When Mom calls needing money for groceries. When your sister calls and asks you to pay for your nephew’s basketball camp tuition. When your auntie calls and needs you to pay for her medicine. These all sound like legitimate needs, right? So, what do you do? Are you quick to take care of it? Do you feel obligated to help them out? Is it just because they’re family? Maybe they’ve helped you out before and you felt indebted to them. Or do you just avoid them altogether? But wait. Family is over everything, right?
Many of us come from strong families with tight bonds that were built on loyalty. We’re taught to look after and protect one another at all costs. It’s a very necessary principle. However, somewhere along the line, some family members gain a sense of entitlement. The entitled family member who always seems to need your help but never calls to just say ‘hello’ or check on you, that is the one who you don’t want in your pockets, no matter how much you love them!
Here’s what I know. Money and feelings just don’t mix!
One of the major reasons why some people tend to stay broke is because they lack the ability to detach their money from their emotions. Of course, you want to help your family out when they’re in need. You love them! Your job is to make sure that when you do give, you are giving wisely and from a place that is free of emotion. How do you do that? Easy. When you’re considering helping a family member out with money, you simply need to ask yourself these 2 questions:
- Are My Bills Paid? – This might seem like common sense, but if someone you REALLY love desperately needs money, you’re likely to give them your last, which may include your bill money. It’s just how the heart works sometimes. Before you give away money, make sure you’re in a position to do so. This means any items you committed to in your budget (i.e. savings, paying off debt, etc.) are paid for. If you dip into your car note money to pay your sister’s rent and you’re not able to pay your car note when the time comes, you could develop feelings of resentment and bitterness toward her that she may not even be aware of. You may see her go on a trip a month later then get upset at her because your car is on the verge of getting repossessed. Just don’t even go there.
- Will I Be OK With Never Being Paid Back? – If you aren’t prepared to NEVER see that money again, don’t do it. I’ve seen family members fall out for years over $200. I’ve seen people avoid family functions because they don’t want to run into the person they owe. So save yourself the potential family dysfunction and kindly let them know that you’re not able to do that right now. And if your reply upsets them, congratulations! You just got confirmation that you made the right decision by NOT loaning them money. (Bonus tip: anyone who tries to make you feel guilty for not giving them your money is someone who is manipulative and they don’t have your best interest at heart.)
Simply put, the only person who has a right to your coins is YOU (and obviously Uncle Sam). Ultimately, you are the master of your money. It is yours to do with as you please. But ponder on this. Proverbs, the book of wisdom, tells us that a good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children (Proverbs 13:22). As far as I’m concerned, those are the FIRST members of your family to have a right to your coins! The rest of your family should only receive from your overflow!