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The Financial Guilt trap

Yesterday I had a long conversation with a childhood friend Sisi A who wanted a shoulder to cry on and a listening ear to vent.

It was obvious that she was overwhelmed by the financial obligations she is responsible for monthly and could not see an end to it. Frustration has set in and in her words, “it feels like I toil for 30days and empty all into a basket”.

Life held no appeal for her and the hopelessness in her eye tugged at my heart. This was another wearied soul at the mercy of life happening.

I smiled into her eyes and assured her firmly ” this too shall pass, nothing lasts forever,” while unconsciously massaging her hands.

As she poured out her heart I wept within too, for I had walked this path some years ago and understood how the feeling of hopelessness can easily spiral into depression.

Unknown to my dear Sisi A, she was already on the verge of a mental collapse; this venting session was just a temporal therapy. I have been down this alley, so I understood the signs.

Tolu, Sisi A’s husband of 22 years, was a kind hearted man, very softly spoken and always ready to help. I remembered these attributes from our days at the University of Ibadan. I have not seen him in a long while as work placed Sisi A and I in different cities yet our friendship remained intact. My recent voluntary early retirement had me move back to Ibadan (Oyo state), a once very quiet and serene city.

I got tired of living in the fast paced city of New York with its insatiable lust for success, wealth and never ending career ladders. People thought my ‘village people’ had finally caught up with me when I made the decision to move back to my roots. It is a story for another time.

Tolu’ s booming rice importation business came to abrupt halt when the federal government placed a ban on the importation of grains. His attempt to divert into smuggling from the border towns led to a huge loss when his trucks load of rice was confiscated. This took most of his capital and savings and repeated attempts at new businesses also failed.  The once gregarious man had lost the confidence in his ability to do anything productive.

Sisi A became the sole provider for the family, her monthly income which was previously left untouched month after month has become the needful fall back for their home. The last 5 months have been especially difficult as her salary could not accommodate the bills lined up at the end of each month, and Tolu is still struggling to get back his business.

Sisi A is frustrated and at her wits end, she can no longer sustain their comfortable life style, even after cutting off a lot of their luxuries. The recurring bills for utility, water, estate service charge, feeding and the kids care must be met.

As my friend bemoaned her fate, I thought of a thousand and one ways to help her and most importantly pull her from the snare of depression that was fast closing in.

Most people find themselves in Sisi A’s situation where they work so hard to pay bills and meet every day exigencies. At the end of each month, once the salary or projected proceeds come in and get disbursed, they get back to being broke. This is a very awkward position to be and it breeds feelings of anger, frustration and sometimes depression.

Here are a few tips to consider:

  1. Pay yourself – after 30 days of stretching your mental and intellectual capacity to create wealth for yourself or others, reward yourself  for the work well done😏with a percentage of the salary. Experts recommend 10% to 20% of your salary as payment to self which can be placed in a high interest yielding investment. @wealthng can help


  1. Stick to a budget that helps prioritize your spending in the order of necessity – Utilities, food, transportation/fuel /car maintenance, family welfare (tuition, clothing) should be priority. Income not prioritized will like be spent as the needs, wants or demand arises. And the needs never end.


  1. Find an alternative source of income – I won’t over flog this, just an additional business/hobby or side gig that can contribute to your honey pot weekly or monthly can ease off the financial pressure. This additional income will not happen in a jiffy, work at it deliberately and consistently till it yields the fruits.


  1. Have healthy support partner or friend(s) to vent – there will period that expectations exceed the earnings and even your savings or fall back cash can’t handle the pressure, pour out your frustrations on your support partner or friend. This will help you stay mentally balanced and at other times give you a different perspective towards handling that issue. Don’t bottle up ALONE, you might BURST.


  1. Give yourself a treat monthly – depending on your pay cheque, a personal treat’s value may range from N5,000 to N50,000. The treat can be a good meal from your favorite restaurant with all the right proteins to a spa treatment, facial treatment or a pricey fashion item. Just give yourself a treat to ease that feeling of being overly worked out and underappreciated


  1. Look for the little blessings – you may not be part of the percentage whose earnings go untouched months after months (for varied reasons), be thankful that you are able to foot every recurring bill and meet other maturing obligations. Always count your blessings


Never forget!  “…good people have never been left helpless, and their children have never gone begging for food” Psalm 37 v 25 CEV









Image credit – www.romper.com

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    July 13, 2020 at 4:40 am

    I used to be able to find good info from your blog posts.

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