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Family payback
Family payback
Kevin Brobst, Oreana, Ill.
Is there a good way to collect on a debt from a relative who hasn't paid up? --R., Chico, Calif.

Our reader says: I've had some success casually hinting that I'm falling behind financially because of, say, my kids' college tuition or rising property taxes. I never ask outright for the money back. And with few exceptions, the result is that I have been repaid (though it took patience). --Kevin Brobst, Oreana, Ill.

The expert says: Talk to your relative about your concerns rather than letting the situation fester, says financial planner Schwab-Pomerantz. Otherwise you may negatively impact not just your relationship with the borrower but with other family members as well.

Try not to be judgmental. But be clear that you do expect to be repaid. If you're able to be flexible about the repayment terms, let your relative know, says Schwab-Pomerantz -- especially if there are extenuating circumstances.

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Last updated June 17 2010: 8:33 AM ET
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