Loaning Friends Money… When, How and What to Ask For In Return

September 22, 2018


Dear Dave,

Recently, I loaned some money to a good friend.

He’s going to help me with a big home project over the next few weekends, so do you think I should pay him for the work or forgive the debt?



Dear Marvin,

First, I don’t recommend loaning money to friends or family.

Once in a while, things may work out and everyone ends up happy.

But in most cases, it changes the dynamic of the relationship.

The big question is whether you’ve already agreed to pay him for the work.

Another consideration is how he views the situation.

He may be looking at this as just helping a buddy, and he still owes the money.

Ask him what his expectations are before you guys start the job.

Just talk to him, and figure out what seems fair to you both.

If you’ve already agreed on a certain amount, and the value of the work is close to what you loaned him, you might discuss the idea of paying back the debt that way.

But in the future, if someone close to you really needs financial help — and you’re not enabling bad behavior in the process — just make the money a gift.


* Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven best-selling books, including The Total Money MakeoverThe Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 14 million listeners each week on 600 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey.