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Assisting Your Friends and Family When Times Get Rough and Money is Tight

Posted on May 18, 2020

Nothing is harder than watching your loved ones struggle and feeling like you are stuck on the sidelines, unable to help. You want to get involved, but aren’t sure how to do it.

It’s not easy assisting when somebody is going through a hard time. It requires sacrifice, diligence, follow up, and a lot of compassion. These struggles come in a multitude of shapes and sizes, from money problems, health issues, relationship difficulties and more, sometimes multiple problems all at once. To help out, here are some tips to best help out your loved ones without putting yourself at risk.

Have an Honest and Kind Conversation

family around a kitchen island with food on itIf you can tell that something is wrong with your friends or family, don’t just jump in and guess what is wrong. Rather than making assumptions, try to have an open conversation with them about their life and what is wrong. If they need or are looking for help, they’ll be willing to open up and talk about it.

Be kind and understanding as much as possible, and avoid passing judgement on them. The first step of helping them is just listening. Get their full story before giving advice or offers. That way, you have a better idea what kind of troubles they have and know where you could help.

Sometimes, a person just needs to talk things through and feel unconditional love and support. If they need more, then you can start offering, but if all they wanted was a shoulder to lean on, you have accomplished that.

Understand that these types of conversations aren’t easy and could lead to awkward or difficult moments. Take them as best you can and stay calm, for your loved one.

Discuss Potential Solutions

Before you start offering help, a great next step is to discuss with them potential solutions to their problems. As they say, two minds are better than one, and you might be able to come up with ideas to help them. Working as a team, brainstorm multiple potential fixes for them, regardless of things like costs, time demands, or other barriers. Also do research online for other ideas you might have missed or not even know about.

Once you have a good list of ideas, now is the time to start investigating the pros and cons, the barriers, and the likelihood of success for each one. This can whittle down your options by getting rid of ones that are too difficult, might cause more problems, or just simply not possible. Hopefully, you can find one or two solutions that seem reasonable to work towards.

Identify Resources They Need and Where You Can Help

two women talking on a video callGot an idea of what to pursue? Next comes identifying what you’ll need to accomplish it. Time, effort, money, manpower, and other resources need to be accounted for. For example, if somebody needs to get their car fixed, resources will be needed to fix it, regardless of the method. Having a mechanic fixing it? They’ll need money and time to work on it. Fixing it on your own? It will cost less money, but likely much more time, effort, and maybe extra training.

If there are shortcomings to their plans, this is a great place you can step in and help. It could be by helping them with the tasks personally, giving them resources like money or research, or simply putting them in touch with the right people who can help.

Just know that you won’t be able to do everything for them, and be sure to protect yourself from sacrificing too much. Don’t dig yourself into a hole trying to dig somebody out of theirs.

Set Pride Aside, Know When to Get Expert Help

You won’t be able to help with every single problem. Nobody can be an expert on everything and larger problems often require an expert's help. Don’t be afraid to help your loved one get in touch with somebody else to help them.

As you learn what their problem is and work on coming up with fixes, be honest about what you can and can’t help with. If you try to tackle a problem that you aren’t equipped for might do nothing or make it worse. The right expert can give advice or even do the work of fixing the problem currently plaguing your loved one.

If the problem is money related, Pioneer offers members financial guidance through GreenPath Financial Wellness for free. They can help with many financial problems, from creating and following a budget to consolidating debt.

Learn More About GreenPath!

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