Buddy, Can You Spare A Buck?

I had a friend going through a divorce ask me for money, “Mike, I need a hundred bucks to stay in my apartment, I’m short that much! I reached into my billfold and gave her a $100 dollars. When you don’t plan for an impending divorce, you can expect all kinds of troubles in your immediate future! The examples below will give you a good idea on what to plan for.

When planning for your divorce, think way ahead of the game

“Hey dad”, my daughter asked, “Can I borrow a dollar? I need it for a soda at school.”  I asked her why she couldn’t take one from the refrigerator. “It will not stay cold and I usually have a soda at lunch”, she responded. So I dug a dollar out of my pocket and handed it to her.

Later that day while I was at lunch at a local diner, a client of mine approached me and asked, “Say, Dr. Mike can I borrow a few bucks?  I left my wallet at home and I don’t have time to run home and get it”. So once again I got my billfold, dug out a five spot and handed it to him.

Over the years, I have been “the bank” to many people including family, friends, homeless people and friends of friends. I really don’t mind helping people if I have extra cash on hand and I enjoy helping out when I can. There are, however, some people who I will not help. Certain people I just don’t trust and friends who continually ask and although they promise to pay me back, never do.

Several years ago a friend and I helped a mutual friend move from the city to the western slope of Colorado.  He was a hunting guide in the national forest and agreed to help us score on some elk later that fall in exchange for our help.  We spent the day moving boxes, big furniture and other odds and ends out of his home.  A few months later my friend and I were ready to take him up on his offer to guide us to an area to hunt.  When he finally agreed to meet with us he immediately asked if we could spare a few bucks for hunting supplies.  I dug into my pocket and pulled out a few bills and handed him $10.  When he saw I had more cash in my hand, he pressed me for even more!  As we walked toward the truck he also informed us that any information he shared with us would “cost us”.  He confirmed what I had suspected all along – he just simply could not be trusted!

What is the best way to handle family members or friends who continually ask you for money?  What is the best way to deal with them? At times there are legitimate needs you don’t need to question, however, for those who think you are the “National Family Bank” and keep coming back to you because of your generosity, I suggest you close the doors to the bank and with love and understanding let them know you cannot enable their irresponsible behavior any longer. You could also suggest they get a second job until their financial situation is resolved. I would counsel them to start a savings account and live within their means. Most of us grow out of trying to keep up with the Jones’ at some time in our lives.  I was 20 years old the last time I asked my father for money.   He told me “Son, you need to get a second job or you need to do without’. Pretty simple advice but it has served me well over the years!

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