Thursday, February 12, 2009

A friend's sad story

A friend of mine has been going through some really hard times lately, and I think that her story really emphasizes a lot of don'ts in personal finance.  Within the past few months she lost her job (in a completely ridiculous way) and now her boyfriend, whom she lives with, just broke up with her.  

I'll mention the job loss because it is just completely insane.  She had a part-time job (at a really shady day-care/school) and she just graduated from college.  Upon her graduation, she was talking to her boss about taking a few days off, and her boss informed her about how she (my friend) was leaving at the end of January.  My friend had no idea what she was talking about, because she never mentioned anything about leaving her job once she graduated.  Her boss (evil!) basically said, "Oh but you graduated.  You need a better job now.  So your last day will be at the end of January."

My friend was furious and within a few days was told by her boss to "just leave already."  When she filed for unemployment, she received the first check, but then got a letter saying that her boss told them she quit her job two months ago.  Meanwhile, the boss has been going around the school telling everyone that she fired my friend.

When my friend went in to pick up her last paycheck (since her boss couldnt' be bothered to mail it), she saw her boss' brother sitting at her old desk.  Nice.

So, she started going on interviews for a new job, trying to stay as positive as possible.  She was offered a job with a salary of $14,500.  She accepted it, since she didn't know if she could find anything better.  Keep in mind, we live in NYC.  $14,500 is NOTHING but an insult, especially since it required a college degree.

So then, her boyfriend of 5 years breaks up with her.  Keep in mind, they just renewed their lease for the apartment in NOVEMBER.  So now, besides dealing with the emotional pain of a breakup, she is responsible for half of the rent on an apartment she will not be living in for 9 months, or until the management company can find a new renter.  Her half will be $700 a month!  Plus, her apartment needs major work including a new kitchen and bathroom, so I'm sure that the management company will just love getting paid rent to do the work and take their sweet time doing so.  She will also need to find a new place to live, and that will be at least another $700, and that would be a studio apartment with no windows in someone's basement.

Besides all of this, she literally has NOTHING.  She has 10k in credit card debt because they were never able to make ends meet anyway, and all of her bank accounts are shared with him.  She literally has no idea what she will be able to do, except move back upstate with her parents, which is something she desperately wants to avoid.

Lessons Learned:

  • Don't combine all of your bank accounts with anyone.  Period.  Especially before you are married.  She literally has nothing of her own, and who knows how the splitting of their bank accounts will go.  Every woman NEEDS to have an emergency fund.  It's just a matter of protecting yourself.  I have funds (albeit quickly plummeting in the stock market) that are mine and mine alone.  When my mom mentioned putting my husband's name on this account, my husband refused stating that it is my money.  Now of course, we have accounts together now, and that is where 95% of my attention is focused, but at least I have something on my own in case something ever happened.  I don't think this is dooming my marriage to fail (as some financial gurus might argue).  I am simply being realistic.
  • Her boyfriend is a jerk.  He told her that he has been unhappy for YEARS.  If this is true, why the hell did he renew the lease just a few months ago?!  I think that the renewal of a lease should accompany reflection on whether you are truly content with the situation for the next year.  A signature is a promise and now he is also responsible for $700 a month that he also cannot afford.  He is throwing close to 13k (combined) in the garbage, because he was not responsible enough to realize what signing a lease truly meant.
  • I would have lived with my husband before we were married, except my mother would have murdered me and cried forever.  I've never had an issue with living with someone before marriage and I have no moral qualms with it.  This situation scares me, because she has absolutely no legal standing.  He is breaking up with her because he needs some time to "find himself."  Plus, even though this situation has much of the trauma of a divorce, her family is not treating it as a divorce.  So while she is heartbroken and devastated, she is also getting a total "told you so" attitude from her family.

1 comment:

Fabulously Broke said...

Wow. :(

I am.. so sorry for her heartbreak, her losses and what she's going through.

The good news is that if she has hit bottom, she can only go up from here.