Jude had seriously emaciated not because he was sacked at the prime of his banking career but out of the anxiety over how his siblings and other members of his extended family would cope without his financial support.
Jude was the economic oxygen to his relatives and he enjoyed being so regarded.
As a former general manager of a new generation bank, Jude was in a position to have saved and invested more than he now has but he explainably continued to finance the wishes and fantasies of his relatives without factoring in the possibility that he might lose his job unpreparedly.
Jude’s loss of Job was not of his own making.
A very criminally minded subordinate tricked Jude and used his password to approve a fraudulent payment running into millions. The mistake was so indefensible and must be punished and the axe fell on Jude.
Even though Jude was vindicated by the confessional statement of the crooked subordinate which saved him from going to jail, he still had to be dismissed for culpable negligence which implies that he can never work in any financial institution in Nigeria.
That’s banking for you.
Within two months of Jude’s loss of employment, his siblings would not understand his refusal to provide money as he used to. For them, he was being manipulated by his wife to ignore their requests.
“Does it mean that he doesn’t have savings?” Jude’s relatives would ask as would a baby who was suddenly weaned.
Are you the only economic Iroko surrounded by so many grown up shrubs or dependents?
Do you share out your salaries to your siblings or ever needy relatives as soon as you are paid?
Do you borrow to finance non-economic ventures of your relatives so as to retain the title of “great provider”?
If you are currently a sole economic anchor to your people, you may need to learn from the ordeals of people like Jude who had to learn the hard way.
Financial dependency by grown adults is like an addiction. An abrupt withdrawal of the feeding bottle or free money supply is usually resisted by the beneficiaries. The provider may even be harmed in the process. In some instances, an innocent wife of the sole provider is blamed for influencing her husband to forsake his own family and channel their entitlement to her father’s people. It has happened in many places.
A smart economically stronger person in the family should find a way of helping his relations and friends without facilitating or encouraging them to see him or her as a perpetual meal ticket. It may be hard at first but it is usually rewarding.
The first step is to quickly help establish those amongst your relatives that are ready to be useful to themselves.
This settlement plan could be achievable by setting up a scholarship budget for as many as 30% of your annual earnings could accommodate.
A smart sole provider can let his relatives know that he could only pay school fees for brilliant children in the family.
Have you ever witnessed some young men in drinking joints bragging about the wealth of their generous relatives? They feel that the wealth of one is a wealth for all!
Let adults go and find something to do to earn money. Such statements or disposition could be deemed unpleasant but the long term gain is worth it.
One could help support affordable business initiatives of his target relations with little capital but the beneficiary should be ready to learn how to grow capital. The helper could top up the relation’s business capital upon seeing progress.
Never finance a giant business proposal from a relative that requires your bringing 100% of the capital no matter how good the feasibility study is. The money would be blown. People tend to be careless with other person’s money.
As the economically stronger person, take over the welfare of the aged in the family. It is a divine duty. Ignore it and you shall be ignored at old age. It’s an inescapable karma.
You could contain your costs by providing foodstuffs via a vendor and paying medical bills directly to the hospitals if you are far from home. Internet or mobile banking has solved payment problems. Many hired care-givers tending the elderly usually lay underground fortune pipes to drain your provisions for aged relatives. Some care-giving relations are not innocent either.
You should also gauge to know when any of your relatives is in dire straits that require your monetary interventions like emergency health issues or some other reasonable needs. But, keep records and check if such requests would become repetitive. Decline subsequent requests if you feel that it’s being abused.
However, it makes sense to quickly settle one’s siblings and focus on your wife and children. There is no assurance that your relations would help raise your children or help your widow when you are gone. Hence, one must save and leave some investment for his immediate family.
Men who sideline their wives in favour of their siblings, as it concerns their wealth, are not wise at all. They don’t read history.
A man’s assets are better with his widow than in the hands of his beloved siblings. He could hedge the risk of another man colluding with his widow to disinherit his kids by creating a Trust or Will.
There is a smart guy I respect so much, who selected three of his relations and empowered them economically. They now share the burden of economic needs of other not- so-endowed family members.
Anyone who feels good as the only source of sunlight to his or her siblings or relatives and refuses to empower them when he or she can, has succeeded in making himself or herself a one-eyed man in the land of the economic blind or an Iroko in a Sahel Savanna. When a wind of downturn comes, there won’t be supporting trees to lean on.
Every well- to-do person must not fail to realize that as the treasurer of the family, that wealth or good fortune, like a visitor, has no permanent residence. It is fungible.
Therefore, stop intoxicating your relations with easy handouts. Empower them now otherwise, your inability to continue to send money to them even during a period of lack would be a source of great pain to you. They may even plot to eliminate you for wasting their time.
Anayo M. Nwosu, hails from Nnewi, a graduate of University of Nigeria, Nsukka, his also the Head of Department, Transport, Aviation and Emerging Multinationals, Corporate Banking at Keystone Bank Limited, you could also reach him on Facebook.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.