1. Many can’t face their personal finance reality
People don’t always deal with their financial woes head on. Denial is the comfort the brain offers to deal with small setbacks. But many extend that soothing balm to deep rooted problems and prefer to wish them away. Financial denial is a disease the afflicted unwittingly choose for themselves.
2. Dilemma for witnesses
Witnessing this, it becomes tough for the rest of us to identify who is in need of help and to toe the line of a difficult financial conversation. People choose denial because they do not want to talk about their financial problems. They do not want to experience the negative emotions of regret, shame and guilt. They will avoid those who would remind them of their reality at all costs. Such are the dangers of denial. There are five things others can do, when they find close friends or relatives in financial distress, they may need help but may live unaware of their real situation.
3. Ensure that they need help
First and foremost, cross check your facts before speaking to the distressed person/s. Be genuine in your desire to lend a helping hand. Gossip mongering will not help.
4. Find a confidante
Get an accomplice, someone close who can work with you. The father, wife, friend, anyone with the knowledge of the situation who will readily hold on to your offer for help, if they know you are genuine. They will help you with facts, and guide you with information, and also act as your conduit to break the barrier and get the affected person to listen.
5. Are you just giving grief or a way out?
Have workable solutions on hand. No one likes lectures and strictures; worse, don’t indulge in the blame game. Help convert the expensive loans through credit counselling; enable broadening the network through referrals; identify buyers for assets that can be liquidated; keep focus on actionables.
6. Don’t divulge to the world
Do not speak about the person’s situation to others. Being the one that they can confide in and trust is what will help them come out of denial and begin to address the real issue. This judgement or a fear of it is exactly what would have got them into denial in the first place.
7. Money may not always be the answer
Do not blindly assume that you have to chip in money or that help just means financial. Don’t go hunting for donors to bail out the person. Protect their self esteem while not becoming a scapegoat yourself. Sometimes, even just moral support can mean a lot and enough.