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Monday 5 August 2019

How To Move From a Financial Setback to a Spring Back

Money is an integral and essential part of everyday living. In every nation and culture of the world, it is used as a medium of exchange of goods and services. If you have a good/product or service of value, then people are willing to exchange their hard-earned money for your good or service. In other words, money is a storehouse of VALUE; it follows value creation. If you need money, offer a product or service of value to the right audience and money will follow.

Money being offered in exchange for purchasing a product
Money Being Exchanged For A house (Value)

The quality of one’s life is directly related to and influenced by the amount of money one has. Therefore the lack of money is often seen as a setback and is a source of concern for many people. To militate against this, people are encouraged to save for the rainy day; that is, to put aside some money from their income for the future often unexpected situations.

Life, however, has a way of throwing up certain situations that oftentimes one’s savings isn’t enough to cater for. For example, the occurrence of a debilitating accident or the life-threatening diagnosis of a terminal illness or disability. Or the news of a natural disaster like fire or flood that cripples one’s means of livelihood. Permit me to elucidate with my own experience.

I was in the top management position of a company. I was earning a six-figure income, had a car, lived in my own house with a lovely woman as a wife. I went on a yearly vacation with my family. I had some form of savings as well as investments. I was comfortable. Life couldn’t be better. Or so I thought!

Then life happened! I lost my job. I was still trying to come to terms with a no job situation when my father fell ill and was hospitalised. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He started receiving treatment but eventually gave up the ghost about two months after.

Ten days after my father passed on, my father-in-law followed. Suddenly, I had two burials in my hands! Then my country went into a recession and everything just went southwards afterwards. By the time I was through with both burials, my savings were depleted.

“Man born of a woman is of few days and those days are full of trouble.”

I couldn’t afford most of the things I was accustomed to. It got so bad that even to feed my family and eat became a problem. Looking inwards for solutions, I converted my car into an e-hailing service and was driving for two of the popular e-hailing brands in my country.

Amid all these challenges, my blood pressure shot up and that began another cycle of medical expenses. Talk about being in trouble, I was in trouble! It doesn’t only rain but pours! 
A man being despaired because of financial issues
A Man showing signs of financial despair

However tough times don’t last but tough people do. Also, there is a silver lining behind every dark cloud.

Job said that 

“It was good for me to be afflicted. All the days of my affliction would I wait until my change comes.

One of the silver linings I re-discovered during the turbulent period of my life was my innate ability to write. Like I mentioned in one of my recent posts, I had been properly schooled in the art of speaking and writing English Language and as it were, I was under-utilizing that ability.

LUMIE CONCEPTS was the product of that period of deep soul searching. Even though I started it as a leisurely activity, with a renewed focus, vigour and determination, it has today given me a platform with which I am communicating with you, my esteemed reader.

Here are some nuggets I gleaned from that period of my life in overcoming my financial difficulties:

1) Savings is a must.

Even though it wasn’t enough, the little amount I had gathered during the period I had a job, carried me some way into my turbulent period. I cannot imagine how the immediate period after I lost my job would have been if I didn’t have something saved away! Especially with coping with my father’s illness and eventual passing away.

I therefore strongly encourage a savings culture.

Financial experts recommend removing your savings first from your income before expenses. 15-20% of your income should be dedicated to your savings.

2) Leverage on your social capital.

Nothing reveals who your true friends are like troubled and turbulent times! They are a good prism through which to sieve out fake friends from the true ones, for true friends will stick with you through thick and thin. I suggest surrounding yourself with this network of loyal and faithful people Proactively invest in their lives and circumstances as well as those in need when the going is good for you. These people would turn around to be very important social capital when the going gets tough. They will confirm the saying that ‘your network is your net worth’.

3) Look for the silver lining within the dark cloud.

There is always a silver lining behind every dark cloud of life. You, however, have to search for it for its usually hidden.

Instead of whining and complaining at your misfortunes, I suggest that you observe a period of deep soul searching and introspection. There must be something(s) you can do with what you already have. The following questions might help you find some answers:

  • What are my natural talents and abilities?
  • What am I good at using my hands?
  • What skills did I acquire during my paid employment or previous business?
  • What goods or service can I offer my immediate environment in exchange for cash?
  • What do I already have (e.g. a car) that I can use to generate money?

Write down the answers to these questions and carefully consider each one of them. At this juncture of life, nothing is too small or humiliating to do. Swallow your pride. There is dignity in labour.

4) Consider obtaining a loan from a financial institution.

I say you proceed with this option with A LOT OF CAUTION AND CONSIDERATION. A loan if properly utilized can be a lifesaver. It can also wreak severe havoc so this is not a step you should take with levity.

Never obtain a loan to fund your lifestyle without a carefully thought out plan for repayment. Your bank or financial institution would not spare you. I recommend getting a loan after pondering through step 3 above and you have a clear path of business outlined. Again, you can leverage on your true friends (social capital) for this. You can read more about loans here.

5) Finally and probably the most important step is to seek the face of the Almighty for help and direction on the best way out of your present predicament.

 “ Call on me and I would answer and show you great and mighty things that you have not known.
 “For my thoughts towards you are thoughts of good and not evil to give you a future and a hope,” 

says the Almighty God.

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