Do Friends or Family Members Owe You Money?

Today we want to discuss how to deal with the problem of friends or family members who owe you money. We know that this can be terribly tricky. Why? Because you love these people, you don’t want to damage your relationships with them and the topic of money is always a potentially trying one to have to discuss.

Let’s say your grown child needs help making the down payment for a house she wants to buy. You’re excited for your daughter to get her own place and you’re more than happy to help her get started in this new adventure. But, months go by and she hasn’t mentioned the money you’ve given her, let alone ways she might work towards paying it back.

How do you broach the subject without hurting her feelings or making her feel defensive?

First and sometimes the simplest way to go about it, is offer a tactful reminder. This can be in the form of an email or a text or even at the end of a phone call. As long as you have communicated your love beforehand and you feel like the moment is right, a simple reminder shouldn’t do any damage and may be all it takes to get her to start paying you back.

If reminders don’t work, you may want to have a longer conversation and set up a payment schedule. Take some time to sit down with her and work out a feasible plan for paying you back. Make sure you have deadlines and amounts in place, put it all in writing, so that everyone is clear on what the terms are.

If it doesn’t seem as if the money is likely to be forthcoming you could come up with more creative plans. Maybe your daughter has something of value to give you, maybe even performing services for you, cleaning your home, garage, lawn care, babysitting. She could do something on a regular basis and you could come up with an amount that service is worth, agree on it together and use this as a way for her to pay you back.

In the end, relationships should always trump money. We would advise you not to let any relationship sour because of financial concerns.