For many in Arkansas, having the financial ability to help loved ones in times of need is a privileged position. Individuals who have worked hard and managed to get ahead are often happy to lend a hand to a family member when he or she needs a monetary boost. In a perfect world, that generosity is reciprocated if and when the need arises. For some, however, the end result of a lifetime of helping others is personal bankruptcy, an outcome that few anticipate.

Family members reach out to help loved ones in a variety of ways. Some cover the cost of higher education for children or grandchildren; others purchase vehicles for milestone birthdays or to mark certain life accomplishments. It is also common for parents to assist their adult children in the purchase of their first home.

Regardless of how and when a family member helps others, this kindness should always be repaid down the road. Unfortunately, that is not always the outcome. This is especially true for families in which financial assistance has been given to help children with addiction, or when criminal activity and the need for legal assistance is the cause of the expenses.

As parents, it is important for Arkansas residents to feel comfortable reaching out to children and grandchildren for help when the need arises. It is easy to become used to the role of provider and to feel that asking for help is a sign of weakness. In reality, however, financial help should always be a reciprocal process, and individuals who are considering personal bankruptcy may choose to speak with family members before taking that step.

Source:, “Financial generosity for family is a two-way street“, Scott Burns, Nov. 13, 2015