6 Types of Financially Toxic People

by TTMK on August 27, 2012 · 31 comments

Wouldn’t it be great if the world was truly fair? Where every person you knew was truly 100% reasonable in every way, including with money?

Watch out for Financially Toxic People!

Well, as we know, that isn’t the case. The world isn’t always “fair”, as many of us define that term anyway.  And no, not everybody is totally reasonable, certainly not with money.

The reality is that when it comes to money, there are a variety of different approaches that people take, and habits that they possess.  Some people are highly responsible, some are not. These differences can cut across many dimensions, to the point where some people can pretty much be classified as having toxic money personalities.

They aren’t always a joy to deal with.  But, often there is no choice but to deal with them. They could be friends, family, or acquaintances. Maybe even coworkers.  But deal with them we must.

Here are some of the more insidious ones I’ve come across:

The Extractor

An Extractor is the type of person who tries to others to pay for as many things as possible, but accomplishes this through sneaky means.  I’ve dealt with a few of these, including one couple in particular in which both husband and wife were of this type.

One way they get free things is by employing stealthy, conniving measures to get you to pay for them.  The best example of this that I can think of is an Extractor couple I knew that would regularly find ways to avoid paying for dinner.  The initial tactic was to come up with “alligator arms” when it came to reaching for the wallet when the check arrives.  In other words, pretending to reach for the wallet but always coming up short, so the other party pays. Or, in other cases, getting up to walk to the restroom when they see the waitress coming toward us with the bill.

In short, they’re wired to slither out of paying what they owe.

The Chiseler

This isn’t someone with a chiseled physique, or some type of artisan. Rather, it’s someone who likes to chisel away at others in order to get something.

A woman I knew would fit this description.  One tactic was to complain about the quality of a product or service that she had purchased.  Whether it was writing letters to companies, calling them, or simply complaining at restaurants – she would get free things by expressing displeasure at how they didn’t get what they expected.

I suppose that I wasn’t being “chiseled” away at in those cases. But as Confucius reportedly said, “it’s hard to smell like a rose when you’re rolling in a dunghill”.  In other words, keep company of people like this, and your own reputation can get tarnished!

The Moocher

This person is always looking to borrow from you.  Whether it’s a book, a lawnmower, or simply a small amount of money – this person always has a “need” to borrow.  They never seem to have enough money on them, or time to actually buy or rent something they need. Rather, they want to borrow from you.

Why not? It saves them time and money for the time being, and offers an escape for their laziness. Plus, if they keep borrowing when needed, they can use your stuff and let it depreciate while avoiding spending any money of their own.

These people sometimes also have the additional attribute of being forgetful. As in, they forget to pay you back, or they keep forgetting to give back what they borrowed from you.  It takes time and effort to remind such people to return what they borrowed.

Thankfully, it has been a long time since I have dealt with one of these. Since college, actually, which was quite a while ago. But what a treat that was!

The Over-Giver

This person, actually, is NOT trying to take your money. That’s a good thing.

However, what he or she will do is insist on paying for your dinners every time you go out.  They will try to be the one who handles things, who gives expensive gifts, or just does more for you financially than necessary.  It makes them happy – or so we think – when they do things for you.

The problem is that when they’re spending on you like that, you might indebted to them. You feel like you owe them, and it’s not great having something like that hanging over your head.  I knew a person who was an Over-Giver, and this person always paid for dinner and was strongly insistent about doing so. He had all the excuses, and was quite popular for being “generous”.  I didn’t like the idea that no matter how much I wanted to pay my fair share, he always had to pay. Not just for me, but for everyone at the table.

So, with this person, there might not be direct financial debt. But there’s some type of debt, be it time, emotion, or whatever.  It’s not worth dealing with.

This person could also be labeled “The Show Off”

The One-Upper

This type of person was some kind of undying need to be competitive with others in terms of status symbols. This could manifest itself in terms of homes, cars, vacations, clothes – you name it. If there is something that others have done which is impressive, it eats away at them and they find a way to be better. They simply can’t accept or admit to having less than their “competition”.

The problem with such people is that they prey upon those with the propensity to try to “keep up with the Joneses”.  Sick of hearing such people brag, well-meaning folks might splurge for things out their budget. Why? Well, it might be a matter of getting lured into competition, getting sick of being made to feel lesser, or maybe just to shut up the braggart. Whatever the case, the One-Upper is someone who can be toxic to your finances, and get you to spend much more than you might otherwise want to.

The Slacker

Truthfully, I can be very soft when it comes to helping those truly in need. I think it’s honorable to give to those genuinely needing help, particularly when we know how that the other person as few other palatable options.  Generosity can be a beautiful thing.

However, it can be important to draw the line on giving.  Some people truly need help, while others act like they need help though they really don’t need it.   These people – the ones crying wolf – are the ones that can be a challenge.  They ask for money, though they actually aren’t doing anything to try on their own. Living off others is what they would rather do, instead of taking the difficult step of trying to be self-sufficient.

Thankfully, I haven’t dealt with such a person yet. However, I know of others that have.  Apparently, it can be draining of time and energy.

My Questions for You

Have you dealt with any of these 6 personalities than I described?

Which ones do you think are the most challenging to deal with?

Do you have any others to share?

 

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Edward Antrobus August 27, 2012 at 8:50 pm

I guess I lean towards being an over-giver myself. I’m not overly insistent about it, but if I beat my boss to the cash register, I’m buying her coffee. Which is fine with her, because when she beats me, she pays for mine.

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TTMK August 28, 2012 at 12:01 am

Edward – great, it all evens out!

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SB @One Cent at a Time August 27, 2012 at 10:51 pm

yes they are just common. And don’t wonder if someone else finds you one of them. In situation we act like of of these, to be honest.

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TTMK August 28, 2012 at 12:02 am

SB – I agree that such people are common but as far as me possibly being perceived that way, yikes I hope not!

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Kathleen @ Frugal Portland August 28, 2012 at 1:29 pm

I think the one-upper is the showoff, the generous over-giver person might just know your situation. Although, now that I reread what you wrote, you say they pay for the table, not just for you. I have very close friends that know my financial situation and treat me more often than not when we go out. I always offer, with an actual credit card in hand, but they are the generous souls.

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Laurie Graves May 16, 2014 at 10:16 am

Perhaps generous friends can be be paid in other ways. We live on a tight budget, but we show our appreciation and affection for friends by hosting regular teas. Muffins, coffee, and tea are not expensive, but our friends seem to enjoy them.

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MoneyAfterGrad September 5, 2012 at 10:37 am

Ughhhh. The over-giver I have experience with; my dad works with a couple that insists on taking my family (or just my parents, depending) out for nice dinners and golf tournaments multiple times a year. However, they like to make you feel obligated to these things. If my dad ever declined or could not attend for some reason (while giving a ton of notice, not a last minute cancellation) they were offended. Glad I do not have any friends like that!

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TTMK September 7, 2012 at 9:48 pm

MoneyAfterGrad – I can see how that would be really annoying. Totally get it!

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Meg September 5, 2012 at 12:51 pm

I see a difference in a moocher who borrows large items and doesn’t give anything back and someone who borrows and also lends (at least time if they don’t have things to share). The first year or two in a house most folks don’t have extra income to buy ladders and things, but sure need them.

How about the “better than thou” moocher – for instance won’t own a car because it is un-environmental, but lives in the country and requires everyone to pick him/her up because it is unfair to omit someone without transport. Then decries all the driving Americans do.

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TTMK September 7, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Meg – good point on the “better than thou” moocher. A good subcategory of moochers :) That would be irritating to deal with such hypocrisy.

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blahblahblah September 5, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Yes. The ex-husband mooch/slacker combo. Really hard, because he always asks in front of the kids, and makes himself sound incredibly needy, and expresses out loud dire circumstances if not helped. Then when he gets a little money of his own, takes the kids out to movies and restaurants all the time. Things I cannot do often at all, because I live within my means. So he appears to be the fun parent, and we are appear to be the boring stingy ones. Now that my daughter is in college, he is hitting her up for money too. This is a guy who was born rich, has lived off of wealthy women since our divorce 13 years ago, and has an MIT education. Disgraceful. And he gets his healthcare from Catholic Charities.

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Andrea S September 6, 2012 at 8:11 am

There is also the Vicitim/Poor Choices…person who claims to be broke (single mom small income), but then buys stuff you know she can’t afford (heck stuff I cant afford). A mom I talked with Tuesday night was telling us how she bought college football tickets for this weekend becuase they were ‘only’ $30 each. $60 spent so quickly, yet she qualifies for a scholarship at our private school.

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Plank September 6, 2012 at 9:04 am

I agree. Poor people should stay at home and do nothing and shouldn’t go to ‘your’ school.

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joe September 7, 2012 at 4:38 pm

People who can pay $60.00 for football tickets are NOT POOR.

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TTMK September 7, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Joe – well, they could be poor yet making potentially questionable choices. Who knows.

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Plank September 9, 2012 at 12:32 am

They also could be not Poor, just not rich. Being able to afford private school is a pretty bad barometer for poverty.

Anyway i still sense a tone of snobbiness in the original poster which is unnecessary.

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TTMK September 7, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Andrea – people sometimes make puzzling choices. Of course, we all want to enjoy a few things in life too. I can see both sides.

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Bret @ Hope to Prosper September 6, 2012 at 5:23 pm

I also believe generosity can be a good thing. I have tried to help a number of slackers lately and that doesn’t work out too well. For some people, the more you do for them, the less they do for themselves. They seem pretty happy with that arrangement. It’s a shame when people fall upon hard times and could use some help. It’s a disgrace when they choose that lifestyle.

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TTMK September 7, 2012 at 10:01 pm

Bret – that’s a great point, that there are some people who will do less for themselves if you show do more for them.

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Jordan September 21, 2012 at 1:06 pm

There is the Tag-a-long. If you are going anywhere interesting give me a call because I might want to go and need a ride.

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TTMK September 27, 2012 at 8:44 pm

Jordan – nice addition to the list. Yeah, that person is saving on transportation costs and gets a free taxi essentially.

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Goldeneer December 4, 2012 at 6:14 pm

I work with The Extractor. On the surface, she seems generous. In one instance, she offered to pay for someone else’s gift or at least splitting the difference and I offered to pick up the gift. Of course she took half the credit for the gift. I never saw her share of the money. On another instance, she will permanently borrow or take some of my items without ever offering something back.
Thanks for the post. My generosity ends here with this Extractor.

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Lolo March 26, 2013 at 9:40 pm

How about the Extracting Moocher? I have a friend who will suggest meeting for happy hour and then try and cancel at the last minute claiming lack of funds, knowing I will buy drinks. Another is a guy buys a round of shots when 3 of 6 expected people show up and then reminds everyone that it is their turn to buy shots; he ends up with 6 drinks for the price of 3..clever.

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TTMK March 28, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Those don’t sound like fun friends! :)

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matt April 29, 2013 at 3:58 pm

How about people who give away everything they have so then you have to take care of them.I have in-laws who are very generous, give away all of their money to family and then have nothing to take care of themselves.

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TTMK April 29, 2013 at 10:58 pm

That goes to show that even good intentions can have bad consequences sometimes.

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Kathy December 27, 2013 at 8:42 am

Not sure where this one fits in, I had a brother who never had any money. If someone offered him something, he’d always protest that he didn’t want help, up to the point where he would seemingly reluctantly accept on the condition that it was just temporary. But even with help, he never got ahead.

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TTMK December 27, 2013 at 10:58 am

That’s unfortunate that he didn’t get ahead. At least his intentions might have been good, based on his protesting that he didn’t want help?

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Mel @ brokeGIRLrich December 27, 2013 at 1:18 pm

The Over-Givers are definitely the ones that upset me the most. I’ve been dating an Over-Giver for years and it led to quite a few blow up fights the first year or so, including, heaven forbid, the year I tried to get him a really good Christmas present. Ugh.

All the others, I sort of feel like fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, you know?

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Hattie May 16, 2014 at 5:11 pm

I haye one. I will not call a friend. She has no transportation. I noticed she never had gas money. Just a “thank you” when she got out. I became unemployed. I noticed that she did not call me when she got her check.Other times she wanted to buy me a few groceries to take her to the store. I cannot put rice and beans in my gas tank. I became unavailable or just did not answer my phone.

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Jeb July 8, 2014 at 2:17 pm

I have been dealing with the Extractor – Slacker mix.

Both my sisters are extractors. Go to a restaurant, and they go to the bathroom when the check comes. Someone gets married/has baby, and they “talk” about sending a present. I’ve gone in with them to buy someone a nice present, but they never paid me back. So, I don’t “do” presents or dinner with them. If I have to do dinner, I learned to ask for separate checks up front. Dinner isn’t enjoyable with them.

My one sister makes great money ($60k/year), single her whole life, no kids, lives at home, refuses to pay mom & dad a dime, and has spent all of her money, absolutely no savings or 401k, and has run up credit card bills over $75,000! Now, at 62 years old, she’s been in & out of high debt several times, she claimed bankruptcy. The court has taken her money for the next 5 yeas. She has several horses, and actually argued with the bankruptcy trustee about her need to keep them. Now, her old car broke down. Mom & dad came to me to give her money. I told them “No” and asked her to get counseling. I believe she has depression issues. She hates me and shows it by passive aggression. I have a family, house, savings, job, and live within my means. I don’t go to anyone for help. When I bought a dog, she became explosive that I went to a breeder to get the puppy. When I bought a truck, she made comments, she snidely said it was fancy and wondered what I paid for it. Now, my dad says that I am being selfish and materialistic because I will not help out my sister. Yet, I’m the one who has given tens of thousands of dollars to charity, thousands to other family members in true need, lent my used cars to other family members (instead of selling/trading them).

When I first got married many years ago, my parents decided that me and my wife should allow other sister to live with us. Mind you, this other sister is years older and had a good job. I told them, “No.” and they all got mad at me for several months. Years later, this same sister found ways to ‘spend the night’ at my house. Thankfully, we had a bunch of kids that made her unable to sleep!

When we got a small inheritance, one of my sisters in a moment of grandeur declared that all recipients give 20% to another family member who wasn’t in the inheritance line. I thought it was a great idea because this other was just starting out. I promptly gave the money . . . and they didn’t (extractor).

My other family member tried to help. He was burned by them. He washed his hands clean.

I’m so sick of my parents and the way they’ve coddled my sisters. I don’t like being near any of them. They make me very nervous and I can’t be myself. I feel like I have to justify my own behavior and be on guard. I have endured this silently for years, telling no one. I just figured out how toxic it all is. For the first time in life, I finally told them that my sister has a spending problem and needs help. Now, I am the materialistic villain. So be it. I have to protect myself. These people will drain you dry.

I finally figured out they are all toxic, and I need to get away from them.

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