“Nobody likes to admit he’s in trouble”: Americans feel guilty this Christmas for their finances. here’s why
As talks on the COVID-19 relief bill continue, some Americans are looking to the proverbial Bank of Mom and Dad to resolve cash flow issues – but don’t think they’re happy about it.
About 71% of people who borrowed money from a loved one this year said they felt guilty for asking, according to a LendingTree survey. That’s up from the 65% of survey respondents last year who admitted feeling guilty about asking for money.
“Nobody likes to admit they’re in trouble,” said Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst at LendingTree, of guilt and money. “Sometimes you just have to swallow a little pride and do what’s best for you, especially in a crazy economic time like these.”
Borrowers may also feel guilty for seeking financial assistance from people who are themselves facing difficult difficulties, but who are not as difficult now as the borrower is experiencing.
The survey released earlier this month shows just how emotionally charged the demand for money can be: 31% said they would rather go into debt than turn to family and friends, while 27 % said they would make this request before going red (41% said it would depend on the circumstances.)
Informal loans are difficult to measure accurately overall, but in the latest LendingTree survey at least 35% said they had borrowed from family and friends in the past year (about half of these requests loan to parents). Among borrowers, the most cited reason (22%) for the money was to cover monthly housing costs, a reminder of the economic consequences of the pandemic.
41% of survey respondents said they had given loans – usually interest-free – to family and friends. The amount averaged $ 1,497 and almost two-thirds (62%) say they have already been reimbursed. Almost half (46%) of survey participants said the coronavirus pandemic had made them more inclined to help their friends and family financially.
LendingTree started with a sample of 2,075 people, then bored in answers of the 719 people who borrowed money and of the 859 people who lent money.
On the one hand, asking family and friends for money can help borrowers get around some issues, such as the prospect of paying off interest on top of the principal or going through a formal bank loan application.
But it can lead to a whole different array of relationship problems when friends and family may feel uncomfortable with the request or start to wonder when they’ll get their money back.
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Another problem can arise when one person is overly optimistic about repayment schedules and another person is pessimistic about how long it will take, said Mariel Beasley, co-founder of the Common Cents Lab at Duke University, a lab. Financial Behavior Research at MarketWatch.
If people are going down this route with family and friends, Beasley said it’s essential both parties plan ahead before the deal. This includes questions such as how to communicate about the repayment or what to do if unforeseen income decreases the borrower’s ability to repay.
Others say financial transactions with family and friends are never worth the risk to the relationship, but if you lend money and never see a refund, let it go.