Let Her Pay Her Own Bills

Jeremy has a relative who is in rehab for drug addiction. Jeremy discovered about $20,000 in owed money. Should he start trying to pay some of these bills for her?

QUESTION: Jeremy in Australia has a relative who is in rehab for drug addiction. Jeremy is trying to help with her bills in the meantime and has discovered about $20,000 in owed money. Should he start trying to pay some of these bills for her? Dave wouldn’t and tells Jeremy why.

ANSWER: In the case of the landlord, I would contact them and tell them what’s going on. Say the stuff is gone and if I were you, we’ll get you the keys. We want to make this as easy as you can. You need to get the place re-rented because you’re not getting any more rent. She’s gone. She doesn’t make any money, so there’s not anything they’re going to get today. It’s a drug deal, and that’s what’s going on. The landlord would appreciate knowing what’s going on.

The rest of them, it’s really not going to matter. They’re just going to scream and flop in the floor. There’s not much you can do unless you’ve got money to throw at them, and you don’t. I wouldn’t throw any money at it on her behalf.

I think when she gets out and gets her act together and her healing comes, which will be a wonderful thing for her, the first thing is she’ll have to go create a career and an income. When she does that, then we’ve got some money to go back and address the fact that she’s got $20,000 or so in bad debt. I would just look at it that way. I wouldn’t pay them. I’d let them sit because there’s not any repercussions here. I would, as a courtesy to the landlord, let the landlord know what’s going on. Then you’ll have to deal with whatever back rents there are or financial damage that’s associated with her moving out without completing her lease. That’s just one more bad creditor. That’s a different deal. I think the big thing you can do here is 90% of her deal is to get healed from the drugs and get past that. That’s her big deal. Ten percent is career and money stuff and all that. It’s on the bottom of things for her to worry about. Right now, she’s got to worry about her and needs to concentrate and pour all of her energy into her. We’ll worry about the money thing later. Certainly, you’re equipped to help her with knowledge and maybe give her a little bit of money to get started again as she comes out and is living her life well again in a way that’s good for her and those who love her.

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