Author Topic: Advice wanted: How to give money to friends  (Read 2245 times)

GUNDERSON

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Advice wanted: How to give money to friends
« on: October 20, 2019, 12:43:55 PM »
As my stash has grown, I've found myself wanting to offer money to friends I see struggling. In particular, there's a couple whose kids and values and lives I love; they are in no way wasteful, they just make very little money because they have pursued jobs that match their values (working with  kids). I know they recently had to pay a lot of interest to finance a medical bill for their cat, and that money is a sort of constant stress. The dad is coaching in the rain for hours in leaky raingear bc he can't replace it. Anyway, I'd love to just give them a check for maybe $3k to keep as an emergency fund and to fill in gaps. But I don't want them to feel weird about it, and I want to think through/avoid possible pitfalls. We're old friends and are very close so I think we can talk frankly. (I recently just gave a check for $200 instead of a birthday gift and it was very gratefully received). Any advice for doing this in a smooth way all can feel good about?

SunnyDays

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Re: Advice wanted: How to give money to friends
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2019, 01:41:46 PM »
Instead of giving money, especially a large lump sum, which it would be hard for them not to feel weird about, I would think, why not just fund the needs that you see?  Buy the guy new rain gear, pay some or all of the cat's vet bill, etc.  Tell them you admire their values and want to help them be able to live them, as they are currently doing.  You can also take pressure off by inviting them to dinner, showing up with a bag of groceries, etc.  Smaller, more frequent gifts such as these may be more easily accepted than grand gestures.

Blue Skies

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Re: Advice wanted: How to give money to friends
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2019, 04:59:39 PM »
Agree.  Saying - hey I would love to take care of the vet bill for you is a lot easier to accept than hey here's $3k for you to stick in the bank.  Pay for concrete things, gift them the items you see they need, and let them build up their own emergency fund.

terran

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Re: Advice wanted: How to give money to friends
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2019, 05:18:53 PM »
Giving anonymously seems like the best way to do this. Cash would work, but not very secure since it will have to go through the mail. I don't think a money order or bank check has to have your name on it, but still requires them to have ID to cash it. I have a hard time seeing how giving such a large sum so they know it's you wouldn't change the relationship at least in small ways, even if they accept it gracefully.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2019, 05:21:02 PM by terran »

SwordGuy

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Re: Advice wanted: How to give money to friends
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2019, 05:57:53 PM »
I hire people to do things for me and pay them.   

Flew to see my mom with a one-way ticket and had an unemployed friend drive my car to my mom's city so I could drive home.   She got to visit friends she hadn't seen for years and made some money, too.   My official reason was "you're saving me money, thanks!"

I was going to put in a French drain at my old house, as in, dig it myself.   Coworker got fired and I thought it was a bum rap.  So I hired him to do the French drain and over-paid him.   Official story was that he was "doing me a favor".   What he earned really helped him meet his bills until his new job kicked in.

I look for things that they could easily do that would provide benefit for me and just overpay.   

That way, no one feels awkward.

Cranky

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Re: Advice wanted: How to give money to friends
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2019, 06:23:16 AM »
I have given people money anonymously through my church.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Advice wanted: How to give money to friends
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2019, 06:54:44 AM »
Overpaying them to do a job for you sounds like a really good idea. And giving someone a useful gift for a birthday is also a good, not awkward thing to do.

It sounds to me like your friends are living a little bit above their means. They choose to both have low paying jobs, but they have a cat that they cannot afford be treated by the vet. Maybe there are a few more examples. I think you should in general not enable a lifestyle they cannot afford.

My parents used to be in a situation where they had trouble making ends meet for some years. In that period my grandparents sometimes gave them a state loan document, that my parents could cash, containing a couple of 100$. But eventually they found out that there needed to be more income. So my mother decided to go back to work and reeducate herself to be able to get a better paid job. I guess they could also have moved back to a cheaper house.

minimustache1985

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Re: Advice wanted: How to give money to friends
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2019, 09:32:37 AM »
The vet may let you pay off the bill anonymously- my guess is this was an unexpected medical need as most people assume cats are cheap (and they can be, but that’s no guarantee). Durable rain gear for Christmas.

Shamantha

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Re: Advice wanted: How to give money to friends
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2019, 09:46:19 AM »
I struggle with a similar issue, and like you do not really know how to approach it. I go to event which take place betwen 2 and 4 times a year, in different locations. I have known people at these events since 2004 and some have become close friends, others I just enjoy their company but they make great contributions to these events. The events feel like family.  Some have fallen on hard times and can't afford to go anymore. I can easily afford to pay for them. They would be too proud to accept help I think, but I am embarrassed to ask them as well. I don't know how to approach this.

thesis

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Re: Advice wanted: How to give money to friends
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2019, 10:48:42 AM »
This is tricky. I think the overpaying for work may be a good idea, but that depends on whether it makes sense to pay them for a job based on their experience and whether you actually need something done.

The web is always only semi-anonymous, so I hesitate to replicate how I've given money in too much detail. Dumb, I know, since there's plenty else I blab about online. But I've sent money through the mail before and it's been fine. It's just smart to wrap it in something else like a card or computer paper so it's not blatantly obvious it has money in it. Easy. But I do believe that the post office stamps a sort of location signature when processing it, so be aware of that, lest your town give you away. I feel that this gives the person a lot of freedom and is a great way to give no-strings-attached

JLee

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Re: Advice wanted: How to give money to friends
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2019, 10:58:57 AM »
Overpaying them to do a job for you sounds like a really good idea. And giving someone a useful gift for a birthday is also a good, not awkward thing to do.

It sounds to me like your friends are living a little bit above their means. They choose to both have low paying jobs, but they have a cat that they cannot afford be treated by the vet. Maybe there are a few more examples. I think you should in general not enable a lifestyle they cannot afford.

My parents used to be in a situation where they had trouble making ends meet for some years. In that period my grandparents sometimes gave them a state loan document, that my parents could cash, containing a couple of 100$. But eventually they found out that there needed to be more income. So my mother decided to go back to work and reeducate herself to be able to get a better paid job. I guess they could also have moved back to a cheaper house.

That's not really a fair assessment.

My cats were perfectly fine and low cost -- until they weren't. I'm over $3k in vet bills in a year, which is not something everybody can absorb.  Unless you're saying they should put their cat down instead of fix what is presumably a fixable problem, which I suppose is a moral judgement for each person to make.

solon

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Re: Advice wanted: How to give money to friends
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2019, 11:21:05 AM »
Send $500 in the mail.
Then send yourself $500.
Then send another friend $500.

Repeat.

GizmoTX

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Re: Advice wanted: How to give money to friends
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2019, 11:36:16 AM »
"My cats were perfectly fine and low cost -- until they weren't. I'm over $3k in vet bills in a year, which is not something everybody can absorb.  Unless you're saying they should put their cat down instead of fix what is presumably a fixable problem, which I suppose is a moral judgement for each person to make."

This is what an emergency fund is for.

FrugalZony

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Re: Advice wanted: How to give money to friends
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2019, 12:47:52 PM »
I struggle with a similar issue, and like you do not really know how to approach it. I go to event which take place betwen 2 and 4 times a year, in different locations. I have known people at these events since 2004 and some have become close friends, others I just enjoy their company but they make great contributions to these events. The events feel like family.  Some have fallen on hard times and can't afford to go anymore. I can easily afford to pay for them. They would be too proud to accept help I think, but I am embarrassed to ask them as well. I don't know how to approach this.
A non-profit I volunteer with has regular events like that and we also have people in the community who cannot afford those, but contribute in other ways.
We now have the option to purchase a sponsored ticket (or several) for someone else, when you register.
People who'd like to attend, but are on tight budgets can get on the list for sponsored tickets.
It works very well.
You cannot really control who gets your ticket, but if you were to implement a system like this, I am sure you could have a word with whoever manages the lists to let them know, who you'd like to have priority for your sponsored tickets, without the person finding out...
Just a thought.

FrugalZony

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Re: Advice wanted: How to give money to friends
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2019, 12:54:20 PM »
As my stash has grown, I've found myself wanting to offer money to friends I see struggling. In particular, there's a couple whose kids and values and lives I love; they are in no way wasteful, they just make very little money because they have pursued jobs that match their values (working with  kids). I know they recently had to pay a lot of interest to finance a medical bill for their cat, and that money is a sort of constant stress. The dad is coaching in the rain for hours in leaky raingear bc he can't replace it. Anyway, I'd love to just give them a check for maybe $3k to keep as an emergency fund and to fill in gaps. But I don't want them to feel weird about it, and I want to think through/avoid possible pitfalls. We're old friends and are very close so I think we can talk frankly. (I recently just gave a check for $200 instead of a birthday gift and it was very gratefully received). Any advice for doing this in a smooth way all can feel good about?

I like the overpay for work thing where it makes sense (my former neighbors kiddo used to watch my cats for example and got paid really well for that).
Other than that I prefer anonymous giving in such circumstances. I have helped people out on a personal level many times and what I have learned over the years is that in some cases it can create akward situations or even worse, ongoing expectations...
I mostly enjoy watching from afar, when people dont know where it comes from.
Sure give smaller gifts, like raingear (I got this on sale and thought you could use it etc.) to deter from the larger anonymous giving.
But even the anonymous giving has to be in a way that they don't think it's a scam. I'd be very cautious if a money order just popped up in my mail.
So, yes buy a $500 prepaid gift card, write a little note about how appreciated their contributions to the community are (maybe let someone else write it if they likely recognize your hand writing) put it in their mailbox when they are not looking.
Repeat as needed.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2019, 12:56:42 PM by FrugalZony »

thesis

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Re: Advice wanted: How to give money to friends
« Reply #15 on: October 25, 2019, 08:49:18 AM »
But even the anonymous giving has to be in a way that they don't think it's a scam. I'd be very cautious if a money order just popped up in my mail.

Haha, I think this came up in a previous thread one time. I think cash would be a little less sketchy, but that depends on how comfortable you are sending that. But if you are part of a community where someone's struggles are more widely known, I think the recipient would be more likely to understand that somebody in the community was trying to help them out.

Another thought that pops into my mind is to actually make the giving a community effort (as long as this doesn't become an expectation). For example, if you're part of a church group or something like that, the group could pitch in to buy groceries for the family. But argh! - so many considerations to make. That would only work if the people were open to receiving food they maybe wouldn't otherwise eat. I'm sure this idea could be fleshed out and would work well in some circumstances.

Villanelle

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Re: Advice wanted: How to give money to friends
« Reply #16 on: October 25, 2019, 09:18:11 AM »
I'd just give him the rain gear.  If you can find it used, that might make it feel like a more comfortable gift.  Or just, "saw this on sale and thought of you.  Thanks for all you do for the community!"

For the vet bill, is it financed through the vet's office?  If so, can you just call the vet and ask if you'd be able to pay it off anonymously?

Freedomin5

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Re: Advice wanted: How to give money to friends
« Reply #17 on: October 26, 2019, 06:43:11 AM »
You could also buy gift cards to places you know they shop at, and then give it to them with an excuse like, “Hey, do you want this grocery store gift card? My ex-gf’s new MIL’s bf gave it to me and I don’t really have a use for it because I’m on a new diet and only eat beans from the bulk food store. (or I have a bunch of them and can’t really spend it all.) Hate to see it go to waste so you’d really be doing me a huge favor and use it up soon. Otherwise it loses purchasing power due to inflation.”

Or when you see needs, just meet the needs. I’ve done stuff like buy two of what I need and given one away saying that it was a two for one deal. Or offered up my cottage as a free/cheap vacation. I go for dinner with friends where there’s a two for one deal and I pay, saying that they’re my guest so they get the deal portion. There are lots of ways to give without it being obvious.

Shamantha

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Re: Advice wanted: How to give money to friends
« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2019, 01:47:23 PM »

A non-profit I volunteer with has regular events like that and we also have people in the community who cannot afford those, but contribute in other ways.
We now have the option to purchase a sponsored ticket (or several) for someone else, when you register.
People who'd like to attend, but are on tight budgets can get on the list for sponsored tickets.
It works very well.
You cannot really control who gets your ticket, but if you were to implement a system like this, I am sure you could have a word with whoever manages the lists to let them know, who you'd like to have priority for your sponsored tickets, without the person finding out...
Just a thought.
That is a good suggestion, I will see if we can set something like this up!