My parents give the worst advice
Question: I have been in business for a few years now since graduation. Not a month goes by that my parents don’t give me advice on how to handle my money. They tell me things like not to pay bills at night, practice buena mano in selling and to put money no matter how small the value is in a new wallet. I find these mere superstition and of little value. Don’t I get to choose how to manage my own money now? Asked at Ask a Friend, Ask Efren free service at www.personalfinance.ph, SMS and Facebook.
Answer: Let’s try to understand each of these beliefs of your parents. They say you should not pay bills at night as that means cash outflow just when you are about to go to bed. I am going out on a limb here to say it may be because they perceive it as bad luck, like encountering a thief in the night.
But why should you not pay your bills at night? After a hard day’s work, the evening is probably the only time for you to pay your bills. In this day and age of high tech, you need not fear given the security protocols protecting online transactions and the speed at which your payments are credited to your account.
Your parents might be arguing from a time when such technological marvels were nonexistent. But at the same time, the thief in the night that they may be referring to is also fatigue. You must admit that a person performs better when his mind is fresh. So, as a compromise, would you find it too objectionable to pay your bills in the morning?
Buena mano is the practice of giving discounts to the first customer of the day. While the belief may be that this practice brings good luck, it is actually an effective selling technique. Go to a wet market early in the morning and ask for the price of any item. The vendor may give you an initial price but will settle for a lower price, whether you ask for it or not, just to move the item. Then they will say, buena mano lang. This will give your brain the added incentive of taking the item because, as behavioral economists say, the brain cannot resist passing up on what it perceives to be a good offer.
When you get or give a new wallet, the practice is to put money in it for good luck. Mind you, there is no lucky wallet. As the saying goes, easy come, easy go. With wallets, is it not as easy to put money in as to take it out?
Perhaps what your parents want is to promote the habit of saving. Here’s a trick to help keep money in wallets. Always keep crisp bills of large denomination in one section, and the dirty and crumpled ones of small denomination in another. Your brain is repulsed by things that look dirty and gives little value to loose change, it will tend to get rid of the crumpled bills more than the crisp ones. One last thing though, keep most of your money in investments to keep them out of sight and out of mind to avoid the temptation to spend.
I am sure that whatever advice your parents give you has meaning beneath the surface.
As to your right to manage your own money, you have to admit that you entered this world with nothing and that you will also leave it with nothing. All the things you to start with in life, like your strength and wisdom, were all lent to you. Your rental obligation is to profit from your strength and wisdom to enjoy life for yourself and others. And every bit of advice to achieve that end helps.
In law, usufruct is the legal right of using and enjoying the fruits or profits of something belonging to another. But you also have the obligation of preserving that something. In the larger circle of life, what you need to do is called stewardship.
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