AT THE RISK of being called hard-hearted, I am going to say a few things that need to be said about the danger of lending money to friends.
It would have saved me quite a bit of money and half a dozen friends if some kind writer had told me these things thirty years ago.
The fact is that as SÍXJII as you are known to have money, you find yourself with a new set of difficulties.
'Then come the Parasites.
An encyclo¡x*riia could lxwritten on these parasites. They are of all sorts and ranks. They range from the halfdrunken whiner at the curb to the bishop in lus gorgeous rotx-s.
They are relatives, friends and strangers. 1 hey are women as well as men. II hey are honest as well as dishonest. They are deserving as well as worthless.
But they all want to take away your money: make no mistake atxuit that.
Parasites all! Beautiful women, with the faces of saints. Dignified gentlemen with the manner. ;>! courtiers. Nephews and nieces and uncles and aunts. All with their hands out and their eyes on your |x>ckets!
There is no known way of detecting a Parasite until the revealing moment comes, when he suggests that you should transfer some ol your money directly from your lxxket to lus jxx ket.
'There is no known way of escaping either the respetable Ix-ggars or the disreputable ones. Many a businessman has had the shoc k of his life to find that Ins own son has tx-en brerl with the instincts of a beggar.
But there is an eternal war on between the Builders and the Beggars m this world. It is a light to a finish.
The Beggars overthrew the Roman Empire, and the\ have become so strong in the British Empire that no one can tell at the moment how the light will end.
Every businessman w ho is a Builder is surrounded by Beggars just as a lion in the • jungle has his jackals waiting alxtut to steal what he leaves.
llappv is that builder who marries a woman w ho also lias the spirit of a builder. He is sure of a success that si Kill not lx* broken dov n
But is for the builder who marries a beggar, Heaven pity him! No matter how strong and clever he is, he will lxpulled down in the end.
As soon as you have any money in the bank, you mus) not become hard-hearted but you must learn to say “No.”
It is fully as hard to keep money as it is to get it. Every rich man knows that.
That is why rich men, as a rule, are so uncompanionable. They are compiled always to be on their guard. They almost develop quills like a hedgehog. And, after all, it is no wonder.
No matter how big a man’s fortune is, it can be taken away from him in a very short time if he is off his guard.
I once knew a man named De Bardeleben, who discovered an iron mine and sold it for $2,500,000. He went to New York and in six weeks from his arrival there he had lost every puny of it.
'There is no limit to the rapacity of the parasites. The more you lend, the more they want. They are insatiable.
Learn to Say “No”
IF A rich man wants to remain rich, he must keep his capital intact. Whatever he gives or lends must come out of his income.
I íe must not endorse another man’s note, no matter who the other man may lx-.
He must not sign any blank cheques.
He must not have a joint banking account with anyone, not even his wife.
He must keep out of all money entanglements, for there is nothing that brings out the lower nature of most people like a difference of opinion about money.
Leave lending to bankers and pawnbrokers. They know how. You don’t. They have means of protecting themselves. You have not.
It is worth noting that professional moneylenders usually charge ten pr cent a month. Very likely they are obliged to do this, to make up for their losses and to meet their high expanses.
Lending is a halfway thing. It is neither giving nor investing.
It d(x;s not bring you any thanks nor give you any chance of profit.
It is worse than betting, for there is no excitement in it, no sprt, no possibility of good luck.
If a friend of yours tries to borrow money from you, first ask him why he does not go to a banker.
Then, when he confesses to you that he is in a hole, don’t lend him the money. IX) better than that. Buy a small interest in his business just about enough to pull him out of the hole.
It is always better to invest than to lend. If you become a shareholder, then you have a right to advise and a right to a share in the profits.
If your friend succeeds, you will have a share in his success, not merely six pr cent; and if he fails, you will get at least part of your money back.
Lend, Lose a Friend
AS A RULE, men who borrow from friends are generally - unreliable and often parasitical. They are of the clinging ivy typ.
'The self-reliant, indepndent man will not let his friends know that he needs any money.
In a word, the man who asks for money is not likely to deserve it, while the man who does deserve it won’t ask for it.
There is a certain type of man to be found in all towns; a man who has no conscience in the matter of debts. He is a mollusc. He takes life easily, and everything else he can get without working for it.
He may be well educated and charming and all that, but he is a mendicant. He begs “fivers” and cigars and weekends. He is merely a gilded loafer, and he should have no consideration from self-respcting men.
Such parasites lack the courage to become thieves. They keep within the law. But they take away more money from other people than the thieves do.
It is a curious fact, too, about lending, that even when you lend money to an honest man, you are apt to lose his friendship by so doing. Whenever you lend, you lose a friend: that is usually true.
No one has yet written a book on the psychology of ingratitude, but it is a very interesting subject and deserves your notice.
No one likes a lender. That is a very strange fact. As soon as you lend a friend money, you cease to be a pal and become a Shylock.
He thinks of his debt as a burden, and he blames you as the one who put the burden on him. This is stupid and illogical, but it is what happns in most minds.
Friendship depnds upn equality and reciprocity. It is . destroyed by philanthropy. If
\ I take a friend to a restaurant
\ twice and if I pay both times,
% our friendship is certain to be
Friendship cannot exist between supriors and inferiors. This is a law of human nature that cannot be ignored.
Spaking on a moral plane, you do a man harm if you lend him money just because he asks for it.
You weaken his self-reliance and his self-respct. If he asks for money, he needs far more than money: make no mistake about that.
The truth is that we Lend too often and we (Jive too seldom. Very few of us give enough.
We should give offener, and we should only give to people who are doing their best to help themselves.
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