Financially Empowering Those You Love

Financial empowerment it’s all about financial awareness, and making choices to help better our lives, and those of the people we care most about. Empowerment is a powerful word that implies making stronger and more confident, controlling your life, and claiming your rights. It’s important to be in charge of our finances and knowing where our every dollar goes to and what it does.

Many confuse financial enabling (read the full article here ) with financial empowering. This comes from being raised as a sandwich generation that believes in the notion that we help our parents, our siblings, cousins, etc. There is nothing wrong with that, but we should always avoid financially enabling those we love because it only serves to disable them financially.

Here are three tips to Financially Empower your loved ones:

Encourage your loved ones to start projects or businesses
Instead of providing financial assistance every month, consider giving your loved one’s capital to start a project or business. That way you ensure that they will be able to financially provide for themselves in the future. Advise them to search for their purpose and talents and start nurturing them. Many don’t start because they don’t believe in themselves, so if you are that voice of reason you can actually help them to build something bigger.

Normalize the money talks with your loved ones
We were raised in an environment where we don’t talk about money. We need to change that mentality and start viewing money as an enabler and not a taboo. Imagine an environment where we all discuss money issues, how to look for it, and how to take care of it. Also, imagine introducing financial book clubs in our family groups and encouraging each other to watch financial news. Such discussions and activities will bring financial enlightenment through increased financial knowledge and transform mindsets.

Know When to Say No
There are certainly times when it’s appropriate to decline to provide financial support for a family member, as hard as that might be. Determining when to say yes or no may depend on a variety of factors, including your values, your financial situation, and the specific request being made. If you really can’t afford it, I think it’s important not to support someone else, it’s also important to say no if what they’re doing with the money is not something you support or if it’s conflicting with other goals and beliefs you have. Set some ground rules on areas you are comfortable assisting financially and let it be known by your loved ones. In other words, while it’s important to help, it’s also important to set limits, that way you won’t get unnecessary requests.

Bottom Line: Don’t Feel Guilty
Family is a critical part of the social fabric and there’s nothing wrong with helping your children, parents, and other loved ones in a financial bind. But, in tough economic times or when faced with unexpected emergencies, your loved ones may truly need your financial assistance. Before you commit to helping, be sure to think through what you can and can’t afford to do. Remember, if your own resources are limited, there are other meaningful, effective, and creative ways to help your family members. The key is to find the right balance between providing that assistance and maintaining your own safety net. Family members and money aren’t always a good mix so you need to learn to be principled, firm, and bold about your financial decisions.

By Tarie Manyonga

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