As I write this I fully acknowledge the importance of family. In fact I am a strong believer in close family relationships. Sometimes friends are closer than a brother, but it is family that will struggle to foot your hospital bill when all else is gone, it is family that will bury you when you die and of course blood is thicker than water.
Money and relatives don’t mix well in most cases. Many are the times you are at a family gathering and a family member is busy trying to extort money from you if not borrow. The sad bit about the latter is its likely you may never get your money back. There is always a story as to why it can’t be paid or why they need more time to raise the money. How annoying!
Friendships with these members can be strained as a result. Truth be told relatives are the worst to deal with. However there are times the need is genuine, so what to do? I am strong believer in giving what I can afford to lose. Simply put I give the money without expecting a return. If I cannot afford or raise the amount requested, I come up with some good lines like “oh you should have brought it up last week I would have been able to assist.” “My budget does not allow.”
Sometime back a relative walked into my office and gave me a well drafted story of how they needed money for an exam which was to determine the securing of a certain job. The good me, quickly bought it and gave the money after the agreement of a refund within a month. A year, two later it has never been refunded. See what am talking about?
Remember when you meet everything is supposed to be “normal”? At some point we engaged in a verbal exchange. I decided that was the first and last time I was going to be in that kind of situation.
We all know of the so called notorious and chronic borrowers who keep coming back even after forfeiting the last lend. Burning bridges is not good after all family is here to stay. So I decided to craft some rules for the game:
1. Do not lend or loan money if I am able to foresee trouble
2. Lying is bad, but come up with a good excuse that cannot be questioned.
3. Invest my money in whatever profitable entry there is like a fixed deposit account, chama and equities, after all I have worked so hard to get it.
4. Relatives have been there for as long as I have , a bad one will always have the symptoms drawn on their face
5. If I lend, then I change the word lend to give so that I do not have to stress over it and perhaps tell you not to ask again.
6. For the serial borrower I shall consider asking them if they could also lend me now that I am always lending. (By the way I did that with a street urchin once, it worked! But be careful)
7. Document the agreement and have a witness to the borrowing and of course some interest to it will ensure discipline
8. As a rule the borrower becomes a servant to the lender (proverbs 22:7) meaning if I am the borrower I will always feel the need to please my lender so I do not want to put someone else in that situation as I don’t like it either.
9. There is never any “free” money floating around so I will consider it for emergency instead of been a lender all the time.
10.I will simply say NO keeping it firm and polite.
11.I will not make promises that I cannot keep
12.Consider suggesting alternative ways of making extra income to the borrower. After all the Chinese proverb says: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
There is always a way out!