For many families, winter holidays bring opportunities to celebrate with family. This time of year may also be emotionally draining, especially if the subject of money is brought up and your are expected to begin or continue supporting relatives financially.
If a family member is experiencing a financial crisis and turns to you for help, what should you do? While this is an incredibly complicated ask, let’s break it down into three simple questions to determine if you can help and how you can do so without jeopardizing your well-being or your relationship.
Before you offer support for your family, make sure that assisting them will not hurt your ability to manage your finances. You cannot give what you don’t have.
It is not sustainable for you or your loved ones if you are straining yourself to help. Assess your financial situation honestly and avoid spending your personal savings, like your retirement, if at all possible.
Once you feel confident you can help, speak with your relative about what they need from you. Supporting them can be a one-time thing or ongoing.
Firstly, if you want to provide one-time, immediate relief for a loved ones’ crisis, you can:
Otherwise, if you want to provide ongoing support,
Another option is supporting them in non-financial ways. For example, you can:
Regardless of what support you offer, the recipient of your kindness should still treat you with respect.
Additionally, The Simple Dollar has several insightful posts on how to help financially irresponsible family members and how to support relatives in need without hindering your own well-being.
Money Management E-Newsletter: November 2019