Can I Borrow Fifty Bucks?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate

CashA co-worker asks to borrow some cash – promising to pay it back as soon as possible.  What do you do?  At one time or another, many of us have been in this situation before.  Most times, we've loaned the money – assuming we'll get repaid as promptly as expected.  After all, these types of loan requests are typically made with sincere and good intentions.  Yet, no matter the circumstances – in all the years I’ve been on this planet – rarely have I witnessed a happily-ever-after-conclusion to this scenario.

Tune into almost any episode of Judge Judy and see how loaning money to colleagues can easily turn into a negative situation.  Oddly enough, I've learned quite a bit about financial relationships from Judge Judy.  And, those who know me – know that I happen to think she's fabulous!  That being said, a friend was recently telling me about a co-worker to whom he made a not-so-modest loan.  Fast forward six months and my friend is still awaiting the return of his money.  Needless to say, an awkward situation has been created – resentment and bad feelings have started to emerge.  So, what would Judge Judy say?  If you absolutely must loan a business acquaintance money, you'll be better off considering the money a ‘gift’ instead of a ‘loan.’  In other words, freely ‘donating’ the money with no expectations of repayment.  Personally, my advice would be to follow the adage of a famous 16th and 17th Century writer:  “Neither a borrower nor a lender be!”  That Shakespeare was really on to something.

Over the years, I’ve bought my share of fundraising chocolate for various, well-deserving, Little League teams.  I’ve purchased countless boxes of cookies to help Girl Scouts all over the country.  I’ve sponsored numerous co-workers as they prepared to walk, bike, or run – raising money for breast cancer awareness, plus other great and worthy causes.  In fact, in an effort to demonstrate support for fellow colleagues and their children, I have willingly given generous dollars and much encouragement.  However, when it comes to loaning money to co-workers?  Sorry.  I’ve learned my lesson.  Honestly, I've seen too many relationships turn ugly over it.  In the end, exchange of money somehow changes everything – the dynamics of the relationship seem to always shift to an uncomfortable place.  I am not willing to jeopardize a good working relationship.  And quite frankly, there's nothing worth jeopardizing a good working relationship over.  Period. 

Note:  I am always in the market for more chocolate, though.

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Ric Mills
Keller Williams Southern Az - Tucson, AZ
Integrity, Honesty, and Vast Real Estate Knowledge

If I do, I have to consider it as a gift.  If they really need it and I can afford it, I will give it to them.  If it comes back great if not...oh well they needed it more than me.

Oct 07, 2012 08:13 AM #140
Bill Morrow
Keller Williams of Central PA - Mechanicsburg, PA
Bill Morrow, Associate Broker

We are in a business where we witness the execution of hundreds of loan documents a year, did you miss something at the closings? Borrowers always sign a promissory note.  Before entering real estate,  I was involved in my family's business where we employed fifty employees.  At times different co-workers and later employees would come to me before payday needing cash.  After one $50 lesson, I had a steadfast rule that if I loaned anyone money, they would always sign a note, that specified the date of the loan, the amount, and the date of repayment.  Never had a problem after that. Simple rule for short term and friendly loans.  I always loaned personal money, never an advance on a paycheck, and I never asked for any interest.  Most importantly, since everyone (including my own brother once) had to sign a loan note, I never had a strained friendship due to a loan. It was just business

Oct 07, 2012 10:35 AM #141
Steven Pahl
Keller Williams Tampa Properties - Tampa, FL
Real Estate Consultant Tampa, FL 813-319-6423

$5, $10, maybe even $20 I can afford on most occasions, although I am rarely asked.  They usually say I'll pay you back when......!  My answer is always "I'd rather have you owe me than cheat me out of it!"  The implied guilt trip nearly always works.

Oct 07, 2012 12:42 PM #142
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

I have loaned and I have given. It depends on the people and the circumstance. Diffuicult to make a general statement when dealing with so many people.



Oct 07, 2012 01:06 PM #143
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County

Years ago I loaned money...maybe gave it I guess.  I never thought about it again. I gave it to him I guess. 35 years later it was returned 25 fold in the the way of a temporary loan $10K this time). I asked why he was doing it? He said...remember when? I did not but I guess now I do. You never know. Give with no expectations of a return is the way to go.

Oct 07, 2012 10:52 PM #144
Rob Arnold
Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc. - Altamonte Springs, FL
Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F

I've been screwed by so many people "borrowing" money from me in the past that I refuse to do it anymore.  Lost tens of thousands of dollars in bad mortgage and debt.  If you are loaning $50 to someone then consider it a gift.  If you are loaning more than that, get some collateral from them - get them to put their watch or their car or their whatever up as collateral - at least then you have a chance to get your money back. 

Oct 07, 2012 11:01 PM #145
Tammy Emineth
Personal SEO - Website SEO and Real Estate Marketing - Marysville, WA
Content Marketer, SEO Teacher, Website Fixer

There's a verse that says if you lend, don't expect it to be returned. If you lend with that in mind, it's a pleasant surprise if you get it returned, if not, you can still keep the friendship. :) Congrats on the features and LOADS of comments :)

Oct 08, 2012 12:20 AM #146
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Carrie, like you I sponsor tons of activies for friends and clients -- they've done the same for me. Once I freely 'loaned' a substantial sum of money to a good friend in need. There is no expectation of it being repaid. Our friendship is as strong today as it was last year. If you agree to loan $50, or whatever, do it freely without expectation of being repaid, or don't do it at all is what works for me.


Oct 08, 2012 12:30 AM #147
Edith Schreiber
Luxury Homes, Move Up Buyers, 1st Time Homebuyers, New Construction - Frisco, TX
Dallas Area Real Estate

Thanks for the post!

I am with you across the board....including a love for chocolate AND for Judge Judy (one of her many lines I love is "if you always tell the truth, you don't have to have a very good memory"!).

I hope your friend gets her money returned - must make for an uneasiness for her with her co-worker!

Congrats on the feature!

Oct 08, 2012 01:51 AM #148
Elisa Uribe Realtor #01427070
Golden Gate Sotheby's International - Oakland, CA
Opening the Doors to California Homes -East Bay

I have heard of this happening too strangely enough. Best not to let anyone borrow something if you want it back...especially money.

Oct 08, 2012 03:58 AM #149
Nan Jester
Exit Real Estate Gallery Jacksonville Beach, FL - Jacksonville Beach, FL
Realtor, Exit Real Estate Gallery

Never been asked at work for a loan of any sort, but lending money is always a slippery slope.

Oct 08, 2012 06:15 AM #150
Brad Baylor
ERA Coup Agency - Milton, PA

Carie - A guy borrowed 10 bucks from me one time with a promise to re-pay on Friday.  Friday came and went, and the next, and the next.  Nothing.  Finally, three months later, he tried to give me the 10 bucks and I thanked him but also said, no, keep it, obviously you need it more than I do...

Oct 08, 2012 07:03 AM #151
Sharon Sanchez
Ace Home Realty - Carson, CA
Your Number "1" Source For Real Estate.

I've had it happen to me and I learned the hard way.  I lend a co-worker some money I was suppose to use for something else and they knew this, but when it came time to pay me, they said they didn't have it.  I know some people need help, but honesty is the best policy.  This ruined our relationship.

Oct 08, 2012 08:23 AM #152
Monique Ting
INET Realty Honolulu, HI - Honolulu, HI
Your agent under the sun

I make it a point to never carry much cash with me so the most I could ever loan is $20. I have loaned that sum to friends (but never co-workers) and have always been promply repaid. As many said, I would never lend more than I can afford to freely give away. Aloha!

Oct 08, 2012 01:26 PM #153
Fred Sweezer Sr.
Hud Certified 203K Consultant - Long Beach, CA
Certified Home Inspector

The risk factor is worse than the stock market, you have to be willing to lose, thanks for the post!

Oct 08, 2012 03:16 PM #154
Aaron M. Murrell
Geneva Financial, LLC - Atlanta, GA

I personal policy is....."I will give you this money and you don't have to pay it back.....but if you want to give it back to me....then I will excepted as a gift from you that I don't have to pay back....OK."  Works every time just like a charm...I either get my money back or I am never bother with this person on that level again.

Oct 09, 2012 04:31 AM #155
Jenny Durling
L.A. Property Solutions - Los Angeles, CA
For Los Angeles real estate help 213-215-4758

I have given money to more than one colleague. I expect I'll get some back and not others. For the most part I consider it a gift and if the  friend pays me back, great. If not, I can live with that. I would never 'loan' any more than I can afford to lose just like gambling in Vegas. At least this way I'm helping someone and not just making a casino richer!

Oct 09, 2012 02:54 PM #156
Lynda White
Bluegrass Homes & Farms Realty, Agent Know How - Louisville, KY
Admin. Mgr., Keller Williams Realty

A few dollars to get lunch is one thing, but $50 is quite another! I don't lend out that kind of money to anyone. I don't borrow it either. 

Oct 16, 2012 05:19 AM #157
Adrian Willanger
206 909-7536 - Seattle, WA
Profit from my two decades of experience

I Carie-I agree with the Judge's "consider it a gift" on the rare occasion I've done this I just mentioned don't worry about paying me back just re-turn the favor. 

Oct 18, 2012 01:53 AM #158
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

I have actually never been asked to give someone a loan, I would be so uncomfortable in that situation because I'd so much want to help but wouldn't want to for the reasons that you stated.  I'd probably try to point them in a better direction that could still help but not be my loan. -Kasey

Jan 16, 2013 01:14 PM #159
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