Certified financial planner Wes Moss provides personal finance advice and accessible investment strategies. His guest post appears here weekly.
Love means never having to say you’re sorry. But it also means sometimes having to say, “You are being really dumb with your money.” That can be hard. That’s why I’m pleased to offer this template letter for sharing your loving concern with a less-than-responsible family member or friend.
Dear [insert Crazy Loved One's name],
All of us love you and want you to be happy. We love [your new girlfriend/boyfriend] and will be ecstatic if your relationship continues to bloom and grow. You guys are a wonderful match.
Did I mention we love you? That’s why I’m asking you to reconsider your plans to buy a [house/rental property/matching jet skis] with [significant other]. I am afraid you are putting a fragile but promising financial future at risk.
[X] months ago you came to us looking for financial help. You were running out of money because you were overspending on a modest income. We urged you to focus on your career by developing new skills and pursuing opportunities for advancement. We also suggested that you create a household budget to get your spending under control.
You’ve made progress on both the income and spending fronts. But now you are threatening to undo all your good work by purchasing a [house/rental property/matching jet skis] with someone that you have been dating for just a few months. What’s changed? Have you amassed enough money to pay for this purchase? If so, you’d be better off putting that money in a rainy day fund that can see you through emergencies and future tough times. Yes, I know that you plan to make this purchase with [significant other], which makes you feel like you have more than enough money to handle the obligation. But what if – heaven forbid – you guys break up in six months?
Please don’t spend this money now. Instead, try to live in the moment and enjoy all the great things in your life.
Be happy about finding [significant other]. Be happy that business has rebounded and you are making money again. Be happy that your family loves you.
Do this for a year. See if things between you and [significant other] work out long-term. See if business continues to improve in the coming months. See if you can build enough financial strength to make major purchases without involving your family members. Remember, [houses/rental properties/matching jet skis] will still be available a year from now.
We know you’ll make the right decision.
– By Wes Moss, for Atlanta Bargain Hunter