The first place most people turn to for help during a difficult time is their loved ones and family members. They might have a difficult financial situation due to a sudden job loss or expensive medical bills.

While you want to support your family members in their time of need, you also have your own bills to pay. Fortunately, lending cash isn’t the only way to help. What someone needs to solve their financial problems isn’t often money, but a different way of using what they have. Here are some ways to help those you love to overcome their financial challenges. 

1. Help them find local resources

You may not want or be able to offer your family member financial assistance or hands-on help. However, you can still play a vital part by helping them find local resources or experts that can steer them in the right direction. For instance, you can help them find several family benefits programs, welfare agencies, and similar services. 

2.Co-sign a loan

You can be a co-signer if your family member applies for a loan. However, remember that you are legally binding yourself to pay off the loan if your loved one fails to settle the debt. In this situation, the lender can take legal action against you and require that you settle the full amount, which may affect your personal finances. Before co-signing a family member loan, ensure you:

  • Check their credit scores and monthly budget to determine their ability to repay the loan.
  • Meat the lender in person and learn all the terms and conditions of the loan.
  • Ask the lender to notify you when your family member makes a late payment or misses a payment.

3. Set them up for independence if possible 

Not everyone is capable of living on their own, but most people have family members whose money issues stem from other things. It might be just a temporary setback, such as a divorce or job loss, or your family member might need to learn the basics of managing finances.

For instance, if your child has recently graduated, you can teach them how to budget, especially for irregular expenses. Start by charging them below market rent, partial payments, and groceries as a training wheels budget. Arrange frequent increases to inspire them to move out after six months or a year of living with you.

4. Set boundaries and limitations on financial assistance

Unless you are extremely lucky, you probably don’t have absolute money to help someone else financially while still providing for your family and saving for retirement. Therefore, before you help anyone else, determine what you can afford to do.

Take an honest assessment of your finances first to determine whether you are in a position to lend and put it in writing. If your family member is struggling with credit card debt, suggest free credit counseling. Professional counselors can help them determine a budget and action plan to start reducing their debt load.


Family members and money are not always a healthy mix. However, your loved one may truly need your financial help during a difficult economic time or when faced with unexpected emergencies. Before you commit to helping, figure out what you can and can’t afford. Remember, if your finances are limited, there are meaningful and creative ways to help your family members. 

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