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Lending Money to Family Members: Yes or No!

Lending Money to Family Members

Should You Lend Money to Family?

A loan is an investment, and you need to be sure that lending your hard earned cash to others doesn’t put your finances at risk. Dave Ramsey says, “don’t do it! People who let family members borrow money have their hearts–not–heads in the right place.

When we love people, we want to see them succeed, and we want to lend a helping hand. Strong emotions can quickly derail the best of intentions when dealing with family or close friends.  As a result, when family members come to us for a loan, we empathize; thinking about how we would feel having to ask for cash. And, if life got tough for us, we would expect others would have our back and help us! But that is not always the case.

Is It Safe?

It’s best to use caution when lending money to family. And it is wise to determine if the money is a gift or a loan. A loan should have requirements or agreements regarding the dollar amount and the payback schedule. The IRS allows $14,000 as a gift among family members so that a couple could give a family member $24,000 ($14,000 apiece). And theoretically, you do not pay a gift tax unless more than $5.23M is handed out over the course of your life. If you elect to loan the money, it’s best to set the interest rate, along with a payment plan for tax purposes.

Is it always the same person who needs help? Or do you have multiple requests from both sides of the family? If you are “the bank of choice,” you may need to re-think how you help relatives. In today’s turbulent economy, many older Americans are loaning money to their children. But is that the right call? Essentially, anytime someone asks you for money, it is fair to ask, “why do you need the money?”

Does the Loan Empower or Enable?

When an adult child relies on Mom and Dad to come in and save them from the latest crisis, but the root of the problem is overspending, or under earning, the parent becomes an enabler. This habitual pattern of letting other people take care of one’s careless financial choices, will never stop. It is important for all parties to learn a new set of habits. By clarifying the request for money without emotional turmoil, parents maintain enough money to retire and adult children will become more independent and began making more intentional choices.

On the other hand, a valid need such needing help with tuition can boost the earning power of a graduating student. Or lending money for a substantial down payment to purchase a house can provide a safe opportunity to invest the future. Providing the funds for a loved one to create a better life can be empowering!

Shall We Shake on It?

Take time to talk about the obligation and requirements of borrowing money. Prepare a formal agreement defining the amount loaned and details for repayment. Putting the financial commitment on paper gives the transaction more weight – often resulting in a positive outcome. The majority of people that sign a written contract are much more inclined to fulfill that agreement. For more personal finance info: Follow the Money Nerve 

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SPEND MONEY ON EXPERIENCES, not THINGS

3x3 Vacation TimeSpend Money on Experiences, not Things!

Sounds hedonistic, but spending money on experiences over things may bring you a higher level of genuine joy and longer-lasting satisfaction in life. We all have a limited amount of money to spend and want to allocate our resources for maximum results. Earning more money brings happiness – but only up to a certain point. People need a place to live, a car and food on the table, but before you buy that next new “thing,” take a moment to determine if you would be more satisfied spending money on an experience with family or friends over a new iPhone.

A new gadget or piece of technology often causes us to swell with pride in a brief moment of that “Wow” factor when showing off the new purchase. Physical products often lose their value as they become a mundane piece of your life and let’s face it – there is always something newer, better, or that has more options.

The concept of spending money on experiences over material purchases has been studied in-depth by Cornell psychology professor Thomas Gilovich. For over a decade, he has been trying to understand how and why experiential purchases are so much better than material products. Using the simple concept of conscious choice, you can create a life that is rich in its abundance by sharing experiences and connecting with the people you love.

In fact, if you have ever been at a party where you are meeting new people, it is easy to connect with someone when you realize that both of you ran the same marathon, hiked the same trail in a national park or vacationed in the same city. It doesn’t matter if they spent $10,000 and you spent $900. Both trips were equally as exciting! The shared experience bonds you as you both compare notes, relive your trip, and refresh the memories.

Summer is quickly passing, and if you have not taken the time to refresh yourself, there are still some great experiences waiting for you! Take a pass on a new car and use the one you have. Journey to a fabulous week with family or friends and make memories that will last a lifetime! Here is a great website to help you purchase an experience before the leaves begin to turn: http://www.lastminutetravel.com/PagePackageSearch.aspx

Remember to take time to stop and smell the roses!

Bob

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CHRISTMAS “TIME”

3x3 Gifts of timeChoosing to make conscious choices for your money and life may have implications in many aspects of your life. Set aside some quiet time this December and create a mental space to listen to your thoughts. Decide how to spend your holiday season, using your goals to give you focus.

What would your “perfect” holiday look like? Maybe it includes parties with friends, spending time with family, or taking time to express your gratitude. This is such a hectic time of year. Many people feel overwhelmed by obligations presented by school, work, family and friends. Invest your time in activities that bring you the most value.

Choose which activities you will spend your time on and know that you may miss some parties or invites. Setting boundaries for a successful holiday helps you maintain your sanity, increase your sense of gratefulness and keep your “spirits bright!”

Take that one step further and spend time with those closest to you this month. Listen to your spouse, best friend or family members and notice what is important to them. Investing time with people who are special in your life strengthens your bond with them, creating more meaningful relationships.

When shopping, instead of buying four gifts for each person, purchase one item and plan an experience to accompany the gift. Purchasing clothes? Plan a date night to enjoy the new outfit. Have a friend who loves to cook? Wrap up a new piece of cooking equipment and sign up for a cooking class together. Give a gift of time to complete the gift in a box! Many people find investing in others reaps greater benefits in the journey of life.

Share some of the activities that your family or circle of friends love to do — and make the holidays extra special every year.

~ Bob