The Risks of Borrowing Money From Friends and Family: 9 Risks

Borrowing money from friends and family can be a tempting option when you’re in a financial bind. After all, these are people who care about you and want to help. However, there are also risks involved in borrowing money from loved ones.

In today’s article, I will discuss the risks of borrowing money from friends and family, as well as some tips for minimizing those risks.

What Are the Best Practices for Borrowing Money From Friends and Family?

Here are some of the best practices for borrowing money from friends and family:

  • Only borrow money from people you trust and who are financially stable. This will help to reduce the risk of the loan damaging your relationship.
  • Be honest about why you need the money and how you plan to use it. This will help the lender understand your situation and make a decision about whether or not to lend you the money.
  • Set clear terms for the loan, including the amount of money, the interest rate, and the repayment schedule. This will help to avoid any misunderstandings or disagreements down the road
  • Make sure you’re able to afford the monthly payments. Don’t borrow more money than you can afford to repay.
  • Be prepared to repay the loan on time. If you know you’re going to be late on a payment, communicate with the lender as soon as possible.
  • Offer to pay interest on the loan. This is not necessary, but it can show the lender that you’re serious about repaying the loan.
  • Keep the lender updated on your progress. Let them know if you’re having trouble making payments or if your financial situation changes.
  • Be grateful for the help. Thank the lender for their willingness to help you out.

How Can I Minimize the Risks of Borrowing Money From Friends and Family?

Here are some tips on how to minimize the risks of borrowing money from friends and family:

  • Don’t borrow more money than you need. Only borrow the amount of money you absolutely need to cover your expenses.
  • Be prepared to repay the loan in a timely manner. Make sure you have a plan for how you’re going to repay the loan.
  • Be grateful for the help. Thank the lender for their willingness to help you out.

The Risks of Borrowing Money From Friends and Family

Here are some of the risks of borrowing money from friends and family:

1. Strained Relationships:

One of the most significant risks is the potential strain on personal relationships. Money matters can be sensitive and emotionally charged, and mixing finances with personal bonds can lead to misunderstandings, conflicts, and even damaged relationships. Borrowing money can create an awkward power dynamic that might change the dynamics of your relationship.

2. Misunderstandings and Unspoken Expectations:

Without clear and formalized terms, misunderstandings can easily arise. Both parties may have different expectations regarding the loan’s terms, including the interest rate, repayment schedule, or consequences for missed payments. These unspoken expectations can lead to frustration and disappointment.

3. Risk to the Lender:

Borrowing money is not just a risk for the borrower; it’s also a risk for the lender. Lending money to a friend or family member can lead to financial stress for the lender if they rely on the repayment to meet their own financial needs. It can also create tension if the lender feels their assistance is being taken for granted.

4. Struggle with Repayment:

If your financial situation does not improve as expected, you might find it challenging to meet the agreed-upon repayment schedule. This can lead to late payments or default, putting further strain on the relationship and potentially causing financial stress for both parties.

5. Lack of Formality:

Borrowing money from loved ones often lacks the formalities of traditional loans. While this informality can be an advantage, it can also mean that you’re less likely to treat the loan with the seriousness it deserves. A lack of a written agreement can lead to disputes and misunderstandings.

6. Dependency and Risk to Financial Independence:

Depending on friends and family for financial support can create a pattern of dependency. This can hinder your financial independence and personal growth, as you may rely on loans rather than developing effective financial management skills.

7. Impact on Other Relationships:

Borrowing from one friend or family member might affect your relationships with others. If others become aware of the situation, it can lead to feelings of favoritism, jealousy, or resentment among those not involved.

8. Failure to Protect Your Credit History:

If you prioritize repaying loans to friends and family over other financial obligations, such as credit card bills or mortgages, you risk damaging your credit history. Late payments or defaults on traditional loans can have long-lasting consequences on your credit score.

9. Legal Complications:

While it’s not common, disputes over unpaid loans can escalate to legal action, potentially leading to costly and emotionally draining legal battles.


While borrowing money from friends and family can offer advantages such as flexibility and lower interest rates, it’s essential to recognize and navigate the potential risks involved. Open communication, clear terms, a formal agreement, and the commitment to treating the loan with the same seriousness as any other financial obligation are key to minimizing these risks and ensuring a positive outcome for all parties involved. Ultimately, borrowing from loved ones should be approached with caution and responsibility to protect both your financial interests and your personal relationships.


What are Some Alternatives to Borrowing From Friends and Family?

Get a personal loan from a bank or credit union. Personal loans typically have lower interest rates than payday loans or credit cards. However, they may require a good credit score.
Use a credit card: Credit cards can be a convenient way to borrow money, but they typically have high interest rates.
Get a government loan or grant: Government loans and grants may be available to people with low incomes or financial hardship.
Get a cosigner: If you have a good credit score, you may be able to get a loan with a lower interest rate if you have a cosigner.
Sell something: If you have something of value, such as a car or a piece of jewelry, you can sell it to raise money.
Get a part-time job: If you have some extra time, you can get a part-time job to earn extra money.

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