First of all, I NEVER talk about my finances or my financial goals publicly. I just find that it's easier this way. But, for whatever reason, I have a reputation for being a financially responsible person--especially amongst my family members. Therein, lies the problem. I constantly have a slew of (mostly) family members always asking for loans.
A little background...I come from a family who is content with "just getting by" financially. Witnessing the misery that is "just getting by" is the reason I decided, as a child, to never "just get by". As a result, I never desired the latest and greatest as a teen. So, when I got monetary gifts I always saved most of it. As I got older, the loan request started..... Initially, I would ablige because the request would always be accompanied by a sob story. But, as I get older, I realize that there is a huge difference between a person who is financially responsible, but is going through some financial difficulties versus a financially irresponsible person who feels it is a responsible person's duty to bail him out of every financial crisis he creates for himself.
Therefore, I have adopted the policy that I do not loan money. There are always exceptions to any rule and there may come a time when I know, for sure, that a person has hit a tough patch and sincerely needs my help, but so far, that has not been the case. So, my policy for the last year and a half has been to simply say, "I don't have the money to loan". This is different from saying, "I don't have the money", because I do HAVE the money--just not to loan. The reason for this decision is twofold....
As a child, my grandmother was always the financially responsible person in the family. She worked hard and saved her money--which is not the easiest feat for a black woman born in 1919. But, somehow she managed NOT to pass these financial values down to her children. Therefore, she has six adult children still using her money to rectify every one of THEIR financial "crisis". My grandmother, by the way, will be 91 years old in October. After witnessing this, I vowed to never have to beg anyone for financial help and to pass down my financial values to my future kids. Additionally, for me, money is not about material things, but about freedom and security. I am single, never married (yet) and unlike many of my friends who would be able to turn to their parents in a true financial crisis, I only have myself to sustain me if something were to happen to me.
Therefore, my money IS my security blanket. Why should I loan money to someone else at the risk of my own security? Besides, I have also learned that in any relationship--be it romantic, family, friendship--if the relationship is not equal; if one person is always giving, then that person is being USED--it's that plan and that simple. If I am the one always doing the lending, wouldn't that mean that I am being used? Why continue to loan money to people who CHOOSE to be financially irresponsible and in the case of any financial rough patches in my life, I can't turn to them for the same type of assistance?