14% of people actually resent a family member because of money
Borrowing money from relatives can result in an ugly family feud.
More than one in 10 people have distanced themselves from a family member who they’ve borrowed or loaned funds to, and 14% actually resent the person, according to Lendingtree, a resource that connects consumers with multiple lenders, banks and credit partners.
Lendingtree surveyed more than 1,000 people across the country about the money they borrowed and loaned and what they potentially never repaid or were never paid back. According to the report, 71% of people have borrowed money from family, and 35% have loaned cash out. This can sometimes lead to an awkward “I owe you,” especially during this time of year when 7% say it makes the holidays extremely uncomfortable.
“In general, borrowing or lending money amongst family and friends is a no-no. It almost never goes well and we typically suggest not giving any more than you’d be comfortable not seeing again,” Priya Malani, a partner at financial planning firm Stash Wealth, tells Moneyish. “In other words, say goodbye to that money.”
Take it from Christopher Tucci, 29, a personal trainer living in Los Angeles, who borrowed a little more than $4,000 from his brother to help him work through student loan debt and avoid high interest rates while he started his fitness business Hungry & Fit. But he still hasn’t paid him back.
“I borrowed way too much,” Tucci tells Moneyish.
“Its given my brother leverage over me regarding everything we do, and it’s a bit suffocating,” he adds.
Tucci says he doesn’t regret borrowing the money, but now whenever he sees his brother back on the East Coast he feels obligated to pay for meals and outings.
“I consider the dinners my prolonged interest. I will pay him back one day, I just don’t know when. It absolutely can strain the relationship,” he admits.
Other family lenders aren’t as lenient. Retired marketing professor Jonathan Hartman, 61, will set the terms to a loan before he lends out cash to family.
“I write a note and a memo with each loan. The note spells out the terms of the loan, and the memo lists all the loans and any modifications, any payments any additional money being used,” he says.
His brother-in-law asked him for a loan of more than $400,000 to start a business in real estate acquisition and construction. Now they both make money off interest from lending funds to developers for various projects.
“He pays me between 2 to 12% interest, depending on the deal,” Hartman says, adding that he receives an extra $25,000 a year now. He said he didn’t get a lawyer involved because he knew his bro had the cash flow to repay him.
The “always get it in writing” policy may work for Hartman, but that’s not the case for some who feel like they’re entitled to the money since it’s coming from family, experts say.
“I have seen parents and children part because of that. I’ve seen siblings part because of that,” says Paul Bennett, author of “The Money Navigator” and a managing director at United Capital.
“If you don’t have a promissory note and a legitimate competitive rate being charged, it can really be categorized as kind of sham. If you give somebody over $14,000 you’re not allowed to do that without filing a gift tax return,” he says.
Here are tips for navigating how to ask your family for money and work on paying them back:
Do have a plan: Don’t just ask for cash, figure out how you’ll pay the person back.
“Have a valid reason why you need it, how it will help your situation and a plan on how you’ll pay it back with a timeline,” says Malani.
“For example, I’ve been working to pay down credit card debt for the past year but I just can’t seem to get ahead because the interest rate is so high. I currently owe $5,000 and I’m losing $1,050 in interest every year. Would you be willing to lend me $5,000 to pay it off and instead I can begin paying you $350 on the 15 of every month to pay you back in 14 months.”
Do put it in writing: As a lender or borrower, it may be an awkward thing to do, but both parties should initiate writing a memo upon the financial agreement.
“Help avoid this by insisting that you want to put something in writing stating the payback plan. This will protect you as much as them. If they ask you to pay it back quicker, you can at least point to the agreement and say, “I’m still on track to pay it off as we agreed,” says Malani.
Be sure to include the names of all parties involved, the amount borrowed, payment schedule with the amount and day of month, plus the absolute final payback date, Malani advises, adding that the note should be signed and dated by everyone involved.
Do consider paying them interest: If you’re asking for more than $5,000 offer to pay interest.
“Whenever you are borrowing money from family or friends, the shorter the better. Typically one year or less is best, but five years max is suggested,” says Malani, who suggests borrowers automate paying a fraction back each month.
“It shows you appreciate and recognize the sacrifice they are making. They may say no, but at least offer. Even 2-4% is fair.”
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