How to Host a Debt Intervention

When you hear the word “intervention,” what comes to mind? These events as portrayed on TV tend to depict a room full of family and friends waiting anxiously for an individual to enter so they can implore them to make a change. This type of scenario tends to be high pressure, perhaps even surprising the entrant so much they turn around and leave rather than face the onslaught of commentary likely to be perceived as criticism about various life choices.

But did you know that financial interventions can actually be effective tools to help a loved one get on the right track with their money? As , “A loving confrontation by a small group of people can help someone gain control of problems such as compulsive spending, excessive financial risk-taking and failure to make necessary plans for the future.”

The key word here? Loving. First and foremost, an intervention must come from a place of genuinely wanting to help a family member or friend make a positive change. Accusatory statements and coercion will often just cause the subject of your intervention to shut down. 

Signs It’s Time for a Debt Intervention

There’s no hard-and-fast rule for knowing when exactly to host a debt intervention for a loved one. Sometimes, the catalyst is noticing a change in a family member or friend. Other times, it requires an overt crisis to alert you to the fact that it may be time to step in.

Here are a few signs that may indicate it’s beneficial to plan a debt intervention:

  • Someone you love is living well beyond their means. While everyone has a right to privacy and autonomy, sometimes someone’s income and expenditures just don’t align. It may be time to intervene if you notice a loved one spending exorbitant amounts of money or making big-ticket purchases to keep up a certain image.
  • Someone you love seems to be experiencing mental health problems exacerbated by their financial situationfueling a vicious cycle. Debt often brings shame, anxiety and denial. Has your family member or friend started acting differently or fretting about serious money problems? Has this person withdrawn from social activities citing money problems, or perhaps concealing the reason altogether? If you feel “worried” about someone you love and suspect money may be at the root of the problem, or that mental health issues may be fueling debt, intervening can be useful.
  • A loved one’s financial habits are starting to affect the people around them. Debt can ripple outward, negatively affecting more than just the individual carrying it. For example, someone’s children may experience the ill-effects of a parent racking up debt. Or someone may make empty promises to family members and friends, accumulating IOUs with no actual way to pay lenders back. These types of empty promises can be red flags that someone needs an intervention sooner rather than later.

Explore Debt Relief Options

Debt interventions, even when loving, can be overwhelming. It helps to research concrete options ahead of time, noting the advantages and disadvantages of each. This way, the recipient of the intervention will feel less like is a faraway hypothetical and more like they can come up with a plan—leaning on the help of family and friends.

The option they choose will depend on their degree of debt. People with significant credit card debt may try to negotiate down the amount they owe to creditors by working with an agency like Freedom Debt Relief. At the very least, they may conduct a balance transfer so they’re not so swamped with high interest rates. Another option is taking out a personal loan to cover debt, provided the person is committed to pay it back over time. Be sure to read online to see if this is a viable option for your financial situation.

Well-meaning intervention holders, take note: Certain situations may call for the , whether it be a financial advisor, mental health professional or a combination of both.

Rule one of how to host a debt intervention is to do it with love. Successful debt interventions can help loved ones eliminate debt-related stress and take control of their finances.

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