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In a feature I call “Your Turn,” in which you, the readers, get to answer the question, I’m presenting the following letter without commentary from me:
I have a little “situation” with my best friend, who is 27 and is thinking of investing a $100,000+ loan into a franchise specialty restaurant in the town where her boyfriend lives (we live in a smaller town nearby). Now, while I am totally supportive of her moving ahead in life and starting her own business, this one seems to have come out of nowhere. She never mentioned being at all interested in starting or owning her own business until a week and a half ago. I know her boyfriend of almost two years is interested in going in on it with her, along with another business partner, but my friend is really thinking about “running” it herself. She wants to move to live with her boyfriend sometime in the next year, you see, and that will mean leaving her current job, where she is very happy and has a great deal of freedom with her schedule and duties. I think she thinks running this franchise would give her similar freedom.
The hastiness of this decision aside, what really worries me is the money. She’s a very responsible girl, always paying her bills on time and such, but she has several thousand dollars in credit card debt, $70,000 in student loan debt, a hefty mortgage on a house she bought last year, and routinely lives outside her means. She’s not afraid of credit.
Now, I am not a business-minded person at all, but I think she doesn’t know what she’s getting into, and is setting herself up to lose a ton of money. I don’t want to be a discouraging friend, but I’m really worried about her. Any advice on how to approach this? Should I act like I think it’s a good idea? Should I just try to avoid talking about it? — Her Own Business