Advisors such as Garrett have seen irreparable disappointments woven into otherwise happy relationships. “I have a client who lent a significant amount of money to his son,” recounts another planner, Lauren S. Klein, in Newport Beach, California. “The son has remarried very well and has no intention of paying back the dad. My client’s relationship with his son is very strained, because the kid won’t even acknowledge the debt.” Experts can see what ordinary mortals miss; namely, the future. While our fond impulses tell us to trust, and while loved ones’ plights often seem straightforward (“Something went wrong with the car,” Garrett offers as an example, “or, I broke my front tooth”), none of this has much emotional bearing on what’s to come.
Those simple, generous feelings can suddenly disintegrate when, for instance, the beloved debtor buys something indulgent for himself. “If you watch them spend money in a way you don’t condone, the resentment starts,” says Garrett. Add the need for a bit of belt-tightening on your own part, and it gets worse. Ask Hank: “The more I’ve become broke, the more I’ve wanted that money.” How do you maintain closeness with someone when her every bullish moment, her every purchase, fills you with ill will?
So we don’t need no haters, right? Right, but closing down the teller window on our nearest and dearest isn’t a very happy alternative. What’s life if it doesn’t include a little risk in the name of devotion? The experts all seem to have an answer to this conundrum as well. If just-say-no doesn’t satisfy as a rule of thumb, they agree, you can go ahead and play banker, as long as you follow a few hardcore rules.