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41 reasons I'm not lending you money

If you fit in any one of these scenarios, don't even think about asking me for a loan.

By MSN Money Partner Oct 19, 2012 10:23AM

This post comes from Len Penzo at partner blog Len Penzo dot Com.


Len Penzo dot Com logoEarlier this year, The Huffington Post featured a curious article that attempted to explain why our friends often fail to repay money they borrow from us.


In a nutshell, the piece offered five reasons:

Image: Business man with open hand out © Le Club Symphonie, Cultura, Getty Images

  • You refuse to ask for the money back.
  • You make it too easy for your friends to ignore you.
  • You didn't get the loan in writing.
  • Your friends assume that their unpaid debt won't result in a broken friendship.
  • Your friends never planned to give you the money back in the first place.

Strangely enough, the author failed to offer the most logical -- not to mention obvious -- reason why anyone would ever fail to repay a loan from a friend or relative: The borrower's a deadbeat.

Truth be told, I have occasionally loaned money to my financially pinched friends and relatives. Not often, but I have.


In several cases, I've offered the cash with no strings attached, because I believed the bind they were in was due to something out of their control.


That being said, if you happen to be a friend of mine who's been thinking about asking me for a loan, keep in mind that your odds of success will be extremely remote if one or more of the following are true:

  • You refuse to get a job -- any job.
  • You've got a million reasons why you can't work a second job.
  • You drive a 2012 Lexus when a 1997 Honda Civic will do.
  • You insist on living somewhere with a high cost of living even though your income (or lack thereof) can't support it.
  • You fail to understand that debt is a mortgage on your future.
  • Your priorities are all screwed up.
  • You live in a larger home than you can reasonably afford.
  • You refuse to raise additional cash by selling some of your "toys."
  • You prefer to blame others for your poor financial situation.
  • You're materialistic.
  • You fail to comprehend the concept of value.
  • You've got a closet full of $200 designer jeans.
  • You own a $500 handbag.
  • You wear $400 Louis Vuitton Millionaire sunglasses.
  • You play the lottery on a regular basis.
  • Your teenager drives a brand-new car when a beater will do.
  • You think money grows on trees.
  • You insist that packing a brown-bag lunch is a waste of time.
  • You recently completed an ambitious kitchen remodel even though it wasn't really needed.
  • You own five dogs, three cats, a cockatoo and an anaconda.
  • You refuse to quit smoking.
  • You're woefully disorganized.
  • You can't tell me exactly how much money you earn each month.
  • You can't explain -- nor do you have any idea -- where your money goes every month.
  • You refuse to save money by eating leftovers.
  • You believe it's all about living in the moment.
  • You just got back from a 10-day Caribbean cruise.
  • You have no concept of personal responsibility.
  • You failed to maintain rainy-day and emergency funds.
  • You own an iPhone.
  • You eat out too much.
  • You're still sending your child to private school.
  • You're a big believer in keeping up with the Joneses.
  • You have a gardener. (Never mind that his leaf blower wakes me up every Saturday morning.)
  • You just bought another large-screen high-definition television.
  • You seem to think that poor planning on your part constitutes an emergency on mine.
  • Your spouse refuses to get a job.
  • You don't know the difference between a want and a need.
  • You've shown no inclination to change your financially destructive behavior.
  • You haven't established a credible plan for digging yourself out of debt.

And if that's not enough for you, here's one more: Quite frankly, I'm tired of coddling people who refuse to sacrifice and make the same hard decisions that I do every day in order to ensure I live within my means.


Is that harsh? No -- that's life.


So, now that I've made myself perfectly clear, do you still want to ask me for a loan?


More on Len Penzo dot Com and MSN Money:

Oct 19, 2012 4:16PM
If someone followed these rules, they wouldn't need to borrow money in the first place.
Oct 19, 2012 4:38PM

I like it.

I'm going to have my brother call you next time he asks me for a loan...

Oct 19, 2012 10:41PM

Always.  Just say no.  Or better yet, turn the tables on them and say something like "I am glad you brought up the subject of borrowing money.  I desperately need a loan.  Any suggestions?"

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Jan 8, 2013 2:25AM
I won't lend to my sister because she told me, 'Why save when I may not live for tomorrow and someone else will get the money?'.  She has 2 kids.
Oct 25, 2012 7:34PM
If your family or friend has any of those characteristics DO NOT lend money.  BUT...if they have a job, agree to put it in writing, and are not deadbeats in general, THEN you may want to reconsider.  I am the CEO of  We have based our whole business on family, friends and businesses making loans to people they know and trust.  There is a free book on our website called "Lending with a Purpose" that give you a guide to making responsible loans to your buds.  125,000,000 people in the US alone have no bank relationship where they can borrow.  Money from family and friends in many cases are the only source of financing.  
Jan 2, 2013 3:15PM
Sending your children to private / Catholic school is not a luxury for all parents. Particularly those who believe a good education is required to avoid the use your column in the future. Plus, uniforms save a a lot of money and avoids the cash draining "keeping up with the Nikes" syndrome. Last word: you added "you are still smoking," but left out "you are still drinking," and / or "partaking in recreational drug use." Drinking and / or pot smoking is no more a luxury than smoking regular ole' Marlboros. Right? Last, last word. I personally will never again borrow money from anyone who wouldn't willingly and gladly offer it to me because I'm in a temporary jam. I'm just saying.
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