When relatives ask for financial help. How to react?

What to do when a loved one asks for help? Our first reflex, as a friend or family member, is to of course say yes!

But giving someone $2,000 to reimburse late-payments if they owe $20,000 will only push the problem away for a short while. Usually, a loved one in a financial bind will only ask for the strict minimum, as very few will want to take advantage of a parent or friend… However, borrowing money to only make a few payments is only buying time and does not solve the actual problem; new financial needs will pop up within a few months, or even weeks.

First assess the situation

Ideally, the parent or friend who receives such a request should convince the asker to tell the entire story. It is only by having the full picture that we can be of significant help.

Indeed, helping this loved one can also mean sitting down with them to:

  • Establish a budget;
  • Draw up a clear plan of action to reimburse the debts;
  • If need be, accompany them to get help from a professional.

We all know that financial matters are a very delicate subject when it involves our loved ones… We can offer the person in need moral support, sound advice and accompany them throughout. As for the financial help per se, it should ideally be limited to essential needs, and exclusively when no other options are available.