Talking About Money with Family and Friends

Talking About Money with Family and FriendsWhat topics do you avoid discussing with family and friends?

Typically if we want to have a peaceful family gathering or a nice evening with friends, we tend to stay away from the topics of politics and religion for sure.

And if we are honest, we also avoid talking about money.

The discussion of finances can get very, very personal and very, very uncomfortable, very, very quickly.

But is there a time when we can discuss the subject of money with friends and family?

And if so, how do we go about it?

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In my opinion, there are 2 scenarios where it is ok to discuss money with friends and family:

  1. When someone asks for our advice.
  2. When someone asks to borrow money from us.

So let’s see how we can talk about money with family and friends in these situations.

1. When someone asks for our advice.

If someone is asking your opinion about money, they probably feel that you can be trusted and you have something to offer.

So start by building on that trust by showing the person grace. We all have made mistakes with money.

We all have made purchases we would like to take back. We all have wasted opportunities with money. This is not the time to offer criticism or judgment.

Second, stay on the topic. No need to spend time covering everything you want to say on the topic of personal finances.

This is not about you. This is about helping your family member or friend in their time of need.

Finally, talk about how you have personally handled that particular financial issue.

Share what has worked well for you and what did not work so well. Be transparent and real.

If you have good trusted resources, share them with your relative or friend.

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2. When someone asks to borrow money from us.

If you are doing well with your financial situation, you will find yourself in this position sooner or later.

As I have written before, I think it is a mistake to loan money to a family member or friend. It changes the relationship into one of slave and master (Prov 22:7).

When this situation comes, you need to carefully evaluate how you define help. Of course, we want to show love and compassion.

But you have to be careful that you do not enable harmful behaviors. You want your relative or family member to get to the point where they can walk on their own strength financially.

So if you have the ability and you think the money will help them and not harm them, give them the money.

Buy the groceries for that week. Pay for the electric bill. Cover the medical prescription.

And since they have asked you for money, they have opened the door for you to give them help in some other way.

You can be part of their recovery by sharing your lessons learned. Talk to them about your own journey.

If there is a book or class that you think will help them, share it with them. If they are receptive, offer to pay for it.

Remember, your ultimate goal is to help your family member or friend never have to be in that position again.

If they are willing to receive your help, take the opportunity to walk alongside with them.

“So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”
Galatians 6:10 (NASB)

Life after Debt: Letting the Trees Grow

Neighborhood TreesSubscribe to future posts from Figueroa Financial by e-mail

“We are not cisterns made for hoarding, we are channels made for sharing.”
Billy Graham

Today I conclude my short series on what happens after you get out of debt.

If you recall, I view financial wellness as a journey in three stages that are analogous to the building of a home: laying down a firm foundation, building up your financial household, and letting the trees grow.

Last week I talked about how you build up your financial household by the wise use of savings and risk management. This week we will focus on the last stage of our financial journey: letting the trees grow.

If you drive through an old, well-established neighborhood, you will notice that the trees are tall and strong. These trees provide beauty, shade, and a place for children to climb and play. They also can be great gathering spot for friends and neighbors.

The benefits provided by those trees are not limited to where they are planted. Similarly, as you progress in your financial journey you can begin to be a blessing to others outside your immediate household.

But remember that giving should not be ignored in the first two stages. It’s simply that after you have paid off your debts, built your emergency fund, and addressed retirement and college savings you are in a very strong position financially.

Now you can give extravagantly. That’s the real purpose of wealth building.

So where could you start? You can go beyond the inner circle of your immediate family to extended family/friends and charitable organizations.

Extended Family & Friends

There is a couple of ways you could share your blessings with friends and extended family.

First, perhaps they are in need of learning the lessons you have learned to win with money. It is quite possible that as you share your winning story with them, they will ask for your advice. Be gentle and kind. We all have made mistakes with money.

Second, there might be a time where you actually can help financially. But again, be careful on how you define help. Make sure you are truly helping and not enabling bad behavior with money, making a bad situation worse.

Charitable Organizations

If you are a person of faith, giving to your church is a great place to start. Perhaps this is the time where you can go beyond the tithe. You could start helping fund mission trips and other ministries of your church through special offerings.

If you are not involved in a church or any other faith organization, you can still be generous. There are plenty of people who need help in this world. Find a cause that’s close to your heart and get involved.

Now you can help from a position of strength. Carefully review the goals and operations of the organization you are evaluating and help as much as you can.

So, are you ready to extend blessings you have received with others? There is no better time to start being generous than today.

“The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”
Proverbs 11:25 (NLT)

Question: Who would you like to help with extravagant giving today?

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Friends, Family, and Money: Dealing in Truth & Love

Giving, generosity, open hands.“but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,”
Ephesians 4:15 (NASB)

One of my main motivations for helping you get control of your money is to enable you to be in a position to help others and give extravagantly.

Our world engine operates on the fuel of money, and if you have the financial capability, you can do a lot of good. As Margaret Thatcher said: “No-one would remember the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions; he had money as well.

But how do we define help in the case of friends and family in financial need? What happens when you get that phone call or e-mail saying: “I am in dire need of money”? Do we lend money as asked? Do we simply give it if we have it, regardless of the person or the situation? Is there a good time to say no to someone who says they are in need?

I would like to give you a simple process to help you walk through a financial request from a family member or a friend. I hope you find it useful to deal with your family member or friend in truth and in love.

1. Pray

As a Christian, this is usually my first step. Ask for time to respond and consider the request. Personally, I need divine wisdom to evaluate the situation and the person making the request. If you are not a person of prayer, then make this your “sleep on it” or “think through it” step.

Please take your time to evaluate what you will do. Do not respond immediately simply out of emotion. Sure, emotion and feelings play a part in this, but make sure you give yourself time to decide.

2. Talk it Over

If you are married, do not skip this step. Remember, you and your spouse are building a life together and you should make money decisions together. Don’t try to hide it to avoid a difficult conversation. Your spouse deserves the truth and the opportunity to respond and weigh in on the decision.

Talk it over with your spouse because you need his/her wisdom to respond in this situation. If you are single, you still need the wisdom of a trusted friend or advisor. This person can give you objective advice to help you make your decision.

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3. Speak the Truth

Here comes what might be the most difficult part. You may know why this person is in this situation. It is quite possible that a major issue like an illness or a job loss is the cause of the financial distress.

But it is also quite possible that it is the result of mismanagement of money. Don’t get me wrong. I have mismanaged quite a lot of money myself, so I understand how this happens. We all make mistakes with money and I know that it hurts when someone we love is making some of the same mistakes.

However, this might be a good opportunity to speak truth into this person’s life. If they feel close enough to you to ask for money you should feel close enough to offer some advice at this time.

Talk about how you have turned your situation around and tell this person you are willing to walk alongside to share what you have learned. The person might not be as receptive in the future and you can be a part of turning their situation around for good.

4. Show the Love

Be careful as to how you define help. Personally, I don’t lend money to friends or family members because it changes the nature of the relationship. I don’t need to be in a master-slave relationship with someone I love (Proverbs 22:7).

However, if you are in a position to give this person the money do it. Make sure you are not enabling bad behavior (i.e., giving a drunk a drink) and that you are truly helping. If you think the money will harm the person, be careful that you are not making the problem worse. You might be better off showing love by saying no.

Otherwise, if you are dealing with a family member, it is your flesh and blood, give them the money. If it is a friend, then by all means be a friend (I John 3:17). Be a blessing when you can be a blessing.

One last thing. The person might insist on paying you back. Be firm and state that you are not making a loan. Simply say that the only “repayment” you want is for them to get their finances in order and that when the time comes, they help someone else in need. In other words, ask them to pay it forward and be a blessing to someone else.

“It is better to give than to lend, and the cost is about the same.”
Sir Philip Gibbs (1877-1962)

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