My sister’s car engine had to be replaced recently. With property tax due soon, she’s having difficulty paying all the expenses and the unexpected $2,000 car repair bill.

So instead of putting the cost of the engine replacement on her credit card (which already has a balance), I offered to pay the bill for now and she in turn can pay me back later in monthly payments — which should save her a hundred dollar or so in interest.

Of course, there’s always those generic problems of letting people borrow money. I have no doubt that my sister will pay me back, but I certainly don’t want to create any weird lender/borrower relationship during these months.

Another minor beef is that, in my opinion, my sister could be managing her cash flow a bit better. She could also spend a little bit less on buying crap, but whenever I try to mention that, my sister has a tendency to try to kick me in my genital area.

So even with some of those misgivings, I decided to help my sister out a little bit — after all, a loan is hardly a hand out, and she can definitely use the help this month.

Which brings me to the question above: At what point should you lend a hand, give some money or extend a personal loan?

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