Moore for your Money
BYRON MOORE, CFP®
Question: My wife’s cousin is one of these that always seem to be in financial trouble. Now she’s needing a loan to consolidate some credit cards she had to use for some medical bills and the bank won’t give her the loan. We have the money and she says she will pay us a good interest rate. We’re not earning anything at the bank. Is it wrong to charge her interest?
Answer: I think you’re asking the wrong question.
Maybe the question you should be asking is, “Are we willing to give my wife’s cousin this money?”
In many areas of life, including money, there seem to be at least three kinds of people: givers, takers and everybody else.
Givers. When you read that name, you thought of somebody. This is the man who quietly mows an elderly neighbor’s yard without being asked and never tells a soul. This is the woman whose kitchen is always warm with the smell of freshly baked bread, pies and all other manner of things we’re not supposed to eat, but love to anyway. She gives them away. This is the popular teen that engages a classmate who is not in the “in” crowd, but treats her like a VIP anyway.
Givers give because they can’t help it. It’s just who they are.
Takers. Does a name or face come to mind? Sure it does. This is the person who never seems to be able to get on top of life. They are always one step behind, not because they couldn’t get ahead, but because they won’t.
No job is interesting enough to keep. Relationships are mostly about utility, not fidelity. They are frustrated by all the people who won’t help them. Life has dealt them a raw deal. It’s never their fault.
Everybody else. This is what most people are – neither extreme givers nor extreme takers. They’re just regular people.
It’s delightful to have a giver in your life – who wouldn’t like that? But if you are close to one, you may occasionally need to help them balance their love of giving with their tendency to be taken advantage of by (can you guess?)…takers.
Most of us have a taker or two in our lives – not because there are so many of them out there, but because they find you. Like a hound that has caught a scent, they sniff you out, anxious to learn the limits of your generosity and gullibility.
From your description, your wife’s cousin may be a taker. And I don’t know anything about you. But I do know a thing or two about takers. They can smell a giver a mile away.
There is a reason the bank won’t lend her money. When someone can be described as “always in financial trouble,” I ask myself “why?” Why is this person “always” in financial trouble? Apparently her financial trouble didn’t start with medical bills, but they were exaggerated by them.
In my experience, givers want to rescue takers, in hope of making them better people. All they need is a chance, right?
And my experience with takers is that they are very, very willing to be rescued. After all, this isn’t my fault and the world owes me a break, right?
Maybe you just need to decide if you want to give your money away, never to be seen again.
Because loaning money to a taker will only give a giver grief.