Lending money to friends

Recently, one of my army acquaintances texted me to borrow money from me. He is one of my reservist army bunkmates and I got to know him only a few years back (both of us were from different units during active times).
When I received his message for help, I was a bit apprehensive to lend him the money. This is because my father was hospitalized recently and my wife is a full-time homemaker. And I have a baby daughter. So I thought to myself if I had any spare cash, my priority would go to my immediate family first.
After some thinking, I texted him back and explained my financial situation to him. I also suggested to lend him $50 instead. He understood my plight and politely turned down my suggestion.
Gold and Silver Bullion
Gold and Silver Bullion

I suppose most of us would face financial difficulties at certain points in our lives. Sometimes we really need a helping hand from close friends to tide us over obstacles. I believe in this case, my friend genuinely needed my help but unfortunately, I could not support his request due to my family circumstances. I wish him all the best and hope things would turn out well for him.

But somehow I think he could have been more sincere in his request. Perhaps he should have dropped me a call to explain that he is facing severe financial hardship instead of sending me a text. Perhaps he should not have requested me to bank transfer him the money in his initial message, before I even agreed to lend him the money. No friends would like to be treated as an ATM machine!

Sometimes ago, I read an article from The Straits Times on the issue of lending money to friends or relatives. I shared the author’s views that if you decided to lend out the money, you must be prepared to write it off. This is because the chances of getting back the money is slim and if you wanted to claim back your money, it could potentially damage the relationship. I am thankfully that my close friends and relatives had not approached to borrow money from me so far. I am not particularly close to this friend of mine and the other time I was approached for money was from an ex-company internship student. With this outlook in mind, I had laid down three principles before lending out my monies:

1) my relationship with the borrowers
2) purpose of borrowing money
3) character of the person

What is your views on lending money to friends or relatives? Perhaps you can share with me your experience, good or bad. I am interested to know. In Singapore, it is every man for himself. This is a very unforgiving society and if you make a mistake in your wealth journey, you will have to pay a heavy price for it. So make sure you manage your money well before it manages you.

Join me in my investment journey and read my financial adventures for free! Through the sharing, my vision is to improve and change people’s lives. In school, we don’t learn how to budget, manage our finances, build wealth and invest our money. Instead, we are taught useless subjects which we would never put to use most of the times during our working lives.Yet, managing our money is an important life skill that is critical to our survival in the society. Many people start to realize how it is importance of managing money only when they face the prospect of financial ruins, by then which would be too late for remedies. Thus, I started this blog to share articles on finances which I aspire to make a positive impact in others’ lives.

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5 thoughts on “Lending money to friends

  • November 14, 2012 at 6:01 am

    ya, the saying is right. If you decided to lend out the money, you must be prepared to write it off.

    For my case, I lend out 1 -2 k before (mentally write it off) with many promise
    of returnng it sometime down the road. Ha ha, never see $ again. Am still a
    happy man though as I was mentally prepared to write it off.

    So, I guess u r not wrong to turn down the request politely 🙂

  • November 23, 2012 at 10:10 am

    This is a tough decision. Lending to a friend some cash is like giving it away without expecting him to return it. I just create alibis so that I can get away with it.

  • January 2, 2013 at 2:51 am

    I totally agree with the statement “if you decided to lend out the money, you must be prepared to write it off”. I lent out money to friends and relatives in a few ocassions. Sometimes they paid back, sometimes they don’t.

    Knowing the person’s character and the purpose of borrowing money are important factors for my decision to lend.

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