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Bad News Never Gets Better with Time

Right now, I’m going through some stuff with my kids regarding money owed for a car situation, and I don’t know whether to deal with it or just let it go. But one of my friends just told me something profound. He said that bad news never gets better with time. Uncomfortable situations and discussions don’t go away when you put them off and continuing to push them away just prolongs the inevitable. You’re going to have to deal with things eventually, so why not face them head on?

I’ve learned this from my own experience as well. When I owed the IRS a ton of money in back taxes and penalties, I was just burying my head in the sand and not dealing with the problem. I was trying to take care of it on my own before anyone found out about it, and it backed me into a corner. Eventually, I was forced to deal with it, and admitting that I needed help was the first step. The sooner you ask for help, the sooner you can get out of whatever problems you’re facing.

Listen and learn:

What’s inside:

  • Why time passing doesn’t make bad news any better.
  • Why you should ask for help as soon as you need it.

Mentioned in this Episode:


Download episode transcript in PDF format here…

Joe: Hey. Good morning, everybody. This is Joe, REI in your car. I hope you're doing well. Just now, leaving the gym, heading to have some breakfast with a friend and one of our other. I work out with like four or five guys here, friends from church. It's a lot of fun. I've been doing it about a year now. 5 a.m., five days a week. And then on Saturday we go run at the track at 6 a.m.. But anyway, one of my friends, Mike, said something super profound. And there's some things going on with one of my kids, and I won't say who, but we're just not, like, nothing serious, but like, you know, just discipline type of stuff, right? And again, nothing serious, but just trying to get some advice from these guys. And one of these kids owes me some money. Not much, but I'm like, What do I do? Do I just like let him or her just forgive it? Or do I make them pay me back or kind of where what do I do? Because I'm like, I should have never probably paid for this thing because him or her needed to get their car fixed. And it was a car that. I don't wanna get in too many details, but anyway. And so the kind of the thing that we're dealing with is like, because he owes me this money or her, he doesn't want to talk to me about it. And he's kind of burying his head in the sand and I can spot that from a mile away because that is something that I have dealt with in the past and still seem to still sometimes deal with. Right.

Joe: Because like and this is what I wanted to talk to you all about because and this is what my
friend said, this is super profound. He said, bad news does not get better with time. Like those uncomfortable situations and discussions. The the the bad news does not get better with time. Time does not make the bad news get better. Does that make sense? So it's like, for an example, let's say at work, there's something that has happened that, you know, if you tell your boss about it, it's not going to make you look good. It's going to look bad and they're going to be upset. And you're just like, I don't want to talk about it. I don't want to tell them. And you just push it, put it off. You bury your head in the sand and you kind of ignore it, hoping that it goes away. Here's the thing, though. It does not go away and it's going to get worse. So one of the things that we need to learn as employees, as business owners, is as real estate investors, you got to stop burying your head in the sand and you need to face the bad news, the uncomfortable situation head on, and the earlier the better. Because if I give you wait to talk to your boss about this problem and it's three months later, how much more in trouble are you going to be? How much worse is it going to be actually for you in three months than it would have been if you talked about it when you first found out about it? You know what I mean? Because then it's going to be like you. This happened how long ago and you knew about it and you didn't tell me. Like we could have had more time to fix this if you would have just come to me and told me about it. Because, like, we don't want to be the bearer of bad news. You know, I get it. There's times when, like, there's something that happens or and it's like, my wife is amazing, so don't take any of this. Like, I'm complaining about my wife, but come on, brothers, you know what I'm talking about what I'm going to say now, right? Like there's something that happened where, you know, your wife is going to be mad if you tell her that you did or something you didn't do. You forgot to get something or just like, whatever, right? And man, you just don't want to bring it up because, you know, she's going to be upset and disappointed or whatever. And this goes both ways, right, for guys and girls or whatever.

Joe: But listen, let me tell you something I've learned from experience. The sooner you just confess it, admit it, get it out, and just the sooner the better. Bad news does not get better with time. Let me give you another example for me, and I've talked about this before in a podcast, I owed the IRS $520,000 in back taxes and penalties. Probably a third of that. At least 150 grand was penalties and interest and just obnoxious, stupid things, maybe not 150, but a lot, at least six figures. Anyway, you know, for years I was just burying my head in the sand and not facing it. Now I was paying back my past due taxes as best I could, but you know, I wasn't keeping up to date current with my current year's taxes and just kind of burying my head in the sand because I was trying to work and super hard trying to pay it off before anybody else found out about it, you know, before it got really bad. And finally, again, I've talked about all this before, right? So just you can look at my YouTube channel or look for the podcast. I talked about federal tax lead or something like that. Finally, I got the call from the IRS guy. His last name is Friend. But anyway, he called me and I've been getting tons of, you know, at debt collection mail, you know, lots of phone calls and lots of calls from debt company like tax collecting companies who offer to help you. And man, it was just it was horrible. And I kept on like burying my head in the sand, hoping it would go away. But guess what? It never did go away. And it kept on getting worse and worse. Finally, I got the call from the IRS guy. This was five years ago or something, and he says, Joe, you need to come into my office. This is getting out of control. So I go to his office and I'm nervous and I can't negotiate a discount or like a settlement or whatever like you normally can if you are financially in trouble. Like if you really are, don't have much money and you're dirt poor, you can negotiate with the IRS and get the amount that you're owed reduced and get on a payment plan and all that. I mean, quite significantly, you can get it reduced if you're really facing trouble and hardship. Right. But I wasn't. I'm making really good money. I'm just trying to pay off, you know, 20 grand a month for old taxes and 20 grand a month for new taxes. Right. So anyway, the guy says, Joe, I'm in his office, I'm sweaty, shaky, nervous. Joe, do you realize how close I am, how close you are right now? To going to jail. I could take everything from you. Take your house. Take your cars. Take all your computers. Send you to jail. And put your family on the street. And I'm like, uh huh. And I'm trying not to cry and just. This is crazy, right? Well, finally. All right, I pull my head out of the sand and I asked for help.

Joe: And this is the thing I want to tell you guys. You need to ask for help if you're in trouble, if you've done something stupid or if it's just a mistake that you've made. Right. It's just ignorance or arrogance, whatever. And it's just like, I need help. You've got to ask for help. And so I did. I said, I need help. What do I do? You know, and I've been trying, but just all the wrong things. And I was so afraid and scared to ask for help and ask and tell anybody about it. Right. So he said, All right, first thing you need to do is you need to get current on your current taxes. Forget about what you owe in the past, get current on your current taxes. And so I did. I hired a, an accountant bookkeeper to completely take over my finances. And I had finally admitted that I could not control or manage my finances, that I'm not good at it. And I finally admitted I need help. And so I hired a lady who took over my books and finances, put me on salary. So now I'm on a paycheck and implemented Profit First. Great book. You need to go get it. She started implementing Profit First, put me on salaries and now I'm a W-2 employee and got current on my current taxes within like three months. A few months, right? I'm current on my current taxes. And and then the guy from the IRS put me on a plan to pay off my old taxes. And I don't remember how much it was a month, but it was a lot.

Joe: And oh my gosh, if you looked at how much I was paying in current taxes and past due taxes every month, it was what a lot of people make in a year from salaries. But anyway, not complaining because it was my stupid fault. All right. So anyway, finally, after about 2 hours, I'm like a five year plan, maybe a seven year plan. But I did it in two years and paid everything off in like two years. And you don't understand like this. It's a big, big deal to have this thing over you. But when I finally admitted I need help and I finally faced the fact and get my head out of this, and then I finally started seeing success. And then when that thing was finally paid off, man, the relief the just incredible. So my whole point is do on this. Now, some of you guys are in a place where you're maybe in a tough spot financially and you owe people some money and you need help. Well, first thing is, stop burying your head in the sand. Get your get your head out of your butt and ask for help. And the sooner you ask for help, the sooner you admit the tough spot that you're in. And you admit your mistakes and you come to somebody that you owed money to. And say, hey, and I want to pay you back, but I need help. Can you, you know, can you work with me? Can I do a payment plan? Can I pay you over time? Instead of ignoring them. That's like a huge mistake. Don't ever do that. The sooner you do that, the better. And the more quickly you're going to get out of that trouble and get some help. All right. So I got to go. See you guys.

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