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Originally published Saturday, October 27, 2012 at 8:01 PM

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Five tips on lending money to family or friends

Loaning money to friends or family is a gamble.

Los Angeles Times

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If you have friends or family members who are hurting financially, should you lend them money? Some tips from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling:

• Don’t lend the money if you can’t afford to lose it. And don’t tap your retirement savings.

• Involve your spouse or partner in the decision. If you can’t agree on making the loan, “it could result in significant stress on your relationship,” the NFCC said.

• Consider how the person got into financial trouble. Do they want the loan because of an emergency or because they made poor spending decisions? If it’s the latter, giving them more money won’t help unless they address the underlying behavior, the NFCC said.

• Be clear on the terms of the loan. Put the amount, interest rate, due date and late fees in writing. Have both parties sign

• Consider tax implications. “The IRS frowns on loans that charge little or no interest and may require you to pay a gift tax,” the NFCC said.

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