Monday, May 27, 2024

Helping a Struggling Relative Without Giving Them Money

In the midst of a financial crisis, family stands as one of the most potent safety nets. The loss of a job, a debilitating accident, or overwhelming medical bills can push anyone toward the edge, making them turn to relatives for assistance. It’s commendable to want to assist a loved one, but sometimes, offering money directly might not be feasible or wise. One prevalent approach, especially when large sums are required, is to support a relative by helping them get loans with a cosigner. While this does involve some level of financial risk, it allows you to help without draining your own resources immediately. In this article, we’ll delve into varied strategies on how to aid a struggling relative without resorting to straightforward handouts.

1. Becoming a Cosigner

Acting as a cosigner for a loan can be a meaningful way to aid. When your relative might not have a strong credit history or lacks collateral, your backing can make a significant difference. However, cosigning is not a simple gesture of trust. If your relative defaults, you will be liable for repaying the borrowed amount. Hence, it’s vital to assess the relative’s ability to pay back, discuss the terms in detail, and consider this option only when you have faith in their commitment to repay.

2. Offer Financial Guidance

Often, people find themselves in financial turmoil due to poor money management. Instead of directly contributing money, consider guiding them in better financial practices:

  • Budgeting: Help them craft a monthly budget, prioritizing essential expenses and eliminating frivolous spending.
  • Financial Literacy: Introduce them to resources, books, or courses that can help them better understand financial management.

3. Direct Them to Professional Assistance

Sometimes, the problem’s scale goes beyond familial advice. In such cases:

  • Credit Counseling: Recommend reputable credit counseling services. These agencies guide individuals in managing their debt and setting up feasible repayment plans.
  • Career Counseling: If job loss is the root of their financial issues, career counseling can help them navigate the job market more effectively.

4. Assist in Kind

Rather than giving money, consider other ways to lessen their financial burden:

  • Groceries and Essentials: Perhaps you could buy groceries for them once in a while or help with utilities.
  • Childcare: If they have kids, offer to babysit occasionally, saving them childcare expenses.

5. Encourage Government and Community Resources

Your relative might not be aware of all the available assistance:

  • Welfare Programs: Many governments offer welfare benefits to those in need, ranging from unemployment benefits to subsidized healthcare.
  • Local Community: Churches, NGOs, and community centers often have resources or programs to help struggling individuals.

6. Emotional and Moral Support

Sometimes, what a person needs more than financial help is emotional and mental support. Encourage them, lend a listening ear, and be a pillar of strength. This non-material support can be invaluable during tough times.

7. Set Boundaries

If you choose to help, it’s essential to set clear boundaries to prevent strain in the relationship. Whether you’re cosigning a loan, providing in-kind assistance, or giving financial advice, it’s crucial to communicate your limits. This ensures both parties have clear expectations and minimizes potential conflicts.


Helping a struggling relative requires a balance of compassion and prudence. While it’s noble to want to alleviate their financial stress, it’s equally crucial to ensure you don’t jeopardize your own financial health in the process. Through strategies like cosigning loans, offering financial guidance, and providing non-monetary support, you can assist your loved ones in more ways than one. Remember, sometimes, the best aid isn’t about money; it’s about empowering them to rise above their challenges.

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