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Ask Dave

Counseling Stupidity

Ed doesn't know how to talk to his neighbors in foreclosure, who have made poor decisions about overspending. He doesn't even have sympathy for them.

QUESTION: Ed has been working Dave’s program for a while. He has 2 neighbors in foreclosure and he’s having a hard time being compassionate with them since he thinks that their overspending, with cars and pools, is outrageous. What can he say?

ANSWER: When someone is asking your advice and they have already made their mind up, they are not asking for your advice. I’ll call them on that if they ask me. What I do when I’m counseling someone is to, by degrees, get them to admit to stupidity, instead of harping it on them all at once. Ask them about a car purchase, then the camper, then the pool, etc. Ask them if they are ready to change since they made all their decisions.

Make sure they learn something from all this pain if they are going to go through it. You can get past your anger because you are winning and they are not. People who are concerned with appearances will always be broke. Money things that work almost always hurt in the short term and win in the long term.