Responsible Giving

Many people who have money have not really thought out how to be responsibly generous to their family and friends who may have work and/or money dysfunctions. Because women often are the caretakers of the less functional members of their families, this is an issue especially but not exclusively for women. Being responsibly generous means not allowing dysfunctions to continue unaddressed. The feelings surrounding poorly executed giving tend to sound like the following: I resent giving but feel obligated because if I have it, I should give it;I feel as though I am throwing my money down a black hole or into a bottomless pit; I give to get rid of the person who has become a burden or irritant to me; I feel exhausted with their needs; I give when I do not have it to give because my problems are not as severe and my needs seem insignificant.

Responsible giving to dysfunctional members often comes with conditions and strings attached. This goes against the conventional wisdom of the best way to give things but makes sense given the situation. Many people with chronic money and work problems are creating their own difficulties and so bailing them out must be done with caution in order to be of most use to them and to you. After all, the feeling of wasting your money is a terrible feeling. And continuing to reward others for their problems and dysfunctions is hurtful to them and not helpful.

Examples of useful contingencies vary in each situation . They tend to work best if the conditon is related to the other person’s problem. Here are some examples of contingencies related to giving or lending money:
1. Random drug testing with a stoppage in the assistance if the test is failed.
2. Consumer credit counseling programs.
3. Presenting you with a detailed budget of expenses and ideas of how to reduce their expenses.
4. Payment of part of their loan when they have reached a goal (finishing school, getting a job).
5. A written account of all assets and liabilities.
6. Completion of a money management continuing education class in a local college.
7. Entering counseling or therapy.

There are of course any number of ways to be both responsible in your giving and motivating to the other person at the same time. Many family members are generous with things but not generous with honest communications and concerns as this can be so difficult.