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You cannot solve everyone’s financial problems

You cannot solve everyones financial problems

You cannot solve everyone’s financial problems

If you are kind-hearted, chances are you are carrying around a burden of guilt thinking you are supposed to solve the financial problems of everyone around you. If you are the most well to do in your family, you feel you have to say ‘yes’ to every demand for money from family members. Same if you are the ‘richest’ in your circle of friends.

On the surface, trying to help looks very noble. However, if you look at the big picture, you may be making it worse for yourself and the people you are trying to help. Let’s look at some perspectives.

Are you helping?

We all have our journey to make. There is a process to go through before progress manifests. There are valuable lessons to be learned along the way as we journey on. When a friend mismanages money, gets into trouble and runs to you for a bailout;

Are you helping the person?

What lesson will the person learn?

How will the person make progress if there are no lessons learned?

Does your intervention make the stronger financially or you are creating a dependency?

Very often, we are not helping; we are interfering with the process. I have watched on TV  uniformed Police officers jeopardise an undercover operation. An undercover operation painstakingly put into operation by plain clothe detectives after months of meticulous planning is underway, only for uniformed Police officers who have no clue what is going on to barge in and disrupt everything. All they needed to have done was to call their bosses and report their observations. Rather, they want to be the heroes to save the town hence barge in with guns blazing. They blow the cover of the undercover detectives thus setting back the whole investigation.  The intention was to help, but they ended up doing more harm than good.

If you stumble upon the pupa of a butterfly struggling to come out of its shell, you are not helping by cutting open the shell to allow it to drop out. You are essentially killing it. The struggle to emerge from the shell forces fluid to its wings, making it strong enough to fly shortly after that. If you tamper with the process, the result is a butterfly with very feeble wings falling out of the shell. It will not be able to fly. It crawls on the ground until a passing prey eats it up. You killed it.

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Trying to please others

One of the reasons we find it hard to say ‘No’ to friends and family is because we want them to like us. We don’t want to offend them. Wanting to be loved is a legitimate human need. However, it should not take away our freedom to say ‘No’.

When is the last time we told someone who came to seek financial assistance from us ‘No’? Rather than say ‘no’ plainly, we start to go round in circles, speaking parables. Saying we don’t have the money is our favourite excuse. We don’t want to hurt the person’s feelings. I remember the good a relative did to me when I went borrowing for an event. He gave me a thorough dressing down. He stated in very clear terms that he is not giving me the money to sink in an event I clearly could not afford at that time. He reminded me of the fact that I earned a good salary and should learn to cut my coat according to my cloth, not my inflated size. That rebuke stung. It stung so bad I never tried borrowing to fund frivolities to this day. That is the wound inflicted by a good friend. It makes you straighten up. A flaky friend tells you what you want to hear.

Are you strong enough to help?

Another issue involved is your ability to assist. You can only truly assist another if you are strong enough.  A rescue car must be on firm ground and have sufficient horsepower to pull out a truck stuck in the mud. I have seen rescue attempts on TV whereby the rescue vehicle goes down trying to rescue another. They end up with two stuck vehicles, which compound the problem.

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That is what happens when you attempt a premature rescue. If you are not careful, you go down too. Some banks have gone under due to the weight of bad debts. They lent money to customers beyond their capacity to absorb the bad debts. If that can happen to a bank, then how about you? When you are standing on a shaky financial foundation, what makes you think you can lift another person?

Wisdom in giving

I am not advocating we block our ears to cries for help from those around us. It is indeed more blessed to give than to receive. There are genuine emergencies we can be of help, even without being asked. There are folks around us that genuinely need help. There are also some demands that come masked as emergencies that if you are not discerning, you can fall for it. I remember vividly a friend who had a medical ’emergency’ and sought my assistance. For some reason, I did not allow my emotions to get the better of me. I felt a restraint and eventually did not give. I later discovered she was trying to whip up my emotions to get money from me. She knew if she told me what she needed the money for, I would likely say no.

You need wisdom and discernment to know when to say yes and when to say no. You cannot solve everyone’s problems. Even the government is seeking public-private partnerships to raise funds for projects. You are not atlas or the saviour of the world, carrying everyone’s burden. Be humble to know your limitations and grow capacity first before you try lifting what may be beyond your capacity.

For questions or comments email; to order the book PSFFI, call or SMS to 0808 275 0980. Visit Follow me on twitter @usiere


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