How To Help Family Members In Financial Trouble Without Risking Your Own Finances

When our loved ones get into some financial troubles, one of the first places they turn for help is to their family members. And since we, Filipinos, have very close family ties, we feel it’s our duty to provide financial support to family members in need.

It’s only natural to want to help loved ones, but there are a few things to think about when family members or relatives ask for money.

Are you able to give or loan money? If not, how do you say no? And if you are, how do you make sure you’ll get paid back, or can you live without the money if they don’t repay you?

Saying yes right away to family asking for money may not give you enough time to think about the situation. Before you commit, you might want to ask why they need the money and let them know you’ll need to review your finances first.

It’s very important to review your finances before you say yes to the request of a loved one to know where you are right now in terms of your own bills, savings, and other expenses.

Are you able to pay your own bills and consistently put money into a savings account? Do you have extra money that you might otherwise have available for free spending? Will you still have enough savings left? If you don’t get it back, would it strain your relationship?

It’s easy to jump at the chance to help someone you care about, but there is a lot to consider before you respond and hand them the cash.

Think long and hard when someone in your family asks for money. It may be the hardest “no” you’ll ever have to say, but they might thank you for it later.

3 Ways to Help Family Members in Financial Trouble

With the increasing number of job loss and unemployment due to the pandemic, obtaining monetary assistance from extended family in order to survive has become increasingly critical. Here are some ways to help family members who are going through financial difficulties right now.

1. Give Cash Assistance

If you have extra funds, you may want to give an outright financial assistance to your loved one who is having financial problem. Decide how much you can afford to give, without putting yourself in financial jeopardy.

You can either give the maximum amount you can afford all at once or perhaps give smaller amount on a periodic or regular basis until the situation is resolved.

You may also want to consider prepaying one or more regular bills your loved one receives to help them during their current financial crunch. Offering to do something, such as making their electricity or water bills payment, may help them avoid a short-term crisis and give them the little extra time they need to work out of their situation.

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. – 1 Timothy 5:8

When I learned that my brother’s business had been affected by the pandemic and his family was struggling to make ends meet, I offered to pay her preggy wife’s SSS and Philhealth premiums so that she can avail of maternity benefits and to lessen their financial worries.

If you’re unwilling to give your family member cash or if you want to have more control over what your money will be used for, you may also consider giving non-cash financial assistance, such as gift certificates, or offer to buy them some of their essentials like food and groceries.

READ: Why Should I Give? Bible Verses About Giving and Generosity


2. Provide Employment

If you don’t have extra funds or if you’re uncomfortable giving cash, you may consider hiring your family member to assist with needed tasks at an agreed-upon rate. This side job may go a long way toward helping them earn the money they need to pay their bills and help you finish up any jobs that you’ve been putting off.

This is exactly what I did with my sister who has been furloughed due to the pandemic. I spelled out clearly the work that needs to be done, the deadlines and the rate of pay, and she agreed. She helps me with some of my tasks, and I help her pay some of her bills. It’s a win-win for both of us.

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3. Help Them Start A Business 

I was talking to my friend yesterday and she told me that her youngest sister also lost her job in April due to the pandemic and has since been dependent on her financially.

She wants to help her sister but she knows that just handing over cash doesn’t help either of them.

“While I want to help and be generous, I don’t want her to see me as an ATM machine.”

She’s right. While it’s important to help, it’s also important to set limits.  Like what the famous proverbial wisdom says,

Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime.

She found a better way of helping her sister by giving her an opportunity to start a business as an online franchisee of a Foodcart business.

What Do You Do When Family Members Continue To Ask Financial Support

Sometimes, a loved one asking you for a one-time loan or financial help can turn into a vicious cycle and it may damage your relationship or your finances in the long run.

Regardless of the reason, it’s not okay to feel pressured — whether you can technically afford to lend money to family or not. Here are a few ways to deal with a loved one’s constant requests for financial support:

1. Know When to Say No

There are certainly times when it’s appropriate to decline to provide financial support for a family member, as hard as that might be.

Your loved one might feel more comfortable asking you for money if you continue to give in and say yes. Try giving a firm “no” next time and if he asks why simply tell the truth.

Determining when to say yes or no may depend on a variety of factors, including your beliefs and values, your financial situation, and the specific request being made. Say no if what they’re doing with the money is not something you support.

Things may be tense for a while, but it may provide the wake-up call he needs.

2. Offer Help in Other Ways

When your family member asks you for money, it’s possible to say no while still helping out.

You may consider telling them that while you can’t give cash or swing a loan right now, you’re able to help in other ways like giving him financial tips and resources to help him improve his situation.

  • Help him create a budget to know where he’s at right now in terms of his finances.
  • Help him identify expenses in his budget that he can cut out to save some money.
  • Suggest resources to help them pay off their debts.
  • Recommend ways to earn extra cash.

3. Distance Yourself

This may be the most difficult thing to do, but if your loved one refuses to stop asking for money, you may really need to physically distance yourself from him.

It may help to have a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one and explain how constantly asking you for money is damaging your relationship and your personal finances. Let him know that you won’t be able to give or loan him money anymore, and ask him to respect your decision.

Standing up to your loved one and breaking the cycle of lending money to family is extremely difficult. But you need to do it. It’s best to catch the issue early by putting your foot down and setting expectations from the beginning.

The thing to remember throughout all of this is that persistent financial assistance for family members doesn’t help either one of you. It keeps them from seeking a path to true independence and personal success, and it keeps you from all of the opportunities that life has to offer.

Cutting that financial relationship gently and carefully, while still showing love and compassion, is a key step for both of you to find the financial success that you both want in life.

Final Thoughts

In tough economic times or when faced with unexpected emergencies, your loved ones may truly need your financial assistance.

It’s okay to take your time to make a decision that respects your financial boundaries. But before you commit to helping, be sure to think through what you can and can’t afford to do.

Do only what you’re comfortable with based on your own financial situation. Remember, if your own resources are limited, there are meaningful, effective and creative ways to help your family members.

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