Family and Relative Economics

Family and Relative Economics


This is a follow up article to Are You ‘Sharing Poverty.’ It has thoughts and insights that can transform your views on caring for your relatives and loved ones.

Very close family relationships can either build you financially or drive you broke, because our relationship bonds tend to cloud our judgement on financial decisions. It takes great wisdom, discernment and discipline to resist the temptation to over spend on those who are closer to our hearts. However if one has to be successful economically you have to apply wisdom and care.

Three Categories of Needs

There are three classes of general needs; 1) Basic needs, that is, food, shelter and security. 2) Luxury needs which one can do without, and 3) Empowerment needs, that is, ones at the end make the person more productive or self-reliant. Our expenses fall into these classes.

The way we treat the people under our care revolve around two ideologies. The first ones says, ‘I grew up in poor environment. We suffered a lot. My brothers and sisters (or children) must not suffer as well. So I will continue to help them no matter what, and they do not have to work hard because I did it for them. I will make sure they live the life that I wish I lived.’

On the other hand one might say ‘I grew up in poor environment. We suffered a lot. My brothers and sisters (or children) must be empowered and work hard so that they will not suffer as well. So I will empower them so that they become self-reliant. I have to work hard and live the life that I wish I lived.’

Relative Economics Humour

Here is some humour to make it easier to understand;

  • Economic Out Patient (EOP) is a term used in the Millionaire Next Door. It is a situation where by an adult person in the working age group is constantly financial supported by another person. The person or persons have no disability but require support for food, clothing entertainment and other consumables. In most cases the individuals do not work or have ‘low income.’
  • A star’ is a self-motivated resourceful individual who has the ability to multiply economic resources. For example if you send him/her to find a job, not only will he/she come with the job, he/she will also report that he is already in friendship with the manager and knows where he stay etc. These individual always make life better for themselves and others.
  • A ‘dead horse’ is a person who no matter how much motivation or resources you put, he/she will not produce much. They always find a reason why each attempt failed. In most cases they behave like clever character. Many of the reasons seem to be reasonable, and they normally blame the environment and not him/herself.
  • Deep hole’ is a situation created by a ‘dead horse’ after draining all the financial resources from others.
  • Sharing poverty’ (vs empowering) is a situation where economic productive individual consistently share their earnings with unproductive adult individuals (in working age group) on consumables to the point that the productive persons standard of living is compromised. Often the productive persons use resource meant to improve him/herself to meet the needs of the unproductive person. At the end both are worse off than before.

The idea is not to stop supporting a ‘dead horse’ but rather be aware of the status. Perhaps you may decide not to continue giving the dead horse premium ‘stock feed’ but instead give to ‘low grade’ so as to save resources. It is true that no matter how much economic resource that you put into certain persons, they may not achieve as you expect. The quicker you accept this fact, the earlier you will realise the need for a change of approach. In life our levels of gifting, intelligence and wisdom varies in different areas.

Family is Part of Your Calling

You can choose friends, jobs, teams etc, but not family. God appointed them for you. Hence your family is part of your calling. As you accept this, God will give you the grace to be a blessing to them. Seek peace with extended family. As you do it, do not lose you peace. Your personal peace is priceless.

For couples; put up economic and social systems to handle your family as well as extend family. And be mature enough to be consistent in your approach to different relatives. The systems should reflect your values, goals and environment, and be fair. Adjust the system with time. Accept your limitation. With time the systems will define your culture and identity. As a couple if everyone does as they want, or through force, economic success is surely not coming your way. At times compromise, maturity and enlightenment are needed to put up fair and effective systems in a family.

And When It’s Party Time

As far as friends and relatives are concerned, know that they have a right to have a big party without inviting you. Know that when they win lotto, they may not share a cent with you. Even if you share your heart and lungs with them, remember that each individual is independent. These days ‘blood is getting thinner than water.’

On this sobering thought, we end here today.

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