What to do if your boss or colleague fails to return your money
No easy way to demand your money back
While lending money is never a good idea, it should be completely avoided when it comes to co-workers. The situation can become even more complicated if it's your boss who needs financial assistance. Should you write off the amount or find a way to retrieve it?
Consider the following to decide
Offer only the money you can spare because there is a high chance you will never get it back. Give it only if the co-worker is facing a genuine financial crisis and not for a discretionary spend. Also check if he/she is a habitual borrower. Don’t be pressured into parting with your money if you don’t have a great equation with the boss. However, do so in a non-offensive manner by citing, say, a personal crisis. If gentle reminders are not helping, follow the given strategy.
1. Don’t wait for too long
If the co-worker has promised to repay the amount in the next pay cycle, wait for it. If no time frame has been set, be proactive and don’t let too much time lapse before reminding the person. The longer you wait, the higher the probability that you will not get your money back. Another likely fallout is that, with time, your relationship with the co-worker is bound to become strained in office, which may affect your work.
2. Make it short and direct
Don’t prepare an elaborate request, type out a long mail, or send out a Whatsapp message. A simple, effective way is to meet the colleague one on one and bring up the issue. Avoid a confrontational posture and remind him gently about the pending payment, saying, “I just wanted to know when you are planning to return the money.” Do not accept vague commitments like, “In two or three months.” Get the colleague to seta clear date and, if he doesn’t return the money by this deadline, approach again.
3. Make the return easier
It is possible that the co-worker is facing a genuine crisis and finding it difficult to pay back the lump sum. In such a case, make it easier for him by staggering the payment over a few months. You could suggest post-dated cheques as instalments or ask him to transfer through payment apps or wallets on a fixed date every month. Another option is to have the colleague do something for you in exchange, say, drop you home or pay for something you were planning to purchase. He could also cover your contribution at the next outing or meal, or pay for you in case of a gift being given to a colleague. This approach could also work in the case of a boss as it may not be easy to confront him or remind him in person.
4. Bring in the urgency
If you need the money badly, try to convey the urgency to the co-worker. This can be done directly by citing the reasons you need it for, say, an upcoming large payment, or a personal financial crisis, or even a medical emergency. For additional pressure, you could remind the colleague publicly by declining an outing, citing lack of money, or through pointed remarks about your financial situation. Disclaimer: The advice in this column is not from a licensed healthcare professional and should not be construed as psychological counselling, therapy or medical advice. ET Wealth and the writer will not be responsible for the outcome of the suggestions made in the column.