Personal Views

You are Responsible with Your Own Finances

In case any of you are wondering why I haven’t update the blog. Well, no excuse. But I thought I should update you on what’s going on.

It is the second week that my children’s nanny left us!
She suddenly decided to take a little R and R. The beauty of it, she didn’t come back, without saying goodbye, leaving all her clothes and precious items.

My daughter was heartbroken of course. Worst of all, I have very tight schedule the whole 2 weeks! So I have to run here and there making sure that at least one of the grandmas can stay over while I go to work. There is another maid, but she’s a junior and is still learning how to say NO to my daughter.

Today, I discover why the woman decided to run away. I got the phone bill and it is Rp 1,5 million for last month!

This has a lot to do with Financial Responsibility. The woman doesn’t deserve the access of a phone. The same with, a lot of us doesn’t deserve the access of a credit card.

I hate it when people say, “Orang Indonesia biasanya…” and then something negative has to come up. Well… unfortunately, it’s true in a way.

I’m a true believer of : You are Responsible for Your Own Finances!

It means, you should earn your money.
It means, you should never beg! Begging is degrading your self. If you have to beg, you dance and sing and do something to earn that money.
It means, if you cannot afford something, don’t borrow from other people.
It means, if you borrow money, you have to pay it back!

It also means that you should live your own lifestyle, the lifestyle that you can afford.
My husband and I often joke about the kind of lifestyle we deserve. Recently we met a lot of people – who are probably earning Rp 5 mio /month, but the way they spend their money portrays the life of Rp 30 mio / month salary. We don’t mean to be proud, the truth is we went through the same thing.

Six years ago, my husband and I only earn less than Rp 5 mio / month. We were the ultimate DINKS – Double Income No Kids. We dined out every single night, hung out at cafes, went to the cinemas. We were the least price aware couple of the century. Our holiday destination would be: Singapore, spending double of what we earn per month.

We found our old bank statement from 2001. As a result of this ‘DINKS lifestyle’, our bank balance was Rp 119,200. It was the lowest point of our lives. Since the birth of our son in 2002, we promised each other that we would never go through that again. We would be smart with money and respect any amount we receive.

To a different extent, it goes the same way for our relationship with our parents. Recently I got a question from a bank officer. Let’s call him Doni. He is complaining that although earning more than Rp 10 mio / month, his bank account is nearly zero. He says that he has to support his family. His father and mother are pensioners, they used to work as factory worker. He has 2 little sisters at school age and he pays for everybody’s expenses.

My answer was not heartwarming. I said to Doni, parents are responsible for their children. Children are not responsible for their parents.

I believe we should take charge with our own life!
Doni’s parents and sisters should not live the lifestyle of a bank officer.
I’m not saying that Doni shouldn’t help out. But this way, he is not helping at all. What Doni is doing justifies that his family should just wait for money from Doni’s bank account. This is a clear reason why Doni’s account is virtually zero.

If Doni wants to help, he should tell his parents how much is needed to support the household, and everybody can share. Perhaps Doni shares 80% of it, but he doesn’t do it alone. It can also be a great idea if Doni creates a source of income for his parents. It can be a small warung or rumah petak.

As for the sisters, they need to understand what it takes to put them through school. The sisters need to understand the value of money. They should create something of their own or pick up a part time job. They too should be in charge with their own finances.

Let’s not forget that Doni is human. He has dreams of his own. One day he will start his own family and provide for his own family. He cannot afford to support everybody. Everybody needs to take charge of their own finances.

For my darling nanny who left me with Rp 1.5 mio phone bill… I am speechless. I bought a prepaid CDMA so my children can call me anytime. Azra is very excited because now we have speed dial, he can press 1 for Mama & 2 for Ayah. Hopefully this way, if anyone else ‘plays around’ with the phone, at least it’s not going to be Rp 1.5 mio ☺. I am in charge of my finances!

Have a jolly long weekend. I still have to come to the office on Friday ☺


Finance Should Be Practical!

Ligwina Hananto

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