Covid-19: How can you help a friend facing money problems?

They may seem stressed, have unopened bills or repeatedly ask for loans (Photo: Shutterstock)

Sadly, as Covid continues to wreak destruction on our finances, more people than ever are struggling with money issues – and are in desperate need of help.

They may seem stressed, have unopened bills or repeatedly ask for loans. If they are spending erratically, they may turn up in clothes or in a new car you know they couldn’t possibly afford.

According to money coaches and debt experts, embarking on a so called ‘money intervention’ may be difficult, but it can prove hugely rewarding.

Money coach Emma Maslin says: ‘Most people’s finances have been touched in some way by what is going on. Even if their incomes haven’t fallen, the uncertainty makes them worry about what it means for their job, household budget and home. Starting a conversation about such issues with someone you suspect has money problems might lead them to open up about their financial situation.’

Another indirect approach he suggests would be to say: ‘I’ve noticed you look a little under the cosh lately – you don’t look your normal effervescent self. Is there anything you want to talk about?’

If you are able to start a supportive conversation, don’t think you have to have all the answers. Money coach Fanny Snaith says it is more empowering to help someone realise they can find the resources they need to help themselves. She says: ‘If you have create a sense of calm, it can even be fun to find answers together.’

Trying to help a friend with finances is hard – and often fruitless. Butler says: ‘If someone you love doesn’t want your help, remember it’s not your fault.’