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Money and Family

Title: Navigating the Tricky Terrain of Lending Money to Loved Ones: Lessons from President Lincoln


Lending money to loved ones can be a tricky business. On one hand, you want to help the people you care about when they are in need. On the other hand, you don't want to damage the relationship by getting involved in their finances. President Abraham Lincoln faced a similar dilemma when his stepbrother, John D. Johnston, asked for money. Lincoln's handling of the situation provides valuable lessons for anyone considering lending money to family or friends.

The Lincoln-Johnston Dilemma:

In the early 1850s, Lincoln's stepbrother, John D. Johnston, found himself in dire financial straits and asked Lincoln for financial assistance. Lincoln, recognizing the potential risks associated with lending money to family, provided assistance but with specific conditions. He agreed to help only if Johnston would use the money wisely and work to improve his financial situation.

Tips for Lending Money to Loved Ones, Inspired by Lincoln:

  1. Assess the borrower's financial responsibility: Lincoln made sure that Johnston was committed to using the funds responsibly and making an effort to improve his financial standing. Follow Lincoln's example by discussing the borrower's financial plans and ensuring that they have explored other options.

  2. Set clear expectations: Like Lincoln, be upfront about your expectations and requirements for the loan. Make it clear that you expect to be paid back and establish a repayment plan.

  3. Offer support and guidance: Instead of simply giving money, consider providing guidance and resources that can help your loved one improve their financial situation, just as Lincoln did with Johnston.

  4. Maintain open communication: Keep lines of communication open and check in on the borrower's progress throughout the repayment process.


Lending money to loved ones can be a positive experience if done correctly. By following the example set by President Lincoln and implementing the tips shared in this blog, you can navigate the tricky terrain of lending money to family and friends while preserving your relationships.

Author: Chairman Bob Sutton

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