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ANSWERED on Mon 20 Dec 2010 - 11:41 pm UTC by byrd

Question: Lending girlfriend money

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 15 Dec 2010 02:01 UTCWed 15 Dec 2010 - 2:01 am UTC 

Hi everyone, and thanks for viewing my question. I have a situation where a girl I'm seeing is in some serious financial trouble and I wanted to help her out of it by lending her a significant amount of money before the Christmas rolls around-- to the tune of $5,000 USD.

I was wondering if there was a recommended process or way to go about this, or at least a specific type of document or loan agreement (as informal as possible) that I could have her sign that would hold up in court-- I want to help her, but I don't want to get burned later on if things don't work out between us.

Also, I have no idea how to offer this idea to her without looking like a jerk, so any advice on that aspect would be appreciated as well... perhaps tips/methods on bringing up the topic of prenuptial agreements would be a start? :)

I need to get answers on this ASAP-- time is of the essence! Not sure what details you would need... we both live in NY. Thanks for all of your help, everyone.




 15 Dec 2010 04:47 UTCWed 15 Dec 2010 - 4:47 am UTC 

Hi Prowler,

This advice from "FindLaw" underscores the importance of putting the terms of any loan, including a personal one such as you're contemplating, in writing, and also provides a justification you might use if she objected to signing a document:

"Loaning money to family and friends can be a delicate subject, so always protect yourself by putting the terms of the loan in writing.  Promissory notes are documents that contain the terms of a loan so that there is a legally actionable record of the loan specifics.

"If your friends and family take offense at the suggestion that you create a promissory note, an easy way to justify it is to explain that the loans can have tax consequences and you simply need a written record in case the IRS ever audits you."

So - if you decide you want to prepare a promissory note to have on your person, you have several options. There are some online available for free, like this:

Or you can purchase a customizable form with some guarantees as to its enforceability in court. This one has fees ranging from $12 to over $37:

Would these kinds of resources be in line with what you're looking for?





Former Researcher

 16 Dec 2010 01:21 UTCThu 16 Dec 2010 - 1:21 am UTC 

Hello prowler,

I think that they best way to go about this is to talk to her first and offer her the loan to see if she is interested, then work out the particulars together. First of all, if you try to get all of the paperwork together in advance, then find that she doesn't want your help, then you have done all of this work for nothing. Second, no matter how pious your intentions, I don't see how she would take the presentation of unsolicited legal documents as anything other than an insult, a blatant lack of trust.  Finally, you are sending a message that you do not see marriage, and the shared responsibility of your troubles, happening anytime soon.

Communication is the most important thing in any relationship.  If you really care about her, then I urge you to discuss the matter with her before figuring out how to protect yourself.




 16 Dec 2010 08:53 UTCThu 16 Dec 2010 - 8:53 am UTC 

Hi Prowler

Presentation is, of course, important but my guess is that the lady is sufficiently worried to appreciate a kind offer of help.

I suggest that you qualify your offer with a proviso like ...

Naturally, we shall have to take care not to expose ourselves to any tax effects so it may be necessary to draw up some sort of documentation.

May I recommend that you now invite Byrd to post an Answer - provided that you are satisfied with her excellent analysis?

(Yes, Byrd is a lady so she can appreciate this from a woman's point of view.)

(A Mere Male)




 17 Dec 2010 00:10 UTCFri 17 Dec 2010 - 12:10 am UTC 

Hi Prowler,

Perhaps you have already settled the matter.  You have received good advice.

My thought is that you should consider whether or not you would really go to court to recover your loan.  What do you know about the person's ability to repay  - in a lump some or in installments?  Is it an amount you can afford to lose  - if you don't want to go to court?

Without suggesting anything about your relationship (emphasis: repeating that!), it occurs to me that the situation reminds me of the typical marriage swindle. 

Please accept my apologies for mentioning that, but it underlines the reasons for asking for a written and signed loan document.

Regards, Myo




 19 Dec 2010 09:01 UTCSun 19 Dec 2010 - 9:01 am UTC 

I lent $8500 to my lady friend once and never thought for a second that I would not get it  back. Alas the money and the  woman I trusted  so much  both went the same way and I have seen neither since.




 20 Dec 2010 10:26 UTCMon 20 Dec 2010 - 10:26 am UTC 

Lending a friend a significant sum of money is a good way of not seeing hide nor hair of them in the future.

From bitter experience I recommend treating any 'loan' as a gift

In $US terms I'm down 10,000 to people I bailed out of the merde

If I were you I would give her $1,000 - and make sure it is a gift, at that point you can start deciding whether your friend is a leach.




 20 Dec 2010 23:41 UTCMon 20 Dec 2010 - 11:41 pm UTC 

Hi Prowler,

I trust the information provided meets your needs. If not, or if you require any further assistance, please feel free to request clarification.

Best wishes,





 21 Dec 2010 14:39 UTCTue 21 Dec 2010 - 2:39 pm UTC 

hello prowler and advanced merry christmass to you..
i think in terms of money don't trust anyone even your friends to be sure just make an legal  agreement for both of you, try to ask her if someone that help you to have that kind of money you  would be able to have an agreement or legal documentation? and if she agreed then its your decision to help her ...i hope it help


Roger Browne 


 21 Dec 2010 15:00 UTCTue 21 Dec 2010 - 3:00 pm UTC 

Hi prowler,

Byrd has pointed you to a recommended process, and also suggested that you can broach this without looking like a jerk by referring to the tax implications. That seems to answer your question "as asked", but I would like to make some uninvited suggestions which I hope you won't mind.

In my opinion, the only satisfactory way to lend money within a relationship is to make it an open-ended loan with no strings attached. Something like "Here are some funds that might help with your financial situation. Just pay them back if and when you feel able". I would hand them over in an envelope that contains a slip that lists the date and amount of the transaction, just so there's no confusion or forgetfulness later. Just something like "$5000, 21 December 2010".

After you've given her the money, forget about it. Literally. If you get it back, that's great, and you may be pleasantly surprised that she remembers the favor you did, and returns it in a bigger way in the future when she is able. If you don't get it back, well, the money is gone but the situations that would lead to you not getting it back would probably mean that you'd have trouble getting it back through the court system anyway.

If you tie up the money with conditions, documents, promises, reminders, obligations, etc, you sabotage your relationship by making it dominated by money. This has two effects. It makes it less likely that your relationship will survive long-term, and it probably also makes it less likely that you will see the money again (since the chance of getting it back, with or without documentation, is sure to be smaller if you have broken up than if you are still together).

Why not find a way to structure your help as something other than a loan, in a way that it doesn't burden anyone in the future? Obviously I don't know your full circumstances, but here are some examples of what I'm thinking of:

Does she have a car that you can buy for $5000, for example, or perhaps some valuable photographic equipment that's currently unused? Can you move into her flat and pay rent to her instead of renting a separate place yourself? Do you know someone who can get her a well-paying job? If her "serious financial trouble" is indebtedness, can you negotiate directly with her creditors and attempt to restructure the credit, or make a small payment to "keep them at bay"? Does she have relatives whom you could approach to become guarantors for her indebtedness?

I don't think it would foster a healthy relationship if you were to bind her to you with a financial obligation. I don't foresee a happy ending if you go down that road.

Again, these are just my suggestions. Please don't be offended if I've overstepped the line here; in that case please just ignore my comments.




 8 Jan 2011 14:22 UTCSat 8 Jan 2011 - 2:22 pm UTC 

Hi prowler,

I think Roger's remarks are right on the money.

Perhaps I can give you some insight from the girlfriends perspective, I suppose it also depends how serious you are with this girl, as to how you handle the loan or even if you extend a loan to her. If you are serious and are planning your life with this girl, as was the situation with my boyfriend and I, I can tell you how NOT to handle the transaction.

In Jan. 2009, I lost my job. 4 months later, my savings were gone and I was living off my credit. Soon, I was in serious trouble and my boyfriend offered, begrudgingly, to loan me money (I did not ask, but he couldn't ignore the fact I was drowning). He comes from the camp of 'never a borrower or a lender be'.This was tough for him to extend this kind of generosity. Unfortunately, he did so in such a militant fashion, with unrealistic re-payment terms and in such a threatening way — I can't tell you how negatively his approach has impacted our relationship. He made me feel like a criminal! I was already at a low point in my life, as your girlfriend may be. To this day, (1 year later) while I certainly appreciate him loaning me the money, this loan continues to be a sore spot for us. To me, the way he approached the loan is the cause of the problem, not the fact he loaned me the money. He has been burned by friends before, so I understand his apprehension to lend money, but I do think it's different when you are a couple planning a life together. I am also one of the minority (according to stats) of people who repay their debts, so... his distrust is extremely hurtful to me. We are on the verge of breaking up because of the relational implications for the future that have bubbled to the surface, over this loan.

If you love your girlfriend and want to help her, but still want her to sign something for your own comfort... at least approach it with kindness. You have the opportunity to strengthen your relationship or weaken it. If she is a person of integrity and not a user — what goes around comes around, she will repay you in spades and never forget the kindness extended to her when she really needed help. It says a lot about you as a potential long-term partner.

I think when it comes to lending money, every situation is different and every person is different. You have to judge each situation individually. Only you know your girlfriend (her character) and your intentions. Whatever you do, just approach the situation from the point of compassion and kindness if you care about the relationship.

Good luck!


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