I weighed in on this terrific Best Company post about what to give a friend who is struggling with debt. Do you give them money, teach them how to manage their money better, or provide support? I favour giving support. This was part of my response:
If it’s a friend — particularly one who struggles with overspending, sometimes the best gifts can be the gift of quality time together, in a fun, but inexpensive or free setting. Maybe establish a no-gifts rule this year, so they don’t feel obliged to give you something, and invite them over for a barbecue, a picnic, or a board games night, or movie marathon.
Something that can satisfy the need for connection and fun, but doesn’t cost them anything, or place them in a position of feeling like they have to reciprocate with something that costs money.”
I felt inspired to write this because one of the really gut wrenching things about money struggles, is the shame that often accompanies it. It can be hard to stand-by and watch a friend who struggles with poor money management continue to make the same mistakes over and over. For those who have a healthy relationship with money, and exercise smart money behaviours, it can seem baffling that a friend, who might be so smart and amazing in every other area of life, can seem so terrible at managing money. Remember that money is emotional. Whatever is going on for your friend, that is causing this financial strain, the roots are likely emotional.
To read the rest of my response, and other responses:
My contribution is number eleven.