T Nation

Money Matters...


To anyone who's with a similar experience to my own- what's the best way to go about asking for money back from your family? I'm asking because, over the course of the past 2 years, I have continually lent money to my mum and brother with the promise of having it paid back to me; between them, it has now accumulated to around £500 (nearly $800). I had found myself in a position to do so because I had always been good at saving, and was never in any real financial difficulty. My mum has never been great with money, so I have felt obligated as her son to help her should she need it, while my brother has moved to London where, despite landing a full-time job, he has had difficulty managing the living expenses (whilst also paying to study a Master's.) The money I lent has been to cover costs of such things as Mother's Days, Holiday's and Birthdays (even my own), and I have always tried to be as accomodating or as helpful as I can.
Despite my lending, however, I am unemployed, having been unsuccessfully looking for work for the best part of a year. Despite a £38-a-week benefit grant, I am now reaching the stage where I may be needing this money, in order to continue tiding me over until I can land a job. My problem is that neither my mum nor my brother are in any better of a position for paying me back than they were initially, which has led me to question if I can fully justify asking for it? Part of me feels selfish for wanting to request it (particularly from my mum,) but at the same time, I see them both continuing to make purchases with money that they could be using to re-imburse me, and can't help but feel that they would come to me again should they require more. However, the fact that they're struggling puts me off bringing up the subject.
Has anybody ever had experience with financial matters strictly within family? I want to approach this in as appropriate and sensitive a way as possible, but just don't know how to go about it. If it were friends, it may be different, but as it's family I think it's a little more complicated. Any advice?


If you were unemployed you should not have lent them money for things like presents. I can see helping them out with food or rent so they are not on the street or starving but presents? Not wise, don't do this again unless you have a job. You know your family is not good with money so you know you can't rely on them. It wont get better. No it's not fair that you can't rely on them but what can you do?

Learn to say no and let them know you are hurting for money and need help. You don't have to phrase it like you are looking to be paid back just that you need help. They might be more receptive to you asking for help. Tell them you'll have to move in with them if they don't help you. 0_0

Good luck




I gave my older sister a $3000 loan, which took around 6 months to recover. I guess I am in a very different situation to you, being in the Armed forces I get paid fortnightly, no ifs or buts. My sister was just low on money, going through her own savings whilst still being a full time employee.

I didnt ask for anything for the two or so months after the loan had been used, as I knew that was pointless, how would she have recovered anything to pay me back after asking for the money?

I spoke to her upfront. I didn't beat around the bush. I don't do subtle, and with money matters, you shouldn't either. We worked out a repayment option that made sure she could still save money herself, and live, and the 'rest' went to me.

I'd suggest bringing it up with your Mum and Brother. Be straight forward. Get it repaid, even if its $20 a week, its better than the nothing you are getting now.












I didn't read your entire post, but I get the idea. Time to make a decision. Is recovering the money worth straining and possibly breaking your relationships? If it is, treat it like any other business deal. If it isn't, consider the money gone and the lesson learned.

The above advice is right on. Never lend money to family. If you do give money to family, consider it a gift, not a loan.


Worst part about lending money is that you start out being the good guy for doing it, but an asshole for wanting it back.

Best thing to do is kiss it goodbye when it leaves your hands or not give it.


For that amount of money I would just cut your losses and move on with a lesson learned.


Treat it as a gift and if it gets repaid so much the better. In the future never lend money to family but gift it if you want.


I agree with the last couple of posters. Forget the debt and don't lend anymore.

My brother hasn't paid rent for three months for my nephew who lives with my family. I know he is going to pay it but if the world were to morph into some kind of alternate reality where he wasn't good for it, I would never mention it or hold it against him.


Consider that money gone.

Next time they ask, say that your not in the financial position to lend. Like another poster said if it was about food or medical expenses then I would understand helping... but not for presents.





You should sit down with your mother and brother and try to reach a mutual understanding about gift-giving. None of you can afford gifts (not even you, now), so you should all agree that the sentiment is there and call that enough (BTW, I find it odd that you accept gifts when you know you are paying for them).

When you say "holidays", do you mean like Christmas holidays or 'trips away' holidays ('vacations' in other words)? I can understand if you're paying out for Christmas (esp. if there are small children around which kind of makes Christmas compulsory for a lot of families), but if you're funding vacations for relatives, then you should never have been asked to do that: vacations are luxuries, not necessities.

Oh, and do you live under the same roof as your mother? If yes, then that may have something to do with your ability to save, and complicates the issue of whether it is even appropriate to ask her to pay you back (unless you pay the rent)..

If you live at separate addresses, that last paragraph doesn't apply of course.


What I mean by saying that I lend money for gifts is that I would make the purchase of an item (say a joint gift between my brother and I for our mum, with the promise of having another person's share paid back to me. It's just rarely upheld. It has been the same for me asking for something for my Birthday- I would buy it using my card, being told I would be given the money for it in due course. I do believe the intention is there, but it just ends up not being feasible.

Yeah, it has been for vacation. Uusually only because said vacation has been in relation to a special occassion (e.g. so my mum could spend her Birthday in New York, and needed an early payment on her accomodation.) I'd have felt a bastard if I didn't...

No, I live in my own place. I don't even ask her to try and have any extra food about when I come back home to stay- I'll buy my own. I agree it would be different if I was living at home- I don't think I'd be in any real position to be requesting it.

I have approached both of them, several times in the past, with the offer of cancelling any debts between us, but have always been told 'no', that it will be getting paid back. I don't like the idea of turning down a family member's request for help (financial or otherwise,) which I guess is why I've kept lending or covering costs. I think I have mostly accepted that I will not see the majority of that money again, but part of me is worried about the conversation which will ensue when I refuse the next request for money.


totally agree. give the money without expecting it back. it's family after all. I've done it before (and have received from family as well). but only do it if you know you can without holding a grudge or any sort of resentment.