Nothing can ruin your holiday season quite like being broke. Every little issue in our daily lives is magnified when we are strapped for cash. We alienate our loved ones, we become anxious and stressed and we are no fun to be around. It sucks.
On the flip side, when we are flush with cash, we seem to glide through life without a care or concern for anything. We can support ourselves, our families and our businesses and still have plenty left over for savings, entertainment, philanthropy and more.
However, what happens when we have some extra money and a close friend or family member asks us for a loan? If this hasn’t happened to you, you most likely have a good core group of friends and family who are financially stable. Or, you’re broke and people know not to ask you for money. You could just be lucky and this question hasn’t yet been asked of you…yet.
So what to do when it is? If we’re fortunate enough to have excess cash, should we loan it to close friends and family members when they are in a bind?
The best advice I can give on the topic of lending money to our loved ones is this:
Don’t lend money. Give money.
Giving means there are no expectations for payback. Ever.
If someone chooses to pay you back, that’s fine, (and you should accept it) but after giving, you should never bring up this gift nor should you expect to be repaid. It should be no different to you than if you purchased and gave a gift – you’d never expect to be “repaid” for your gift.
For example: $3,000 isn’t a lot to you, but it would change this person’s life. Simply give it to them as a gift. Look them in the eye, explain what you are doing and that it’s not a loan and you do not expect to be repaid. Answer their questions and be sure they understand that it’s not a loan and that you simply want to help out because you care about them and because you happen to have some extra money. And then never bring it up again.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying to go around and look for people to hand money out to. Personally, I’d only do this with people I am very close with and who I know aren’t going to blow the money gambling or on hookers or booze or drugs. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t care if people choose to spend their money on those vices, I just don’t want to bankroll them to do so. I’d rather help out a good person who is simply down on their luck. The older I get the more that I see how easy it is for good people to catch a string of bad breaks. If we can help end that string we can really make a positive impact in someone’s life. Hopefully that person will pay it forward.