I’m writing this post because, well, I was asked to by my dear friend after having this conversation with her this morning. She felt that she needed it in black and white so here goes. this is for you darling!
I’m a daddy’s girl. My dad is amazing ( I’m biased, but I’m allowed to be) because the life lessons that he taught me through not only my experiences but his as well are pivotal for me.
I have found myself in some interesting situations in my earlier life that had placed me in some really difficult situations financially. I have borrowed money from people not knowing how I will repay them and I have borrowed money that I did not have in order to help people who could not pay me back. In my previous post I mentioned a case when I borrowed money and was left with paying that debt back even if it wasnt really mine.
This post isnt only about borrowing to and from people, this post is also about credit cards and loans. because that is where I find we all fall short. In my twenties I was in so much debt I could not breathe. I had a loan that was not mine, I had taken it out to help someone but it became my problem, I had 3 credit cards and I earned a salary that was not enough to cover everything. I also had rent to pay and a car to maintain and I was just living beyond my means. I was so naive to everything that the world was about and was just worried about having more and what the image was that I was portraying to the world. In return I found myself having to borrow money from people just to get by. It was a vicious circle of crazy that I had no business being in so young in life.
The pivotal moment in my life was when my person passed away. I had just lost my cousin and my aunt in the space of a week and then just over a month later Orrin died. That lead to a series of choices in time that lead me to a debt free life. I moved cities, had a baby and after having a baby realised that I could not live like that any longer. I drew up a budget in 2008, after the birth of my kid, where my mother had to step in and assist finacially because I was just not coping. I went back to work after my maternity leave, put together a strict budget over 4 years to pay off all R70k of the debt I was in and religiously stuck to my plan until I owed nobody nothing! I was debt free by 33 years old. I refused to own another credit card or take another loan or open another store account for at least 3 years after that, I even bought my car cash because I was not going to be in debt.
My father and I had a conversation, before I drew up my budget. His words changed my life. He said to me, ‘you have to let it go, forgive them for not being true to their word, lets pay off this debt and give it to him, free yourself from the anger you feel’ What my father didnt realise at the time was that his words freed me, from the bondage of anger and resentment. Not only did I forgive the person that I took the loan for, but I also had to forgive myself for making such silly decisions regarding all the credit I had.
Both my parents helped me pay off my debt, I worked my butt off too, but I would have never done it in 4 years if I didnt have their assistance. I was blessed to learn this lesson and I have a few tips to help you if you ever find yourself in this situation.
- Never borrow money with the expectation of getting it back, if you borrow money, treat it as a gift and never expect it to come back, if you NEED it to come back, DONT BORROW IT OUT because the chances are that the person doesnt have it now and may not have it in 2 weeks like they said. If the money finds its way back to you, great! Recieve it graciously, but if it doesnt , let it go graciously.
- Dont enable a borrower – If a person is struggling there is nothing wrong with helping them out. If they continuously ask you for money and pay you back , great , but if they are not paying you back… are you actually helping this person by giving them money all the time, or are you enabling a bad habit?
- If a person asks you for R1000 for something they need. Offer to give them half and make them put effort into finding ways to recieve the other half. If they are not grateful for the half you gave them and complain, never help them again, because if you extent a finger they should not try to grab your whole hand. Meeting someone halfway is more than you had to do and its generous of you to even do that.
- If you are in a situation where YOU need to borrow money from someone and you are unsure of how you will pay them back, BE CLEAR that you will make every effort to pay them back but you are not sure how long it will take! Dont lie in order to get what you want.
- Do not spend more than you earn … It not a very clever thing to do.
- Do not borrow what you dont have, you will put yourself in debt and be liable.
- Money can flow into your life just as easy as it can flow out of your life… remember that!
- Don’t be stinjy, if you have more than you need and you are able to make a difference then you should be doing that! There are many people who can do with assistance even if they are not asking.
- Just because a person doesnt have things, this does not make them less of a person, given half the chance that you had, they probably would have learned to fly even higher than yourself. So be kind and respect EVERYONE.
I hope this helps. Love yourself enough to make wise choices.
Live your life with open eyes and see what is in front of you.