Shame on WHO?

Family Argument

When talking with different people about the joy of spending time with family during the holidays, there are many who aren't too excited about it because their family usually gets into arguments whenever they all get together.


In most cases, the reason is because of money. This reminds me of a story a banker friend of mine told me some time ago pertaining to people's attitude towards borrowing money from (or loaning money to) family.

His story compared two families where one person borrowed money from a family member, didn't pay it back, and both parties show up to the family's holiday dinner.  He talked about how it was looked at in each family.

The driving factor was, what is considered shameful in the family's culture?  In the first scenario, he stated the culture was, "If you have money, you should help family out.  And if they can't (or don't pay you back, let it go".

In this family, it is shameful to bring up the issue of not getting paid back by the family member.  As a result, the person who loaned the money is looked at as greedy and not wanting to help family.  Ultimately they are guilted into forgetting about getting their money back at all.

Family dinner

The second family however, has a culture where it is shameful to not repay the money.  Their stance is, "If you borrow money, you ARE expected to pay it back".


Therefore, it is more shameful and embarrassing to not do whatever it takes to make sure you return the money you owe your family.

I love this story because helps me to direct people when they ask whether they should loan money to family (or friends).  My response now is, "what is the expectation/culture in your family?"


If the culture is such that it is shameful to expect your money back, then I recommend not loaning it in the first place.  But if your family is more inclined to look at the borrower as being in the wrong if they don't pay it back, then go forward if you're comfortable.

Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.  Also share it with others who will benefit from this lesson.

Brandon and Gina Wilkins are financial coaches and co-founders of Financial Freedom Builders LLC. Mr. Wilkins is also the author of the financial classic, Getting Rich is Simple...But It Ain't Easy! They are available for coaching, workshops and seminars designed to help you take control of your finances.


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