It all started with an iPhone (Or, why mixing family and money only leads to dramas)

iPhone vs. iPhone 3G

Image by Ricky Romero via Flickr

As you may have inferred from this post, among others, T and I are from different sides of the tracks. It became obvious early on that family and money issues would probably be our biggest ones and if any the ones that could break us. (Initially, I wished they were my family. That was shortly after I first moved out and was still not on great terms with my family. But I’ve come to realise that demonstrativeness and liberalness are not more important than security and stability – in fact they might be less so. I am at least grateful to my parents for setting responsible examples and being good providers despite their shortcomings.)

I will not hesitate to call off the wedding if it becomes apparent that T is bent on a path to financial destruction by continuing to help out family who can’t help themselves. But I have good reason to believe he’s not. He is, to my shame, unabashedly materialistic. Remember when we were robbed (never ever forget to lock up, people)? I didn’t tell anyone because I was so humiliated. He preferred to brag about our new and slightly bigger TV. *rolls eyes*. He wants an iPhone, a motorbike, a project car…he wants all those toys and he wants them NOW. And letting family bleed him dry is not going to help him achieve that.

We agreed we had to pay this bill, because it’s his name and his credit at stake (there goes about a quarter of his savings). She says she’ll pay him back, but who knows whether that will happen. T says he doesn’t want to have this come between him and his sister…as if her idiotic actions hadn’t already seen to that. I still don’t know where her $450 went; it went to Telecom, but not to the correct account. Who knows, who cares – it’s not worth our time and trouble trying to chase that up or, more accurately, chase her to sort it out. The problem of course is broke people often move around a lot. And if they’re irresponsible, sometimes companies don’t always know their latest address. So all these debt collection letters have been going to the wrong house.

It was extremely hard for me to deal with from the sidelines. I went from putting my foot down  (“this will NEVER happen again” – to which he said the only person he would ever do this for is his mother – who doesn’t exactly have stellar credit either – because, he says, she at least has a decent head on her shoulders and pays bills on time)  to a more gentle “I hope you’ll talk to me if anyone ever asks you again” to which he said I’ll just say hell no (Much better. ) Like I say, he really has made every financial mistake and I think once in this case is enough, especially given the public humiliation PLUS all the subsequent drama with Vodafone bureaucracy and trying to get the damn iPhone. Which he finally has, along with an assurance the the first month will be waived. (Ironically, I’m still waiting on my work phone).

T is increasingly getting frustrated with his sister, and has had strong words to her more than once recently, apparently telling her that enough is enough from him after this latest debacle. It is hard when there are kids involved. And of course they will always be taken care of. But ultimately nobody will put us first except, well, us.

Five years from now it will roll off his record, and in five years we’ll be 28 and probably only just scraping together a down payment in this overpriced city. I’d much rather this have happened now, than later on.

11 thoughts on “It all started with an iPhone (Or, why mixing family and money only leads to dramas)

  • Reply revanche June 30, 2011 at 14:00

    Well now. Obviously, been there, done that spectacularly, stupidly. I suppose never in a way I could not cover, of course, so my credit was never in danger, but it sure was a lot of waste. And the earlier this is realized, the better.

    So, glad that it was not much much worse!

  • Reply Financial Samurai July 2, 2011 at 16:25

    Yikes! Sooner the better for sure. Disappear and pretend you guys have a negative bank account!

  • Reply Fabulously frugirl July 3, 2011 at 03:35

    Yikes. I agree That it’s better you guys learned this lesson now than later. Coming from a big family, I see how money problem caused a problems between my family. Mostly, the problems were from my relatives. How much to give to my grand mother for her trips abroad, how much to help with my aunts for insurance, etc.

    Unfortunately, I feel families tend to take advantage of the ones who are more well off. That’s why I can spill my money guts to the Internet but pretend that I am broke to my relatives. Harsh, maybe, but it seems to work.

  • Reply Stephanie July 5, 2011 at 20:06

    My dad had similar troubles with his younger brother. What my dad did in the end was actually just cut ties with his brother, after he realized that his brother would never learn his lesson, and that he couldn’t afford to pay my and my brother’s college tuition in addition to supporting his younger brother. I’d advise your brother to pull out of his family’s finances as soon as possible. It’s harsh to not take care of your own family, but they’re taking advantage of him for their own gain. That’s not okay, even from your own family.

  • Reply Financial Success for Young Adults July 7, 2011 at 06:14

    It’s really hard to not let family members ‘borrow’ money that you know you will never see again. But aside from kicking the crutch out from underneath her, how else will she be able to survive? Maybe slow and steady would be best. And a diminishing allowance until there is no more money coming her way.

  • Reply Nicky at Not My Mother July 7, 2011 at 13:20

    I so understand because I’m going through it with my inlaws too. What’s frustrating in our situation is the parents keep on helping out Dave’s sisters, and then we’re supposed to help them out. (Latest thing: we have to go halves to buy his mum a child carseat for her car, which would be fine except the reason she doesn’t have one is she gave the one she had to his sister. Why are we having to pay to replace somethign we didn’t take?)

    i think it’s a million times harder when it’s your inlaws because at the end of the day it’s not so much your business, no matter how it affects you. And no matter how much Dave says he’s not going to do it anymore, I also know he’ll not let his parents go without. It just pisses me off that the reason they go without is because they’re so crap with money and keep buying things for the sisters, who then bleat that they can’t afford to help them, so it all falls to us. It feels like we’re being punished for making smart decisions and being relatively successful.

  • Reply Amber July 13, 2011 at 12:54

    Ha – trust me, I KNOW what you’re going through. E’s brother “borrowed” his truck once, drove it drunk and without a license and got in an accident. Who do you think got stuck with the $1,800 insurance bill?

    Moving E far, far away from his family has been the best thing for us when it comes to avoiding the money issues with them. His mom still asks occasionally but for the most part he’s been good about saying no (to big money amounts) and I’ve gotten over it when it comes to small money amounts (less than $100 – this is only about once every few months now anyways – used to be once every week when we lived in the same city).

    I think E has slowly come to realize that is family will NEVER pay him back for money he lends them so just best to not lend it to them anymore!

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