One of the financial virtues that our society lauds is helping others. We are encouraged to give to charity, and to help those around us when they need financial help. Helping others is an important part of life, and an important part of well-rounded finances.
However, before you focus on others’ finances, it’s a good idea to make sure that your own finances are truly in order. Fix your own financial future before you start working on helping others with their finances.
Can You Really Help if Your Finances are a Mess?
In reality, can you really help someone else with their finances if your own situation is a mess? Are you really in a position to blow off work to babysit someone else’s kids for free if you are drowning in debt? Should you really be giving away items that you could sell to help get your finances back on track?
Take a look at your financial situation. How much can you really do for others when your own money situation is so precarious? In reality, you might actually need to accept help from others, rather than trying to fix someone else’s financial problems. If your own finances aren’t in order, you might only make the problem worse if you try to fix another’s financial difficulties. Instead of really helping in a meaningful way, you might only make things worse for you — and end up becoming a burden to others.
You are More Effective if You are Financially Stable
Your efforts to help those in need of financial assistance will be more effective if you are financially stable yourself. Once you have your own finances in order, you will be better able to provide more meaningful help.
There’s a reason that airlines are adamant that you put your own oxygen mask first, before turning to help someone else. Indeed, last time I flew with my son, the flight attendant came over to me and specifically instructed me to put my own mask on before even thinking about helping my son. This concept is so important that they made a point to tell me in addition to the safety presentation.
The same logic applies to helping others financially. I can’t really help my son secure his own mask if I’ve passed out. I’m much more able to think and take care of my son if I’m taken care of first. And it only takes a few seconds for me to get my own mask in place, most likely leaving time to help my son and take care of him. Financially speaking, you’ll be in a much better place to render more meaningful and helpful aid if you get your own finances in order first. You’ll be able to do more for others, and do it without risking your own situation becoming worse.
While it seems selfish on the surface to take care of yourself first, the reality is that you do need to have your finances in order before you start trying to fix someone else’s finances. Take the time to put your financial house in order, and you’ll have more resources at your disposal to help those in need.