How And When Should You Be Helping A Family Member In Debt?

Friends and family, are all that we have.

We don’t want to lose them, or see them stressed out for materialistic reasons or man made complications. One big example of it is someone, whom you know or close with, goes through the suffering of financial problems and debt.

Who wants to see family people and dear friends keeping their head down, with a grim face, getting isolated with every passing minute, and finally getting detached from relationships?
Bet no one.

At least you don’t, or else you would have not landed on this post. It is understandable that you want to help a person you know, who is having some trouble paying off debts.

But, there are various conditions and terms for helping someone financially, that if you overlook, might make you end up in a corrosive relationship with the person, or you might yourself get a pretty bad financial hit.

When it is finances, then a mere urge to do something is not enough! You have to maintain a few protocols, otherwise success rates won’t be much high.

So, here are a few tips to help you know when and how should you be helping someone who’s in debt.

If the person’s close, get into a friendly counseling:

Nothing works more than an emotional conversation with someone, whom you love and care about.

Before you talk money, talk life!

Ask the person, what made him/her incur so much debt. No criticism, and no shaming, keep that in mind.
Also, dig up the reasons, to see if the debt amounts are result of moral costly decisions, or if the person had some reckless and/or dangerous activities done, that you family members or friends are unaware of.
If required, take this person out for a drink, or coffee, and talk this through with time and comfort.

And, you might be needing some third party pro level help, if the situation is lot more serious, involving drugs, addictions, personality trait problems, and impulsive spending habits.

No matter, whatever is the case, keep yourself calm and amical through out the conversation, or the tête-à-tête. After the underlying pretexts are figured out, you should inform another reliable person, mutually connected to both you, and keep the whole thing classified.

Now that 2 members of the family or peer group are well aware of the fact, that one guy of the house is in problem, the monetary help will follow up with a lot more ease.

What is the debt number? Can you handle it yourself?

Don’t help with any difficulties. If you can’t afford to take up the payments or fund the money, then don’t pick up self inflicting obligations.

Compromising your finances to help someone close, may not always be wise and fruitful. You will be only helping as much as you can, without much difficulties in managing your own finances.

Once you are sure, that you can help this person, you should be now making arrangements from your personal savings, or asset liquidation. Remember, you should not yourself take up debts, to help pay off other’s debts.

And, also when it comes to asset liquidation, you should not sell things that you need to maintain a normal lifestyle.

Selling a 4K TV, or any one of your vehicles, a few pieces of jewelry, are pretty normal. But, selling your only car, all precious ornaments, placing your home equity, and exhausting your whole savings, are not quite intelligent solutions.

The safest way to maintain your financial strength, is to only liquidate 50% of your total net worth for helping someone with debt.

And, as already discussed in the previous point, if the other person, whom you will keep informed about the situation, is willing to join you in helping the debt victim, then funding will get a lot easier.

But, it’s better to play unsaturated, and help from only 2 to 3 members, is okay and justified. Too many helping hands might again ruin the debt riddance, and make more tensions in the relationships.
Also, remember in the first place, that the victim wants it to remain private, so making a big fuss might not end well for the family or peer group.

Thus expand your helping hand, only as much as you can. No pressure at all!

If the debts are of big amounts, consult professionals:

When you are unable to afford this person’s debt, then you might be better off explaining the person, that it’s better you all escalate the matter to finance experts and lawyers.

Debt is a very deadly game, where interests and penalty charges only make it more difficult to pay off.

If the debts are mostly unsecured, like credit cards, personal loans, and/or payday loans, then you should make the debt victim try out a credit card consolidation, a payday loan debt settlement, or enroll in a debt management plan.

But, if the situation is worse, like there’s too much of secured debts, on top of unsecured ones, then probably a lawyer will function best.
Like, not to sound harsh, Bankruptcy you know! That’s the only ultimate solution to end debt suffocation, if there’s no other simple way out.

No matter what ways you help this person out, the whole process should not leak out to too many people.

The debt victim should by no means suffer from embarrassment, or shame.

The situation is delicate, but you can handle it. Helping is a man’s most noble deed! Help unconditionally!

Proud of you. Not many can take up these initiatives or responsibilities.

Kelly Peterson
About the Author

Experienced Divorce Lawyer Kelly Peterson handles child custody, visitation, paternity, grandparent rights and mediation cases.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get Help Now

*Child Welfare Law Specialist Nat’l Assoc. of Counsel for Children