Struggling with Debt

Struggling With Debt

Today, millions of people are in debt. In fact, chances are someone you love is struggling to manage. Whether it is credit card debt, a mortgage, auto loans or a combination of issues; as a loved one, you can play an important role.

One of the most difficult things a person can do is admit they’re in debt and they need help. There is a stigma attached to being in debt. People feel ashamed, out of control and judged.

When you learn that someone you love – a friend or a family member – is struggling with debt, be a shoulder they can lean on. Skip judgement or recrimination; that isn’t what they need. Listen, offer emotional support, and help them to stay positive and gain control of their finances.

Ask what you can do. Sometimes all that’s required is a person to talk to. Other times, people are looking for advice. And yes, sometimes you’ll get the friend or family member that’s looking for financial help too.

The best advice is not to lend money to friends or family. This only offers a short-term solution to the problem. Instead, direct them to credit counseling. Help them sell their car. Help them find a part-time job. And help them create a budget, a plan to pay off their debt or consolidate there debt.

Make It Official
If you do lend money, make it official. Lending money to friends and family is tricky at best. There are emotions tied to the loan for both the lender and the borrower. Write an agreement about how much money is being loaned, when it’s to be paid off and how it’s to be paid off.

Additionally, if there are any other conditions, like you want them to seek credit counselling, and then put those in the agreement as well.

Be considerate to their plight. Make sure you’re a help and not a hindrance. When you have get-togethers with your loved ones, make sure they’re free or very inexpensive. The last thing you want to do is add to their financial worries. That doesn’t mean you offer to pay for every outing. However, you can suggest inexpensive outings and do things that are free to do.

It’s difficult to know what the right thing to do is when a friend or family member is in debt. Be supportive, but above all take care of yourself. Don’t put yourself in debt to help them out.

Give them the tools they need to help themselves. Getting in debt is easy; getting out is a struggle. However, once they’re out and they’ve managed to take care of the problem, they’ll have learned a tough lesson. The lesson will teach them about themselves; they’ll be able to hold their head high. And they’ll likely stay out of debt.

Debt consolidation is a good place to start tackling debt, consolidating your loans and credit cards in to one loan with a low rate of interest can be the first step on the way to a debt free life.