Mo’ money, mo’ problems. Tell that to someone who is struggling to make ends meet. At one time or another, such issues are likely to affect us all. Indeed, more and more people are getting into serious financial struggles in recent times as it becomes increasingly tough to remain financially stable. The rich are getting richer, and everyone else poorer, so it may well be true that right now you’ve got a friend or family member who is having difficulties keeping the lights on. Naturally, you want to help them, but how? Sensitivity, savvy and securely should be the buzzwords here, with these; our 6 IDEAL ways to help a loved one struggling financially.
HELP THEM WITH A PLAN
Saving money should be on the school syllabus, but sadly, it’s not. So if your loved one has found themselves in debt because they’re not that financially tuned in, the first thing you can do is offer to help them with managing their personal finances and assessing the options available to them.
This can be as simple as helping them understand what set amounts are going out each month and setting up a schedule to pay off their bills on time. You can see if they have any erroneous direct debits that can be cancelled and identify other areas where they can cut their spending.
You can also help them find the best support options should they need further assistance. For example, advising on the right credit card or loan option, or pushing them in the direction of professional advice.
SET UP A LOAN
A last resort in many cases, this one, but an option nonetheless. There are a number of ways to do this, but what’s important is that you come up with a method that doesn’t put your own financial status, or your relationship, in jeopardy.
Your own bank balance is often much kinder than those banks on the high street, but you must be very careful when setting this up, and set some boundaries and terms. Have a clear discussion with your family member or friend about expectations and the what ifs and maybes. In reality, you should be prepared to not get your money back quickly, on time or at all.
Of course, you can just hand over some money, but this should come with no strings attached. Don’t expect to call in favours whenever you please or expect obvious gratitude. Receiving a hand out can be a humbling, even embarrassing, experience, so be aware of this. Whilst your recipient will be grateful, don’t expect them to show it immediately.
A process like this, despite all good intentions, has the potential to go south very quickly. Any time money is involved, relationships can be damaged, even if it’s best friends or close family members. When looking to help, it’s paramount that you approach the situation sensitively. Your loved one might be feeling stressed, upset, ashamed or all of the above, so come from a position of altruism if you truly want to help.
AN ANONYMOUS DONATION
If you don’t want to make things awkward between you, think of a way to give some money on the quiet. A card posted through the door with cash in or a gift card to help with food or clothing could work too.
OUTSIDE THE BOX THINKING
There are various ways to help without a direct handover of cash. Offer to buy their weekly shop or invite them around for dinner regularly. Keep them involved in social events but be clear you don’t expect them to contribute financially. You can even pay them in return for ‘jobs’ you need help with. There will be plenty of weird and wonderful ways to help.
You also need to look after yourself in these scenarios. Don’t stretch yourself too far when it comes to trying to help; you risk your own financial and emotional distress which presents a whole new set of problems. The consistent and most important theme through all of this, no matter what you choose to do, is maintaining the relationship. Approach each option with care and clear boundaries for both sides and you should be just fine.