to live in a house with a dirt floor. I hire her to give her an extra opportunity to earn money (she's full time at my in-laws and comes to our house once a week). If it weren't for my in-laws and us employing her, she would probably still have a dirt floor and wouldn't be able to afford shoes for her kids.

If you're wondering why my answers sound extreme, it's because I live in Chilean pesos. However, I'd just like to say that though we may be earning and spending in pesos not dollars, the sentiment is the same. Your response to number one really irked me, as if it's ever that simple in real life.

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