My recent conversation with a very good friend made me realize that I have a very different view on lending money to family or friends. I don’t believe in it.
I’ve been on a couple of situations where a family member asked for a loan. The first one was from an uncle that I haven’t seen for years. I was really surprised when that happened. My grandma approached me and asked if I can loan my uncle some money. I flat out said no. I didn’t put thoughts to it. I was even annoyed since I haven’t seen my uncle for years. I’m not closed to him. I was a recent graduate, saving to buy a place. I’m not comfortable parting from my hard earned money. To this day, I am really glad that I stick to that decision. It also set the tone to my family.
The second time was a bit more difficult. I am pretty comfortable financially. My brother needed a car and my father is helping him find one. They found one and I got a phone call from my father asking if I can put a downpayment. Hmmm… this is different. This is for my brother. I want to help out, but I don’t necessarily want to give a loan. So I ask for more information about the purchase. He wants to buy a sports car. I know he needed a car, but heck he doesn’t need that kind of car! I told my father no, I can’t lend the money. I didn’t give any reason. I can tell that he was surprised. That evening I searched craigslist for a reliable car and I send him the details.. well he decided that he doesn’t want my “taste”. Eventually, my father co-sign a car loan with no downpayment.
Looking back, I know I made the right decision. My sister lend my brother some money and I can tell that it’s so awkward when he brag about his business, making some dough… and he can’t even re-pay my sister. More so, when he needed some money, he will “borrow” from my sister. My sister then eventually stopped. Lessons were learned the hard way.
I try to think that I’m generous when it comes to my family. I’ve been very lucky with my situation and I owe them that. Instead of lending money, I actually just give it. I can tell if my parents are on a difficult situation — they don’t need to ask for my help, it’s always there. But I also don’t like to enable a purchase decision that I know is not good in the long run financially.
I will probably assess every situation differently, but I know that I’ll be more comfortable not loaning the money than asking for it back.