Are You a Debt Enabler?

January 13, 2014 — 12 Comments
Are you a debt enabler?

Caution: Enablers ahead!

We’re really good at enabling each other to get into debt because we rarely find happiness in telling our friends and family they’re making a bad decision!  Buying a new car you can’t afford – go for it, you deserve it!  Want to take that trip to Vegas – no worries, you’ll pay your credit card off someday!

Of course you could take the sinister angle and say we like watching our friends and family get in debt so they can’t get ahead of us.  Hopefully that’s not the case, but as Charles Kindleberger said, “There is nothing so disturbing to one’s well-being and judgment as to see a friend get rich.”

Really though, I don’t think that’s the case, I think we just like to see others do well in life.  So, the real question is this:  Are you a debt enabler?  To find out your level of debt enabling, take the quiz below and add up your final score. 


1.  Have you ever told someone to buy a new car when you know they shouldn’t?

  • Yes, I tell everyone that (5)
  • Yes, but only if I think it’s a good idea (3)
  • Yes, but only if I don’t like them (2)
  • No (1)


2.  Have you ever told someone to go shopping because they deserve it?

  • Yes, I think people should reward themselves (5)
  • Yes, but only a few times (3)
  • No (1)


3.  Have you ever told someone to spend like there’s no tomorrow?

  • Yes, I don’t worry about money because the future will take care of itself (5)
  • Yes, but only if I think there won’t be a tomorrow for them (3)
  • Yes, but only if they have a good financial plan (2)
  • No (1)


4.  Would you ever tell someone they should spend less each month?

  • No, I think people should spend what they want (5)
  • Probably not, unless it was really bad (3)
  • Yes, people need to know if they’re overspending (1)


5.  Have you ever told someone they’ll probably eat dog food when they retire because they won’t have any money?

  • No, I don’t worry about other people’s futures (5)
  • No, I don’t know enough about investing (3)
  • Yes, I’m a really mean person (1)


Now, add up your final score to see how much of an enabler you are!


Just for the record, I scored a 10 so I’m probably too mean, but just barely!!  How did you score?  Are you a debt enabler?  Find out if you’re a loaner by taking this quiz.
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12 responses to Are You a Debt Enabler?

  1. I guess I’m one of those ‘mean’ people as well, but I have never understood the mentality of spend what you don’t have to make yourself feel better. I always feel better when I don’t have bills to pay and have money in the bank, and I would want that for my friends and family as well. I did work with a girl once that made exactly the same as me plus collected child support. She was always going on about haw she couldn’t understand how I was making it on our salary. Well if my car needed cleaned out, I would do it myself while she spent $50 on getting hers detailed, often. She would take her son out to eat at Fed Lobster at least once a week, while that restaurant is our family’s place to go to celebrate major events once every year or so. She declared bankruptcy and I continued saving. It is all attitude. The biggest enablers I have seen are those that are deep in the hole and want to drag everyone down with them.

    • It’s always so sad to see people go through what your coworker is going through. It’s just a lot easier to spend like you don’t have any worries… even though in the long term it will really catch up with you.

  2. Haha! I guess I am just too mean! I got a ten. 🙂

  3. I was also a 10… LOL. I usually one offer advise when asked. Some find it helpful, others not so much. 🙂

  4. I learned long ago not to give financial advice because the person is just usually looking for a yes, even when they have a hunch they shouldn’t be spending. BTW, I have awarded you with a Dragon’s Loyalty Award 🙂

    • Wow, isn’t that the truth! I’m definitely not the kind of guy who would tell someone they made a dumb purchase after they already made it… if they ask for advice, I might say something… but I usually just try to be happy for them. Thanks for the award!!

  5. I got an 11 — I’m a person who has her credit card balance automatically deducted from her bank account every month. The only exception is for a big ticket item (like my laptop) when Apple offers free financing for one year. Why not take it? Of course, you have to be disciplined and pay it off before interest kicks in (which I do). Never have told people to spend money they don’t have. It’s really none of my business. This all is not to say I haven’t made any poor financial decisions. But I’m pleased to be in good financial shape. I’d hate to be in a financial hole. Too scary.

    • It seems like most people go through some bad financial stages before they get it all figured out… I guess the important part is to get it figured out before it’s too late!

  6. I guess I am mean. I take care of my own life and let others worry about their own. If I get asked for advice, I try to give it in a nice and tactful way.

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