Decisions, Decisions: Making Good Financial Choices

Should you borrow from family or get the money from a legit lender?

Your in-laws say they'd be happy to front you the money to buy new furniture for the kids' room -- and they won't even charge you interest. What's wrong with that? "If you need a low- or no-interest loan badly enough to borrow from relatives, you probably can't afford what you're buying," says Michael Haubrich, a financial advisor in Racine, Wisconsin. Plus, there's often more than money at stake with the Family Bank: What if you miss payments? What if the "lenders" start questioning your other money and parenting decisions?

Unless the money is offered as a gift -- with no strings attached -- you should borrow from a bank or a credit union. Also, think about checking the financing options with the retailer where you plan to make a purchase; you might even get a better deal.

Bottom line: Relatives and money generally don't mix.

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