4 Ways to Be There for Your Friend Who Is Having Money Troubles
Help them keep those piggies in the bank! An expert shares her best tips and advice.
Adulting is hard AF, and as life happens, some in your friend group may find themselves in a bit of a money pickle sandwich. Many of your friends may be in the midst of wedding planning, buying their first home, or expanding their family.
Juggling all of these expenses while also trying to save money is a lot on both a person and their bank account. So when you notice a friend is going through a financial rough patch, you naturally want to be there for them — but how?
“One of the things that resonates the most around this question is the level of trust that a friend must have in you to seek financial guidance,” Marsha Barnes, a certified financial social worker partnered with Wells Fargo, tells HelloGiggles.
Because money talk can easily end in judgment or embarrassment, it’s important to approach the topic gently.
“Allowing your friend space to openly share what’s going on in their life with work, family, and finances is a great start to a conversation, as opposed to proactively bringing up their finances,” Barnes explains, adding you should never assume that a friend is having money troubles.
You can also start the conversation and share your own financial updates first — just be aware of what you’re sharing and whether it may trigger or upset your friend. The goal here is to relate, not scare them from opening up.
Keep reading for more tips on how to be there for a friend who is having money troubles.
1. Serve as a financial guide
If you have a strong handle on managing money, offering advice can be super helpful. But first, think about whether you can truly speak to the advice you want to give — maybe you work in finance or have experienced money troubles yourself.
“Spend time discussing how your friend is currently managing their money and consider sharing tips and methods that have worked for you,” Barnes says. “Doing this can help provide your friend with practical, actionable guidance to implement quickly.”
She suggests looking into credit cards with certain rewards structures, such as cash rewards with the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card. Simplifying how many credit cards your friend has could alleviate some of their financial stress as well.
2. Host “friends and finance” weekends
Unfortunately, money troubles don’t dissipate on their own or get resolved in one day. That’s why it’s important to put a financial game plan into action. Recurring “friends and finance” weekends are a fun way to check in and make your friend’s finance journey feel a lot less lonely.
“Having friends present for regular meetups not only helps with accountability, but it’s a great way to stay connected as well,” Barnes explains. “Helping a friend to save money while staying home prevents feelings of FOMO from creeping in.”
You can use this time to catch up on your own finances as well! Teamwork makes the dream work, right?
3. Avoid financial shaming
Money troubles often align with stress and worry. The last thing your friend needs is judgment from within their own support system. Whether it be money or advice on how to better manage their finances, avoid shaming your friend for needing and asking for financial support.
“Financial shame may result in your friend shutting down or worsening their financial habits. Instead, try to approach the situation with a sense of empathy,” Barnes advises.
For example, you may say, “I am sorry that you’re having challenges with your finances. Here are some things that worked for me…”
4. Set boundaries
There’s a big difference between being a supportive friend and a FinFriend Advisor, a financial friend advisor. While setting boundaries may sound like you’re trying to distance yourself, it’s actually to protect your friendship from sticky situations like money loans or feelings of resentment and animosity.
“Lending money to friends can often result in a bruised relationship or destroy it altogether,” Barnes warns. “Be mindful of offering money to solve a financial issue for a friend. Challenges with money are not usually resolved with a small, one-time loan or a single conversation.”
You’re also not capable of changing a friend’s financial habits, nor is it on you to take on the responsibility of being a FinFriend Advisor. If you feel like your friend’s money troubles are escalating or they’re trying to take advantage of your kindness, offer to help find an expert who can better help them.
“Financial accountability is a lifetime commitment that each of us is responsible for managing ourselves, as we continue to embrace the life of adulting,” Barnes reminds us.
The best thing you can do for your friend who is having money troubles is offer your love and support. It’s not on you to fix their problems, but you can give them a gentle nudge in the right direction.