How to Help Relatives who Struggle With Money
As a work at home mom, you have learned to manage your time as well as your family’s budget while simultaneously planning for your business. You are a super multi-tasker who knows how to handle money. However, you probably know someone who does not—perhaps even someone close to you, like a parent or a sibling. It hurts to see someone you care about struggling with money, watching them become tense and troubled. Helping them does not necessarily mean lending them money. The good news is you can use your knowledge and experience to help them without losing your relationship.
Help, Don’t Judge
When you notice loved ones grappling with money management and family finances, resist any urge to criticize. They can benefit from your knowledge but not necessarily from your opinion. When you offer advice and tips lovingly and with honesty, family members will know this and be more apt to listen and learn.
This point raises some financial self-preservation points. A child, parent, or sibling who has trouble budgeting or saving money may look to you for loans. If parents who do not plan for their funerals and end-of-life issues, you may be expected to pay for everything when they die. A sibling who has trouble paying the rent or the mortgage may show up and ask for a bed—or your sofa—for the night.
You may not have to worry about relatives’ troubles affecting your money, but in caring about their overall well-being, you still want to see them untroubled and with as much security as possible. Sharing your financial know-how with family members when appropriate can make life easier for you as well as for them.
Consider Your Goal
When you decide it is time to help a family member, you need to think about several factors first:
- What is your relationship to him or her?
- How severe is his or her problem?
- What is the nature of his or her financial woes?
You next need to consider your ideal desired outcome for the financial intervention:
- Do you want to help her or him learn to budget and save?
- Would you like to position yourself as someone he or she can come to for advice on money matters?
- Do you want to offer a loan or gift of cash?
Once you settle on your ideal outcome, you can devise a plan and proceed from there.
In the End, Let it Be
You can only help those who are willing and who desire to be helped. If your loved one is a bad money manager but is unwilling to change or accept advice given with love and in a spirit of caring, you cannot force them. No amount of nagging will help. In fact, that could damage your relationship with them. All you can do is offer them compassion and help in any way to which they are open.
Other Financial Tips
You can use your experience to help a family member with money troubles in a variety of ways. Offering caring advice is one of them. Some other ways you may offer guidance include:
- Counsel them on savvy grocery shopping, even without coupons. Many stores have flash sales and in-house specials. Remind them about farmers’ markets, too.
- Checking out local insurance options can help with finances.
- Talk to them about how to reduce spending to get to a bare-bones budget, with the possibility that, after careful management, they may have more discretionary spending money in the future.
You can put your hard-won knowledge and experience to work helping loved ones learn money management skills. However, you can do much more for them than this. You can offer them hope.