Um, When Is It OK To Ask For Money? Here's What An Expert Says

Your Mind on Money: How to Ask For Financial Help

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Money can bring up a lot of emotions: anxiety, guilt, envy, or even hope. At mindbodygreen we feel that to be truly well, the relationships in your life need to be in balance, and that includes having a healthy relationship with money. To get you a little closer to that, each week we'll explore the psychology of personal finance and how we process feelings surrounding it and unpack any hang-ups—all in an attempt to create a more healthy conversation. Welcome to Your Mind on Money. 
your mind on money

I need help financially—is it OK to ask for money? And if so, how can I best do that?

Being short on money can be anxiety-inducing, embarrassing, and, depending on the severity of the situation, life-altering. If you find yourself needing help, here are a few best practices from financial therapist Bari Tessler.

"First, it's important to remember that there's always going to be cash flow dips; that's normal in life, and you don't need to feel bad about the situation," says Tessler. "You can work on salary full time and still be at risk for this: You can be let go, or something else can come up. Of course, for entrepreneurs or freelancers, there's always this process of ebb and flow." With this in mind, Tessler says you should always be saving (if you can) to create a safety net for yourself. So if you're reading this in an abundant time in your life, remember to be putting away.

From there, Tessler says, don't go straight to asking. "Ask yourself, what are the other ways you can bring in income or revenue at this time? Can you sell anything that you are no longer using? Consider your skill sets, feel out the modern economy, and see if there's anything you can offer in a freelance capacity," she says. Perhaps you are RYT-200 certified: Is there a local yoga studio you can teach classes at? Or can you be a copy editor for hire?

"It may not be ideal or your dream job or your passion, but it's a way to bring in money during a transition; it's a way to come into extra money that's empowering," she says. "So that's why I suggest starting there." Of course, if it's a time of crisis—a medical emergency, for example—Tessler says there's no shame in asking for help. "You'll likely find that your community will open up and be more than willing to share and help. In fact, they'll probably want to help."

If you've exhausted your resources, then proceed to the next step: Asking for a loan. "Before you do this, I think it's important to ask a few questions: What is the context of you asking? Is it a pattern and history? If so, have you paid back your last loan?" Your answer to any of these questions will dramatically change your approach to the situation. "You also need to come to terms with the fact that when you ask family for money, there are conditions and a lack of independence."

If it's a pattern, you might consider approaching the situation with a detailed repayment plan in place, so they understand you're serious about returning the money. If it's a one-off thing, and your family or friends have more than the means available? Tessler says there's no harm in asking for help: "Explain the context and situation to them. And if you have a family that can help, and there are no harsh or terrible constraints around the loan, and there's a genuine need, why not? It can be beautiful, if you have that."

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