When your boyfriend asks if he can borrow money, you may feel pressured to say yes. You don’t think it’s a good idea to lend your boyfriend money, but you don’t know how to say no. These five tips will help you figure out what to say to a guy who keeps asking for a loan. I also included advice on how to protect yourself if you decide to lend your boyfriend money.
These tips are inspired by one of my readers. “My 65 year old boyfriend is preparing to retire,” says Barbara on How to Lend Your Boyfriend Money Without Regretting It. “Part of his preparation will be filing for bankruptcy and walking away from his home/mortgage. He owns a really nice motorcycle that we both enjoy. He has asked me to buy his bike in order to protect it from the bankruptcy. This purchase would equate to me paying him $10,000 and him then making payments of $250 a month. We have know each other for about eight months and I like him a lot, but this request has made me uncomfortable. My boyfriend isn’t asking to borrow money, but it feels dishonest. I don’t want to buy his motorcycle. What do I say?”
My vote is that she tells her boyfriend, “No, I can’t loan you money.” She needs to let her boyfriend buy his own bike and take care of his own financial situation. She shouldn’t give her boyfriend money even if he promises to repay the loan. She should never put her financial security at risk for a man who is filing for bankruptcy! Her boyfriend may be a nice guy to date, but he’s not good with money. Barbara needs to trust her instincts and learn how to say no when a man asks for money.
That said, however, I know it’s easy for me to say “No” because it’s not my boyfriend asking to borrow money. I understand how hard it is to say no when a man you love asks for money and you don’t want to disappoint him. Saying no to your boyfriend is especially difficult if he really needs a financial loan for property or even something as serious as bail. You may feel pressured to say yes even though you know it’s not a good idea to loan him your money.
5 Ways to Respond When Your Boyfriend Wants to Borrow Money
One of the smartest ways to respond when a man asks you for money is to tell someone you trust. Talk to your parents, or your smartest friends, or even a counselor or savvy coworker. If you’re embarrassed or ashamed to tell people that your boyfriend or a guy you’re dating is asking to borrow money from you, there is something wrong with his request. You know your boyfriend is asking to borrow money because he’s not good with the finances. You know you can’t afford to give or lend him money. You’re here because you don’t want to lend him money – and you’re right to be hesitating.
In almost every case, I think girlfriends should say no when their boyfriends ask to borrow money – and how to stop money from causing relationship issues – especially when he is financially bankrupt or has a bad credit rating. He does not know how to manage his finances, you won’t get your money back, and the money will always be between you.
Your boyfriend’s financial mismanagement does not mean he’s a bad guy or that you should stop dating him. It simply means that you should keep your finances separate from his. Even if you marry this man, you need to make sure you are financially independent and that you retain your own good credit rating.
If you decide to say yes when a man asks you for money or a guy you’re dating is begging for a financial loan…
1. Never lend a man money if you’re already in debt
Here’s more of Barbara’s story (my reader whose boyfriend asked to borrow money): “He is a very generous man, but he is not good with money as evidenced by his need to file for bankruptcy at this stage of the game. I’m retired and on a fixed income, this is a lot of money for me. I currently carry $11,000 in debt that I am trying very hard to pay down. I also have a savings account with about $1,200 in it. Though I do have stock I could sell if need be, I don’t feel that is very wise of me to sell it at this time.”
You should never loan money to your boyfriend when you’re already in debt! Do not put your financial future at risk because your boyfriend can’t manage his money. You can love him with all your heart, but keep your money in your savings account, stocks, and retirement investments.
2. Learn ways to support your boyfriend without loaning him money
“The idea that simply being more supportive is better for your marriage is a myth,” says Erika Lawrence, associate professor of psychology in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “Often husbands and wives think, ‘If my partner really knows me and loves me, he or she will know I’m upset and will know how to help me.’ However, that’s not the best way to approach your marriage.”
Be as honest in your response as your boyfriend is in his request. Asking to borrow money from you is an honest, real, even a humble request. Meet your boyfriend’s honesty with your own. If you can’t or don’t feel comfortable loaning your boyfriend money, tell him the truth. And, remember that your boyfriend doesn’t need your financial support to survive. Talk to your boyfriend about supporting him in different ways – ways that don’t involve money exchanging hands.
Here are four ways to support your boyfriend without loaning him money:
- Physical comfort and health-related support (getting physical exercise together, hugging your boyfriend, giving him backrubs, etc)
- Emotional support (listening to your boyfriend’s financial problems and empathizing without judging, expressing confidence in your boyfriend’s ability to survive his financial crisis, encouraging him)
- Informational support (gathering information about solutions to his financial problem, finding online debt solutions or money management consultants. But don’t give too much advice! Unwanted advice can harm a relationship).
- Tangible support (taking on responsibilities so your boyfriend can deal with his financial problems without being distracted, helping to brainstorm solutions that don’t involve borrowing money from you).
Remember that your boyfriend isn’t a mind reader. You and he will both will be happier if you both learn how to say, “This is how I’m feeling, and this is how you can help me.” Your boyfriend can ask to borrow money from you, and you can say no to your boyfriend’s request.
3. Notice when you’re acting like a “nice girl” to please your boyfriend
Knowing how men and women approach personal finance can strengthen your relationship – especially if you often fight about money. Here’s what Lois Frankel says in Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich: 75 Avoidable Mistakes Women Make with Money:
“What gets women in trouble when it comes to getting the job they want or accumulating the portfolio they need to live financially independent lives is the tendency to act like the ‘nice girls’ they were taught to be in childhood, as opposed to acting like intelligent, capable, deserving adult women.“
What Girls Hear About Money:
- “It’s better to do good than be rich.”
- “Girls just aren’t good at math.”
- “Men know more about money than you do.”
- “It’s just as easy to marry rich as it is to marry poor.”
- “Money doesn’t buy you happiness.”
Financial expert Suze Orman disagrees with that last statement! Orman says money may not buy happiness in the traditional sense, but it does give women freedom and security to take better care of ourselves, take risks, and not stress about paying the bills. “Women need to develop a healthy, honest relationship with our money,” says Orman. “And we have to see this relationship as a reflection of our relationship with ourselves.”
If you feel pressured to lend your boyfriend money, you may be putting your need to be a “nice girl” above your relationship with yourself. One way to avoid this is to learn how men and women see money differently.
11 Ways Men and Women Handle Money Differently
- Women are socialized to save money “just in case” something happens; men are encouraged to learn how to invest and make money grow.
- Women use money to take care of others; men use money to keep score.
- Women tend to buy what they want; men buy what they need.
- Women use money to create a lifestyle right now; men use money to prepare for the future.
- Women are cautious about investing money; men take investment risks.
- Women spend money on relationships and people they care about; men spend money on themselves.
- Women ask for what they think they deserve; husbands ask for what they want.
- Women view money in terms of relationships; men view money objectively.
- Women expect others to know more than they do; men learn how to be savvy investors.
- Women gravitate towards the helping professions (such as teaching, which doesn’t pay very well); men tend to seek high-paying jobs.
- Women want to be fair during financial hardship; men advocate for themselves when they have financial problems.
Did you see that last tip on how men and women view money differently? Generally speaking, men advocate for themselves when they’re having problems with their finances. Your boyfriend is asking you to loan him money because that’s what guys do. They advocate for themselves. And as a strong, smart, savvy woman you need to do the same. Advocate for yourself by saying no if you don’t want to lend your boyfriend money. You can also advocate for yourself if you say yes to your boyfriend’s request — but make sure you draw up a loan agreement.
Don’t be afraid to ask your boyfriend need to sit down for a “money huddle.” If you’re tired of fighting about money and worried about how finances are affecting your relationship, tell him. You might even consider talking to a couples counselor if you and your boyfriend plan to get married.
4. Separate business from your relationship – because a financial loan is business
“My problem is that I think the world of him, but his mismanagement of his own money make me very uncomfortable in trusting his ability to repay me. Do I go with my gut feeling? How would I explain my reasoning to him without hurting our relationship?”
Yes, you go with your gut feeling. Your instincts are telling you not to loan money to this man. Barbara knows it’s not smart to give this man money by buying his motorcycle and hoping he pays it back. Dating a guy who wants to borrows money – even for a “guaranteed” return on a “smart” financial investment – complicates the relationship in ways that won’t be easily fixed.
5. Tell your boyfriend the truth: you can’t afford to lend him money
Here’s what to say when a man asks if he can borrow money: “I think the world of you and I’m happy in our relationship, but I just can’t afford to lend you money. I don’t want a loan to come between us, or have a negative effect on our relationship. I’m sorry you’re going through this financial situation but I have my own financial responsibilities to deal with.”
The less you say to your boyfriend when he asks for money, the better! But you could also say, “I’m in debt, I have mortgage payments, I don’t earn much money, and I don’t know what my financial future holds. I wish I could help you, but I don’t have the money you need.”
If you say yes when your boyfriend asks to borrow money…
If you lend money to a guy you’re dating, make a contract. Insist that your boyfriend sign it. The contract has to contain the loan terms: how much money your boyfriend borrows, when and how he’ll pay it back, the interest rate, and the final date that all the money will be repaid.
Asking your boyfriend to sign a financial loan contract will feel awkward and strange, like you don’t trust your boyfriend to repay the money he owes you. This is why it’s better to just say no when a guy you’re dating asks to borrow money! But if you really want to loan him the cash, search the internet for “sample loan contract.” You don’t need a formal agreement or loan document — just include the loan terms I listed above. Remember, however, that a loan contract won’t guarantee that your boyfriend will repay the money he borrowed from you.
Don’t count on getting your money back from your boyfriend
If anyone asks to borrow money from you – whether he’s a guy you’re dating or a man you’ve known your whole life – the smartest thing you can do is say “no.” The second smartest thing is to assume that if you loan him the money, you’ll never be repaid. Most men who ask women for money aren’t financially responsible, have heaps of debt, or have a bad credit rating. These aren’t just serious problems in his life. They’re red flags for your relationship.
When you lend money to a guy you’re dating, expect you’ll never be repaid. This is how your relationship will survive because you won’t resent your boyfriend if he doesn’t pay you back. If he does, you’ll be happily surprised!
Are you worried, anxious or even scared to say no to your boyfriend? Then maybe he isn’t the right guy for you to date. A healthy, loving relationship allows you to say no when a man asks for something. If your boyfriend gets mad or upset because you decided to say no to his request for money, there are more serious issues than finances.
If you’re worried about how your boyfriend will respond if you say no when he asks to borrow money, read How to Deal With Money Stress After a Breakup.
In peace and passion,