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Ask Dave

Don't argue about it

Michael's mom and dad really got into Dave's plan. They even taught Financial Peace University at their church. Now, they've leased a car, bought a new one on payments and have a bunch of credit cards. Michael doesn't know what has happened, and he wants to help. But Dave says there may be nothing he can do right now.

QUESTION: Michael and his wife got really serious about Dave’s plan, even to the point of selling their house to become debt-free. Now, they’re trying to help his parents get back on track financially. Here’s the twist: his mom and dad taught Financial Peace University at their church, but now they have begun doing everything Dave warns against. They leased a car, bought a new car and got several credit cards — saying Dave really does all this, too.

ANSWER: I’m not sure if you can help them. I mean, how do you go teach Financial Peace University and then come back and say Dave uses credit cards? How do you do that, and then go lease a car and buy a new car, and then argue against what you’ve been teaching in a class? That’s so inconsistent that it’s hard to grasp.

I don’t know. It’s not only powdered-butt syndrome. You’re actually doing the stuff we teach, and they’re not. That generally creates a situation where somebody doesn’t want to talk to you about it. It’s like, if you’re eating healthy and I’m not eating healthy, I don’t want to talk to you about eating. That’s what’s going on here. Your very life is shaming to them right now.

They’re not really asking for your opinion. So, I don’t think they can be helped until there’s some kind of an opening. I think the mistake you’re making is continuing to discuss it with them. Those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still. So, when he sends a text about it or says something, I’d just write back, “You know, I had pimento cheese for lunch.” Or I wouldn’t answer him.

I’d just tell him that we’re on different pages about this stuff. You’re going to do what you’re going to do, and I’m going to do what I’m going to do. You’re still my dad, and I still love you, but I’m in complete disagreement with all the stuff you’re doing. I’m not going to discuss it with you because you’re trying to trash what I’m doing and I don’t want to get into that. Sometimes you see people who are wrong and you just can’t convince them. So, when you love them and you’re around them, you have to bobblehead. You know, just kind of nod your head.

There are things you disagree about in families. He’s not going to convince you, and I don’t think you’re going to convince him. They went on a financial bender, and when they wake up with a hangover, you might be able to help them. But right now they’re just drunk. They’re just financially drunk off their butts — I mean trashed. They’re buying everything in sight, and they’re rationalizing it and justifying it.

I don’t think you can do much to help them at this stage. Just pray for them, love them and be in their lives. Continue to do what’s smart, and try to avoid arguments. See where it goes from there. Maybe, when they sober up financially, they’ll ask for some help.