What are your thoughts about the wisdom of lending money to family members or friends for “a good cause,” for “a reasonable amount of time,” if I can manage it? I would need the loan to be repaid since I’m not wealthy. I would also need to scale back on my personal expenses while my funds are “on loan.” I’m concerned about my inability to enforce re-payment and the possible damage to our relationship, as well as concerned about creating a pattern for future loan requests, especially if a loan is repaid as agreed. How can I say “no” when I can say “yes,” and what boundaries can I set “after the fact?”
Don’t do it! You can’t afford it if the loan would require such sacrifice, and you already know the kinds of additional dilemmas this may create. Here’s the solution: Give a gift instead of a loan. The size of the gift should be the amount you’re comfortable with giving. This approach will keep you out of the murky and treacherous waters of loaning to friends and family. My policy is to give a gift but never a loan.
Your gift allows you to say “yes” without putting you in the poor house or setting you up for future unpleasantness. Also consider non-financial ways you can contribute to the “good cause” behind the fund request.
I recently learned of the whereabouts of someone from a dark part of my past. Yes, trouble is spelled G-O-O-G-L-E. If the statute of limitations hadn’t run out, I’d be tempted to prosecute. Should I send the sorry dog a letter and demand accountability, or should I let sleeping rat dogs lie?
Yes, write him a missive so scorching that it nearly burns your hand to touch it. Tell him everything you’d like for him to hear. Lower the boom, empty both barrels, and unleash your full fury. Spare nothing. And don’t stop until you are spent. Now, read very closely. This next part is critical.
Go outside, get a match, and set the letter ablaze. Believe that by doing this you are accomplishing 3 things: you have lightened your load by pouring out your feelings and thoughts; you have “sent” the message to the heavens, and the heavens will handle it; and you have incinerated all the bad stuff associated with the scoundrel. Then go pour up a nice merlot (or ginger ale if you’re Baptist), and toast your new liberation.
I am a married 66-year-old male. My backyard neighbor (a single mom) has two daughters, ages 17 and 13. The 13-year-old has an IQ of 70 and cannot be left on her own because she cannot make responsible decisions. To help the mom I occasionally take the 13-year-old — a very sweet young lady — for parts of or a whole day. The 17-year-old has a summer job and works during the day. A friend of mine said that I need to be careful because teenage girls will accuse you of inappropriate acts if you cross them. I say this will not happen with this girl. The mom is perfectly comfortable with me caring for her child.
Continue your kind and generous support of this family. Obviously the mom trusts and needs you. That trumps the negative comments of a friend who is removed from the situation. Don’t you dare let him derail you from helping these folks. So many wonderful works have been squashed by the words of one loser. Don’t be fooled by a fool.
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lauretta Hannon is the bestselling author of The Cracker Queen — A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life and a keynote speaker. Join her Saturday at the Dog River Branch Library in Douglasville for a free book talk at 10:30 a.m.