Clearing the Air: 5 Tips for Discussing Your Debt with Family Members

Talking about money can be awkward. But it’s an important thing to do—especially with your family. It can have real consequences. For instance, a study by T. Rowe Price found that parents with credit card debt over $5,000 were less likely to talk to their kids about money, which in turn led to greater confusion for their children.

Here are five tips for discussing debt with family members.

  1. Only Say What Makes Sense for the Person
  2. Not everyone in your family needs to hear the same things about your debt. You shouldn’t be giving the same speech to your parents as your five-year-old child. Make sure you take some time to determine what you should and shouldn’t say to each person you’re going to tell about your debt.

    For kids, talking about debt can be a learning experience. It’s good for them to understand what it is, why people have it, and how it can get out of control if not used in the right way. Always ensure children know it’s not their fault.

    When discussing with parents, spouses, or siblings. It makes sense to say what factors led to the debt. It can sometimes help having these conversations if you come up with a rough plan for how you’re going to alleviate the debt.

  3. Be Honest about Your Situation with Relatives
  4. Hiding the nature of your debt reality can feel like the right thing to do. You might be afraid telling people about your situation will lead them to perceive you in a negative way. Concealing the truth, however, isn’t going to work in your benefit.

    For starters, you shouldn’t try to uphold a façade of everything being okay if it’s not. That will be mentally exhausting and potentially require you to keep digging deeper into debt in order to maintain that image. Additionally, you don’t know how family members might be helpful to you. It’s possible they have a lead to a better-paying job or might even be willing to help you with some money to help pay down the loans.

  5. Seek Advice
  6. You should always be seeking ways to gain knowledge from an interaction. Speaking to relatives about your debt situation isn’t an exception to this rule. Try seeing if they have any relevant insights. It’s possible they’ve gone through something similar.

    For people with more serious debt, it’s smart to also seek outside advice. Consider speaking to a debt relief agency about some possible avenues that can get you out of debt. You can start by contacting Freedom Financial Network, which is one of the most reliable debt services firms in the United States.

  7. Try to Stay Positive
  8. It’s not going to help you to take a self-defeating attitude into the conversation. If anything, this might make the people you’re talking with feel annoyance more than empathy. Keeping a positive mindset will make people more receptive to what you’re telling them. At the same time, you’ll be better off as well. Framing problems the right way can make all the difference.

  9. Don’t Let This Stress You Out Even More
  10. You’re probably feeling a lot of stress while dealing with your debt. Things like collections calls and not knowing how you’re going to make a payment can decimate your mental health. This can carry over into other aspects of your life, creating a whirlwind of anxiety.

    Don’t let talking to your family about debt make you even more stressed out. If anything, take this as an opportunity to do the exact opposite: Get something off your chest. Even if it seems intimidating, you’ll feel much better once you’re through talking about your debt.

A lot of people shy away from delving into money issues with their families. But this isn’t the right choice—especially when it comes to talking about debt. Consider how these strategies can help you bring up debt with your family members.

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