It can be hard to ask for help when it comes to things like money and personal finances. Money has become a taboo discussion topic, but if more people talk about their finances, it will become easier for current and future generations. Talking about your money troubles can help you work through them and feel better about them.
Even just telling someone you are deep in debt and you don’t know what to do, can help you feel better. Your financial struggles are no longer a secret and you can start doing the necessary work to get your finances back on track.
If you've been trying unsuccessfully to get your finances in order, it may be time to get some help. This can be a hard thing to admit. When it comes to personal finances, feeling like you're drowning in debt and you can't pay your bills can really weigh on your mental health, so speaking up and asking for help can be even more challenging.
You Are Not a Failure
Financial distress can be devastating and we often blame ourselves. Negative self talk such as, “If only I’d done this,” or “I should have done that,” may be true, but doesn’t do you any good when you’re trying to get your finances back on track. Many times things happen that are beyond our control and we still would have ended up in the same situation.
So, if you hear yourself saying negative things about yourself in relation to your finances, turn those thoughts around. Just by reading this article, you are taking steps to create a better financial future for yourself. Be proud of that.
You’re also not a failure if you need to ask for help. There’s no shame in asking for help with your finances. It’s actually very brave to admit you need help—good for you for recognizing that. If you’re not sure about getting assistance, here are some signs it might be a good idea:
- You feel like you’ve exercised all your options on your own,
- You find it motivating to talk with other people who have similar struggles,
- You don’t know what else to do!
There are a few options available to you when looking for help to get your finances back on track—turning to a family member or friend, looking for a support group, or hiring a professional.
Be Clear About the Kind of Help You Want
There are many options available when it comes to getting help with your finances. What will be the most helpful depends on your personality. You may have to try a few different things until you find the one that clicks the best, and that’s totally okay.
When it comes to understanding what kind of help you need, this will depend on your personality and your financial situation. Some people just need someone to talk to. By talking through what’s going on, they’re able to see solutions. Other people need someone to help them create a budget and a solid financial plan. There’s also people that need someone to take their credit cards away and never give them back.
What if you don’t know who to trust?
This is a very good question. Unfortunately there are organizations out there that will take advantage of people who are in tough financial situations, so it’s important to make your selection carefully. If you decide to get professional help, make sure that person has the proper credentials. Ask to see their references, check association or government sites to make sure that person is legitimate.
Who Can Help?
Once you decide on the type of help you need, you will have a better idea of who can help you. If you need emotional support, maybe you have a friend you can talk to. Maybe someone in your family is really good with their money and you’d like them to teach you how they do it. You might be more comfortable talking about money with a stranger, and that’s okay too. That’s what support groups and professional financial advisors are for.
Friends and Family
If you have supportive friends and family, this is a great place to start. It can be hard to have that initial conversation where you tell them you need help, but if they are truly supportive, they will want to help you without judgement.
There are a number of credit counselling societies that are not for profit. This means they will help you without charging a fee. Unfortunately, this is also where you will find scammers lurking, so make sure the organization is truly non-profit before you decide to work with them. Try to get referrals from people you know and trust.
Depending on where you live, you may find a local meet group such as Debtors or Spenders Anonymous. If you’re a go-getter and you’re interested in meeting people in a similar financial position you could start your own group.
You might be wondering how you’re going to pay someone if things are already tough for you financially. This is another area where you need to be very careful. There are some “professionals” out there that will refinance your loans but charge you such a high interest rate that you’re no better off than you were in the first place.
If you decide to claim bankruptcy, this is handled by a bankruptcy lawyer in the US and a licensed insolvency trustee in Canada. Bankruptcy is a matter of federal law, so you need someone who knows the law and can communicate it to you effectively. In these situations, the lawyer or trustee is paid as part of the bankruptcy agreement, so you don’t end up paying anything out of pocket for this type of help.
It’s important to note that you can usually discuss your situation with a bankruptcy lawyer or licensed insolvency trustee with no obligation or payment requirement. They have a responsibility to help you find the solution that works best for you.
Sometimes it can be tough to know when to ask for assistance. Affirmations are a great way to help you keep an open mind when it comes to asking for help getting your finances back on track.
Here are some affirmations to try even if you’re not sure if you’re ready for help yet.
- Financial help is on its way to me now.
- I am supported while getting my finances back on track.
- My personal finances are improving.
Affirmations can sometimes feel like that old saying, “Fake it till you make it.” It feels hard to believe them at first, but the more you use them, the better they work. Experiment with these affirmations or make up some of your own.
How do I feel about asking for help with getting my finances back on track?
It’s important to be in the right mindset for asking for help. It can take a lot of courage, and journaling about this will help you take an honest look at your feelings. If you’re uncomfortable asking for help, ask why. Keep journaling until you feel more comfortable.
What kind of help do I need and/or want?
This is where you can get specific regarding what you need help with. Maybe you have a solid plan but you keep cheating on it because there’s nobody to hold you accountable. In that case, find someone to check in with.
Who should I ask for help?
Here’s where you can get specific about the people in your life—or the new people you might like to meet—and if any of them would be a good fit to help you out. You’re getting real and figuring out who the most supportive people in your life are. You might realize you don’t have a lot of supportive people in your life, and that’s okay. That just means you’ll need to check out volunteer organizations or professionals.
It can be hard to ask for help getting your financial life back on track, but it doesn’t have to be. Take a good look at the type of help you’re looking for and who might be able to support you. I’m sure once you’ve journaled about it, you’ll have a much clearer idea of whether you should ask for help and what that looks like for you.
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Author bio: Michelle Cornish is the author of Prosperity Planner: Manage Your Personal Finances and Get Out of Debt, an undated planner where she shares more about her personal financial journey and her TREE Method for keeping her personal finances in check.