NOT long ago, a woman in California called me for advice. She is divorced, with two children, and has a series of interlocking financial problems.
She lives in a lovely home in a stylish inland enclave. It has an interest-only mortgage of about $2.2 million that requires a payment of $12,000 a month, very roughly. It was last appraised at $2.7 million, but who knows if it’s now worth anything remotely close to that price.
The woman, whom I’ve known since she was a teenager, has no job or other remunerative employment. She has a former husband, an entrepreneur whose business has suffered recently. He pays her $20,000 a month, of which roughly half is alimony and half child support. The alimony is scheduled to stop this summer.
She has a wealthy beau who pays her credit card bills and other incidentals, but she is thinking of telling him she is through with him. She has no savings and has refinanced her home repeatedly, always adding to indebtedness and then putting the money into a shop she owns that has never come close to earning a dime. Now she is up all night worrying about money. “Terrified,” as she put it. She wanted me to tell her what to do.
The stand-out points - she gets $20,000 A MONTH.
Two of those and I've reach the salary I expected to earn in my 30s. (I have working theory about always earning - at minimum - your age.)
She felt a monthly house payment of $12,000 was something a single mother could afford. An ex-husband, hell - a HUSBAND - should never, ever be considered a gravy train. They can lose jobs, too and are more than their earning potential.
She feels entitled to have her "beau" foot her credit card bills.
SHE HAS CREDIT CARD BILLS...
...while getting a $240,000 annual allowance.
If I could get half of one of her monthly checks, my debt would be gone AND I could increase my savings.
SHE HAS NO JOB OR "REMUNERATIVE EMPLOYMENT."
Do you know how many degrees you could buy with 10 years at $240k?
How many unpaid internships and research projects she could have cut her teeth on while resting in her safety net lined with angel wings and baby tears?
It says she owns a shop that loses money... any investor worth his salt (presumably these fellows she's living off of) would encourage her to GET OUT OF THAT BUSINESS.
This woman is on the dole - living beyond her means and not taking any responsibility for her situation. She is passively accepting living expenses and obviously feels entitled to the long-term continuance of this situation and her stress, her "terrified" is that she has allowed herself to rely on things that she has absolutely no control over.
And yet the tone of the article is "Poor Her."
Not poor her.
Not one bit.
Poor her kids.
But not poor her.