WASHINGTON, April 21, 2015 – I am writing to you on behalf of a friend of mine. I, of course, being a responsible American, have filed my taxes on time, and I am expecting a generous refund shortly. But I am concerned for my friend, for I believe that his spending habits will land him in some serious hot water.
I will tell you my friend’s story.
For the sake of this tale, let’s call him…Sam. Uncle Sam, if you will.
My friend started his career with nothing, just a loose conglomeration of jobs and barely any responsibility. Then, after a sort of revolution of circumstances, he reconstituted himself and found new purpose. Over the next few years he rose to become overwhelmingly successful, even to the point where his parents, with whom he had a troubled past, came to see him as a friend. He even bailed them out of trouble once or twice when neighbors sued to take their property. He became a valuable asset to the family and a great man.
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After some tough times, Sam became a victim of his own success. He helped set up numerous programs to help fund the needy and the jobless, only for those programs to become overtaxing and burdensome on other parts of his life. He began taking out monstrous loans, sometimes from foreign banks, in order to fund his lifestyle and meet his promises and liabilities.
His spending habits will most likely cause you to raise an eyebrow once or twice. In order to keep up with acquaintances and fulfill promises to friends, he has agreed to send an enormous amount of his income overseas, sometimes to people who do not even like him, and I fear they are only exploiting the relationship for monetary gains.
In addition, an increasing number of people at home rely on his generosity, as he has agreed to offer them money to help find them jobs or to pay their medical bills. However, it has come to the point where too many people are relying on his generosity, and so he has had to raise the rent on many of his high-income properties, meaning those who live there have less money for themselves.
Now onto the actual figures.
My friend Sam makes roughly $320,000 a year, significantly more than he has in recent years. But he is spending $370,000 a year, leaving him with a difference, a deficit if you will, of nearly $50,000. To cap this all off, to add to this absurdity, Sam is $1,800,000 in debt.
I told him that he needed to cut down on his expenditures, but he keeps on expanding his business, responsibilities and services. A few years ago he started a new security services for people’s homes, despite the fact that he already had multiple companies and individuals who did the same thing the new service was supposed to be responsible for.
He spends $9,000 on toilet seats and hammers, when they are $5 at your local hardware store. He spends lavishly on constructing new buildings without getting accurate quotes from multiple contractors. Not only that, he spends money on solar and wind projects that do not work, despite the fact that the market does not call for them and the projects end up costing significantly more than originally estimated.
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One of the worst examples of his over-spending and mismanagement was when he subcontracted the design of a website to help his company run the healthcare portion of their business. The project ended up costing over 10 times the original estimate after he hired another company to fix what the first company had done.
Then it turned out that the first company he hired was being investigated in Canada, and the second one was only hired because his girlfriend went to college with one of the board members. It is fortunate that this project was not audited, or it would raise a great many embarrassing questions for everyone involved. This kind of nepotism is going to sink him.
Then it turned out that people in his company were targeting customers with extra costs on their services based on their political beliefs. He of course had no knowledge of it, and the department head was spared any humiliation when, fortunately for her and my friend Sam, the server with her emails on it crashed mysteriously, and only her emails were deleted. What a break!
Sam is in a crippling amount of debt, he cannot make enough money to meet his budget, which changes continuously, and his company is growing restless because stockholders see how much money he is borrowing just to keep the company open.
But it does not have to be that way.
I keep telling him that he needs to downsize his company, scale back his services and allow for more responsible investment in his company. But he feels that any cuts or changes he makes to his company will cause him to be unpopular, and he fears that his image will suffer in the business world if he takes what he considers to be “drastic measures.”
But they aren’t drastic, they are simple.
He needs to scale back, he needs to reduce services and concentrate on supplying the best services he can to his client base, or he is going to lose those customers. Worse, he may lose his company. I mean anyone who spends that much money, borrows that much and stays in business would most likely get audited, right?
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