• Cover: November 26, 2014
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The Ps and Qs of Friends, Family and Money

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  • The Situation: Your brother wants to borrow money, but he never paid you back the last time you lent him cash.

    "If you're going to give money to a family member, you have to think of it as a gift, and accept that you may never see it again," says Rowley. "Loans that are never paid back can destroy relationships." Not ready to part with your cash forever? In that case, Rowley recommends handling the loan in a more professional manner by using a service like LoanBack.com, which helps you create a legally binding loan agreement, or LendingKarma.com, which lets you document and track your loan. However, if you're simply not comfortable lending money to a relative, then your best bet is to just be honest. "Rather than just saying 'no' and risking resentment, give him a concrete reason that you can't help him out. Say that you're saving for your kids' college fund or are earmarking the cash for groceries."

    And if the deal has already transpired? Rowley recommends picking a time when money will change hands—like while you're getting coffee together or are out to dinner—to remind him about the loan. When the check arrives, consider saying something like, "Since I lent you $20 last month, why don't you pick up dinner? Then we'll be even." When larger amounts of money are at stake, consider writing an email so he can save face in case he forgot about the loan or isn't able to pay you back right away.

    ON WOMAN'S DAY: How To Make Money At Home

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The Ps and Qs of Friends, Family and Money
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