Boundaries play an important role in every aspect of our lives and finances are no different. Setting financial boundaries not only helps to protect your finances but also your relationships and mental health. Sometimes it is very difficult to talk to your family members about money because of how they might perceive you. In African homes oftentimes when the parents retire or a relative is unemployed, they seek help from stable family members. Although this is okay it can end up being a habit that causes resentment. Here are a few steps you can use to set healthy boundaries with your family members.
1. Create a Budget for Yourself
It is essential to have a budget for yourself before you start lending money. Creating a budget helps you to identify where parts of your income will go. This enables you to sort out immediate needs and see if there is money left for you to lend without hurting your pocket. You can identify a budgeting method that works best for you and use it to control your finances.
2. Set Limits
When choosing to set financial boundaries always be realistic. If a family member or members needs money you may need to limit how much you can give. The budget helps you to be able to see how much you can set aside for lending.
3. Set Financial Goals
Like the budget, financial goals make it easier to set financial boundaries. Take time to sit down and think about what you wish to achieve long-term and short-term. Laying down your financial goals also helps you to see how much you can lend without affecting your goals. Remember to set short-term, midterm and long-term goals. Once you have set your goals prioritize them, so you don’t lose track of what you wish to achieve. Losing track of your goals also contributes to giving more than you can.
4. Identify Recurring Requests
Helping a family member every once in a while is okay especially if they are dealing with an issue or unemployment. However, it is essential to note the people who request financial aid now and then. Receiving numerous requests can end up causing an unhealthy relationship between you and them. It also affects your budget since you might find yourself digging into your savings to keep helping them.
5. Speak Up
One of the biggest issues that most people face is the pressure of lending money to family. Sometimes even when you know you are not in a position to you find it hard to say no. The best way to do this is to have ground rules. The first step to setting ground rules is to identify how you feel when someone asks for money. Do you feel resentful? Do you feel like the need to say yes? Being aware of your feelings will help in your decision-making process. Once you have sorted through your feelings then communicate your boundaries.
This doesn’t mean you have to say no directly. Be truthful as to why you are not in a position to lend money often. You can also take this opportunity to be upfront about the limits you have set based on your budget. Remember the earlier you set boundaries the better.
6. Expect Resistance
The downside of setting boundaries is the resistance that comes afterwards. The people you are setting boundaries with may end up being upset. Therefore, it is important to prepare for this resistance and stand firm in your priorities. When it is your closest family members it is easy to feel guilty but remember you are taking care of yourself. With time your family will come to terms with why you set the boundaries and they will respect your decision.
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