Due to price increases and high energy costs, more and more people are financially stuck. It is not pleasant to see a loved one struggling with money problems. But is it a good idea to pay someone else’s bills or shop for them? You should be aware of this.By Chantal van Wees
“A friend had a difficult time mentally, came under the Swedish Health Insurance Act and then lost her job. She applied for administration,” says Ellen Hennekens from NVVK’s interest organization for debt advisers.
“I lent her money so she could start over with a clean slate. I was allowed to keep an eye on her finances so I knew she could pay them back. We were also well on our way to a structural solution. “
“I got her to sign a loan agreement with clarity about the repayment in installments. It was a good stick in the door, and fortunately it went well. However, I would not quickly recommend giving money just like that.”
Giving money affects your relationship
Giving money rarely contributes to a structural solution, says Hennekes. “If you want to give money, it is better to support a good cause financially, such as the Salvation Army or Regenboog Groep, HVO Querido or the Food Bank.”
“They are close to their target group, know what people really need and also have the networks to help people find a structural solution. Furthermore, it also affects your relationship if you financially support someone you know personally.”
The moment you become dependent on someone else, you begin to feel different from those around you.
The latter agrees with financial psychologist Anne Abbenes: “Many studies have been done on the relationship that arises between the recipient and the giver. The moment you become dependent on someone else, you start to feel differently about those around you.”
“If you buy something that doesn’t meet your basic needs, for example, cookies, you feel guilty. It also creates an unpleasant feeling for the giver, and if the addiction continues, irritation can arise at a certain point.”
Looking for a long-term solution to money problems
According to both experts, the solution lies in looking for a long-term solution to the money problem together. Abbenes: “In times of great economic problems, your animal brain is in pain, so the part that allows you to calculate or think logically is turned off. We call this economic paralysis.”
Her advice: listen, normalize the feeling by saying that the person with the financial misery is not to blame. And go to church to ask for help.
Listen and seek help together so that someone can really get into calmer financial waters.
Hennekens also sees that the municipality has a central function when it comes to a citizen’s money concerns. “They have the best overview of the social card, available funds and can help with what someone is entitled to and how to apply for it.”
“If you want to mean something to a friend or family member in money problems, stand next to someone with money problems,” continues Hennekens. “Listen and seek help together so that someone can really get into calmer financial waters. You simply do not help by throwing money into a bottomless pit.”
Report gifts if you receive benefits
It is also good to remember that you must officially report donations to the municipality if you receive social benefits. Hennekens: “The Participation Act is strict and intense. You have to report everything you get extra because of the disclosure obligation. If you don’t do it, the consequences are enormous for the time being.”
There are more and more municipalities where some are exempt. In the municipality of The Hague, for example, since last year you can receive 1,200 euros a year in gifts (for example money or groceries) without having to report this. In Amsterdam they use the same amount. So check with your municipality which policy applies there.
Unfortunately, this content cannot be displayedWe do not have permission for the necessary cookies. Please accept cookies to view this content.