It’s uncomfortable but usually better to say no when someone – your boyfriend, family member, coworker, dog – asks to borrow money from you.
Here’s a question from a reader:
“I’ve already lent my boyfriend almost $700 about 6 months ago,” says L. on one of my articles about loaning money to family members. “He hasn’t paid me back. The money he makes is not enough to pay his bills school loan, unexpectedly high utility bills, car payments, rent, supporting his parents, etc. He is now asking to borrow $5,000 to help him pay some of his debt so he can get adjusted and financially organized. I want to help him, but he hasn’t paid back the other money I lent him. Should I lend him the money?”
No, no, a thousand times no! Below, I explain why I think she should say no to his request to borrow $5,000 – and I offer a few tips on how to say no when someone asks to borrow money from you.
Saying no to a loved one who asks to borrow money is hard – but you can do it without damaging your relationship! Books like The Power of a Positive No: Save The Deal, Save Your Relationship, and Still Say No will help.
Why She Shouldn’t Lend $5,000 to Her Boyfriend
The bottom line is that if he doesn’t have $5,000 now to organize his life, how and when will he get the money? And here are other reasons she needs to say no…
- He already borrowed $700 from her, and can’t pay it back.
- She doesn’t have a contract for the first $700 she lent him, so she’s out of luck if he denies borrowing it, refuses to pay it back, or simply doesn’t have the money.
- Five thousand dollars is a huge amount of money! It’s not $50 to buy groceries, which most lenders can afford to lose.
- In this case, lending him money is not a solution. It is a short-term band-aid that will not help him in the long run.
- Her gut feeling is telling her she should say no to his request to borrow money, but she feels guilty. Her kind, misplaced heart is ruling her smart, savvy head.
Remember this quip: “Give a man a fish, and he’ll be hungry tomorrow. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll never go hungry again.” Instead of throwing more money at someone who has money management problems, teach him how to organize his finances. Get him a book like Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness.
How to Say No When Someone Asks to Borrow Money From You
One reason I believe money should be kept out of love relationships is because I watch Judge Marilyn Milian. Every day, she hears cases that involve ex-partners suing each other over money loans that weren’t paid back.
It’s not out of spite that the borrowed money wasn’t repaid – it was often simply because the borrower didn’t have the money to repay the loan.
If you decide to say yes when someone asks to borrow money from you, read How to Lend Money to Your Boyfriend or Girlfriend Without Regret.
Be firm and loving when you say no
You could say, “I’m sorry, but this is a bad time. I can’t afford to lend money to you.” Whether or not you have the $5,000 is irrelevant. It is your money, and you need to decide the best way to put it to work.
You could say, “I wish I could help you out – and I love you – but loaning $5,000 is not in my budget.”
You could say, “I know how hard it is for you to ask to borrow money. I
When you’re saying no, try not to over-explain. It’s not a debate, argument, or discussion. Really, you only need to say “No, I can’t help you.” You don’t need to explain why or defend yourself. I know this is much easier said than done!
The key to saying no when someone asks to borrow money from you is to separate money issues from your emotions.
Offer to help in other, non-financial, ways
What else can you do to help someone who wants to borrow money? There are lots of ways to support someone in financial dire straits, depending on his situation. Some people need budgeting help, others need help creating and sending out resumes.
I think the best way for L. to help her boyfriend is to hook him up with a financial planner who will help him organize his income and expenditures. He needs a long-term solution to his money situation – not a short-term loan that will create more financial problems in the long run.
Are you and he codependent? Read my article about untangling a co dependent love relationship.
Expect disappointment – and expect to feel guilty
It’s a fact: whoever is asking to borrow money from you will be disappointed and upset. He may try to make you feel guilty – but he may not even need to! You’ll feel guilty all by yourself.
But you have to remember that he is a grown man, and you are not his mother. You are his girlfriend. Your role is to support and love him – and that doesn’t mean lending money when he’s in financial trouble. His financial problems is his responsibility – not yours.
If you want to help your boyfriend get money, read 7 Ways to Get $10,000 – From Refinancing a Mortgage to Asking Mom.
Here are two more articles that may help when someone asks to borrow money from you:
- When It’s Not Smart to Loan Money to Someone You’re Close to
- Should You Lend Money to Family Members? Warnings and Tips
What would you do if someone asked to borrow money? Comments welcome below…
I'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen; my husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I hope you say hello below - I can't give relationship advice, but writing can bring you clarity and insight.