Everyday Money – Here I sit in my library (porch) surrounded by my extensive collection of books (two mid size bookshelves) as I write this blog post sipping on chardonnay (coffee).
Oh boy do I have a tough one today. You may not like this one.
The reason I write is because while trying to come up with an idea (of which I could not), I noticed my collection of financial books. Books ranging from how to manage money, invest money, real estate and self-help (what I call motivational finance) books. Which made me think of a current past post freedom by design – Unpopular choices and a book I read (own).
Everyday Money – How to manage your money the smart way by Julie Fenster. The book brings up the delicate topic of lending money (especially) to family. It reminded me of the post I wrote about making the tough choices and the unpopular choice. If there is anything more difficult as well as destructive it’s dealing with the issue of lending money. Especially when it comes to family.
I am not sure if I had this belief system before I read the book so many years ago, or if I adopted this belief after I read the book. In either case this is what the book (as well as I believe) we should do when faced with the issue of lending money.
Everyday money suggest that if someone ask to borrow money, especially your children. You should:
- Never lend consider giving. Why? Because without saying it out loud, assume you will never get that money back. If you can’t afford to give it and really need that money. Why would you lend it?
- Write a memo relating the terms of the loan and the parties involved. It doesn’t need to be formal or complicated. This is just for your benefit should you need, if large amount, to write it off on your taxes.
(*) I once loaned a friend (in 2003) a large sum of money. He was offended that I wrote out a small contract like memo and an invoice for him to sign. In less than a year my friend bails on me and never repays the loan. One year while filing my taxes my “tax guy” tells me I need another deductible or write-off if I want a nice sum returned to me. I was so glad when I showed him my memo like contract with invoice and he said “that will do”.
- Be ready to say no. Sometimes you have to make tough unpopular choices. This sometimes means you have to say no to friends and/or family. Everyday Money offered some interesting prepared responses:
- (With frown) “Dash it all. I just put every penny I have into a forty-two-year CD.”
- (With a smile) “Shakespeare said, ‘Neither a borrower nor lender be.’”
- (With set jaw and nervous tic) “Sure, I’ll loan you money. When pigs say ‘moo’.”
I happen to be partial to the “when pigs say moo” option.
Everyday Money isn’t the best financial book I’ve read. A lot of the information in the book can now be easily found online. But it does have some golden nugget advice that has helped me over the years. The advice about lending money to friends and family in particular has saved me money, stress and saved many a relationships. My personal suggestion would be, to be extremely wary of anyone who is offended (refuses) to agree and sign off on terms of repayment. Those are the people who will probably flake out on paying you on time or at all.
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