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MM: How would you respond to our reader who asks, “How do I get a loan back from my sister who bought a pedigree dog after I lent her $800?

DH: I’d like to back up a bit. Before any money changes hands, it is the responsibility of the lending sibling to set the payback parameters of the loan amount (just like the bank does). This includes “what the money will be used for,” if that is important.

So, if no boundaries were set up front, no clear communication, this is a set up for “silent expectations,” which can be disastrous when it comes to money and family relationships. Silent expectations pave the path to broken agreements, eroded trust and relationship resentment.

This can be a learning experience for both siblings. They need to talk it out, share how they feel, move forward, and do it differently in the future.

Done right, family loans don’t have to hurt finances or relationships. When boundaries are set and agreements are honored, what can unfold is a “clean” transaction both financially and emotionally!

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