Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chris McGinty – Enemy of Debt - Episode Three

by Chris McGinty (According To Whim .com)

Welcome to Episode Three of: Chris McGinty – Enemy of Debt

For an explanation of this feature, and disclaimers that talk about how I’m not a professional money anything, go to Episode One. If you are caught up to speed though, we’ll begin discussing my friend who called me in financial desperation on July 10, 2011. Out of some, perhaps slight respect for his privacy, I’m not using his real name. I am instead referring to him as Genghis Conway Twitty.

Last week, I discussed how my boss did me a solid, and hired Genghis part time. At first, I thought the number of hours Genghis would work might end up being one of those things that we had to argue about, because he said he wouldn’t get enough sleep, and I explained that I’m losing sleep too, and it’s not even my money problems. Once he saw being a guard as a part time job wasn’t all that bad, he picked up an extra shift on the weekend, in addition to working on both of his nights off. The three shifts didn’t come out to too many hours, maybe around 20, which means that a lot of his first check will go to his uniform, but at least there will be something there, and in two weeks it will be a little better.

The nice thing about Genghis having a part time job is that, unlike his full time job, child support won’t be pulled out of his check. This means that for every hour he works he will have a full amount, minus taxes and the initial uniform cost, to throw at his debt.

So he started on July 13, 2011. I led him to the post, and gave him directions home. I was on my way to Nathan’s to finish shooting the scripted portions of Season Two, when I got a call from Genghis that he had a flat tire. A rock punctured his tire. He wanted me to bring him Fix-a-Flat to see if that would work rather than him having to put the spare on. I told him it would help him pass that time to put the spare on. Sounds cruel; but let me explain about his tires.

In February of 2011, which is actually where most of his trouble started, the Fort Worth/Dallas area had a very bad few days with ice. My boss approved me for overtime that week so that I could pay for a hotel room two miles from my post, and I could cover the post as many hours as possible. It was an odd time. Genghis, meanwhile, was driving to or from work, and lost control of the van, and hit a curb pretty hard. He broke something on the axel. Since then the van has had alignment trouble, and wears through tires like fucking crazy. This is why a rock was able to puncture his tire. He had no tread.

This is why I had to go the next day to get him a used tire. One goal in all of this is to get the van fixed, but I’m not going to loan him money for brand new tires that will just wear out in a month. I’m not sure if rotating the tires very frequently will help or not. It’s something we might have to look into. Who cares if they’re properly balanced if the tires are just getting eaten away anyway?

After this, I just hit this point where I had to catch up on some sleep. Truthfully, this may or may not have hurt the cause. If he does qualify for another payday loan that can stop the late fees and the eviction, then I should have got up Friday morning and helped him. If the title loan can be transferred, I should have got up and helped him. But I was so damn tired.

The next time we got together to work on this problem was the following Monday, July 18, 2011. At the guard job we get our schedules on Monday, and either turn in our timesheets, or the alternate week we get our paychecks. Luckily, this was timesheet week, which means that Genghis will get a check sooner, but, unfortunately, with less on it.

After this, we went to a payday loan place across the street from my former Papa John’s Job. Genghis had mistakenly listed one of his previous payday loans in his phone as being from ACE. It turned out that this place was another branch of the place he got one of his loans. She brought up some sort of title loan that was structured more like a bank loan than a payday loan. Genghis explained that he already had a title loan.

She told him that he was using payday loans wrong, “You should only use them in emergencies. You got a loan with us for $500, and you’ve probably already paid back $500, without paying any part of the loan.” She gave us a list of places that could do signature loans, and one woman who she said was pretty good about getting the loans made. We will likely look into this soon to see if we can at least get rid of the payday loans, and their excessive fees.

We went to ACE next, since he apparently didn’t have a loan there. Here’s the thing. They offered him a loan for $400. I was reluctant to tell him to take it, because it wasn’t enough to cover the rent and the fees associated with it. The apartments told us the eviction process would be stopped if we at least paid the rent portion. He was willing to believe them, though I wasn’t quite so trusting. So I told him to go ahead and get it, figuring that if they still tried to push the eviction, I could cover the fees, very reluctantly.

So we were waiting on the $400, and he looked at me and said, “The only thing I’m asking from this is $20 to get cigarettes.”

I just said, “No.”

He said, “Why not?”

I said, “Because this doesn’t cover your whole rent, and you’re about to get evicted.”

I could not believe that after everything that this guy was still making the immediate leap from “I have money” to “I have to buy unnecessary things,” completely skipping “I’m in a terrible financial situation, and need to get some bills paid.”

I promise you, I’m not going to put up with this shit for too long, even if it means no feature. Remember I mentioned there was a last time that I helped him? The reason one of my stipulations was that he listen to me 100% is because the last time we had arguments every two weeks that he had to have cigarettes, he had to have his day of beer drinking (because he only got to unwind once every two weeks), and he had to have $20 to rent movies. This was nearly $100 out of every check that was going to his vices when he was in bad financial shape; not as bad as now, but bad enough. I basically refuse to have those arguments every time again.

Join me next time when I talk about our further attempts to fix his situation, and I explain why I went ahead and bought the fucker cigarettes.

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