The Almighty Dollar

Restoring some fiscal sanity in our -- negative savings rate -- lives


What does $100 mean to you?

To continue my examination of when money comes between friends, does each side have a rational point of view?

The Loaner's Logic:
"I casually mentioned the show to the Borrower, and he enthusiastically agreed to go together. I didn't pressure him at all. Since I would be passing by the ticket office later that day, I offered to get the tickets for us. That way, we could get the best available seats. Sure enough, ours were third row.

With each passing month, I avoided the topic of the tickets, because I did not want to make it a big deal. I know the Borrower has debt. And yes, he makes less money than me, but that doesn't mean he should get everything for free. Actually, I think it's wrong that the Borrower's friends are always treating him, just because they make more money and are aware of his credit card troubles. The Borrower is an adult, heck, we are nearly the same age. He makes a decent salary, but the main problem is his poor financial management. If friends are treating him all the time, the Borrower will never get his finances in order."

The Borrower's Defense:
"I heard great things about the show and really wanted to see it. The tickets were expensive at $100 a piece, but everyone's told me it was worth the price. I am tight on money now, but then again, when aren't I? I'm sure the Loaner won't mind if I pay him back later for the tickets. He makes way more money than I do, and it won't kill him if he doesn't get the $100 bucks immediately. The show is a few months away, and I can definitely get him the money by then.

Anyway, the Loaner knows I've been trying to be better with my money. I've already told him that I cut back on my 401K contributions to put more money towards my credit cards. He knows that I've had tons of expenses lately. I had to borrow money from my sister for that wedding, and there are three parking tickets in my inbox waiting to be paid. I'm trying hard to get rid of my debt, but I still have to live my life! Since I'm back in the dating game, I can't stay home every night. Plus, I save money in other ways, like bringing my lunch to work, going to happy hours for half-price beers, and only buying clothes on sale."

What Does $100 Mean to You?
Depending on your situation and how you value money, $100 may be a little or a lot. From my perspective, it is a lot.

As a one-time deal, I agree with It's Just Money that $100 is certainly not worth breaking up a friendship. But what if $100 becomes $1000, or one instance turns into multiple?

In all cases, it is the Borrower's responsibility to fork up the money as soon as possible. If the Borrower doesn't have it, let the Loaner know. Remember, this is your friend, not some slimy car dealer.

And for G*d's sake, do not put the Loaner in the position of having to ask for it!

I think most Loaners will agree this is the worst part about lending money to friends. The Borrower is being inconsiderate by spending money frivolously in the Loaner's company, and ignoring the loan will only foster deeper resentment.

Growing up, I turned down invitations to dinners and parties, because I didn't have the money and didn't want to borrow it. I hate feeling indebted to anyone, even if it's over a dollar. Borrowers, you can say NO.

In my adult life, I am finally in a position to loan money. I've lent small and large amounts, but do so conditionally and cautiously.

You may call me judgmental, but I have decided not to lend money to people I deem careless spenders or serial borrowers. Nor would I really want to be friends with them.