Lending and borrowing money from co-workers

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about borrowing/lending money to coworkers:

Typically I don’t lend out money, period. I try to be responsible and manage my money until the next pay day. However, with times being rough for all including myself, and for the first time in my life, I too have had to borrow money.As a result, I have compassion for those that I care about and bent my own rules. I lent a couple of co-workers money. One co-worker has responsibly paid me back right after pay day each of the few times he has borrowed money. The other co-worker has not. I have had to ask him for it and have gotten the response that he will pay me when he gets paid. When pay day comes, nothing and I’m forgotten. Another paid period goes by still no money. A repeated pattern has been established. I feel built up frustration towards this co-worker and I don’t want to have to work this way. Any suggestions.

Signed, Frustrated and Unpaid

Dear Frustrated and Unpaid:

This situation is a prime reason why it is usually not a good idea to loan money to anyone except close family. Now, I’m afraid that no matter what happens there will be constraint between you and the coworker. I’m sure you’ve learned not to do this again! Consider this is a more firm approach: Send a civil email and be more forceful about it. You might write it this way:

Dear Karen, with the holidays coming I have financial obligations that makes it crucial that I get back the money that I loaned you. I need it immediately, but at the very latest your check to me has to have cleared your bank and the money must be in my account by December 1st.If that doesn’t happen, I will really suffer financially myself. I know you would not want me to have problems because of this situation.Thank you very much for taking care of this right way. ***********************

If Karen says she won’t have the money you might suggest these things to her:
1. Maybe she can get a cash advance on a credit card, give you the cash, then pay the card on her next payday, instead of waiting until then to pay you.
2. She can give you a postdated check that you will not deposit until payday.
3. She can pay you now and even if she doesn’t have the funds immediately she can use her overdraft protection to cover her until payday.
4. Maybe she can go to a company that loans money until payday.
5. Ask her family to help her and explain that you will be in trouble financially if you can’t get your money by December 1st.
6. Make two payments. (Just an option you might want to consider, but I don’t know if it would work with this person.) If none of those things work, ask your supervisor if he will be a witness while you ask the coworker for the return of the loan. It is not a work related issue specifically and the supervisor should not be involved in it directly. However, it would not hurt for a supervisor to be present and you handle the conversation.******************

Just say, “I wanted Jim to be present so I would be certain that I’m clear enough about this. Karen, I loaned you money on XX, and I need it by December 1st. I’ve asked about it before but haven’t gotten it. Will you promise me you’ll get it to me now, or at the latest, by November 28th, so it can be in my bank account by December 1st? *************

You may decide on different dates than those. The important thing is to insist that you must have it or you will suffer financially. Make it absolute and emphasize that the check has to clear the bank and be in your account. Being definite about a time and a reason will make it seem more required than suggested. Don’t stop until you get the money in the next couple of weeks. That is why creditors “hound” people. The idea is to make it so uncomfortable that it’s easier to pay than to avoid paying.You have been nice about this and you have nothing to be ashamed of. Now, anyone would understand that you need your money!Best wishes about this. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what happens.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.