Sunday, July 10, 2016

Supporting your Family vs. Investing in your Dreams

Young Padawan,

I received your letter requesting advice on balancing your obligations to your family with funding the pursuit of your goals. It is a difficult one to respond to, as I am in similar shoes and I am adjusting my approach as I go. I will share what I have learnt from others and found out for myself, and I hope it helps you.

Let us start with some common ground: you are partly responsible for your family. Your parents and siblings should not suffer lack of food, clothing, or healthcare if you can do something. They have shared good and bad times with you, loved you in health and nursed you through sickness, and as you mentioned – sacrificed to pay for your education. Yes, you did not ask to be born, and many of these things are parental responsibilities. But, do you ever wonder how things would be different if they hadn’t performed these duties?

More common ground: you need to work towards achieving your goals and must save the money you need to make them happen. When done the right way, the pursuit and (hopefully) attainment of these goals will bring you happiness and fulfillment. I have heard life becomes boring when you stop growing and reaching for more. The last thing I want is for you to die with regret – knowing you did not become all you could have been. Therefore, you must find a balance that allows you invest in your future while supporting your family.

My recommendation is simple. You should determine a fair amount to share with them every month, and stick to that ceiling except for health-related emergencies. You should consider how much you need to save and invest towards your future, how much you need to live comfortably, and how much they need to meet their important needs. This is not the time for your father to marry a new wife or take a new title. Do not jeopardize your future to satisfy their wants.

Help them to understand that your progress impacts positively on their conditions too. The more resources you have, the more you can share with them. When your earning power increases or your business becomes more profitable, you will have more disposable income to share with them. You can either let them eat your seed now, or plant it in the hopes of a bumper harvest. Do not give in to cheap blackmail.

This is my current best approach. It has evolved over the past few years, and may yet change. I will let you know if it does, and how so.

Cheers, to your success.


Gbeke.

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