Friday, March 18, 2011

Neither Borrower or Lender Be...Loaning money to friends, family.

Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 3*

A viewer asks:
"How do you say no to a brother who wants to borrow money from you when you have just retired with a lump sum and are taking care of your family?"

Answer: Say the word "NO!" to him and slam the door in his face!

People who think poor (lazy thinkers) tend to think that anyone with a lot of money is "lucky" and should "spread the wealth around".

But in reality, a lump-sum payout is a serious piece of business. Screw it up by loaning it to relatives or giving it away, and, well, you'll be destitute in your retirement.

As I noted in my posting on my "middle class poverty friend" I had a friend who didn't understand the basic concepts about money.  This "friend" lectures me on how "rich" I am, while we drive around in yet another one of his brand-new leased cars. He can't understand why he is broke all the time!

I live modestly, and thus have money in the bank. He spends it all on eye candy and is broke.

And this is just a hunch, but I suspect the same is true between you and your brother. Your brother needs this "loan" like he needs a hole in the head, and chances are, he will never pay it back. And meanwhile, he will live a lifestyle better than yours.

  • You are not obligated to loan money to family members just because they are family members and you have some money.
  • You are not obligated to "help out" family members who are living a lifestyle you yourself cannot afford.
  • You are not obligated to loan money to family members who don't understand the first thing about money and thus will squander it
  • You are not a Bank, nor a Charity.
  • You need to take care of yourself first.  If your family member is destitute, that is bad.  Making both of you destitute is even worse.
  • You are NOT your brother's keeper - at least in terms of keeping him in leased cars and paying his gambling debts!

  • What sort of person plays upon guilt and family connections to con you out of money?  Do you really need such people in your life?  Think about this carefully.

If a bank won't loan your brother money, chances are it is because they think he can't pay it back. LISTEN TO THE BANK.  Banks give good advice this way - they are not being "mean" - just realistic.

Time for you to be realistic, too - and stop living in a dream world. Your dead-beat brother has insulted you by even asking for such a "loan".

Just walk away from it. And if this means he won't talk to you anymore, consider that a blessing.

Because you don't "need" a family member like that, and no, you don't "owe" him anything. And anyone who tells you otherwise or blathers on about how "family is everything" is just an asshole.

And yet there are people and even religious organizations out there who say you should be a punching-bag your whole life, for other people, just because you share some DNA with them.  In their mind, these folks are allowed to beat you, abuse you, and then take all your money, and not only do you have no say in the matter, you are obligated to go along with this.

And for some reason, abusive family members are never held to the same standard.

And no, you are not being "kind" to a family member who has a drug problem, gambling debts, or is over-extended financially by "lending" (i.e., giving) them money.  All you are doing is enabling their problems to continue, instead of forcing them to confront them.  You are just delaying the inevitable.

And yet some family members enjoy being this punching bag - it gives them something to bitch about and complain about.  They pay off their son's car loan and then complain they have no money.  It's a sick little game - a perverted little dance.  And does it hurt anyone?

If you are single, no.  Just yourself.  Well, and the rest of us, when you are broke and go on welfare.

But if  you have a spouse, you have your own family obligations.  And those should come first.  You cannot "loan" money to a deadbeat brother, when that money is your retirement fund that you and your spouse are supposed to retire on.  It is your wife's money too, and she should have a say in this.

And I suspect her "say" in the matter is a resounding "NO".   Listen to your wife.

And many a marriage has been sunk when one of the partners puts his parents or siblings above his spouse in the hierarchy of relationships.  Never make the mistake of marrying a Momma's Boy, as he really wants to marry his Mother, and his Mother will see you as competition.  Never marry a man (or woman) who spends more time with his parents or siblings than he does with you - or insists on living in the same town with them.  You will never be "family" in that situation - just a convenient sex toy.

Walk away from relationships with people who want to be perpetual children or siblings.  It will never work out, and you will always be second fiddle.

And if "perpetual child" describes you, I feel sorry for you.  Because you will be a son or daughter until your parents die, and then realize you have but a few scant years of life "on your own" and wonder why you squandered 50, 60, or even 70 years trying to appease your parent's desires for your life.

You are an adult now.  Grow Up for chrissakes!  You have formed your own family, and that is your number one concern - not supporting relatives from your childhood.

I can hear the outrage from the people who are crippled by family ties - "Family is everything!" they cry, and that is true - your new family.  It is nothing short of being  cruel to your spouse and your children by putting your childhood family above them.

And that is why it is so odious when a "family" member tries to use childhood family ties to borrow money or otherwise exploit their other family members.  They are trying to use a false societal convention to shame you into "loaning" them money - while at the same time getting you to abandon your all-too-real family obligations - to your spouse and children.  This is a horrible thing to do, and anyone who does it should be ashamed.

And yet the would-be borrower tries to shift the shame to the would-be lender - by making it seem like a "family obligation" to loan (give) him money.  How evil and sick is that?  If not for the fact this person was a "relative" would you not kick them in the nuts?

Giving advice and comfort to a childhood family member is one thing.  Steering them to paths that might lead to their recovery is helpful.  But sacrificing your own financial stability on the false altar of "Family" is utter nonsense.

* This quote from Hamlet has a double-meaning. Polonius is not just giving financial advice, but making a lot of boring platitudes - bloviating and blasting hot air. In that regard, this quote is apt for this blog!