It's no surprise that money is a part of our daily lives. But for many, we're uncomfortable talking about money. It's personal. And it becomes even more personal when a loved one or close friend shares about their financial hardships with us. We want to help, but don't want to overstep. We wonder if they will ask us to lend them money, but is that the right thing to do? Do they want our true opinion or simply want us to be a sounding board?
If you've experienced this, you are not alone. During financial hardships, the first place many people turn is to their family or close friends. Here are some things to consider if you ever find yourself in this situation:
Respect their boundaries.
When a loved one shares his/her money challenges, one of the best things we can do for someone going through financial challenges is to simply listen. Don’t judge their circumstances or try to determine whether they have control over them or not.
It’s important for us to put ourselves in their shoes, remembering that it can be isolating and shameful, amongst an array of other things, walking through financial hardship. Simply by sharing a personal struggle with someone you love can be empowering and be an outlet of hope. Doing so in a judgment-free zone puts us on the same level so no one feels looked down on.
Next, we should ask how to support them best. Would they like you to simply listen, be there for them, or offer advice from their perspective? While it may be tempting, we should always think twice about inserting our own opinion.
Think about your relationship with the individual and consider whether it would be beneficial to offer advice or instructions in that situation. If you’ve been through similar challenges, it may help to share some of your personal experiences and how you overcame them.
Evaluate your options.
Supporting a loved one comes in many forms. One example could be acts of service. As your loved one focuses on overcoming financial hardship, he/she may not have enough time or energy to focus on other day-to-day tasks. You can support them by cooking them meals, cleaning their house, or completing various chores. If they need childcare while they work, you could offer to babysit for free.
But before you do anything, evaluate your own situation to determine how you can be the most helpful. While we always want to help, we may not always be the best person to help or the person they need.
Equip them with resources.
In addition to listening and offering support, we can point our loved ones toward helpful tools and resources. Whether it’s connecting them with a financial advisor or helping them find a budgeting app, there are countless resources available to alleviate financial burdens.
At Spero Financial, we provide financial wellness resources to help you and your loved ones stay on track to financial success. In partnership with GreenPath, we offer financial coaching to point members in the right direction. We also have educational resources to provide helpful guidance and advice in times of trouble.
To Lend or Not to Lend?
As we noted in the beginning, money is personal. So it’s not our place to tell you what to do or not to do in the situation where a loved one asks you to lend them money. Some things to consider when determining if it is or not the right thing to do:
- Are you in a financial position to be able to lend them money?
- Will this solve an immediate need or a long-term goal?
- Is this a repetitive ask or a one-time thing?
- Is lending the right thing to do or would giving be a better option?
- If it is a loan and you decided on the terms, then how will that impact your current relationship if your loved one does not uphold his/her obligation?
No one should have to walk through financial hardships alone. We’re here to ensure that your loved ones get the support they need to come out the other side more financially secure. We are also here for you! If we can ever be of assistance, please reach out.