There is an inherently strong bond between members of a family, forged over time and through shared experiences of hardship and triumph. As a family unit evolves, individuals people grow into established roles, from those with a sense of responsibility to their younger siblings to others who assume the mantle of spoilt and protected children. Even as different characters within a family endure disagreements and periods of hostility, these relationships and the roles that individuals play in them continue to strengthen.
However, there are several factors that can influence the well being of a family relationship. Of these, money stands as the single most significant, and conflicts that incorporate finance can often become fiercely contested and hostile. Despite being a solely material entity that has a single purpose as a funding for lifestyle costs, the nature of money has evolved in contemporary society to prove a large contributory factor in disputes and relationship breakdowns. This fact is supported by the increasing number of law suits and civil claims that are cited as involving work colleagues or members of the same family.
Money as a Cause of Conflict and Social Issues
The virtues or otherwise of money have been debated for centuries. To some, money a significant factor in achieving happiness, and enabling individuals and families to live in comfort and security. To others, it is of negligible value, and something which causes personalities to change and the most genuine of friendships to break down. As a way to support this argument, many will argue that it is money and the search for wealth that prompts the vast majority of crime and criminal activity.
Many of the thousands of individuals who commit violent or covert crime do so to seek financial gain. From aggravated and street assaults to armed robberies, a desire for quick and easy wealth can encourage the most abhorrent of criminal activity. The types of crime for financial game are diverse, with some perpetrated with force and in broad daylight, whereas others are conducted online and using technological resources to breach secure financial accounts. Whatever form these exhibitions of greed take however, they still share the common theme of being motivated by money.
This is why money lending and borrowing between close family members is an issue fraught with peril. While many of these dangers are simply affiliated to the basic act of one relative owing another money. this activity also raises pertinent issues of trust and respect within a close family relationship. The pursuit of money and the security that it provides in contemporary USA means that asking a family member for money may be seen as a straightforward way of securing cash quickly, but in truth it something that requires far more consideration and dialogue than that.
Problems and Conditions for Money Lending in Families
Some of the potential issues that arise from money lending in families is related to the roles that individuals play within their family unit. For example, if a brother is approached by his younger sibling and asked for a loan of cash, it may difficult to refuse if he has an established role as a protector or guardian to his kin. This is especially true if the younger sibling is particularly spoiled or irresponsible, and there appearing as vulnerable to a considerate and forgiving nature. Once this money is loaned however, there is an unspoken understanding of trust and respect that can easily be breached if the agreement is abused or mistreated.
Given these personality types that are prominent in families, it is easy to imagine the more irresponsible sibling not repaying their debt and subsequently breaching the trust levels within a relationship. Once this is done, it is easy for the situation to escalate and for serious, long term animosity to develop between the two. This not only detrimental to the individuals directly involved, but also to other relatives who become embroiled in the conflict and are often forced to take opposing sides as a war of words ensues.
Whatever the relationship, the issue of trust is the most significant when lending and borrowing money. This because the trust within families is a core and inherent value, and one upon which the principles of family is based. The stronger that an expected and assumed trust is within a relationship, then the more extreme the consequences are when it is breached. This principle is at odds with the more relaxed and often frivolous attitude that some attitudes adopt towards money and borrowing, and it is diversity of thought that is the single largest threat to a close family bond.
Resolution and Safeguards
Some may argue that the best away to avoid this type of conflict is to simply refuse to lend money to a family member. This is impractical however, as there will be times when a loved one is enduring financial hardship and will genuinely need the help of their family. In this instance, it is not only hard to refuse but also unrealistic, and so the most relevant course of action is to implement a manageable and agreed repayment plan between the lender and the borrower. This needs to be a flexible and easily manageable plan, as to enforce conditions that are too stringent would be equally damaging with regards to the established levels of trust.
As long the individuals involved can come to a mutual and amicable agreement, then there is no reason why lending money to a family member should cause conflict. It is important for the lender to be comfortable with the situation, but also for the borrower to respect the transaction as a symbol of trust and respect rather than simply one of a financial nature. Communication between the two should ensure that both the terms of the loan and the importance of repayment are understood, creating an agreement that can flourish in peace and harmony.