Have you ever borrowed money from, or loaned money to, a friend or relative? I don’t mean $50 – maybe $2,500 or $10,000? It’s a great way to lose both friends and money.
I’m pretty sure that’s what Shakespeare meant when he had Polonius say, ‘neither a borrower nor a lender be.’ He wasn’t advising against your taking out a mortgage or buying bonds.
Now comes a new service, CircleLending.com, that could conceivably cut down on the damage. Basically, CircleLending makes it easy to be more businesslike, but without offending the borrower.
I haven’t tried it myself – but wish it had been available before I lent $2,000 to [name withheld] on March 11, 1997, or $10,000 to [name withheld] on June 13, 1993, or $5.000 to [name withheld] on October 15, 1987 or $20,000 (!!!) to [name withheld] on June 1, 1997 (but who’s counting?).
Of course, in some cases, the ‘loan’ is a face-saving way to help a friend too proud to ask for a gift, but too poor to pay you back. ‘Hey, man – thanks! I’ll pay you back the minute I’m able.’ There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that at all. But for a loan that’s really meant to be a loan, this service (assuming it stays in business, etc.) could provide the friendly but firm prod needed to get you paid back as agreed – a service, really, to both of you – just as if you were Visa or MasterCard (but, if you have a shred of decency left in your body – and because you are a reader of this column I know you do – at a significantly lower interest rate.)
Quote of the Day
Probably the greatest harm done by vast wealth is the harm that we of moderate means do ourselves when we let the vices of envy and hatred enter deep into our own natures.~Teddy Roosevelt, 1902
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