Should You Lend Your Lover Money?
Jane met a man online and dated him for two and a half years. She thought they might end up together.
"When he lost his job and I was thinking about moving him in with his son with my two kids, I freaked out ... Then, like an idiot, I loaned him money so that he would not end up on the street with his boy. Now, he is back at work and not at all concerned about paying me back. I am going to have to play hardball, I suppose. He refuses to answer my e-mails," she said.
She felt she had protected herself financially by getting a signed promissory note and the pink slips to his old car and boat, but she hopes that the situation will not escalate to that point. "I am just too nice," Jane said. "I want a good-faith effort that he will pay me back."
Can Jane get her money? Probably, but she will have to make an effort to do so. At the least, she says she will take him to small claims court where, because of the pink slips and signed note, she would get a judgment against him. But collecting is another issue. Who knows what he might do to her if she repossesses his car or boat? The stress involved in her situation could have been avoided had she not lent him the money.
Lending money and not being repaid doesn't just happen to women. Tom loaned a woman he was dating $1,500 when she fell on hard times. She signed a promissory note to pay him back. She was inheriting money and promised to repay him when the funds came in.
When she paid him $900, he asked, "Why only $900?"
She said, "I was your girlfriend," as if the $600 due was for dating services rendered.
He took her to small claims and won a judgment. On the day he had the marshal freeze her bank account, the entire side of his car was keyed outside his place of business. The police said they couldn't prove she had done it.
"The girl I had been dating for two months told me she was having financial problems. I wanted to help, so I loaned her $1,000. I told her it was a loan and I expected to be repaid, but did not have her sign a promissory note. She agreed.
"Later, she told me she couldn't afford to pay it back. I realized the only hope I had to get a quick repayment was to take her to small claims court. I knew my chances were not good because I had not been smart enough to get something in writing from her.
"She told the judge she assumed the money was a gift. I tried to provide the judge with information that might help him see that it was a loan, but once he heard I did not have anything signed by her, he didn't want to hear any of it. The judge ruled in her favor and, to make it worse, she stated in court that the contacts I made with her on this (it was three times) were 'bordering on stalking.'
"You can imagine how I felt when I walked out of that court. I felt violated by someone I had once cared enough about to try to help her."
If you are still foolish enough to lend money, be sure toget a promissory note. Most people have worked hard tobuild financial security. Losing that and then trying to earn it back at our age might not be possible.
Better yet, do not lend a lover money, even if you get a promissory note or the pink slip to his old clunker. Why subject yourself to the stress, time and effort of trying to collect?
There is an old rule of thumb: Don't lend money you can't afford to lose.
David said, "It's amazing what people will do to avoid personal responsibility and take advantage of others."
Sad but true. Don't be a victim.
Tom Blake is a syndicated columnist in Southern California.