People Are Begging for Financial Help. Five Things You Can Do

by Joe Plemon on March 1, 2010

Help Me. VTda.info
Creative Commons License photo credit: vtdainfo

The Recession is having some positive spin offs.

A report from Mintel Comperemedia revealed that, because of the current economic crises, three in four adults are trying to increase their financial know how.

Susan Menke, VP at Mintel Compermedia, comments: “The recession was a wake-up call for many Americans. They now feel unsure about investing and money management, so they are turning to friends, family and professionals for help in learning more about money.”

What age group is most determined to increase their financial literacy? Young adults. Five out of six “Echo Boomers” (born between 1982 and ages 1995) say they have already become or plan to become more educated about financial matters.

There you go. People are hungry for help, especially our younger generation. And you can help. “How?” you ask. The following ideas should help you get started:

1. Offer to facilitate a Financial Peace University

FPU, a 13 week series created by Dave Ramsey, covers topics from getting out of debt to dealing with creditors to investing and college funding. Millions have taken the class and benefited from it. The key word is “facilitate”. Even if you have never been through the class, you can still facilitate it. In the five times we have hosted FPU at our church, we have seen dozens of peoples’ lives change dramatically. Our most recent class of 35 participants was able to pay off $105,950 of debt and save an additional $29,620 over the 13 weeks. That investment in FPU is definitely paying dividends.

2. Get some great financial help to your local high schools.

Yes, you can make a difference at the high school level. A local businessman in our community, after getting approval from the Principal, purchased the high school version of Financial Peace University for our community high school. This class is integrated into a “Resource Management” class which is mandatory for all Seniors. Very exciting!

3. Buy great financial books for your church library or public library.

The books which have helped you will help others.

4. Help at a personal level.

I realize that offering financial help to can be intrusive, but let me give you a great listening tip - “Free Information.” Here is how it works:  Listen for clues, such as “There is just not enough to go around.” or “I just don’t know what we are going to do.” or “These phone calls are getting to me.” When you hear these snippets of free information, your friend is giving you permission to follow up.  If you show interest by asking, “Tell me. What is going on?”, you are being totally appropriate, not intrusive. Remember: your friend brought it up; you are showing you care by responding.

Depending on the friendship level, you could offer to help them with a budget, point them to a financial counselor you trust, or offer a book that has helped you.   Probably the best thing you can do is be a friend, listen and let the other person talk.

5. Point them to a great personal finance blog.

This one is an offshoot of Hint 4. In today’s online info age, sharing a site link with a friend is not normally considered intrusive. I realize that this tip might sound a little self serving, but I bring it up because you are obviously already familiar with personal finance blogs and because the Echo Boomers, who are the age group most interested in becoming more financially literate, are also highly computer literate. It only makes sense that they would love a great blog that serves them, guides them and answers their financial questions.

Are you seeking more financial information? What are your best sources? Have you been helping others financially? How? What other tips can you add to this list?

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Ted @broketofree March 1, 2010 at 11:26 pm

I have been pondering talking to my pastors about starting up a small group for folks in debt or looking for financial help. This post just pushed to put that at the top of my to do list for tomorrow. Thank you!

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joeplemon March 2, 2010 at 8:35 am

Ted,
Very exciting! You have a lot to offer, and others will appreciate your initiative. Let me know how it goes.

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Jason @ One Money Design March 3, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Joe, great ideas! I would also like to add that people can consider becoming a volunteer Money Map Coach. I’ve been a Money Map Coach for a few years now and it is quite rewarding. It’s an excellent way to help people put practical tools to use to set their finances in order and to share God’s financial principles with them. People can check out my MMC page over at onemoneydesign.com or go directly to crown.org .

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joeplemon March 3, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Jason,
Thank you! I am familiar with Crown finance (of course) but have never personally been involved with Money Map Coaching. I appreciate you suggesting Money Map as one more great resource for helping others with their finances.

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Ken March 3, 2010 at 10:46 pm

I am glad to be leading a FPU at my church right now…just finished week 5. I also help by answering questions (PF) on Yahoo Answers.

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Monroe on a Budget March 9, 2010 at 7:58 pm

I talk up the tricks that anyone can do to cut their expenses. So many people think “I make too much money to get help.” That may be true when it comes to food stamps or a Christmas basket program or federal emergency food distribution. But there may be a food pantry in your area that doesn’t ask for income – just show up on the appointed day. Libraries and parks often sponsor free entertainment programs. There may be an Angel Food Ministries or Great Food for All distribution site in your neighborhood. College student, senior citizen, employee-related and military discounts can help cut some expenses. (BTW I listened to Larry Burkett’s radio show in the early 1990s!)

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joeplemon March 10, 2010 at 9:02 am

Monroe,
Wasn’t it Benjamin Franklin who said, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Cutting expenses is a sure way to “earn” money. Thanks for sharing all of these great tips.

About Larry Burkett: I listened to him some on the radio, but only recently have begun reading his books. They are full of good biblical finance tips that I haven’t found elsewhere.

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Austin April 18, 2010 at 6:21 am

Wow, that’s awesome that it took off at your church like that. This is a topic I’m really interested in because I don’t like the advice of “let them suffer their own faults” when it comes to money.

I feel like bad money habits can be prevented, but it’s going to require some deep thinking and planning.

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joeplemon April 18, 2010 at 6:51 am

Austin,
I agree that bad money habits can be prevented. And I don’t like the “let them suffer their own faults” advice either. But, to some degree, most of us need to suffer some before we are willing to admit that we need help.

I see the challenge on two fronts: help people avoid creating financial messes by teaching and encouraging (starting with children) and give hope to those who are already in trouble.

Because debt is considered slavery in the bible, I like to think that when I help someone with their finances, I am freeing them from slavery. In a real way, I am.

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Debra January 7, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Dear Sir,

I had a birthday in October and am now middle aged. I am fifty years young. I am excited about my future although my present is very grim. I have been homeless for approx a week. My car is registered in another state and the registration has expired not to mention it works when it wants to… I have just accepted a job with H&R Block. I am looking for the best resources out there for my situation. I have looked for a room with someone but without funds it’s not an option. I have looked for employment with room and board in exchange but I am not the only one with this Idea…. My husband of twenty years was incarcerated most of our marriage. I was abused by this man every chance he got. A year and a half ago after he was released form prison he told me he did not want to be married to me anymore. He now resides with his girlfriend and it is shocking to me how far I have come mentally. I have never been one to ask for a hand out or a hand up, I will never ask for anything I can’t give back, weather it is by working or helping someone else. I am not asking for a car or a house or even employment, I am just trying to find resources that my be able to help. I know I am not a spring chicken anymore and I don’t think my body,
my health in general withstand the elements, the sleepless nights, the fear of being hurt, the hunger and most of all the loneliness. I am a strong person but I never expected this to happen to me…..

P.S. Please pray for me! I have attached my resume’ for reasons of my background… Please note the phone # is no longer available to me. Please contact via my email

If you would be so kind and somehow help me with my dilemma, it would be greatly appreciated.

Respectfully,

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Debra January 7, 2011 at 4:32 pm

God Bless You! Thank you for reading and feeling my pain for I know you are truly blessed.

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joeplemon January 14, 2011 at 10:09 am

Debra,
You said you have recently accepted a job with H & R Block. How is it going? I hope this income will get you into a home. As far as accepting help or asking for help, I think you should. After all, if the shoe was on the other foot, you would be willing to help someone else. Don’t think of it as a burden on someone else. Instead, consider that you are allowing someone to be blessed as they are allowed to be givers. It really is more blessed to give than to receive, so I am hoping you can find a person or a church or an organization who will be blessed by helping you. You wouldn’t owe them anything in return, but once you are able, you will be able to help others.

I am praying for you.

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