Life Advice



Ask Amy: An in-law loan goes bad

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Readers: Because of syndication scheduling, I write and submit my columns two weeks in advance of publication. Due to this time lag, the Q&A's will not reflect the latest information about the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic we are currently facing.

Dear Amy: I have loaned an in-law a significant amount of money. While it is not a lot to some people, it is to us.

We have given this person well over a year to pay us back. It was decided that if the loan was not paid back within a year, there would be interest charged.

If the loan date extended later (like a year beyond that), the interest would be increased.

I decided about three months ago to email them. I got no response. Since then I have emailed two more times. I finally received a response.

This person is an independent businessperson who is always chasing the first million.


They said that basically the sky is falling. You know -- "my car died," "I had to relocate some of my inventory..." One hard luck story after another. While I am sympathetic to their situation, it is not my problem.

My wife is stressing out about this, as she is a very caring woman, much more than I. But I have explained to her that we made the loan together as a family.

I am not sure how to respond to their email, other than to say, "I'm sorry about your current situation, but when can you pay us back?"

I have already explained in detail to the in-law that we moved and we also had car troubles and issues with our new house and that we needed the money.


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