My little brother is getting married soon. Together, he and his wife will make about $35,000 a year.
The other day he told me he’s working on a deal to buy a $70,000 trailer, and has already put $500 toward the purchase. The deal isn’t final yet, so what can I do to convince him this is a bad idea?
Go knock him in the head and stop him!
Seriously, take this kid on a ride around town and let him have a good look at the trailers people bought in the last few years. You can practically see the money draining out of them.
A trailer is just about the largest purchase you can make that will go down in value. It’s like a car you sleep in! If you bought a $70,000 trailer three years ago, it would be worth about $30,000 now. That’s not what I call a wise investment.
If it was my little brother and I had the money, I’d pay him $500 just to walk away from the deal. He’s looking at the trailer like it’s a dinky little house, but here’s the difference. If he buys a small $70,000 home, at least the thing is going to go up in value.
I’m not badmouthing people who live in trailers here, Doug. I’m badmouthing trailers. Call them trailers, mobile homes — whatever. They’re a bad place to stick your money!
I lost my job a few months ago. My wife works, but she doesn’t make much money, and we also have three kids. I’m still trying to keep up my credit card payments, but next month I know I’ll be late and they’ll start adding fees.
In all, I have about $60,000 in debt and that includes payments on a $20,000 car. I don’t know how to handle the situation anymore.
The first thing you need to do is sell that car. You can’t afford a $20,000 car when you’re $60,000 in debt. And really, the credit cards are the least of your worries.
What you need is an overall game plan. You don’t have a debt crisis as much as you have a career crisis.
You need to be delivering pizzas or throwing boxes at UPS tonight! You’ve got to do something to get some money going, even if it’s not on the level of what you were doing before. A thousand or $1,200 a month doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’ll go a long way in keeping the wolf away from the door.
And when you’re not working, you need to be pounding the pavement looking for a real job. With a wife and family, you’ve got some big responsibilities, man. There are good jobs out there, but you’ve got to get out and make it happen.
What you’ve been doing is honorable, but right now the credit card companies can wait. They’ll fuss and threaten, but your family needs to come first. Take care of the basics before anything else — food, clothing, shelter, transportation and utilities.
Then, you can take care of the credit sharks with whatever is left!
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