By Ben Lou
Q: I work hard for my money, shouldn’t I be entitled to the stuff that I buy?
A: Entitlement is a very dangerous word. This word is most of the time used to justify why people are heavily in debt. Before we discuss whether you are entitled or not, let’s discuss what this word really means. In tagalong this word is translated as “Karapatan” and another word in English would be “Deserve”.
Entitlement defined. In the dictionary, the word entitlement is defined in 3 different ways.
1: The state or condition of being entitled.
2: A right to benefits specified especially by law or contract.
3: Belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges.
Now we can discuss entitlement. A client called me heavily in debt with her store credit cards. She felt she was entitled to go on a shopping spree every time she got paid. New clothes, new pair of shoes, new of a lot of things. Now she is feeling the crunch because her hours were cut at work.
There was another client who called heavily in debt with credit card expenses from visiting the Philippines. After having been here in the US for 10 years without going back home, he felt it was time for a well deserved balik-bayan trip. He felt he was entitled to go back even without enough pocket money. Already in debt with his credit cards, he used it to pay for his air fare and expenses.
I think we all know where this is headed. As for the client who shops every time she gets paid, if only she treated herself to a cone of the best ice cream in town every time she got paid, instead of a shopping spree, things would have turned out differently. One, no one is entitled to bury themselves in debt as a treat. Two, No one is entitled only to the good things in life and when hardship comes, the same would not be entitled to suffer. In other words, you did it to yourself. This may be a little harsh but in reality without beating around the bush, you really did.
With regards to the client who went back to the Philippines, we all know that when going to the Philippines, cash is king. If you start using credit cards, then you not only subject yourself to hiked up conversion rates but also per transaction fees thereby making every transaction more expensive than if you would have paid cash. Not to mention that you were already heavily in debt before you even left. So upon your return, you found yourself in a deeper hole. How does that make one entitled? Another one who did it to himself. If only he put money away every month so that when he went back he had cash to use instead of credit cards.
This is reality my friends, entitlement confuses us of what we truly deserve. We need to understand that there are more to deal with rather than these one time engagements. If we make a list of the things that are very important, the things we truly believe that we are entitled to become last on the list.
Think of a house, a paid off car, investments, a family and retirement. These are just a few things that we should be on top of anyone’s list rather than rewarding ourselves with buying things with money we don’t really have and using credit cards.
If we really feel that we have achieved something, we may want to reward ourselves with something that would not break the bank. Always put money away for a rainy day and shoot for rewards that will not break you.
Ating lesson, Perang pinaghirapan, huwag itapon nang ganon lang.
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