A few weeks ago, I asked you all for some advice: What Do You Do When A Family Member Asks You To Take Over Their Finances – and the response I got was amazing! I am amazed at all of the well-thought out ideas and in awe of the fact that you would take time out of your day to help me! I cannot thank you enough! Thank you all so much!
Here’s the gist of what I asked:
My aunt asked me to take over her finances. And she’s not old. Or disabled.
They’re just in over their heads.
Now, my family does not know that I have a blog that lays out every detail of my financial life. The Big Guy knows, but no one else. They know that I write – and that it has something to do with a blog – but I have conveniently led them to believe that all I do is freelance writing. I mean, wouldn’t it be awkward if my family read my blog and knew every detail of my financial life?
But back to my question. What do you do when a relative asks you to take over their finances?
So, what I thought I would do today is share some of those answers as they have really helped me to decide what to do, and maybe they’ll help someone else too!
Holly from Club Thrifty said:
Oh, I would love to take over several of my family member’s finances. They would be a lot better off. If not take over completely, I could at least tell them exactly what to do. I’m bossy like that.
Hilarious, but I’m a control freak, so maybe not so much for me. Still, kinda funny :-)
Mr. Fund said:
You might gauge how serious they are about you taking over by offering to do it for a fee. Perhaps arrange a fee of X% of what you save them?
I really like this idea. In theory it would work great! I’m not sure I have the guts to do that though….
Reader Heather F. said:
I think you were right to say no, because family relationships get strained in those situations. However, suggesting books, programs, and other materials is the best way to go. If they are too cash strapped, let them borrow your copies (if you aren’t using them anymore) or suggest the library .
This was my first inclination. I don’t want to mix money and family, but I really, really want to help them. Maybe if I could recommend some awesome resources to inspire and encourage them….
You know, initially I thought “no way” when I read what they asked of you. Then I thought, ABSOLUTELY!!! For ONE MONTH.
I think if you sat down and made them a budget, gave them an allowance and then at the end of the month showed them how much you saved and how it worked, then YOU have the potential to change THEIR lives and even better, they ASKED for the help!
As a person who is easily overwhelmed, maybe they just need a little push and to see that there IS HOPE. You could give them stipulations like the following:
1) You must sit down for a monthly budget meeting with me
2) You must turn over all credit cards to me until you have met your goals
3) You must give me access to look at your accounts
You could also give them “treat” months for managing their money well. I also think a NO Spend Month would be the perfect baptism by fire month for them. If you can show them how much money they are throwing away, it might just wake them up enough to really change!
P.S. As a side note, I think some people need to lay off about the Candy Crush comments. Yes, $20.00 for a game when you’re broke might seem like a lot of money, but if that is ALL she spends in the month for entertainment, is it really so horrible? Is it any worse than a subscription to an online game, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, or any of the other things we use to keep ourselves amused?
If it wasn’t family, this is totally what I would do. With a total stranger, this would be perfect! Jill lays out an awesome plan to get them on track. My only hesitation is that 1) It’s family, so that’s obviously tricky and 2) I’m not sure they’re totally read for complete transparency and me to have complete control :-0
Mrs. PoP said:
I would have said “no” as well… but when people get curious about the stuff we do, I point them to the different tools we use – like using mint to coordinate our spending with one another and stuff like that. I’ll pull it out on my phone and show them some basics and offer help if they want to set it up or have any questions. That’s a big first step for most people.
Mr PoP is a little less subtle about it, telling folks who have questions that they need to read Your Money Or Your Life. =/
I think reader Kristen summed it up best:
And then, you have to be prepared for them to change absolutely nothing. I have an acquaintance who is insanely bad with money. I have tried many tactics.
Between Mrs. Pop and reader Kristen, they put my feelings on the subject down on paper! I’m going to figure out exactly what book (or books) will inspire them to change! I’ve already got them hooked on Republic Wireless, so one thing at a time, right?
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[email protected] says
I agree with the last comment as well. People ask for advice all the time, but don’t take it. Unfortunately, that is pretty typical with people in bad financial situations.
I sat down with husband’s best friend last Sunday and created a budget. We will be sitting down on a weekly basis to check on his progress. He admitted he has terrible financial habits and doesn’t know how to manage his money. I’m not looking at his accounts every day, but we will be going over his progress on a regular basis. I told him to sign up for mint. We took his credit card and stashed it away. This way he can pay it off.
That’s awesome! It sounds like you’ve reached a nice balance between completely taking over and letting him figure out what works best
One week check up progress was great!
Awesome! Going to check in again in week 2?
I’d highly recommend Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover book or better yet (especially if they are a Christian or would be ok going to a church) have them do Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University classes through a local church. Dave encourages getting on a budget to “give every $ a purpose” and getting out of debt them saving for the future. It is very basic advice to help people to get their act together financially. (I will note that Dave is an evangelical Christian. This does show up in his advice and book a bit, but it doesn’t seem to be so overbearing that someone who is not religious would be offended.)
Just a thought as to what you could recommend by someone who has followed Dave’s advice!
I guess you haven’t read my article on my disagreements with Dave Ramsey, LOL. But, I have to agree with “give every dollar a purpose” – that is what I try to live my life by.
I would love to talk with a few family members about their financial habits as well. Money is a tough issue though – very personal and everyone has their own ideas.
Toby @ One Six Zeros says
Helping friends/family with their finances could get ugly though. What if you find things get out of control and they blame you for not helping properly? even if you do all the right things? I would point them in the direction of a colleague or another professional if possible. When friends/family and money come into play, things sometimes get messy. All the best though for it and I hope your family get over their hurdles too.
Finances can be such a touchy issue. I think a lot of people need help, but really don’t want to change. That’s why I think it can be difficult to help family members. I have seen my own father “help” my brother with the finances, but it doesn’t really seem to stick, and then enables my sibling not to take responsibility for his own stuff and causes other siblings to be upset. I think we all can become better educated about finances, budgeting, and then, if someone truly wants our help, we have to be cautious in “jumping in”. Great post. I liked how you shared so many opinions on this topic!
Yep, unfortunately most people don’t realize the sacrifice it takes to get out of debt and get your finances in shape, and quite frankly I’m not going to be the one giving them the tough love they need!
Carie Spence says
Such a slippery slope when it comes to money and family, especially if they don’t take the advice. Thank you for linking up to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party. I have pinned your post to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest board.
You’re so right!
Helen Neale (@KiddyCharts) says
Some good thoughts from your readers here, I wish my brother would ask for my advice to be honest, he definitely needs help, but just won’t accept it! Thanks for linking up to the Parenting Pin it Party.
Oh yes, I’m sure we all have someone like that!
I know you could help, but be cautious. I have 2 feuding aunts… one asked the more financially savvy one to help her create a budget … long story short? They haven’t spoken to each other in like 7 months now. :(
Thank you for stopping by the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop this week. We hope to see you drop by our neck of the woods next week!
That’s crazy – and exactly what I’m afraid of!
Debi and Charly @ Adorned From Above says
Thanks so much for sharing with Wednesday’s Adorned From Above Link Party.
Debi @ Adorned From Above