Advice: "My friend makes a good living in sales, but he's terrible at budgeting. What should he do?"

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Dear Quota Team,

I am actually writing this question for a friend. We are both in sales and were having a conversation about this and I suggested that we write in and get your thoughts. I hope you run this so that I can show him your answer. 

Here’s the problem: my friend, who works in sales and is decent at it (he would say that he is amazing), is constantly low on funds. This is despite the fact that he makes just over 100k per year at his job, and another 5k or so a year in veteran’s disability payments (he was injured in Iraq). 

Last year, he made over $130k, but at the end of the year had nothing saved and was always asking me to borrow money. He always pays me back, but it seems ridiculous to me that he’s in this situation, since I make just a bit more than he does at the same company and never run into these issues. 

He rents an apartment that’s not expensive at all, and doesn’t have any kids or anything. He is also sober, so it’s not like he is wasting the money on booze or drugs. I suspect that it’s just a budgeting issue but he doesn’t take me seriously. Can you please respond and explain that a single person making that much money shouldn’t have to borrow money from his best friend all the time? Thanks.


Confused in California 


Dear Confused,

This isn’t the type of question we normally take on, but let’s give it a shot. Why not? 

Your friend makes about $130k a year, which is $10,833 a month. For a single person without substantial debt (we’re assuming you would have mentioned it if he had any), this should be more than enough to pay bills and save some money. So if you’re looking for some validation for your POV, you’ve got it. 

What to do? Since he’s your good friend and you’re willing to help him, you should put together a spreadsheet to track his income and expenses. This should help identify where most of the money is going. Break down the income and expenses by month, and don’t forget to take 40% or so off the top for taxes. 

Once you’ve gone through everything, you should have a better idea of what your friend is doing with his money. And if he’s serious about wanting to save, then he’ll be thankful that you took the time to put this together. But, as with anything in life, he has to want to be financially responsible. Sales reps aren’t exactly known for their frugality, but there are plenty who are smart with their money. You both presumably work hard, so it makes sense to make sure your money isn’t going to waste. Good luck to you both!

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