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Home > Why you don't lend money to family.

Why you don't lend money to family.

July 20th, 2006 at 04:24 pm

I'm so annoyed right now but I'm staying out of it.

Brother 1 (I'll call him K) was in the Army stationed in Afghanistan for a year. During that time he racked up quite a bit of hazard pay that he didn't have an opportunity to spend. Brother 2 (I'll call him P) was planning a wedding and couldn't get a loan to pay for it.

P approached K about borrowing money (upwards to $9k) for the wedding since K wasn't in need of it right now anyway. That also covered honeymoon, rings, and all sorts of stuff not just the wedding itself. They didn't work out any sort of payment plan just it was understood that it would be paid back.

P owed me a smaller amount from buying the original engagement ring and had been paying me back at a rate of $100/mo. He finished paying me off about 2 months before the wedding. He said once he finished paying me off he would start paying back K. Since I was the only one at the time with access to K's accounts he should have still sent me money every month. But he didn't. However it wasn't my arrangement so I didn't say anything.

K came home for two weeks or so, just long enough for the wedding, then went back for a couple of months. When K finally got out of the service, he went to live with P temporarily while he looked for work. The arrangement was that K would take off from the balance the amount of K's portion of rent.

K found a job, and an apartment, and moved after perhaps 2 months. The payments from P were sporatic at best. Soon after K got settled in his apartment, he got let go from his job. I floated him for a month or two because I also owed him money but I finally got all caught up and we are square now.

P and his wife bought a house out in the middle of no-where. Timewise the commute is about the same but distance wise it's twice as far. With the house they bought furniture and appliances. Now they have all this other expense and have apparently 'forgotten' about their debt to K.

K approached him, since he's out of work again, about giving him money. P hasn't given him anything for at least two months and K asked for $200. Not unreasonable all things considered but P went off on how it's not his fault that K quit his last job and that P is just trying to better his life.

Umm ok. P chose to borrow that money. That money was an obligation that he chose to take on before they decided they needed to 'better their life'. Grrr.

I just don't see how his negligence to pay has anything to do with K quitting his job. Yes, he's in a bind because of it and yes, he's asking for more money than usual but P has missed a couple of payments and it's only fair imo to ask for more.

They got into a huge arguement about it yesterday and I'm doing my darndest to stay out of it. I don't think P will talk about it with me but if he does bring it up I will say my two bits and be done. I will not bring it up, I have been asked to stay out of it so I will to the best of my ability.

I suggested that K write up a statement outlining the agreement to pay, what payments have been received and when, the balance owed, and options for paying it back. Even told him he should send it certified mail (signature required so he knows they got it) and ask them to sign and return the page stating what payment plan they are going to follow. I don't know if he's actually going to do it but to me it's the best way to get out there what he needs to get across without them interrupting.

We're nearing the end of the month. K has had no luck with interviews yet. He's headed down to Starbucks right now to apply. His friend is a supervisor and said he'd put in a good word for him. Even if he gets hired though, he'll still need rent money for August.

I am going to drain my resources and help him out this month, he'll pay me back because he doesn't like to be beholden to anyone. I'm prepared for it so I think I can swing it. At least this time he shares rent with someone.

I'm trying hard not to play mom so much, and it is hard. But we all make poor choices. And life is a learning experience. Since this is such a small amount of money, I am giving it to him knowing that if he doesn't pay it back it's ok. I know he will but it's just one of those things to not lend anything you can't bear to part with since it may not return. (that's my paraphrase)

Hopefully he'll cool off and things will be right again. I really want to involve myself but I know better. It's just hard because for about 7 years (2 officially, 5 unofficially) I was their guardian so the drive to play Mom is great.

3 Responses to “Why you don't lend money to family.”

  1. Carolina Bound Says:

    I feel for you. I have a son with constant money troubles. I try to help without enabling him. It's hard. And I AM Mom, which really makes it hard not to play Mom. :-)

  2. miclason Says:

    my grandmother used to say (and I hope noone considers this blasphemous, it surely isn't inteded that way) that if you try to play saviour you'll end up being crucified.......if you meddle, the fairer you are, the more they'll resent you...just stay out of it!

  3. Jane Says:

    It does sound like a real headache of a situation. For what it's worth, I think you're a great sister to care so much and try to help.

    Something I have finally learned to do is to NOT loan money to family or friends. Ever. I WILL make gifts of money, when asked for a loan. And sometimes they'll say "oh I can't accept this as a gift, I'm going to pay you back" and even with the best intentions in the world, they just can't. Or they'll pay back part of it, which is just unexpected money to me, because I gave it thinking "gift", not "loan". In this way I can occasionally help a loved one in a tight spot without risking the relationship. And if the person asking, or the amount asked, is more than I want to give then I just simply say "no". It's taken me a while to get here, but really it's given me the most peace.

    Good luck to you in your situation, I hope your brothers work things out fairly.

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