I wanted to write a huge post about self actualization and the quest to find what you’re meant to do, but I got sidetracked watching a friend make some really dumb money mistakes.
I have a friend. Lets call him Devon. Devon makes 6 figures working for an advertising company. He is really good at his job and as a result has/gets to entertain clients, and rub elbows with some really important people. Devon drives a leased Audi A5 (which is my dream car), and leaves in a condo downtown. From the outside, it looks like Devon has got it together, but he does not. He has debt. A lot of debt.
See thats not even the issue. Most of us are in debt. Most of us do things like buying things that we shouldn’t just to keep up with appearances.
I digress since thats a post for another day.
My problem, well not so much of problem, but my concerns about Devon as follows:
He insists on paying for everyone when we all go out.
He offers to pay for us if we tell him that we are on a budget and can’t go out.
He donates to anything that comes around. (I’m not saying that you shouldn’t donate, but it shouldn’t a competition to see who can give more)
I had a conversation with his ex-girlfriend who mentioned that he NEVER EVER let her pay for anything.
As you may or may not know, I have a minor in Psych, which makes me an Expert* in analyzing human behaviour. I feel that this behaviour makes him seem like he needs to pay for affection from others. (*Sarcasm)
I’m not making fun of him, and I do care about him dearly. Almost all of us do, but I’ve also seen his debt load. Grad school isn’t cheap in Canada, or anywhere else for that matter. Living downtown Toronto is really expensive. And the fact that he has a worse driving record than me makes me certain that his insurance rates along with his car payments are astronomical. Aside from that, I’ve seen his credit card get declined multiple times when he attempted to put $500-$800 drink tabs on his card.
I’m all for generousity. I believe that you should help out your fellow man whenever you can. I don’t believe in giving away your money when you’re in a bind yourself. Our circle of friends is made up of people who have pretty cushy jobs, and would be considered “well-off”. We can afford to pay for our own drinks, and meals, and most of us are smart enough to realize when we need to ease up on discretionary spending in order to meet our budget.
Devon, unfortunately, does not get that. He has built a reputation of being the generous guy, and is really starting to like the way people look at him. He has conditioned those around him to expect him to pay for everything. He gives great gifts, like the type of girls that makes a girl reconsider breaking up with him. And I have a feeling that he can’t give someone a book that next time.
Let’s assume for a moment that he wasn’t in debt and that he didn’t owe anyone anything. Let’s assume that he spent his entire paycheck on other people because he was known as the “generous” guy. Would that make a difference?
The reason I’m bringing this up is because he asked me to help set up a budget this week and in exchange he insists in buying me dinner at my favorite restaurant. Meals are rarely under $150 for 2 people at said restaurant. I’m having a hard time getting it through his head that he needs to look out for himself. No one is going to help him during his retirement when he’s broke. No one is going to remember him picking up the tabs 40 years from now.
Attempting to have that conversation at an expensive restaurant just doesn’t feel right.
And finally, what is your definition of generosity?