If there's one thing worse than lending money to a friend, it's lending money to a family member. When you lend to a friend, you have at least some expectation that they may never pay you back. But with family, you're expected to just let it slide, as if blood relation means they're exempt from financial responsibilities. Well, I say no more! Here are some tips for collecting money owed by family members, without losing your mind or your family.
Make a Deal They Can't Refuse
When you're trying to get your money back, it's important to appeal to your family member's sense of fairness. If they've been avoiding you or making excuses, try sweetening the deal. Offer to reduce the amount they owe you if they pay it all at once. Or, if they're really struggling financially, offer to let them pay you back in installments. Just make sure to get everything in writing, and to follow up regularly to ensure they're sticking to their end of the deal.
Be a Pest
Sometimes, the only way to get your money back is to be a total pain in the ass. Call your family member every day, and send them text messages and emails. Be polite, but persistent. If they don't respond, keep calling until they do. If they try to avoid you, show up at their house unannounced. If they're at work, call their office and ask to speak to them. Make it clear that you're not going away until they pay you back.
Enlist Help from Other Family Members
If your family member is still refusing to pay you back, it may be time to bring in some backup. Talk to other family members who are close to the debtor, and ask them to intervene on your behalf. Sometimes, hearing from someone else can be enough to shame the debtor into paying up. Just be careful not to turn the whole family against each other – this is about getting your money back, not causing a family feud.
Use Social Media to Your Advantage
If your family member is ignoring your calls and emails, try reaching out to them on social media. Send them a message on Facebook, or tag them in a post. You could even create a hashtag, like #PayMeBackUncleLarry, and start using it every time you post about the debt. Just be careful not to overshare or embarrass your family member too much – you want to get your money back, but you don't want to ruin your relationship with them forever.
Hire a Professional
If all else fails, it may be time to bring in the big guns. Hire a debt collector, or even a lawyer, to help you get your money back. Just be prepared to spend some money in the process, and to potentially damage your relationship with your family member. This should be a last resort, but sometimes it's the only way to get what you're owed.
In closing, collecting money owed by family members can be a tricky business. But with persistence, creativity, and a healthy sense of humor, you can get your money back without losing your mind or your family. Just remember to stay calm, be polite, and never give up on getting what you're owed.