I hate lending people money. The reason is simple most often you never, ever get it back. That's one reason I don't carry my wallet with me at work, I leave it in the car or my locker. Then, I can truthfully say each time that someone tries to hit me up for cash, "I'm sorry, I don't have anything on me."
There was one time I had a Metrocard, with $15 left on it. I knew I wasn't going to be using it anytime soon. I gave it to my friend, Rick, who took the bus every day; he said he'd give it back to me.
Every payday, he said he had to go to the bank and then not go or he had to pay a bill. Okay, I get it, no big deal. Then he offered to give me some Mickey Mouse watches that he never wore.
Okay, now we're talking! I didn't want to bother him about it, but weeks went by. Eventually he gave me three watches, two worked. The third one looks nice, but doesn't run and it's not the battery; I'm not putting any money into a repair. Either way, I got more than $15 back.
Rick has since left the job. He moved to Puerto Rico to be with his wife's family. He didn't even say goodbye and he doesn't have a phone. I really liked Rick, even though we only knew each other a year. Then things happened, and he left the job.
How do you "lend" money to your kids? They may say they'll pay it back, but they never do. When Michelle blows through her paycheck and needs gas money, I tell her I'm taking it out of her savings account and she has to pay it back. She doesn't argue, because she knows she's borrowing from herself.
Last week I needed her to do me a favour and pick something up. I transferred $10 into her account just in case she needed gas. I told her it was a gift, not a loan. She said she didn't need it. Is she crazy, turning down free money?
When I was much younger and had $400 left in the bank, I hit up my late grandfather, Herman, my mother, and my friend, Greg, for money. Herman asked a few questions and mailed a check. My mother asked many questions and mailed a check; she wanted repayment when I got myself together. Greg sent a check and I told him it could be awhile and he was okay with that.
I paid them both over time. Wen Marcy and I married my mother and Greg forgave whatever amount we owed. Greg even gave us a check as gift. That's the kind of fellow he is and one reason we've been friends since 1976.
I hate having debt over my head to people I know, because they can haunt you night and day for whatever amount of money it is. With a bank, as long as you pay something monthly, they're happy. Whether it's principal or interest, it doesn't matter. The computer takes the money and you're good for another month.
I guess the morale of the story is this: if you don't have it, don't spend it. If you must borrow, be careful from whom or where you get the money. Lenny the loan shark isn't nearly as forgiving as is your mother.
Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.
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