Thursday, August 4, 2011

Chris McGinty – Enemy of Debt - Episode Four

by Chris McGinty (According To Whim .com)

Welcome to Episode Four 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 Conroe Texas.

Last week, I explained how we found a payday loan place that was willing to loan Genghis $400, and he immediately wanted to buy cigarettes with it. We found out that since he had never had a payday loan with them before (a minor miracle that only happened because he thought he did) that if he paid it in full in two weeks that he wouldn’t have to pay a fee. I told him we needed to keep that in mind, because not having to pay $89 for the fee would be helpful.

When we got in my truck, I took the money from him and put it in my pocket. This was my way of trying to get it in his head that all of his money is going away for a while, and he has no control over it. Whether I’m the one “controlling” his money or not, if he doesn’t do what he’s supposed to, he loses his home, his vehicle, and he might end up divorced. I’ll have to explain the other possible consequences later when I explain what happened last time.

We went and got the money order for the rent, and then we went to my bank, where I pulled out money to pay my bills with, and to help him out a little. We went to pay on his cell phone, which was what I was thinking we should do with the $38 he had left over from the payday loan, before he announced that he wanted cigarettes. Paying the phone was necessary, because as a guard, he really needs it for general purposes, and specifically to clock in and clock out. I had to loan him $5 for the rest of the phone bill.

Then we went next door to a discount cigarette store. I loaned him the money for a carton of a cheap brand. I gave him one pack out of it, and told him I would give him another on Wednesday when we had to get together for various reasons.

He was taken aback, and told me that he couldn’t make a pack of cigarettes last for two days. I pointed out that it was only a day and a half, since I would have to be there first thing in the morning. He asked me what he was going to do on his guard shift. I told him he could take up walking around as a hobby. I explained that I wasn’t going to ask him to quit cold turkey, but I wasn’t going to loan him enough money to continue smoking at the rate he smokes, which is over $100 a month. He was going to cut back until he learned to pay his bills, and I really think he should just quit in general.

After that, we went to the apartments and paid the rent, but not the fees. They said they would stop the eviction process if we did that much. They did.

We sat down, and I had him list his bills, and I demonstrated to him that since part of his rent is paid with government assistance, and they get food stamps that he has enough to pay his bills each month. This was including child support and health insurance, which according to him was the source of all his financial problems.
He didn’t seem to believe me, and I told him that the reason is because he never pays his bills first, so he only knows that after he buys what he wants that he doesn’t have enough money left over, and that the payday loans makes it worse. This may be the only time that I think he may have completely understood what I’ve been trying to tell him, but I didn’t have much hope that he would remember it long.

I spoke in Part One about how this is sort of a game for me, in that I can win or lose, but not because I’m taking it lightly. Genghis makes enough money, but he misuses it. Most of my adult life, I just haven’t made enough, so my finances aren’t much of a game. This is not to say that I don’t think about my money, and try to go as long as I can without having to ask for help. It’s not a game when the odds are stacked against you, it’s more like the old Atari games where you don’t every defeat the game, you just see how long you can stay alive, and if you can get a high score. If I made more than my basic necessities, it would also not be a game, because barring uncontrollable catastrophe, I would pay my bills first, save, and then spend what I had left over. No game there. This situation, on the other hand has many moving parts.

This of course means that Season Two of “Chris McGinty – Enemy of Debt” will be trying to combat Nathan’s debt by trying to pay it all off, except maybe the house, by the end of 2012 (they say the world will end in 2012, and they also say the world will end the day Nathan pays off his last credit card), though I really doubt Nathan would let me direct that much of his life, even if he thought I could help him achieve the goal.

Season Three will be trying to pay my debt to my dad in a year. This will be even harder than Nathan’s.

Season Four? National debt. Nuff said. Though I wouldn’t mind if someone else figured that one out before I have a chance to. And that would probably be the last season, because what’s more impressive than fixing the national debt? Oh wait. MC Hammer.

As of this writing, we have managed to pay the late fees on his rent, but we have also run into some further difficulty. I’ll explain next time about the late fees, and the difficulties. Not trying to sound all melodramatic, and make this out to be a big cliffhanger, but as of right now, I’m not sure how we’re going to pay things off. The only answer I see right now is putting myself into a risky position by loaning him some real money. It’s not that risky from the perspective of if he’ll pay me back or not (I would seriously beat the shit out of him if he didn’t after all of this, seriously), but it’s risky from the perspective that I have to rely on him maintaining a job, and how long it will take for him to pay me back.

With that I’ll just say: See you next time.

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