How to Deal With Freeloading Friends and Family

If the same person is constantly coming back for money, or in Campbell's case relying on her sister for six years, Hobson said they are freeloading.

"When you're dealing with someone where it's a repeat situation…you've got to say no," Hobson said. "It's very, very difficult, but you need to say no."

Someone who is truly in need will ask for help once or twice as a last resort and then figure out a way to make ends meet, she said.

He or she buys luxuries instead of necessities.

If a friend or relative uses your money to buy things that they want but don't need, they definitely crossed the line into freeloading, Hobson said.

He or she acts like a victim.

Another way to spot a freeloader is to see if they seem to have stopped helping themselves. Hobson said if they start acting like a victim and only feel as though other people can solve their problems, then they are freeloading.

In that situation, Hobson says, "you've got to put the ball in their court and have them take control of their life."

Dealing With a Freeloader

After you've identified your freeloader, you need to take steps to curb their freeloading habits, Hobson said.

Set clear boundaries on help.

First, tell whoever you're helping exactly how you're going to help them. The person who you are helping should be able to say exactly why they need the assistance and what they're going to do with whatever help they get, Hobson said. For Griffith and Campbell, Hobson suggested sitting down to communicate frustrations.

Jeopardizing your relationship is "just not worth it," Hobson said. "Talk about these issues openly."

Don't go into debt helping others.

While Hobson said she would not suggest turning down everyone that asks for help, you have to be careful not to enable those you do help. It's definitely time to stop when your help is more than you can afford, she said. Both of you going into debt is the worst case for everyone involved -- "you can't put yourself in peril."

Helping a Freeloader Become Financially Independent

There are two major things you can do to help make sure a freeloader doesn't need your help in the future: give non-financial help and develop a financial plan with them.

Give non-financial help.

To help a freeloader get back on their feet, you can help by finding out what their goals are and how they are going to achieve them, Hobson said. Paying for a resume or a job hunting seminar can pay off if they're out of work. Whatever it may be, it's important to provide them the tools to get back on their feet.

Help with a financial plan.

A financial plan can help organize your freeloader. According to the financial planning Web site Simplifi, only 5 percent of Americans have a written financial plan, but they have found that if you have a written plan, you are 250 percent more likely to achieve your financial goals.

"If you are going to give [someone] money, put it in the form of a loan," Hobson advises. "That will help the situation and help them take responsibility and accountability for what is going on."

Freeloading Kids

It may seem like special circumstances when the freeloader is your child, but according to Hobson, establishing boundaries is still important.

If they have a job but are living at home, they should be paying rent, she said. Beyond that, consider charging a maintenance fee or requiring that they help out with household chores.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...