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Borrowing money from a loved one: what you should and shouldn’t do

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Written by: Martin King
06/08/2019
It can be difficult to ask family or friends for a loan but there are ways to make the conversation easier for both parties...

Conversations about money can be difficult. Most of us don’t feel very comfortable talking about our finances with our loved ones and we often end up avoiding the conversation, changing the subject, or putting it off until another time.

But what do you do if you ever find yourself in a situation when managing your finances has become a struggle and you aren’t sure where to turn?

After all; it’s not uncommon to rely on family or friends to help out when times are tough. In fact, our How Britain Lives study shows that around a third (31 per cent) of us have to borrow money at one point or another from friends or family, and more than a fifth (22 per cent) do so just to get by.

Turning to those closest to us during these times for support can be a good solution, but for many of us, the fear of opening up and talking to our family prevents us from even asking.

Here are some tips to help make the conversation easier.

Work out exactly how much you need to borrow

Gather all the information you need to help you understand exactly how much you need to borrow and for how long. Once you’ve established all the facts, working out a plan for how you will pay the money back becomes much easier.

Sometimes the most overwhelming part about opening up about finances and asking for help is that initial conversation. Going into it prepared and clear on the situation will help to make it seem less daunting.

Be prepared to talk, but also be prepared to listen

If you’re asking for financial support its understandable that the other person might have some questions and concerns. Understand and acknowledge the other person’s point of view and be ready to answer their questions about why you need this money, and any other options you’ve explored.

Our research shows that two thirds (61 per cent) are happy to lend money to family and friends, but some admit that it has caused tension. Clear and open communication from the outset can help reduce the risk of disagreements further down the line.

Don’t borrow more than you are comfortable with

Carefully consider your financial situation to make sure you’re going to be able to pay back what you’re asking for, without having to ask for more money from someone else down the line.

If you do borrow money, draw up a budget of how much you should be spending day to day while the money is in your possession. You should take control of your finances and be aware of all your in-comings and out-goings.

Make a plan together

Reach an agreement about what to do next and keep talking about it. A written plan is always a good idea to make sure you are on the same page throughout.

It’s usually a good idea to put in writing exactly how you’ll pay them back, including details like when you will start to make payments, how much you’ll pay back each month, and how you plan to make the payment. For example, having a standing order in place for repayments might help to build their confidence in both your willingness and ability to pay the loan back.

Martin King is head of customer support at Lloyds Bank

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