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No loans and no loan sharks in house rules for helper

  1. #1
    ngnhk is offline Registered User
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    No loans and no loan sharks in house rules for helper

    As we are beginning our search for a helper, we are starting to talk about what kind of boundaries we want to set for her. My husband and I are extremely uncomfortable with loaning the helper money, as this may well start a vicious cycle of her constantly asking and taking advantage of us. But we are equally wary of her taking out loans from sketchy financial institutions and putting our family at risk (especially as we are expecting a baby.)

    I want to forbid both - tell her in advance that while we will give her bonuses on holidays/birthdays if she performs well, we will not loan her money. But I also want to tell her that if she borrows from loan sharks, she will be terminated (I can't take that kind of safety risk with a new baby - it terrifies me!) But if I put both of these rules into practice...she has no way to borrow money. Now, that is the point, in my eyes - I want her to manage her own funds. (After all, we cannot just go and ask our employers for money, and we do not take out loans without assessing the risk and whether we have the ability to pay them back. I don't think it is unreasonable to have the same expectations of the helper, with some guidance.) But I realize that for many helpers, managing funds is a difficult, if not impossible, task. And I kind of feel like I will have put the helper in a bind.

    Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    justarlene is offline Registered User
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    May I know why suddenly you have this thought? Any personal stories?

  3. #3
    ngnhk is offline Registered User
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    No personal stories, Arlene, but you have only to read through some of the threads people have posted on Geobaby and Geoexpat to see how many problems helpers can cause through taking loans from either the employer or loan sharks.

    I'm just looking for a fair way to try and preempt this kind of situation.

  4. #4
    justarlene is offline Registered User
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    I think it is good to set boundaries but better to give "education". Loan sharks seems are the worst case situation. There are many other venues that can get them into heavy debt. For example, I've seen a lot of them spending installment on gadgets. You can find it at Causeway Bay for Indo market or Central for Philippine market. What you can do is to educate them in delaying a little bit of pleasure as they will get charged with high interest. Basically, educating them about personal finance.

    You may find this ridiculous, but my wise mother says having a live-in helper is like having a daughter. You have to educate them about money, sex and others. I'm going to be tested real soon. Wish me luck!

  5. #5
    ilgattonero is offline Registered User
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    We were in the same predicament as well.

    When we hired our helper, we asked if she had any debt and explained to her that a non-negotiable in our home was loan sharks. We explained that we understood sometimes emergencies cropped up and in such situations, rather than she resorting to a loan shark, we would prefer if she came to us first instead. We emphasised the fact that we could not guarantee loaning her money and that it would be based on case-to-case basis and depending on the amount. We also warned her about never ever being a guarantor to her friends' loans.

    We also sat down with her to work out what her financial goals are and how to save which she found extremely helpful. We have also signed her up for YWCA's course on Financial Literacy which starts in July. When I first showed her the course information, she felt she didn't need it. However after understanding a little more about planning her financial goals, she approached me again to ask if she could take the course.

    We have not had any issue so far and everything has been good. We paid her on a weekly basis for the first month so that she would have some money for her days off.

  6. #6
    Portia is offline Registered User
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    I would also rather my helper borrow money from me than go to a loan shark. I would be careful about how strictly you enforce the no loans rule. Many helpers need an advance in the first month before they get their pay cheque and also from time to time to pay school fees etc. This is usually then deducted from the monthly salary. You could say that you will never advance more than half a month's salary. It's up to you, but if your helper gets too desperate she could end up going to a loan shark anyway and just hope that you never find out!

    The point made by ilgattonero above about not guaranteeing loans must be emphasized. I know of several helpers who have guaranteed huge loans by friends or relatives who have then defaulted. This is actually one of my interview questions. I ask about whether they have outstanding loans and if they have guaranteed anyone else's loans.
    charade and carang like this.

  7. #7
    OldtimerMum is offline Registered User
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    I would also rather my helper borrow money from me than go to a loan shark.
    As much as we wanted to do this with our ex-helper, she just went on borrowing first it was a dead relative, then it was a medical emergency, then it was something else or the other. Interestingly enough, these emergencies started right after we bought an expensive item for our living room.

    Yes, these ladies make pennies compared to some of us, but over time you learn that even though they're in your household they're employees and human - they will be tempted to take advantage of you, just like the loan sharks and others take advantage of them.

  8. #8
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    rani is offline Administrator
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    Our previous helper was a direct hire from the Philippines and she was very bright. I gave her all the same lectures about not signing guarantees and not borrowing any money etc. We did give her a few loans when she needed it, but they were small amounts. However, she finally fell prey to a cousin who asked her to co-sign a huge loan and then later announced she was leaving for Canada. She promised to wire her the money every month but never saw a cent.

    We really liked our helper as she'd been with us for a few years already, and we did our best to help her. However, I may not have done the same for a new hire.
    Founder of GeoBaby.Com

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