Helping Your Friends and Family
Being in debt can be isolating and nerve-racking.
If you sense that a family member or friend is in major debt trouble:
Help Get Them Started
- Ask them about the problem. They might
be relieved to talk about it.
- Let them know they are not alone. Many
New Zealanders at one time or another get in debt over their heads.
- Encourage them to look at their
and, if they are in debt trouble, to create a plan to get out of debt -
and commit to it. Let them know you have confidence in their ability to
- Suggest this web site and other helpful
sources of information that are listed under Helpful
Links to give them the tools and knowledge to tackle their
- Only lend money to a friend or family
member if you
are comfortable knowing you might not get it back. Many emotions are
wrapped up in lending money to a loved one. If you lend a friend or
family member money, put the amount and payback schedule in writing.
- Focus on the future. Don't blame them
spending decisions or bad money management in the past. Look to the
past only for clues to understand how to avoid the problems or pitfalls
that got them into trouble in the first place.
- Debt and money problems often are very
people are uncomfortable talking about money, so don't expect or push
for details of your friend or loved one's personal financial problems.
- Be emotionally supportive. This support
encouragement should extend beyond their finances to helping create a
positive environment in which they feel empowered to succeed.
- Don't ask or encourage your friend or
family member to make purchases outside of their debt reduction plans.
Suggest inexpensive outings and get-togethers.
- Invite your friend or loved one for
dinner and a video at your house.
- Enjoy outdoor activities, such as
biking, hiking, or picnicking at local parks.
- Encourage by example. If you have had
debt problems in
the past, talk about how you overcame them, or how you are better
controlling your finances now.
Help Them Stay on Course to Their Personal Finish Line - For Most it's a Marathon, not a Sprint
- Celebrate your friend or family
successes. After all, the first steps -- just like the first few pounds
on a diet - can be the hardest. Once they change their attitude toward
spending and debt, developing and maintaining good financial habits
will get easier.
- Provide ongoing, positive feedback and
support. No one
gets out of serious debt problems overnight, so don't expect your
friend or family member will either. Encourage achievable goals, and
continue to be supportive.