How to loan money to a loved one without destroying your relationship

Financial problems are among the top reasons Americans get divorced, but money can also cause major rifts in relationships outside of a marriage.

If a family member or friend asks you for a loan, consider these five important points before opening your wallet. They’ll help you maintain the relationship — and your sanity — no matter how much money you give.

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1. Can you afford it? It seems so obvious, yet people have gone into debt trying to help their loved ones. No matter how much you care about the other person, you shouldn't give away money you don't have.

2. Do you support how the money will be used? If your family member or friend has fallen behind in rent or car payments, and you know he or she is working hard to stay afloat, you'll probably feel better about loaning him or her some money. However, if the loan is going toward a vacation to the Bahamas, you'll likely be less inclined to help — and with good reason.

3. Is your loved one a responsible person? This will play a big role in determining how your money will be spent — and whether you'll be repaid.

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4. Act like a bank. If someone asks you for a loan, don't just hand over a wad of cash. Instead, set up a payment plan, and don't be afraid to charge interest and late fees.

5. Are you OK with not being paid back? There's a chance you'll never see your money again. If that happens, will you still be able to maintain a relationship with your friend or family member? If the answer is no, you probably don't want to lend the person any money.