Learning to Ask For Financial Help

ask for financial help

I’ve never found it easy to talk about money. Most of us have some kind of issues with this in the American culture, although those issues vary widely depending on your personal financial psychology. For myself, I’ve mostly just dealt with all of my money all on my own forever. However, I’m learning how to ask for financial help. Moreover, I’m finding out invaluable to do so.

Asking For Help Is Hard

Asking for any kind of help is hard for some of us. The American culture is all about individualism. We often feel like we should be able to do it all ourselves. I don’t think that asking for help is any sign of weakness, although some people certainly struggle with that. For me, the conversations are hard. I had to learn how to communicate about my needs. In fact, I had to work through a lot of stuff before I even knew how to identify my needs. Over the years, I’ve learned how to ask for help in general. However, learning to ask for financial help as been a little bit tougher.

The Money Beliefs That Make Asking for Help Hard For Me

I’ve spent enough time studying my own psychology, to know that my mind makes up a lot of stories. I have certain thoughts that make it challenging for me to ask for financial help. Some of the things that I believe under the surface, even if I know better when thinking logically, include:

  • It’s shameful to talk about money problems.
  • People will feel like they have to help me, and I don’t want to make anyone else uncomfortable.
  • I’ll be indebted to people who help me financially.
  • I should be able to handle my finances. Asking for help means I can’t.
  • The fact that I need help is an indicator that I’m not doing well enough.

I dropped out of high school. And college a few times. And law school. Most of that was due to at-the-time-undiagnosed depression. Although I’ve had traditional jobs, mostly I’ve spent my life working as a freelance writer. And sometimes it feels like anytime I’m not making enough money, I’m failing and should “just go get a real job.”

Talking About Money Helps Dispel These Thoughts

These thoughts can swirl in my head forever. However, I’ve learned (am still learning) how to talk about money. With a therapist, with friends, with partners, with family. This isn’t even about learning to ask for financial help. Instead,  it’s about just learning how to discuss money and my relationship with it. Often those conversations help ground me. People who know and love me remind me:

  • I have supported myself in San Francisco for over 15 years.
  • The work I do IS real work. I use writing to help lots of people in many ways including growing their businesses.
  • Despite debt (school debt, medical debt, business debt), I always pay my bills on time. In fact, I always pay my rent early.
  • Almost everyone is dealing with some version of this.

Asking for Financial Help Actually Helps

In recent years, I’ve learned how to ask for financial help. I’ve learned that the more I do it, the better I get at it. More importantly, I’ve learned that there are all kinds of resources out there and I learn about them by asking. So, I might not ask a friend for a loan. However, I might ask if they know of any way that I could access lending information. And they point me to a grant or a new solution that I didn’t come up with myself.

I take business classes where teachers are thrilled when you ask about financial help. I keep learning the ways that are comfortable for me to ask for financial help. If that’s something that’s challenging for you, I encourage you to work on it. It’s worth it.

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