2008-10-22

The New Friends and Family Loan!

The Origin of the Friends and Family Idea
Charlie is the inspiration for the new "Friends and Family Loan." Charlie's mom, Jeanne, and I developed this in some back-and-forth emails with each other. You see, Charlie needed a test, and Jeanne knew her family would step in and pay for it as they had in the past. But Jeanne is a solid supporter of Lend4Health, and I was looking for new loan requests, so we collaboratively gave birth to this "Friends and Family Loan."

What Is a Friends and Family Loan?
A Friends and Family Loan is a loan request that is only open to loans from family and close friends. In other words, if you don't know Charlie's birthday or favorite past-time, you're not qualified to make a loan.

What Is the Benefit of a Friends and Family Loan?
This special loan is really a benefit for the lending family members for two reasons. First, it makes the loan "official" in that there is a promissory note involved and a specific payback date. This helps put to rest any worries of, "When will they pay it back?" which can jeopardize good familial relations. Secondly, the Friends and Family Loan makes it easy and comfortable for close friends and family members to help. Often, the friends and family know that help is needed, but they don't know what specifically to do, how much to give, or how to do it. "Do I just slip them a $20 at Thankgiving?" With the Lend4Health Friends and Family Loan, family members know exactly what they can do to help, and it can be done in a comfortable way. Having Lend4Health as an intermediary can put a "buffer" of comfort between the family wanting to help and the family needing it.

This loan also is helpful to others in the Lend4Health community because a lender can essentially bypass Charlie's loan request because he/she knows that it will be taken care of by others. As such, his/her loan can go to another child who needs to reach out beyond the friends and family circle of support.

Notes About the Friends and Family Loan
1. Jeanne and I recognized that some family members might want to remain anonymous for any one of a variety of reasons. Therefore, if you are a friend or family member making a loan, you have the option of making your loan anonymous. Simply write "Anonymous" in the notes section of the loan in PayPal. The Lend4Health administrator (currently Tori) will know your name, but the receiving family will not. [Note: This is true of all Lend4Health loans but holds special significance when referring to friends and family members.]

2. Jeanne and I also recognized that some family members might prefer to slip a $20 bill under the Thanksgiving table AND they might not expect it to be repaid. In these situations, we will record on Lend4Health that a gift was made directly to the family in whatever amount. That amount will be deducted from the total loan needed, but the amount will not be included in the site's statistics.

3. I think one cool way to use this new loan type is if there is a particular supplement or test that you need to purchase on a regular basis. So, for example, if you get an IgG food sensitivity test for your child once a year, your relatives could pay for it via Lend4Health and you would then repay it over the next 12 months. Once it is all repaid, it could just be re-loaned to pay for the next one.

Jeanne and I hope this new loan type inspires a new group of loans and, as friends and relatives get involved, the biomedical community will grow.

3 comments:

Petra said...

LOVE this idea!! I am totally in on this one, may even submit my own "friends and family only" loan.. (ss that way I don't take much needed funding away from folks in much more dire financial straits than I am)

Love

Joe Frost said...

I like the concept for emergency related issues. But, it seems like if its a regular item like the annual test, shouldn't the emphasis being on saving monthly to make the payment at the end of the year, rather than borrowing annually and repaying each year? I do like the concept though of the friends and family loan legitimizing the loan and cleaning up the ambiguity that comes with lending to friends and family. Good Work!

Jeanne said...

Joe,

I can't speak for everyone; but in my case I have family and friends whom have been asking to help over the years by offering to give us money. I never felt right taking money from them (fixed incomes or financial woes of their own). Now I have a way for those people to give what they want, and we can pay them back. Everyone is happy.

We could certainly save money monthly to pay for annual testing or "regular items," the point here is to have a no stress, no questions, way of letting others help - of being able to accept help from others knowing you never have to think about the repaying part.

Like I said though, that's just us. Others might prefer to save their money and bypass the loan.