Of course, you would know it. It’s October and the first month I start my new journey to becoming debt free. The plan was to finish paying off my last $40,000 in debt before my 40th birthday on July 28, 2020. Surely if I got rid of $350,000 in debt in 4 years, I could get rid of $40,000 in 20 months.
But real life has different plans for me and my money. Or should I say my family has a different idea for my money. I received a call that my brother is having some legal problems and need financial help. He is my best friend, the baby, and my only brother but he is also a grown man.
I recently had a conversation with another finance coach at FinCon a conference I attended. This same subject came up about family and money. Why is it that when you have a little money saved or a little money sense your family has something to say about it. Or they are always in your pocket. Don’t get me wrong my brother has gotten a lot better about staying out of my bank account. But I’m stuck with this choice help my brother or pay off some debt.
I have to say I am happy that life is not a zero-sum game. Meaning my choice doesn’t have to be a choice at all “Why not just do both?” There was a time in my past where my money situation would not have permitted me to do both. Here are a few things that I know now that I didn’t know before.
I Am the Boss
For much of my life, if you ask me for money and I had it, I would give you my last. I never had the strength to say No. I would crumble under pressure. Pressure meaning you asked more than once. Even when I would say No I would feel guilty and I would find a way to turn my No into a Yes. That has always made me really reliable to others.
However, on the flip side, no one could ever help me financially when I needed it. Now I know that I’m the BOSS. I had to learn to be comfortable with the word NO and not doubt myself when I say it. No one can know your money situation better than you.
So, if you say NO mean it. And if you say Yes add some rules… some terms. It’s your money.
It’s on My Time
Give what you can when you can. It’s not your emergency, and if it were, you would be prepared. Don’t let someone push you to do things in their timeline if you can’t. Remember that things happen for a reason and maybe that person needs to learn something from the situation. I am not saying to be slow out of spite, but if their timing doesn’t work for you tell them. Don’t kill yourself trying to make their ridiculous timeline because they waited until the last minute.
Put Your Family in the Budget
It has been a while since I had to do this. But… adding your family and their emergencies to your budget can help. This may be a good idea if you have one of those needy families. Some people reading this have no clue what I’m talking about, but others are thinking this is a great idea. The first tip is Don’t tell them they’re in your budget. That is because they will ask for money all the time.
Tip two is Don’t tell them how much you save for their emergencies. If it slips out that they are in the budget, you don’t want them always asking for money. Or making up emergencies because they know you have that amount saved. Tip three is Keep that money separate. You don’t want to mix that money with your day to day because you may spend it or give them too much. The last tip is to Put a cap on it. Just because you’re a nice person and you want to help doesn’t mean they can have your light bill money or your rent money or even your vacation money. Give them what you can, and that’s it.
In conclusion don’t help your family with their emergencies of you can’t afford to. Be ok with the No don’t let doubt change your mind. If you find that you can help them made it on your terms. Please don’t let others dictate what you do with your money. You must work for it just like they do.