...and boy, is it snowing. The house is freezing, and my toes aren't far behind. Lucky I stacked up a triple wheelbarrow load of firewood last night, knowing this was coming. We'll have squash tonight for supper, baked to bubbling with a fat bratwurst inside. And I'll bet we can dig up a movie from the DVDs while the fire crackles. (Check out Always Home and Uncool's take on snow days...wish we'd had one today, Husband would be home by now!)
In the meantime, there's work. And from the "Better Than A Spy Novel" department, this from-all-sides post on a company who got a frantic message from a Buenos Aires 'researcher:' 'Russians are holding me hostage, and have hacked into your site -- your customer info is all taken! But if you'll hire me and partner as a security company, I'll tell you where and how they did it.' Sound like blackmail to you? (And why would you want to hire someone who the Russians figured out how to grab, anyways?) Read more on this story, including the 'researcher's' take on things, here.
The subject of loans to family and friends is also hot on the market recently. Get Rich Slowly had a long post about loaning money, including pages and pages of comments. Now Donna Freedman, herself one of the most frugal bloggers I know, sent $800 to a friend who gave her one of the strongest reasons in the book: 'if you don't do it, we're lost.' Donna thinks, based on past experience, that she'll be repaid.
Her commenters aren't so sure.
I don't come to this subject with clean hands. When we were younger, we borrowed money several times from both sets of parents, for everything from plane tickets to a motorcycle. BUT we were very careful to set up a regular payment plan, and in every case, paid on time or early. (We usually had a written agreement, too -- something we should have insisted on every time.) Since our parents were not so sure that our getting married in the first place was a good idea, Husband and I decided early on that we would not give them any reason for doubting that decision -- or us. Our honesty was priceless.
In turn, we've loaned family members money several times -- and once to a good friend. In most cases, we were paid back. One person took the same scrupulous care we did for repayment, and I have never had any hesitation in loaning her money again. For whatever.
Another did not take the same care, but has really begun to show the maturity we thought was in there all long, and is much more careful now than she was. (We also appreciate her starting to send checks now and then, even though we technically don't need them.)
Two other loans to a relative, plus a friend, were repaid -- but only when we pointed out that repayment was past due. I doubt if the money would even have been returned, had we not mentioned it.
Would we loan money to family and friends? Only if Husband and I mutually agree on it. Most of the time, we just mentally 'give' the money now, even if we state verbally that it's a loan. And we don't give more than we can afford to lose. If they pay us back, it's icing on the cake.
P.S. Co-signing, that's another story. Same theme, same problems.