My relative has not paid the $41,000 borrowed from me 10 years ago

By Hoang An Nhien   January 21, 2024 | 03:00 pm PT
I lent a relative US$40,733 (VND1 billion) out of respect and affection 10 years ago without charging any interest, but they have yet to repay me.

In my view, refusing to lend money to relatives is not a selfish act. This belief stems from my own experience of lending money to a family member.

Now at the age of 41, I understand the importance of saving and family care from a young age. My nature is to be considerate and look after others. However, I have learned that lending large sums to relatives just because of familial bonds is unwise. Family loans, I believe, should be limited to small amounts that will not jeopardize your or your family’s current and future wellbeing.

Lending VND1 billion to my relative significantly impacted my personal life. Their failure to repay the loan, even upon request, caused me to miss investment and personal growth opportunities.

The downsides of this loan became clearer after I started my own family, had young children, and encountered work challenges. There have been times when I urgently needed funds but was unable to reclaim the money I lent.

Consequently, I believe that regardless of how close or well-intentioned we are, our support for relatives should have limits. They ought to be self-sufficient and primarily responsible for their own lives. We should not feel guilty about not lending money to family members, as everyone has their own life to manage.

If a relative seeks a loan for personal reasons, like buying a house, I will assess their ability to repay based on their income, repayment timeline, past loan repayment history, and other vital factors. However, for business-related loans, my answer is a firm no.

I advise others to think carefully before agreeing to lend money to relatives. Life is full of ups and downs, and financial hardships can even strain family ties.

Reflecting on this, I wonder if others have had experiences similar to mine. What are your thoughts on this matter?

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