Denying a family member’s request for a loan is hard to do, and not too common. Most Ghanaians say they’d help their younger kin with cash in times of need. That’s fine, but it’s best to do so with your eyes wide open, and possibly your wallet closed.

Experts say the key to lending money to family, if you expect to be repaid, is to treat it like a business loan and keep emotions out of it. But to spare yourself from disappointment, don’t expect to be repaid.

Remember that family borrowers usually don’t take the debt as seriously as they would a loan from a bank, so they’re typically casual about returning the money. If you do expect to get repaid, expect it to be slowly.

Before lending money, prepare a checklist of questions to answer, and use it to hold both parties accountable.

  1. Has this person asked for money before?
  2. If so, was I paid back?
  3. Was I paid back in a timely manner?
  4. What is the likelihood I’ll be paid back this time?
  5. What will the loan be used for?
  6. How do they plan to pay it back?

And finally, make sure your spouse is on board before issuing a loan from shared funds. There are few better ways to strain a marriage than to lend money without your better half’s blessing.