They’re not talking to me and I never got my money back.
All is Quiet on the Family Front
I have particular relative who’s had money troubles before. It’s been a rough couple of years for various reasons – unemployment, school (getting the financial aid together), medical issues, and just stuff.
He moved last year before the baby was born to get a fresh start and his stuff together.
Long story short, after a few bumps in the road, I didn’t hear from him about money (which was a big change, but we thought it was a good sign).
My husband and I knew that he was living on a tight budget (he complained a bit, but didn’t ask for money). He was staying with relatives and all of his essentials were covered.
When he did call from time to time, he’d mention how school was going (financial aid was being processed and he was starting the winter semester) and things he was doing to get his finances together.
Things seemed to be heading in the right direction – until I got a phone call.
Emergency, Need Money Now! (Sort of)
It’s the morning and I’m getting work done at the home office (the baby is napping!) and I get a phone call from him.
By the tone of his voice he’s obviously upset. He tells me he’s stranded – he needs to get to school for mid-terms and he has no bus fare. He’s broke and he was basically venting.
I tried to calm him down and work through his options, including calling the professor and explaining the situation. All of my suggestions are dismissed -won’t work.
He didn’t ask for money, but I get what he’s hinting at. Being that my work time is limited with having the baby around, I ask him what he wants me to do.
He then asks if I can help and send some money through Western Union – just enough to tide him over to next paycheck.
He needed it right away since class was in the afternoon and the bus ride would be long.
I told him no, it would extremely difficult to get the baby ready and drive over to Western Union in time.
Frustrated, he hung up the phone. I felt bad I couldn’t help, but at the same time I knew that it was too last minute for me.
Loaning Money to Family… Not a Good Idea
The next night I’m with my family relaxing a bit when I get another phone call from him.
He missed one mid-term and his roommate (a relative) doesn’t have money to loan him.
He calls and ask for help. At night. For tomorrow. (Ok, you may be wondering why I didn’t dismiss this right away when he called again, but when you’re in the moment and a loved one is tugging at you emotionally, it’s tough to think objectively.)
He tells me MoneyGram is around the corner and for $5 (not true true if you’re sending instant money!) I could send over bus fare money.
I again asked him about his finances. He told me times were every tight and he was scrapping by.
I decided to help out and he was happy so he hung up. At this point something bothered me and I decided to call the other relative.
Something Doesn’t Seem Right….
Some people may wonder why ask a third party but my reasons basically boiled down to:
I’ve been lied to before my this particular family member – about money and other things.
He has a history of money mismanagement.
His description of the financial situation with his roommate didn’t make sense based on what his roommate said to me a month ago.
So the gist was I didn’t trust him. Now if things were as my relative said, then not only would I have sent money for bus fare, but also for some other essentials.
My gut was telling me that something wasn’t right. When I spoke to the other relative, it was confirmed – there was enough money, but some of it was spent unwisely (partying earlier that month).
At this point three people were upset – myself and two relatives. The situation however was still that my relative needed bus fare to keep his grades up and to get his financial aid package.
Thanks for the Money (Without the Thanks)
I agreed to send him money (as a loan) via MoneyGram and he went up to pay it. Keeping this story short, there were a few hiccups with the electronic payments system, but he did get cash sent.
Fun part now – he saw how much I sent and COMPLAINED! He thought I would send more.
At this point, I was done. The next evening I received a text from him about how I ruined his life and how he was over everybody.
I haven’t heard from him since. I’ve let go the anger, but the hurt is still around. He has since gotten his financial aid and could’ve paid me back, but he hasn’t. The amount sent was small (I wanted to help, but not jeopardize my family’s finances).
If there is a point to this story I guess it’s that loaning money to loved ones sometimes puts you at risk both financially and emotionally.
Be careful how you do it. I have other relative who have had genuine emergencies and I was honored to help them out and they paid me back, even though I never asked them to (I typically send money as gifts).
Thoughts on Loaning to Family
I’d like to hear from you. If you’ve loaned money to your friends or family, did you ever have a time silence?
Were you able to reconcile it? If so, did you have to make the call or did the relative make it?
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Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..