Do you have a hard time saying no when family asks for money? Have you ever skipped your own bills? Have you put yourself in debt helping friends or family?
If you answered yes to any of those, it’s time to have some boundaries. I am not saying you can never help anyone the rest of your life; however you have to take care of yourself first. It’s kind of like before you save anyone else, you must take a big breath of oxygen.
If you are struggling with helping family, which is either causing financial problems for you, or at least holding your financial freedom back, it is time to take back control. Here is a plan:
Sit down and let them know that things are changing. You are no longer The National Bank of Mom (or Sister, or Grandma or whoever). There will not be any cash being handed over. If you want to buy some groceries, or give them a $10 gas card that is one thing; however stop handing out cash.
If you have been paying their bills, especially credit card bills, stop it. Encourage them to talk with a non-profit credit counselor at NFCC (www.nfcc.org) at 800-388-2227. They can enter into a debt management program and pay off their debt over 3 to 5 years.
Offer to help someone job hunt, update their resume, take on a second job if they are struggling.
If you can’t cut them off cold turkey, give them a deadline to get on their feet. Maybe you agree to help for 3 more months or something. And then stick to it!
I understand this may be difficult, especially if they have grown dependent on you. You may feel bad, guilty, every emotion there is but I promise you it will be okay. You will actually empower them, especially if they are adult children, to figure things out for themselves, to problem solve, and to work things out. Don’t get me wrong, there may be some anger, some tears, some resistance from them, which is all normal. If this is hard, you may need some inner work to strengthen your willpower, and to realize that you are strong, amazing, and deserving of love. As a helper you have been creating a role that you are a giver and they are the takers. The relationship has been out of balance and you need to balance it out. A healthy relationship should be one of give and take from both people. And I do not mean just with money or financial help, but also time, support, love, patience, empathy, compassion and many other emotions.
If you need assistance, please seek out help. You may talk with a counselor, work on self esteem, read a self development book or watch videos, journal or meditate to work through boundary issues. If you need assistance with your finances from helping others, please find a certified financial counselor or call NFCC today.
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Lots of love,
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