Asked by Anonymous

Recently I can tell my best friend has been struggling with some bills, although he doesn’t want to tell me. How can I help him without humiliating him?

I come from a family that is really well-to-do, and my best friend comes from a really poor family.

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  • HC Tang
    HC Tang, Financial Enthusiast, Budgeting at The Society
    Level 8. Wizard
    Answered on 21 Nov 2018

    hi

    You're a really good friend and your best friend is very lucky to have you as his best friend. Not becuase you're really well to do but rather he's lucky and blessed to have a best friend that cares and doesn't put $ above friendship / relationship. Genuinne friendship above all else is hard to find :) Cheerish :)

    I'd say best help to someone struggling to is to guide / teach him how to manage the sitautions. In this case, could be finance / budgeting.

    Ask him out for a drinks or whatever activities / sports events that you guys always hang out where you know he is most relax and happy at, then just casually ask him how is he doing lately, how is things going on, futher probe into the details of things related to the area that you find he need help the most so that you may understand what is the area that he needs help.

    if is bill to pay then on the place that you guys go, eg Sports hall / restaurant, then ask the manager or waiter for a help to say and pretend that you guys are the lucky winner today for their anniversary gift and pretend that he has won a cash of certain amount (make sure you've double it so that 50% of the winnings is able to cover the bills that he owe). Next you guys happily split the prize 50/50 such that 50% of the amout still covers his outstanding bills.

    For long term financial planning help, you can make excuse and sign up for useful courses on financial /budgeting etc as his birthday or christmas present or call it Buddy's Anniversary gift!

    Hope it helps! Cheers! :)

    Comments (2)
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    • Question Poster
      Wa, elaborate plan haha. I like the last advice, but it's not really that he spends too much. Just that we are still in Uni, and he works part time. He had to stop a couple of students because of time constraints, that's why these few days he can't earn as much. He just comes from a poor background that's why things have been tough for him. Thanks for the advice!
      21 Nov 2018
    • HC Tang
      He's a hardworking one. Maybe you can see how he plan his time table and speak to your father to help adjust between the part time work and tuition so that he can take up more tuition on weekend and night, this way may help increase his income. Both of you work hard and find some ideas to do / try, after Uni go work for some years then try to do a start up together if you're both keen (beware to maintain professionalism as work together might cause a lot of frictions and may cost friendship). However, it is still the best way besides educations to get a better life financially. You can come out with initial seed fund and both work hard to make dreams come true! :)
      21 Nov 2018
  • Patricia JL
    Patricia JL
    Level 2. Rookie
    Answered on 21 Nov 2018

    You're real sweet and your friend is amazing as well!

    If I were him, would appreciate it if my friends ate at more affordable options, e.g. canteens, hawker centres, and suggest activities that are fun to do but also not $10-20 at one shot. It would help if you act more frugal when you are with him, so he doesn't feel out of place. It is hard to bring up financial matters (especially if you can't gauge what's an appropriate moment to talk about it but HC Tang did a good explanation in his third para) so you can consider writing him an encouragement note and tell him how you are able to support him emotionally/financially.

    Honestly, it is hard for a Uni student to suddenly breakthrough financially, but it helps when there are supportive friends.

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    • Elsa Goh
      This is the most sensible answer. Anything more than this would feel like charity, and it sounds like that is the last thing ur friend wants.
      24 Nov 2018
  • Lee Jiahui
    Lee Jiahui
    Level 4. Prodigy
    Answered on 21 Nov 2018

    Support doesnt need to be spoken, biggest support come from actions, help with school work or being a friend or a treat here and there...

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  • Jayden Ng
    Jayden Ng, Engineer at ABC
    Level 2. Rookie
    Answered on 25 Nov 2018

    simple. no need to help. he will come to you if he needs. that's being practical.

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  • Yong Kah Hwee
    Yong Kah Hwee
    Level 6. Master
    Answered on 21 Nov 2018

    It's the little things, like being there when he needs help, doing some nice stuff for him every now and then. Let him know that you're always there if he needs you. He will appreciate it!

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  • Lok Yang Teng
    Lok Yang Teng
    Level 6. Master
    Answered on 21 Nov 2018

    Is he unable to pay due to poor management or simply too low income? Both have different ways. If it's the former, you can suggest changes to be made to cut down on bills he has to pay. If it's the latter and your friend is already very frugal, you may need to find professional advice for this.

    Comments (2)
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    • Question Poster
      He comes from a poor family. He works part time, and we are in University. I work part-time at my father's company, and he pays me really well, so I'm all set for now. If I'm not wrong he usually teaches tuition, but cos of time constraint had to give up a couple of private ones. He's pretty frugal too, and I try to treat him sometimes, but he's the nicest bro ever, and doesn't ever try to take advantage of the situation
      21 Nov 2018
    • HC Tang
      Very nice friend. You guys keep being the best then can be the best friends for life till old :)
      21 Nov 2018