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5 Golden Rules For Lending Money To Friends And Family

5 Golden Rules For Lending Money To Friends And Family

You may not be able to buy friendship with money, but you can certainly destroy friendships with it.

Lending money to friends and family is a very delicate affair, and like Dave Ramsey, I would flat out recommend never lending friends money, since money is always a difficult subject to talk about, personal loans can often lead to communication breakdowns which can wreck any relationship.

That said, if you really want to loan your friends some money, here are 5 key tips to follow to ensure that this loan does not destroy your relationships. If you are really lucky, you might even get back the money you loaned.

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1. Understand that you probably won’t get the money back.

If your friends or family are asking you for a loan, then they are not asking a bank for a loan. That is not a good sign. If you do want to loan out money to them, you need to stop and think about how important getting the money back is compared to not ruining your relations. If the latter is more important to you, it may be better to just make the loan a gift.

However, if you decide to make it a loan, you need to consider how important it is to get that money back. You need to be consistent about this, so that both you and the person you are loaning it are on the same page when it comes to paying the loan back.

2. Make a contract.

Your friend may want to make the loan a handshake agreement, promising that they will pay the money back at a certain point. Don’t let them.

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As you are making the loan, you get to set the terms. If you want your money back, a handshake agreement means nothing – a contract does. You can get a free promissory note here from Suze Orman which will let you set the terms of the loan. Also, get the loan signed by both of you and notarized. The latter part is critical.

If the worst comes to worst and you decide to take your former friend to court, a notary can stop them from claiming that they never signed anything. Your friend should have no problem being specific about repayment terms if they really intend to pay you back, so hold them to their word and get the contract written.

3. Don’t expect any favors back.

When someone owes you money, you may feel like they owe you something beyond the cash you gave them. You might think they should help you out with that weekend project you’ve got, or buy you a drink next Saturday.Thinking like that is a bad idea.

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If you signed a contract with your friend, then your friend agreed to pay the money back and nothing else. Expecting more is improper and makes it look like you are lording your better finances over him. Don’t hesitate to be firm about getting your money back, but don’t use it to get other perks or favors from your friend.

4. Ask if there are other ways you can help.

There are always other ways to help your friends beyond giving them money. You can teach them ways to make or save money. You could also help them around the house or office. If they are having problems with bills, you could even offer to pay the bill directly instead of loaning them the money.

If your friend is asking for help with a personal finance loan because they have a problem. Find out what the problem is and see if there are other ways you can help fix it. If they do not want to tell you, then point out that they have no right asking you for money if they won’t tell you what the money is for.

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5. Learn to say “no”.

As noted at the top, I would recommend against loaning any of your friends or family money; however, you may also have some close people who you consider reliable who have just hit a rough patch, and are confident that they will eventually repay you.

On the other hand, there are those family members who you would never trust with 50 cents. I have a family member who is incredibly compassionate and heart-warming – and that is the exact reason I would never loan her anything, because I know she would blow the money on the first sob story she ran into.

At certain points, you just have to say “no”. Your friend or family member may get mad, cry, or throw a tantrum, but this is your money. Offer other help as noted above, but learning to say “no” is critical to succeeding in general.

If your friend is willing to break it off with you over a sum of money, then they were never really much of a friend at all.

Featured photo credit: Next Avenue via nextavenue.org

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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