The Whole Truth?

I have a friend that unexpectedly lost her high-paying, high profile job in October, 2008. Given that she was the major bread winner in the family and he was self-employed with little to no income, friends and family were extremely concerned for their well-being and offers of financial assistance poured in. Soon afterwards, it was revealed that she and her husband had a mortgage in excess of $300,000 and she had credit card debt in excess on $60,000, plus loans for a car and motorcycle.

I realize that everyone gets in over their head from time to time, but would like to believe that most of us would see this unfortunate turn of events as a sign that perhaps we need to reevaluate our spending habits and maybe make cutbacks to our existing lifestyles – particularly in light of the economy.

Such has not been the case. She (not her husband) has taken no less than 5 vacations within the last 9 months and I’m not talking about mini-weekend getaways. I’m talking full-fledged Caribbean and Hawaiian vacations. When asked by her friends why she was still spending uncontrollably, her response was “Well, when I get a job, I might not be able to have vacations right away, so I’m taking advantage of it now.” The most disturbing part, she has another one planned in November, which happens to be the same one I’m going one.

I know you’re asking “so what”? Well, she hasn’t told her husband that she booked them on this trip (with a credit card she isn’t supposed to have). He has adamantly refused to partake in any other of the vacations she has gone on because he believes they should be saving their money. Duh! With that said, if she doesn’t tell him soon, all of us going on this trip, which happens to be 28 of their friends, will have to deal with the fallout and tension that this deceit is going to bring upon their relationship.

You would think the craziness would end there, but sadly, it doesn’t. My other friend is planning on stepping in to save the unemployed friend from having to tell her husband the truth, by weaving an even bigger web of lies on her behalf and is expecting the 28 of us to participate.

Here is her plan: she plans on telling the husband that all of his 28 friends have pitched in their frequent flyer miles to purchase their airline tickets and they also pitched in $50 each of pay for their accommodations and scuba diving. Believable?

In my opinion this is a recipe for disaster and so many things are bound to go horribly wrong. I have already expressed my concern with her elaborate scheme, as have a number of our friends, but to no avail.

What’s wrong with the truth? It’s like a ripping off a band-aid – it might hurt when you’re doing it, but the sooner you do it, the sooner the healing begins.

I need some new friends…the ones I have are defective and that’s the TRUTH.


Wow, that sounds like lots of drama. I hate getting pulled into that kinda stuff--it's sort of our of your control, but since you're going on the trip, you may look guilty by association. It sounds to me like this woman has a serious spending problem and needs professional help. It's impossible to dig yourself out of a hole as big as she is making in her finances, especially if she's in denial and lying to her husband about it.
CrazyCris said…
oh my!

I can understand the wanting to take advantage of (forced) time to do that one big trip you know you won't be able to once you get back to work... but just the one! (I did it myself, a 3-week trip to visit my sister in New Zealand with my parents, used up most of my savings but they covered most of the on-stie costs. With a job it would be almost impossible to get enough time off at the right time of year for such a trip)

But no way 5 vacations!!! And specially if they're only getting by thanks to the financial help of friends and family!

I know the cost of living is higher in the States, but it's also so much easier there to allow yourself to be taken in by the consumerist way of life... and it's just so easy to get into debt!

I know when my parents lived in the States they barely managed to get by with my Dad's paycheck (my mom worked on and off depending on the situation) and a lot of things went on credit cards and loans house, car etc). But here's an idea of how things are quite a bit different over here... when they moved in '97 they went through a 50% cut in earnings (basically my Dad's retirement is 52% of his salary). My mom now works full time for the Spanish governemnt, but that salary barely makes up for the loss in my dad's pension due to the drop in dollar value... so they're earning about 1/2 what they did in the US... and yeah it's tight (a mortgage will do that to you, as well as helping out daughters prolonging their education in various points of the globe), but they're still managing a hell of a lot better than when they lived in the US! Yes the cost of living is (slightly) lower, but the bigger impact is that there's a less of a buying impulse, the "I need" "I want factor" (although my dad does give in much more frequently than my mom likes, lol!)

good lord! I seem to have written my own post in response! sorry!

anyhow, try not to worry about it too much... just enjoy your holiday! I want to hear all about that diving!!! :o)
Brian Miller said…
i imagine this will make the trip a little hard to i was there once...hocking everything just to pay the grocery bill....never go back.
If she was over-indulging in alcohol and you were helping her spin her web of denial it would be called "enabling".
That's crazy! It seems she is going through denial, maybe what you and your friends need to do is host an intervention because her attitude will eventually alienate friends, family, and especially her husband. Money issues are never easy to deal with to begin but her attitude will make matters worse in the end. I do not envy your position at the moment. It may sound a little cold on my part but hey she got herself there, she needs to realize she needs to get herself out too.

Just try to enjoy yourself and try not to worry about her situation.
Sylvia said…
That's disastrous. The truth is always the best way - after all, the sooner we face the problems, the sooner we can find solutions. One person can't do it alone ad as a family, we all sail in the same boat. Right?
JW.BW said…
I totally agree. You have to tell the truth!! And maybe she's having a little bout with depression or something which is why shes always escaping. Be there for her as best as you can, but dont compromise your morals for someone else... real friends wouldnt exspect you to!!!
Thanks everyone for your feedback - I certainly appreciate it.

@FG - Drama is always at the forefront with these people, but I guess it keeps life interesting. On the upside, we aren't staying at the same resort at them, so we will only see them occasionally.

@CrazyCris - I agree, you would think one trip should be enough, but no so. I also agree with the need vs. want factor and this one has always been a problem for her.

@Brian - As I mentioned to FG, at least my husband and I are staying at a different resort, so our time with the rest of the "drama queens" will be limited. This has been a problem in the past, so we were somewhat prepared for it this time.

@SA - Your right, she is in denial and has been for many years!

@Sylvia - I agree, truth is the best, but some of my friends can't seem to understand that and I think that is what bothers me most of all.

@JW - You are right, she probably is using these vacations as a way of escaping reality. No worries, I won't compromise my morals for anyone. You're right, real friends wouldn't expect me too.
@Bonnie - Yes, I agree, but I refuse to enable anyone, regardless of who they are.
K13 said…
HOLY MOLY!! Well, in the very least, it does give you blogging material...there was really nothing more for me to say that hasn't already been said....

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