Three Steps for Helping Family Members Who Struggle With Finances

April 25, 2017

Depositphotos_141668644_original.jpgIt’s never easy to watch family members struggle with their finances. Even though it can be tempting to loan them money, it is only a temporary fix that won’t last if they’ve instilled bad money habits in their financial routine. When it comes to addressing your concerns with a family member who’s struggling with money management, it can be scary. On one hand, you want your loved one to get his or her financial situation under control, but you don't want to destroy your relationship in the process. Read on to learn more about how to better help family members who are bad at money.

Consider the Desired Outcome

Before you decide how to address your relative's financial woes, consider the severity of his or her problems as well as your relationship with that person. You might want different results from an intervention with your spouse as opposed to a sibling or parent. Are you hoping to be someone that your relative can go to for advice or do you simply want to loan them cash? Would you rather just help them learn to budget and save? According to U.S. News and Money, if your finances are entangled with the person, you may want to take a more proactive or hands-on approach. Once you have decided on a desired outcome, you can come up with a plan from there.

Bring in a Referee

If you’re unable to find common ground on your own with the loved one, it might be time to seek the help of a financial adviser, especially if the loved ones in question are your aging parents. According to Forbes, one way of making this easier for them is to keep them involved every step of the way. Rather than contacting the adviser to head off a potential financial independence problem, reach out to your parents and say, “Before we have a crisis, can we get a better handle on what’s important to you and schedule an appointment for me to meet your financial adviser so the adviser knows who I am?’”

Set an Example

The best way you can exemplify good money habits to your family member is to use your own habits as an example. Continue to adhere to your monthly budget, save money, avoid impulse purchases, pay down debt and contribute to your emergency fund and retirement account. Showcase your own discipline when it comes to finances. At the end of the day, the only behavior you can truly change is your own.

Ron Sanders

Written by Ron Sanders

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