Rosie Millard: Thrifty Living
Want your own sub-prime loan? Lend to a friend
Saturday 24 November 2007
Neither a borrower nor a lender be, but if you must, don't do it off a mate, as Shakespeare never wrote. But probably should have. Why? Because according to some new financial survey, 82 per cent of us who lend money to friends end up chewing off their fingernails with regret that they ever did it. And with the credit crunch, it's obviously going to get worse.
On a basic level, I suppose this means you shouldn't leave your bank statements lying around in case a friend spots how much spare cash you have, and asks you for it. Well, this is never going to happen in my case, as my bank statements are always a case for astonished horror, not wishful thinking, but you get the point.
Even my dear friend Spendthrift Janie has been caught up in it. "It's a 'mare," she said dramatically. "My friend Bella wants to borrow £2,000. Says she needs to prop up her ailing PR business. Promises to pay it back. What do you think? I mean, I could, I suppose."
I look at her very sternly and bring out my much-thumbed copy of The Rules of Wealth. "'Rule No 90; Never lend to a friend unless you are prepared to write the money off.' Are you prepared to write it off?" She shakes her head sadly. "Not really. I'm prepared to go long-term, though."
Yes, but that is half the problem. Borrow £10,000 interest-free from Mr Egg or one of his myriad friends in the plastic world, and you will get a short, sharp period in which to enjoy your liberty. Then, wham! – after your 10 months is up, a 23 per cent APR horror arrives and slices off your hand. The very next day. It's hard-core.
Whereas if you have borrowed from a friend, you will get a very nice interest-free status on your loan until some time after the London Olympics have finished. "Oh, pay me back some time," your friend will say, more from a basic British horror of talking about finances than any sense of charity. "When you have the money. When it suits you. Was that what you said to Bella?" I ask Janie. She nods miserably. So she's done the deed. Idiot. A kindly idiot, but an idiot all the same.
Who has spare money these days? Apart from Madonna and Guy Ritchie? Indeed, they will have more than ever this Christmas, having banned present-giving at their domestic festivities. (Which makes me feel for poor little David Banda. Adopted by the world's richest mother, only to have Christmas pulled from under his feet. It's enough to make you wish he was back in Malawi. At least he would probably have had a stocking.)
But I digress. Loaning to mates is a mug's game. Friends never pay you back. They forget, and you have to remind them, and it's awkward. They stop calling you, because they fear you will remind them. Then you stop calling them, because every time you look at your statement, you see a ghostly £400, or £8,000, or whatever the loan was, hovering above your balance. And then you go into a green fit of barely concealed fury wrapped up in covetousness of how happy your parallel self would be and enviousness about all the things you could have done with the money. Your brain has turned into a giant ball of deadly sins all bound tightly together, rather like a ball of those evil red rubber bands that the postmen leave everywhere on the streets (and which my children persist in collecting, even though I tell them they are drenched in eight different strains of dog urine).
We ponder the situation.
"Does she have any skills?"
"Why not ask her whether she can pay you back by doing something for you? You know, like bartering."
"Bartering?" says Janie. She reacts as if I have asked her to don a sacking apron and clogs.
"Bartering is very now," I say.
For sure. With the way things are going – sub-prime credit crunches and Northern Rock in one corner, over-bonused City suits in the other – we impoverished professionals in the middle are just going to have to return to the simple life. Repaying friends via trading skills could be one of these things we return to. "Really?" says Janie.
"Sure," I say confidently. "From babysitting and washing the car, to – I don't know – one-on-one French conversations." Although I can't quite see anyone I know popping over to wash a friend's car, no matter how much they have borrowed.
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
Simon Read: Timeshare owners accuse Macdonald Resorts of land grab
Donald MacInnes: Let's pretend Scotland won and now a salmon is running the country
Bargain Hunter: Win a new iPhone 6
More than 300,000 adults are too deeply in debt to apply for bankruptcy
The HiFX guide to managing corporate foreign exchange and international payments
- 1 Mario Balotelli: Staff at arson-hit Manchester Dogs' Home convinced Liverpool striker is behind five-figure donation
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 The response to my Pizza Express review has been overwhelming, and taught me a lot about journalism
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
iJobs Money & Business
£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...
Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...
£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...
To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...
Day In a Page
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize