Hard Times: How to Help Struggling Family Members with their Finances

Tuesday, June 21, 2016, 6:00 AM | Leave Comment

Financial hardship happens to everyone at some time in their life, and often the victim is not even at fault. Natural disaster, loss of job, or health issues can wreak havoc on a family’s bank account.

The following ideas may help you to assist a fellow loved one to overcome a monetary bump in the road.

  • Circle the Wagons

    Protecting our own is instinctive, and we want to do the best for the ones we love. Protecting yourself is equally important.

    If you can afford it, a simple loan may get your loved one over the hump. Make repayment terms clear, or the relationship could suffer in the future. If you have plenty, considering a “no strings attached” gift may be more appropriate. If repayment or future “mooching” may be an issue, consider one of the other options below.

    Don’t feel guilty if you cannot personally afford to help, or are just uncomfortable handing over cash. Find other ways to be an encouragement that don’t cost anything.

    Try a picnic or a hike instead. A family in financial crisis is often incredibly stressed. Offer to clean the house, take the children for an afternoon, or run errands to free up time for the adults to clear their heads and begin to make a solid plan for problem solving.

  • The Kindness of Strangers

    Crowdfunding is a relatively new online phenomena, which is growing in popularity in times of crisis. Sites such as Move Your Mountain offer an option for strangers and family alike to donate money to worthy causes from financial hardships, medical emergencies and natural disasters.

    Donors can choose to give monetary gifts to help those in need, and the fees for the service come out of the donations. No repayment is necessary.

  • Community Connections

    Help connect your family member to local support agencies that offer assistance with food bills, electric bills and even case management to locate new employment.

    These agencies are usually funded by tax dollars and the money is allocated for those in need. Offer phone numbers or websites that they can call about to set up meetings and start paperwork procedures to secure some financial help.

Peace of mind can be hard to come by during a financial crisis, for you and your loved ones. Come together to help the family receive the help they need without depleting your own bank account at the same time.

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