Monday, June 6, 2011

Preparing for Disaster Series (Part 4 of 10): People Problems

One type of disaster that can sneak up on you when you least expect it is problems caused by other people. You can be living your life, happy as a clam, financially stable, and secure in your preparedness then "BAM!" someone calls you with a problem that while it isn't your problem, they may want to make it so. Here are our ten rules for dealing with people problems:

  1. We never co-sign for anything for any one. This includes but is not limited to: cell phone contracts, cars, mortgages, loans, credit cards, student loans, etc.

  2. We do keep a separate emergency fund to help others if needed. There isn't a lot in this fund but with a giant family, it is pretty much a given that someone will need help and if we are so inclined, then at least we will have the money on hand.

  3. We don't loan money to anyone for anything. If we have the money to offer and we feel it is a worthy cause we will gladly offer it as a gift but we never loan money then expect to get it back because past experience has shown that this only leads to disappointment and relationship drama.

  4. We don't bail people out of jail. This rule was instituted when the boys became teenagers. Our feeling was that if you got arrested you were most likely at fault no matter what the Miranda warning says and if you choose to do something illegal you can sit in jail until you can work the problem out with the judge.

  5. We won't buy from your MLM business, go to a presentation that is trying to sell us something, become one of your MLM "downlinks", or otherwise enter into a "great business opportunity" with anyone.

  6. I won't enter into a business partnership with anyone. I have seen way too many business partnerships crash and burn to think this is a good idea. I will, however, provide you information, moral support, consulting if it is within the realm of my business expertise, and otherwise support you into your new business if you would like.

  7. The hubby and I freely provide: someone to vent to/talk to, a free meal if you stop by the house, a place to sleep in an emergency, a free ride if you have been drinking, moral support, useful information, help with a wide variety of problems/projects if we have the time, and provide other non-financial assistance whenever possible.

  8. We won't sell you anything on credit. Mostly this involves the sale of cars and other larger items that people may not have the money for. Trying to collect the money a year down the line on more than one occasion in one of these deals has turned us off of this permanently.

  9. We don't take sides and we don't like drama. Having a big family and lots of friends, there is bound to be drama between people and families from time to time. We like to stay "above it all" as firstly, we don't like drama, gossip, or rumors; secondly, unless a person has earned our wrath personally, there are always multiple sides to an issue; thirdly, we live far enough away from the bulk of the family to be able to stay out of local dramas; and fourthly, these things usually work themselves out eventually so we will just wait. And stay neutral. Like Switzerland.

  10. We treat people how we would like to be treated, namely, with honor, respect, patience, humor, and firm parameters so as to avoid miscommunications and other inter-personal issues. We expect the same in return.


  1. This is an excellent list! I agree with everything you wrote. #9 is my absolute favorite! We don't like drama either and we do everything we can to avoid it. Great post and great advice!

  2. The rules are perfect! I agree 110%!!

  3. These are all good rules. In the past, I have co-signed for family members.

  4. Thanks ladies! I guess most of these are "live and learn" type lessons that we all go through at some point in our lives. It's the financial impact of these that teach us to never do that again!

  5. I agree with everything you wrote. My husbands family had the hardest time realizing they were not going to get anymore money out of him once we were married.

    I might have to print this out, and keep it for future reference


  6. Having your "rules" upfront saves a lot of drama.

    It is so easy to say, without emotion, "Oh we would love to do what you ask, but we have a rule in our family that we don't (insert rule)"
    No arguing, no shame, no hurt feelings.

    Excellent Post!

  7. Amen to that sister. We have co-signed for our kids cars but our name is on the title allowing us to take them back if payments are not made. Great list. I hate drama. So why do I run a dance studio with 3 daughters? Where did I go wrong?:)

  8. Judy and Cassie--I know what you mean. It is so easy to just give when asked because after all, it is someone you know and love (usually family and friends) who is asking. Unfortunately, the drama comes when you don't get paid back or creditors come after you for co-signing the loan so what started out as good intentions on everyone's part ends up in disaster. With clear rules, we aren't even tempted to say yes in these situations.
    Kim--Sounds like your dance studio has been super busy lately (and with three girls drama is pretty much unavoidable!) but it sounds like everything is working out well for you. p.s. For some reason I can't post comments on your blog--I'll try to figure out how to fix this.