Most people will experience financial hardship at some point in their lives. Why? Financial hardship is brought on by a variety of factors, such as job loss and medical bills. Even for higher-income earners, unexpected expenses can send them into a tailspin. And when the individual is an adult who has to provide for themselves and their family, the situation can seem overwhelming.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to help a financially struggling adult. Here are some tips to consider.
The first step is simply being there for the person and listening without judgment. This can go a long way in helping them cope with their situation and feel supported.
How do you listen effectively? First, don’t try to solve the person’s problems right away. Instead, focus on listening and validating their feelings. Encourage them to talk through their situation and provide emotional support however you can. Simply put, if they need a sympathetic ear, just be there.
Make a Plan
Once the struggling adult has shared their story, it’s time to come up with a plan of action. Encourage them to assess their current situation, set priorities, and make achievable goals. Having concrete steps is how they’ll gain control of their financial future, even if it may be a long and difficult process.
If needed, offer to help them set up a budget and track their spending. Sit down together and go over bills, income sources, and potential solutions to pressing financial struggles. For instance, if the person’s financial struggles are due to medical expenses, suggest they look into resources that can help reduce their burdens—such as discounts from pharmaceutical companies or government assistance programs.
Provide Practical Help
You should offer to help with practical matters as well. If the person is overwhelmed and unable to manage their day-to-day tasks, for example, offer to take on those duties while they focus on getting back on their feet. You could help with things like grocery shopping, childcare, house cleaning, or laundry.
Transportation to interviews, assistance with job applications, and even gifting a set of suits are also practical ways to help.
You may also offer financial assistance in the form of a loan or other type of emergency fund. Do keep in mind that whatever money you lend should be treated as a loan and paid back when the person is able to do so. This will not only further teach the person financial responsibility but also help to preserve your relationship.
Financial hardship can be difficult to overcome, but with the right guidance and support, it is possible. If you know someone who is struggling financially, reach out to them. Listening without judgment, coming up with a plan of action, and providing practical help are all great ways to provide assistance and help set the person on the path to financial stability. It’s important to remember that everyone has different needs and situations, so approach each case with sensitivity and respect.