Strengthening Native American Communities & Economies
Dear Dr. Per Cap: Every time per cap rolls around, I’ve got a bunch of people hitting me up for loans, favors and handouts. I help a lot of them out because I care and was raised not to be stingy. However, lately it’s been really getting out of hand. My cousin is dealing with the same thing, and has loaned over $15,000 to friends who I don’t think will ever pay him back. What should I do? ~ Signed, Everybody’s Best Friend
Dear Everybody’s Best Friend,
First off, it’s really cool that you’ve got such a generous heart and want to share your wealth with others. Don’t ever lose that good-natured spirit. That said there’s got to be a limit to your generosity or you’ll wind up like your cousin who’s burning through his a-de-la (that’s a Cherokee word for money) quicker than Kim Kardashian goes through husbands. What was that last guy’s name again?
But seriously, the issue here is that you just don’t know how to tell people “No.” So you know what? Don’t! Yep, don’t say no to people, and have someone else do it for you. I had a chance to listen to a pro football player a few months ago talk to a group of Native youth who were all bout to receive a large minor’s trust payment. He’s in a similar boat, being a young athlete with loads of cash and all, and he actually commented on this very same issue. His solution has been to direct all requests for loans and financial favors to his mother. That way when somebody comes asking for help with a down payment on a new car, he tells them: “Hey sorry, but my mother handles all my money. You’ll have to ask her.” This way he doesn’t feel guilty about telling people no, and guess what? Turns out folks are a lot less comfortable asking his mom for money than they were asking him, so the requests have really dropped off too.
My advice is to find a person who you can trust to handle all of those requests for money in the same way the baller’s mom handles his. A mature and responsible relative is probably your best bet, but for gosh sakes don’t ask your cousin!
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