If you’ve ever been in debt, you know that it feels extremely overwhelming. If you start noticing that a friend or family is struggling to stay afloat financially, there are a few specific steps you can take to confirm their struggle and offer your support. Here are a few steps to help someone in serious debt:
- Recognize signs of debt
- Become a supporter
- Understand options for getting out of debt
- Have a serious conversation and set goals
- Speak with a debt counselor
- Provide ongoing support and advice
Recognize Signs of Crushing Debt and Express Your Concerns
While it can happen, it’s unlikely that your friend or family member will come to you and tell you the extent of their financial problems. Instead, you may notice a few common signs of overspending:
- Claiming that they can’t save any amount of money
- Credit cards frequently getting declined
- Working overtime just to pay normal living expenses
- Putting off basic medical care
Keep in mind that many times, people who are deep in credit card debt are in a state of denial. In fact, depending on their childhood home environments, they may even think missing payments and maxing credit cards are a normal occurrence.
Other times, the debtor may not be open about their debt, but feels the burden and is constantly under an enormous amount of stress to make any progress. This is common when they have large medical bills and/or student debt. To receive assistance with private loan student debt, call the Private Student Loan Relief Helpline.
When you start questioning the financial security of your loved one, you should think carefully about how to approach him or her. You don’t want to offend them or make them angry if you truly want to support and help them, but you also don’t want to risk your own financial health.
Become an Accountable Supporter
No matter what kind of relationship you currently have with your friend or family member in debt, bringing up this topic and offering your help will change it. Be careful not to approach your loved one with finger-pointing, blame, and shame, because that will show that you don’t truly care about them and aren’t willing to support them.
Instead, clearly communicate that you are concerned for their well-being and want to see them free from the burden of debt. If they are in a state of denial, they may not be ready to accept help and support. During this time, you can continue to be patient and kind to show them that you are a resource for them.
Understand Options for Getting Out of Debt
If you want to get financially involved with your loved one, there are a few ways to help. You can gift them cash or pay for their bills. You could also provide them with a personal loan, or be the co-signer on a loan they are trying to get. In some cases, your loved one may just need some relief in order to get on top of their debt.
However, getting financially involved with someone whose credit card debt is constantly increasing is extremely risky. In many cases, there is a serious overspending problem that could be the result of their mental or emotional health. This is similar to a drug or alcohol addiction. If the root cause is not dealt with, they will continue to find themselves in a financial struggle even if you pay for all their previous debt.
In order to avoid risking your own financial health, you can find local resources and call the Debt Relief Helpline. This helpline puts you in contact with financial experts who have years of experience dealing with debts and can connect with the most trustworthy resources in your area.
Provide Employment If Possible
Employment is another way to give financial help to your loved one without tying up your own finances. If you own or manage a business, you may be able to hire them directly. If not, you can connect them with hiring organizations or businesses that you know of. If they already have a full-time job, you can suggest side hustle jobs where they can work as an independent contractor for extra cash.
Have a Serious Conversation and Help Set Realistic Goals
If the debtor agrees to let you help them, you will need to sit down and have an open discussion about their financial struggles. You may want to try to lighten the mood, but it’s important that you take this seriously and show that you want to help your friend find hope.
Even if you’re not sure how they can pay off their debt, you can still help them set goals. They may be too close to the situation to see some of the realistic changes they can make to improve their situation.
Speak with a Debt Counselor at the Debt Relief Hotline
Even when it doesn’t feel like it, there are options to lift the financial burden off of your friend. The Debt Relief Helpline was created to put you in contact with experts in managing debt. This helpline is non-profit and doesn’t cost money to use.
Provide Ongoing Support and Advice
Getting out of debt will require your loved one to make changes and stop spending. There will definitely be times when they grow tired of making sacrifices, and that’s when they will need a support system to encourage them and help them continue to make the right choices.
Remember that avoiding shame will be the best way to help your friend. Maintain an open rapport with them by creating a safe space for them to talk about their struggles.
How to Help Someone in Debt
When you’re trying to figure out how to help someone in debt, don’t hastily jump on the situation. Taking the time to discuss it with your loved one and finding the right resources will make all the difference. You can be the one to give them hope and take back their future.
There is help available for families struggling with credit card debt and medical bills. Call the Debt Relief Helpline at (888) 790-1337 to speak with an experienced debt counselor.