Saturday, November 12, 2011

Money dictionary

Here is how I, a born-and-bred Samoan now living in New Zealand, understand some terms associated with money, based on my own personal experiences.

This usually occurs due to an event outside the immediate family that requires financial input, also known as a faalavelave. Examples are: funerals, weddings, grandparents' birthdays, unveilings, church openings, milestone birthdays. In this context, no gain or return is expected when the money is given.

Nearly the same as "giving" money to an individual family member, except there is usually some kind of agreement regarding repayment. More often than not though, the loanee's commitment to payment lasts as long as the loaned money in their hand. Something usually comes up that takes higher priority than your payment and you, being the loving understanding family member, are expected to take the forgiveness path, and hopefully before the next need of a loan.

This one is a bit of a toughie. I think I define this differently from other family members (and maybe Samoans in general).
1. If I can afford something, I have enough finances available or to spare after any existing financial obligations. In that context, I can't really afford much. I can afford to live comfortably, and by that I mean pay the bills and debts, fuel the car, and feed the family, but not much else after that.
2. There is another understanding (out there, somewhere) that being able to afford something is being able to raise the finances to do something. Based on that idea, I can afford to go to Samoa for Christmas, and spend a good amount on holiday feasts and generous gifts. I can stop by a Fiji resort on the way for a little RnR. Or maybe I can pay for the next funeral/wedding/birthday myself. Who knew it would be such a bad thing to be in the good books of credit companies?
The two do get confused though, and at times I wonder if I get mistaken for being a Scrooge, but for the record I am not sitting on pots of gold. If you must look at my income, then please also consider my outgoings. Why do I have only one pair of working pants that's taking a hammering? (So much so that Lyla looked at the seams and asked out loud in public "Mummy, what's wrong with your pants? I think it's breaking!") Because I can't afford to buy another.

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