Everybody wants to be helpful. Whether it is to family, friends, or anybody else, being helpful makes us feel good. One of the most rewarding feelings in somebody’s life can be when they are wealthy enough to start helping the family financially. While doing so is a virtuous journey, there are times where it becomes a big mistake. Not only can it be bad for the one giving the money, but the family member who receives it can be harmed as well. The last thing you want to do is end up damaging family relationships when you’re trying to help. So, to give some guidance, here are some things to ask yourself when helping family financially.
Are you flaunting?
A lot of times, well-meaning people can seem braggadocios when they are constantly mentioning how they can help with money. If you are noticing that your input to almost every conversation is “I could pay for it,” you may want to reevaluate why you’re doing it. Even if you don’t totally mean it, that tends to come across as flaunting your wealth. You don’t want to send the message that you see yourself as better or more put-together than your family just because you have more money. Oftentimes people really do want advice to take care of an issue themselves, not a handout.
Do they feel like they’ll “owe you”?
With any gift, this feeling is hard to escape. Even if you don’t tell a family member they owe you, they will often feel indebted after receiving money. There are a few ways to avoid this, because you really do want to. First is to stress it at the beginning. When offering to help out, express how helping them will help you. Express exactly what benefit you are getting from the exchange, whether it is the good feeling you get from helping, or counting it as a holiday gift. Another way to handle it is by setting up an exchange with a definite condition of completion. This is better when helping a family member get by while unemployed. You can say you’ll pay them a higher than normal wage for doing something like babysitting. This makes sure that once the exchange is done, both of you know exactly what the other gained.
Is it helping, or hurting?
This is the single most vital question on this list. Many times, people get stuck in a pattern of helping a family member who takes advantage of them over and over. These family members use the handouts to keep from putting themselves together. When threatened with being cut off, they will manipulate and throw tantrums, making their family feel obligated to help. This is where “helping” is actually extremely harmful. If you have a family member making irresponsible choices that put them where they are, you have to apply conditions to assistance. You don’t have any right to rule their life, but they also have no right to your money or dwelling. Don’t throw money into a fire, because all you will do is add fuel for them to burn faster. Make sure that you aren’t enabling poor decisions with your money because that is the opposite of helpful.