We here in personal finance blog land like to talk about saving our money, getting out of debt, buying a house, putting away a little something for retirement, etc. Every once in a while you see a story about a person living high on the hog but not having any money. This one that I found at CNN/Money takes the cake, and the advice given to him about his problem was lame at best.
This guy, let’s call him John, likes to pretend he has a lot of money. He leases a luxury car, rents a condo he calls his own, owes his parents $50,000, and has $20 in his IRA. He is not 25. He is not 35. He is somewhere above 40 years old. He says he has a good job and can afford the nicer things in life, but he is unsure how to tell a woman about the real him. I did see that he said he has a failed business with left him with nothing, but if that is the case, he should not be asking questions like “Given that I’m dating with marriage in mind, at what point should I reveal that I’m nowhere near as prosperous as I appear?” Um, just what brand of luxury car do you drive, John? And if you have nothing, why are you driving it?
John here was not looking for help in getting out of the debt he has to his parents. He was not looking for advice on saving for retirement. He was not looking for assistance with setting up a budget or a savings account. He was asking about how he could tell a potential wife about his “real life”. And the magazine/website that used to be about money gave him an answer that only a mother would give, not a supposedly financially savvy magazine. They said “You certainly don’t need to make the balance in your IRA the centerpiece of your eHarmony profile.” and “To be sure courtship always involves some bait-and-switching. But projecting the rosy glow of prosperity when you’re so far in the hole is a much more serious deception than, say, faking an interest in chick flicks.”.
How should they have answered? “Get your head out of your ass, you lamo. What woman wants to find out that you lie about your financial situation and that you owe your parents $50,000 and have no money in the bank?” I know, I know…money is not the be all end all of life. And yes, we do and can fall in love with people even if they don’t have money. But to put on such a fake persona in order to impress your friends and future dates is just wrong. ESPECIALLY at 40 something plus. CNN/Money should have taken the opportunity to slap this guy up side the head. But they wimped out.