What is the right way to han­dle rel­a­tives who take long to pay debts?

The China Post - - TV & COMICS -

DEAR AN­NIE: I have helped my wife’s daugh­ter and fam­ily fi­nan­cially many times over the past 15 years. Eigh­teen months ago, I loaned them US$600, and they promised they would pay me back. ( My pre­vi­ous loans were gifts.)

The daugh­ter’s hus­band has a well-pay­ing job, but he is slow to re­pay this loan. Three months ago, I re­ceived a check for US$40, along with more empty prom­ises to pay off the rest. I haven’t seen any ad­di­tional money. It is just an­other lie.

I was warned not to loan them money, but emo­tions got the bet­ter of me. What should I do? How can I ever trust them again? — Played for a Fool

Dear Played: You are be­ing too hard on your­self. You love your wife and care about her child, so you have helped them fi­nan­cially. This is not a bad thing. The prob­lem is that the “kids” are not re­spon­si­ble enough to re­pay the loan.

Talk to them. Say that you are go­ing to set up a pay­ment sched­ule, and ask how much they can af­ford to pay ev­ery month. No mat­ter how lit­tle the amount, agree to it and say you ex­pect to see it on the first of ev­ery month un­til the loan is re­paid en­tirely. If they miss a pay­ment, call and re­mind them. Be nice about it, but in­sis­tent, no mat­ter how much they try to wrig­gle out of it. You can even set up an au­to­matic pay­ment plan that would take care of it with­out any re­minders at all.

The trick is to be firm, but kind. No ac­cu­sa­tions or guilt. If they re­pay the en­tire loan with­out grip­ing, we’d say you can trust them to do so again. But if they give you a hard time or refuse to co­op­er­ate, you’ll have to put your back­bone in place and tell them the re­main­ing US$560 is a gift, but there will be no more. And mean it.

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