A Financial Intervention

One of my favourite people to get money advice from is Suze Orman. If you haven’t read any of her books, seen her on T.V, or heard her speak – you are really missing out! If you haven’t heard her story about her time at the Buttercup Café, then you need to look up her site and check it out.

Suze has offered tips, techniques, and advice on a lot of matters that deal with money, but she also talks about whether or not people can afford to do something. Her T.V show actually has a segment called “Can I Afford It?” where people can call in with their financial stats and tell her what they want to buy – and she’ll let you know whether or not you can afford it.

I read a recent article that talked about financial interventions. Let’s face it – there are some people in your life that make you feel like you are a personal bank. It’s a natural feeling to want to help out those around you – especially if you have the financial means to do so. Women especially, since they are usually hardwired to be nurturers and givers, have a difficult time saying no to a request of money. There are even those that will put others before their own needs – and that’s a problem!

When you are put into a situation where loved ones are asking you for money, here are Suze’s tips for what you can do to truly help the person in need.

Say No. Suze feels strongly that your money won’t be the answer to their problem because this will only be a temporary fix. They are the only ones who can equip themselves to permanently fix their financial problems. Don’t worry about hurting their feelings. They will eventually understand where you are coming from. Suze says, “I will say no out of love, versus yes out of fear”.

Put it in writing. When you put your words onto paper, it helps to ensure that the conversation won’t become heated. When arguments get heated, people say things they don’t mean; and that, my friend, may not be something your loved one will ever understand. Here is a copy of a “contract”.

Talk and Listen. Saying no to your friend or family member shouldn’t be the end of the conversation – it should be the beginning. You can start with your feelings regarding the situation. Perhaps you want to talk about how you feel when they only come to you for money; or maybe you want to talk about your financial status. As long as it comes from a place of honesty and caring rather than anger and resentment, you will be fine!

Commit to faith, integrity, and courage. Since it is no easy task to say no to someone you love, you need to have faith in who you are and who the other person is. You have to ensure that the words are all words of truth – and what I mean by that is that you aren’t saying things out of anger, making assumptions, or casting judgement. And lastly, you must have the courage to do what is right – not necessarily what is easy.

Suze has some more advice for people on her site (www.suzeorman.com)

In addition to Suze’s great tips, here are some additional ones that I maintain in my own life:

• There is nothing more powerful than children (or grandchildren). Depending on your situation, you may want to involve them to talk to the person. Could you imagine the impact on someone who doesn’t think they have a problem when their child tells them that they’re afraid of having to support them one day?

If you do choose to lend money to a family member, there are some things you really need to keep in mind.

• Before you even choose to lend money, be realistic about your situation. If you can’t afford to lose the money, you shouldn’t be lending it.
• Put everything in writing. It doesn’t have to be drawn up by a lawyer, but just a simple promise note that says you’ll be paid back in a certain amount of time.
• Be clear about your expectations. That could be the payment schedule, the timeframe in which you expect to be paid back, etc.

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