By and large, I do not quite agree to people whom are forever curious to know what another person is earning. Yes, we are curious and it is good to have a benchmark of how we are doing as compared to someone we know. But when a society has become so materialistic, you can feel so when almost everyone you meet, wants a piece of info on how much was your last salary. This country is the richest country in Southeast Asia (I hope you can guess correctly). To be always curious of others income, to the point that you have to put a number on someone before you even get to know him, is just wrong & disgusting. That is what I term, “counting the money of another person”.

Now back to home, I have a couple of such relatives myself. To them, counting other’s money is practical. Since we are relatives, the benefit of keeping track of other’s money is so that you can estimate how much to borrow in near future. My uncles are doing just that with me. These days, they are not doing too well, so it is important for them to know how much salary I am drawing. Because, if hypothetically I am earning rm 10k a monthly, they can easily ask for rm 3k from me, no problem. So, I am always defensive when my uncles/aunties asked me of my income. Well, they don’t always do that, but trust me when I say they are very curious to know. Thus, the general rule is, do not reveal your income to your relatives unless they are doing well themselves. Why? Why do I have such negative thoughts on relatives? Because experience tells me so. People are generally unethical and greedy. It goes the same for everyone, relatives & siblings included. That’s why the ability to judge someone is very important.

Back to my relatives. The problem with them is, not only they count your money, they borrow them and some decided never to return the money they borrow. This is really bad because it brings about an imbalance flow of money. Firstly, it brings illogical sense to the lender. Why should someone, whom save and work long & hard, give you money which you will never return? The borrower gets into such situation mostly (not all) are because they never plan & save in the first place. So, since they have been enjoying themselves (some unknowingly) all along, and you haven’t (cause you have been saving money), then it doesn’t make sense to give them your money. Secondly, it cripples the borrower. You see, by offering them easy money from relative (one that you do not need to return), it gives an impression that money can come easy (from relative) and there isn’t much consequences. So, theoretically, you don’t need to try very hard to make money yourself because you are well-covered by relatives. That is a crippling and dependent mentality. I have many relatives whom are so. They are so used to middle-class lifestyle, that when their household financial situation turns bad, they still hang on to the same lifestyle, unable to change. Grocery shopping with budgeting, going out for meal instead of cooking at home, buying so-called ‘necessary furniture’ such as tv and sofa, unable to cancel internet & satellite tv because it is also a necessity, etc etc. The fact is, they are unable to get it in their head that their financial circumstances have changed and they need to adapt to change.

Now although I sounded harsh, in reality, I have helped out my relatives many times by giving them financial aid. I never gotten any returned borrowings yet. From my experience in giving out money to relatives, I can say that it has to be judged case-by-case. But the general rule is “teach your relative to fish and not feed them fish unless they will die tomorrow”. For example, my uncle has to move out of his foreclosed home recently and he wanted me to bail him out. Meaning, buy his house so that he can continue to live there. That sounds like a plan except, in my opinion, it is depriving him of the opportunity to learn how to rent outside on his own. And knowing his character, I can almost swear that he will be comfortable in his own house (once I bought it) and will never need to pay me a single cent ever. That will put his mind at ease and he will subsequently choose not to work very hard. Isn’t this feeding him fish? Thus I choose to offer him no assistance and let him sort out his own issue. By so, he will be forced to move out, perhaps look for a place to rent and be responsible to pay for his monthly dues, just like all of us. That teaches him to fish (to work hard). Anyway for this particular case, I have heard of his previous experiences of borrowing money from other relatives and never put it as priority to return their money. Instead, he uses his extra money to buy golf club membership and luxury car. This is just appalling. He reaps what he sow (this means that he is getting what he planted in the past. Since he planted bad karma, he is getting bad karma now).