My Ex Wants to Borrow a Large Sum of Money

Ask Demetria: A recent episode of Love & Hip Hop Atlanta offers lessons in why this is a bad idea.

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To be frank, your ex's repeated requests for money from you indicate a chronic mismanagement of his finances or lack of employment. That's not uncommon, given this economy, but you need to ensure that his financial shortcomings don't begin to affect your own financial health. You are his ex and the mother of his child -- not his wife, not a bank and certainly not an ATM.

I'm a devotee of the teachings of financial adviser Suze Orman, who notes that any loan should be treated as a business deal. She suggests that if you're going to lend money, at the very least you should prepare a promissory note that includes the amount being borrowed, any interest and, of course, the date by which you will be reimbursed for your investment.

I also have to share with you my father's rule on lending money to friends and family: Don't give what you can't afford to lose. While your ex has a good record of paying you back, he also has a record of falling short with his own finances -- hence his asking you to help him out. No matter what amount your ex has requested, consider it a "large sum," whether it's $100, $1,000, $10,000 or more. If you can't afford to lose the money, don't give it to him. Just because you've granted his requests in the past does not mean you have an obligation to do so in the present.

Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor at The Root, a life coach and the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at askdemetria@theroot.com.

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