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How to Help a Relative Dealing with Money Woes

Supporting family

If you’ve dealt with debt or money issues in the past, you know it can be particularly difficult to see your loved ones dealing with similar issues. Knowing how to help a relative who is dealing with money troubles can be tricky. You don’t want to overstep your boundaries and offend a parent or sibling nor do you want to lend or give money freely, allowing your loved one to get deeper into debt or to avoid confronting his or her money troubles. If you are wondering how to help a relative with financial troubles, here are three ways to do so without damaging your relationship.

Help Them Evaluate Their Finances

You can help a family member who is dealing with financial problems without giving that person money. For example, if your brother is deep in debt, you can sit down with him, take a look at what he owes and help him put together a payment plan that will bring the debt down as quickly as possible. If your sister has recently lost her job, you can help her put together a budget and plan for minimizing her spending and expenses until she finds new work.

If you’ve recently had similar money problems, you can help your loved ones simply by offering words of encouragement. Let them know they will get through the issue or share the resources that you found helpful when you were dealing with this issue.

Weigh the Pros and Cons of Contributing Financially

When a loved one is dealing with money problems, the elephant in the room is whether you should chip in and help him or her out financially. If your relative keeps landing in financial trouble, and someone in the family keeps bailing him or her out, giving money or making a loan to that person is probably not the answer. But, if your family member is dealing with a temporary financial issue, such as job loss or income loss due to illness, making a financial gift can be beneficial. It’s usually best to avoid cosigning a loan with a relative or lending a family member money. This can complicate your relationship and can open the door to further stress and strain if the relative struggles to repay the money.

You might not be in a position to help your relative financially. If that is the case, there are other ways to help out. You can watch his or her children while your relative searches for a job, invite the family over for dinner one night a week or offer to help clean the house weekly.

Direct Them to Professional Help

Depending on your relative’s situation, referring them to a non-profit credit counselor can be the most helpful thing you can do. Sometimes, it’s difficult to take advice from the people closest to you, but much easier to get that same advice from a stranger. A counselor can work with your loved one and help him or her make a plan for paying down debt and with putting together a budget that will help improve his or her financial situation.

Consumer Education Services, Inc. (CESI) is a non-profit committed to empowering and inspiring consumers nationwide to make wise financial decisions and live debt free. Speak with a certified counselor for a free debt analysis today


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