How to Get Your Friends to Pay You Back

by Stacy Tharp 27. February 2013

Empty Wallet

It's happened to all of us: that awkward moment when you are dining out with a friend, and when the bill arrives your friend informs you that he has conveniently left his wallet at home or has forgotten to stop off at the ATM. At this point the only way to avoid the dine-and-dash is to pay the bill in full yourself.

You might not think it’s a huge deal to pay for someone’s lunch from time to time, but if you lend money to a friend, you have every right to expect your friend to pay you back. You shouldn’t feel bad about asking your friend to pay you back, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an awkward conversation to have.

Here are a few tips on getting your friend to pay you back the money he owes you as un-awkwardly as possible.

Use Technology to Get Your Money Back Right Away

The longer your friend owes you money, the more difficult it becomes to get your friend to pay you back. So, have your friend pay you immediately with a person-to-person payment service such as Popmoney®. Your friend may have forgotten his wallet, but as long as he hasn’t forgotten his smartphone (and who forgets that these days?), he can send you money electronically through an email or text.

Popmoney® is conveniently located within our Mobile Banking App; however, your friend doesn’t have to bank with 1st Mariner to enroll in and use Popmoney®. As long as your friend has the funds available in his bank account, person-to-person payments are a great way to get paid immediately.

If your friend doesn’t have the funds available, keep reading.

Give Friendly Reminders

If your friend tells you he doesn’t have the money right now, but he will on Friday when he gets paid, give him a friendly reminder on his payday. You can send him a request through Popmoney® to avoid giving the awkward reminder yourself. If your friend was being honest and fully intended to pay you back, chances are this friendly reminder is all he will need. Otherwise, move on to the next step.

Have a Serious Talk

Now you have passed the point in which your friend should have paid you back. If you want your money back, it’s time for the awkward conversation. Sit your friend down, make sure there are no distractions around, then ask him why he is having a hard time paying you back. You can offer him options such as making staggered payments or give him an extended deadline, but make it clear that you do expect your money back. If this doesn’t work, you are pretty much down to two options.

Forget the Debt or Consider Persuing Legal Action

Ever heard the saying, “If you lend someone $20 and never see him again, it was probably worth it”? If it was only a small amount of money that you lent, it might be easiest to just forget about the money and reconsider the friendship.

If your friend owes you a large sum of money, you may want to consider pursuing legal action. This option isn’t right for everyone, so make sure you do sufficient research to make sure it would be worth it to go down this route.

The last few options are not fun ones, so I recommend using Popmoney® to get your money back instantly!

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The Ultimate Question: Buy or Lease?

by Wade Barnes 25. February 2013

New Car

So you’ve decided on a new car! You’ve picked the make, model, color and options but the tough question is still looming. Should I buy or lease? Like many financial decisions, the answer is highly dependent on individual situations, but to help narrow the scope of your decision, it is best to consider the benefits of leasing to see if this option is best for your situation. 

Benefits of Leasing

Perhaps the greatest benefit of leasing is the fact that you can get into a new car with low money down and low monthly payments. This means that you can afford a more expensive car with more options at a lower acquisition and monthly cost than if you were to buy the car. On top of this, when you lease a car, you have pre-negotiated the value at the end of the term, which means you can walk away without having to negotiate the value and sell the car.

Most leases are for three years and most cars come with warranties that match this term. This means you’ll never be responsible for a major repair that should be covered under warranty. This is an important benefit of leasing a car because outside of the lease expense, general maintenance, and gas, you shouldn’t have any unforeseen expenses related to leasing a car.

For business owners, another benefit of leasing a car is the potential to benefit from greater tax deduction when leasing a car for business purposes. While you should consult your tax advisor on this issue, typically you can deduct a portion of depreciation on cars owned and used for business purposes whereas lease expenses in whole are typically tax deductible which tend to be greater on a month-to-month basis.

Downsides of Leasing

The biggest downside to leasing is that you’re never gaining equity on the car; you’re essentially renting the car under a long-term agreement. Under this proposition, as long as you have a car, you’ll have car payments, and if for some reason you need to get out of a lease, there are typically expensive penalties for breaking the lease.

Leases also have an annual mileage restriction as well. Typically leases offer either 12,000 or 15,000 miles per year and if you go over the allotted mileage, it can get expensive. Since you don’t actually own the car, you can’t make any modifications to the car, and at the term of the lease you’ll be charged for every nick and ding that happened under your watch. Insurance can also be more expensive as most lease companies require higher levels of coverage to protect their interest.

Conclusion

So now you must decide to lease or buy. If you like the idea of owning a car without a car payment one day, buying is the best option. If you like the idea of having a new car with fancy options every few years and you can live within the terms of the lease, then leasing may be the best option.

If the benefits of leasing a car have outweighed the decision making process, be sure to fully understand the terms of the lease to avoid expensive costs at the end of the term. If you’ve opted to buy versus lease, consider your financing options. If rates are similar, you may want to consider using a Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit to finance the purchase to benefit from potential tax advantages (but be sure to consult your tax advisor first). Whichever way you go, be sure to enjoy your new car. If you’d like some ideas on how to save money at the pump with your new car, check out our blog: Ten Ways to Ease Your Pain at the Pump.

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You're Engaged, Yay! Now What? Wedding Planning!

by Erica Starr 22. February 2013

 

Relax and enjoy the moment.

Wooohoo! He asked, you said yes…welcome to the wonderful world of wedding planning! But not so fast - before you start envisioning your wedding day place settings, stop, take a deep breath and ACTUALLY enjoy the moment. Too often, brides-to-be don’t take the time to actually enjoy being engaged, and before they know it, they’re up to their eyes in wedding planning and wedding costs. So why not REALLY let yourself experience the engagement phase before jumping into the wedding planning phase? Trust me, there is a huge difference. You’re only doing this once, remember? Enjoy it!

Call your mom.

Believe it or not, she’s been waiting for this moment for as long, if not longer, as you have. As a matter of fact, call everyone that is important to you and your new fiancé. Yes, CALL (read: a voice conversation) all of these important individuals before you even consider hitting the social media highway. As much as Aunt Cathy likes to keep up with what is going on in your life via Facebook, finding out that you are recently engaged is NOT one of the things that she’d like to discover. Trust me, Christmas dinner will never be the same.

Get the ring insured.

What’s the first thing people ask when they find out that you are engaged? They ask to see the ring. This ring, ladies and gentlemen, will be the single most important ring of your lives. It symbolizes your love for one another and all that will come in your future life together. That being said, what can go wrong most likely will at some point or another. While nothing will ever replace the sentimental value of “the ring” if something were to happen to it, it’s always comforting to have peace of mind knowing that IF Murphy’s Law occurs, you can at least get money towards a replacement.

Contact your insurance agent to price out getting the ring added to your homeowners or renters insurance plan. However, many homeowners and renters insurance policies only cover up to a certain amount. If this is the case for you, you can look into a personal property insurance policy extension that covers particular items. Another option is to look into insurance companies that specialize in jewelry items. Whatever your preferred plan of attack, don’t take the risk of waiting…he put a ring on it, so you’d both better make sure there’s an insurance policy on it.

Ballpark your date.

The second most popular question that you’ll hear after getting engaged is, “Did you set a date?” Do yourself a favor and at least have a ballpark estimate of when you’d like to get married. It doesn’t have to be a specific date - it can even be an entire season (i.e. summer of 2014), but at least have some sort of answer for your fan club.

Start a tentative guest list.

Ah, the guest list...depending on the size of your families, the guest list can be the most fun or the most stressful part of the wedding planning process. Either way, you’ll want to get an early jump on it. The earlier you figure out your “tentative” guest list, the sooner you can start looking at venues (depending on the size of your wedding, some venues may not be big or small enough), pricing out menus and playing the lovely game of “Do we REALLY need to invite so-and-so?” Most importantly, once you have a tentative list you can begin to develop your budget.

Develop a budget, prioritize and start saving (in that order).

At the end of the day, the budget that you, your fiancé and your families come up with will be the deciding factor in all future decisions to come. I strongly encourage sitting down with both the bride and groom’s families to have an initial conversation about who is paying for what. While traditionally the bride’s family is mainly responsible for the wedding, nowadays the groom’s family often takes on more responsibility as well as the bride and groom themselves. It’s very important to have all involved parties on the same page early on in order to prevent any drama or misunderstandings moving forward.

Next, prioritize, prioritize and prioritize some more. Depending on your budget, you will more than likely have to start sacrificing the less important things for the more important ones. For example, if you both have big families, you may have to sacrifice the expensive venue in order to pay for everyone you care about to be invited. Is having a full open bar at the reception important to you and your fiancé, or will beer and wine work? These are all conversations and decisions that you’ll come across as you move down your wedding planning checklist.

If you and your fiancé have been discussing getting married in the near future, chances are you’ve probably already started saving for the big day. If you haven’t, now is the time to start. If you are like most people, after the sticker shock of the average cost of a wedding in 2013 wears off, you’ll quickly realize that you have drastically been under budgeting for the past twenty or so years of your wedding day fantasizing life. Sit down and talk with your fiancé about the best approach to start a wedding fund. There are lots of flexible interest-bearing savings accounts out there that make it extremely convenient to start putting money away for the big day.

Rinse, repeat and revisit your budget.

Before you know it, you’ll quickly start to move down your wedding planning checklist. From finding a wedding photographer to spending endless hours on “wedding ideas on a budget” boards on Pinterest, you may find yourself so caught up in the fairytale that you forget to consult your budget. Every time you are tasked with making a wedding related decision, always, always, always consult your budget before falling in love with the idea. Wedding planning is emotional enough. Don’t set yourself up for heartbreak by not reminding yourself of your financial priorities and limitations.

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