Why Won’t They Let Me Help?

By David Geller   |   January 5, 2015

Sometimes, it is hard to help our family. We notice our parents or siblings struggling financially. We offer assistance. They look at us, acknowledge our generosity, and then politely say no.


Here’s what they might be thinking.

You might need the money. Most of us don’t discuss our finances with family members. Your family member may not know how much money you have, or how this gift will impact you. They might fear today’s gift threatens your future lifestyle.

If you are confident you won’t miss the money, let them know.

I don’t want to be judged. Your family member might fear you will judge them harshly if their future spending decisions don’t align with your values. A gift with expectations about future spending is not a gift. It is a deal. I will do this for you, and you will do this.

Tell them you have no hidden expectations. (Unless it is a deal, and then be clear about your expectations.)

I don’t understand why you offered.  Do you have more than enough money and struggle with what to do with it all? Helping someone we love often leaves us feeling satisfied, even joyful. The truth is as you are helping them, they are helping you.

Tell them accepting the gift will add joy to your life.

David Geller

About the Author

CEO David Geller co-founded the firm in 1991 and led the creation of Behavioral Wealth Management. Recognized on numerous prestigious "top financial advisor" lists, David is an in-demand speaker for professional groups and JOYN workshops. His writings have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Huffington Post.

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