Loaning money to family or friends can be a huge dolor de cabeza. Read on for suggestions on what to do when others try to take your kindness for weakness...
Loaning money to family or friends can be a huge dolor de cabeza. I love my family, and I adore my girlfriends, but I have always made it a personal rule not to lend money because of the strain that it can place on the best of relationships. If I have the money, I just give it without expecting to ever see it again. It is frustrating and time consuming to track others down for money.
Now, when it comes to my family members overseas, I don’t mind helping out when I can. But they have to understand that I can’t bail them out every time. I get requests for assistance with doctor bills, school fees, groceries, and cellphone bills. Haya la vida!
While America may be the land of the free and the home of the brave, mis primos need to understand that the streets are not paved with gold, and American dollars do not grow on trees! It’s hard out here!
But when a loved one or close friend is in a bind, and you are in a position to help, what are you to do? Here are 5 suggestions:
1. Be Honest – Just Say NO
If you don’t have the money, tell the truth and let your family member or friend know that you just don’t have it. Don’t borrow the money from someone else. Never put yourself in a financial strain to help someone out. Your financial position always comes first. Don’t feel bad about it either.
2. Give Tough Love
Sometimes your family or friends will take advantage of your kindness. If you have a friend or family member that you feel is taking advantage of you, there is nothing wrong with drawing a line in the sand! Sometimes people have to learn how to get themselves out of the holes that they dig and eventually fall into.
Also, don't be afraid to ask them why they need to borrow money. I once had a close friend ask to borrow money so she could go on vacation. My first thought was, “espera un minuto, if you have to borrow money to go on vacation, then you should not be going on vacation!” I looked at her like she had two heads. Long story short, she never asked me to borrow money again.
3. Sign a Contract
If tough love is not the route that you want to take, and the person has a legit reason for borrowing the money, then have them sign a contract. Drawing up a contact guarantees that both parties have the same information regarding the terms of the loan. In the contract you can work out an appropriate repayment schedule, and any interest or late fees. Should you have to take your loved one or good friend to court, having a paper trail will come in very handy. Trust me, I know this from experience! It’s sad, but very true.
4. Give the Money as a Gift
As long as it does not put you in a financial hole, remember your financial situation always comes first. You can always consider giving the money as friendly gesture. I do this when my family overseas asks for money. Your loved one or friend will greatly appreciate it, and it will save you the unnecessary headache that goes along with hunting someone down for repayment. I know your hard earned money did not grow on a tree, but you can always look at it as giving to charity.
5. Suggest Other Options
Figure out if there are other ways for you to help out your loved one or friend. Does this person have issues managing their money? Sometimes learning how to budget and cutting back on unnecessary spending can get a person back on track financially.
I have a cousin who has a great paying job, but for some reason she was always short on cash. We sat together and tracked her spending for a month. After cutting out unnecessary trips to Starbucks, Target, and Bloomingdales, we were able to create a budget that got her cash flow back on track.
Like I said, money can ruin the best of relationships. Hopefully, these five suggestions will be useful.