How to Encourage Someone to Get Financial Counseling
Struggling with finances is stressful and no one really likes talking about it. If someone you know has mentioned issues with credit card debt, living paycheck to paycheck, student loans, mortgage, or other financial problems, here are some suggestions in this Flashback Friday post to help convince them to get financial counseling and other ways to support them.
I can think of so many times in the past where people have asked me what I do for a job and where I work. I always give the same spiel…I work for LSS Financial Counseling and we give people the tools they need to achieve their financial goals and conquer their debt. We also help people rebuild after bankruptcy and even save their homes from foreclosure. Nine times out of ten I get the same response from people…”I wish my friend/mom/sister/uncle would call you!” And I always tell them it’s a really tough challenge to talk to someone about sensitive financial stuff, but to go for it if they feel comfortable.
Why is it so hard to convince people to get help?
First, it’s hard to convince people to do anything! (I have a 2 year old that does the exact opposite of what I want him to do…ALWAYS!) Then, add in icky subjects like debt and you could be looking at a downright awkward conversation. Many people have mixed feelings about the idea of getting help with their finances. Often they are embarrassed and feel defeated, overwhelmed, lost, etc. One common coping method is avoidance. It may seem safer to avoid making changes and work to convince themselves that everything is okay. But that is exhausting. Each time I have had money issues I remember avoiding my online banking like it was the plague. I just didn’t want to know.
And often people want to try and fix their financial issues themselves, but deep down they feel hopeless about their ability to change. They don’t know who to call and which places are safe.
Another reason is fear. They are scared of making a change. What if it gets worse? And they are scared to see how bad their financial situation really is. It’s easy to not open the bills or answer the phone when someone calls from an 888 number. But it will catch up to you/them.
I also know that people are embarrassed to ask for help with their financial situations. There is a stigma attached to financial counseling and there really shouldn’t be. Financial hardships can happen to anyone. Whether it be medical debt or a job layoff. Get support!
What’s the best way to let people know about financial counseling?
The best way to talk to someone about a touchy subject is to have compassion and empathy. I don’t know anybody in my life that can’t relate to financial struggles. Show them that you relate to their situation and that this can happen to anyone - because it can. Here are a few tips:
- If you are uncomfortable with the idea of bringing up the subject, email them a link to a blog post or website that discusses credit counseling. (Like ours!) Or share our brochure.
- Tell them about your situation or the situation of a ‘friend.’ Let them know that they felt such relief just by taking the first step and contacting an agency like LSS.
- Encourage them to make a budget or track their spending. Simple acts like finding out where your money is going can create a clear picture of what's really happening.
- Take baby steps….Simply tell them a story about someone that was helped by financial counseling. Maybe there house was saved or maybe they paid off $30,000 in debt on a DMP. Check out a testimonial from our clients.
Be positive, supportive, and patient. Remember that this is a tough situation and the person you are worried about is uncomfortable. The key is to be helpful and respectful.
Have a friend that could use our services? Have them call 888.577.2227 to schedule an appointment or share some of our many resources with them. Visit ConquerYourDebt.org or send them a link to our blog, Sense and Centsibility.
By Kate Swenson