Other People and Your Money

Most of my failures with money had to do with me. My intentional inattention to the future consequences of today’s money choices cost me lots of money, but my worst choices were always reserved for choices involving others.

It is easy to make particularly poor money decisions when it comes to people we care about. When asked by a friend or family member for help, we want to do whatever we can. Unfortunately, many times the choice we make not only hurts our own financial situation, it also causes much harm to the relationship.

To avoid trashing your own financial goals and ruining your relationships, it is important to set some hard and fast family rules about other people and your money.

Cash Only Living recently posted their list of 10 Rules for Dealing with People Problems. This is an excellent starting point for your family to adopt their own rules:

  1. We never co-sign for anything for any one.

  2. We treat people how we would like to be treated, namely, with honor, respect, patience, humor, and firm parameters so as to avoid miscommunications and other inter-personal issues. We expect the same in return.

  3. We don’t take sides and we don’t like drama.

  4. We do keep a separate emergency fund to help others if needed.

  5. We don’t loan money to anyone for anything.

  6. We don’t bail people out of jail.

  7. We won’t buy from your MLM business; go to a presentation that is trying to sell us something; or become one of your MLM “downlinks”.

  8. I won’t enter into a business partnership with anyone.

  9. The hubby and I freely provide: someone to vent to/talk to, a free meal if you stop by the house, a place to sleep in an emergency, a free ride if you have been drinking, moral support, useful information, help with a wide variety of problems/projects  and provide other non-financial assistance whenever possible.

  10. We won’t sell you anything on credit.

Having these rules in place before you need them is key. Without predetermined rules, you are bound to find yourself in a long drawn out conversation of all your legitimate reasons for not helping someone you care about. Somewhere early in this conversion, all they can hear is that you don’t care.

It is so much easier on both parties if you are to say with confidence “I’m sorry, our family has a rule against co-signing” .

What are your rules about other people and your money?