Squandering away an inheritance is unwise - GulfToday

Squandering away an inheritance is unwise

Birjees Hussain

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.


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Imagine you don’t have that much money and live from day to day. You have a 9 to 5 job, don’t own a property but rent and you have the tendency to buy most of your items using a credit card. So you don’t really have money to put down for a deposit on any property. Then on top of that your mother, grandmother and your aunt all pass away within months of each other. But they don’t leave you in the lurch or high and dry. Each leaves a little bit of money, all totalling between £50-100,000.

If this was you, what would you do with the newly acquired inheritance? The answer to this question will largely depend upon to which generation you belong and how you were brought up. In fact, this is not a hypothetical scenario. A young girl in England inherited a fairly large sum of money, in the region of 50K to 100K (the exact figure is unknown) after her mother, grandmother and aunt passed away and each left her a sum. But what did she do with it? To the shock and horror of those who knew her and even those who read about her, she spent the entire sum on designer bags, shoes and clothes and was back to square one with her finances within 18 months of inheriting it.

So the question is, what would you have done with the money? Most people with any common sense would have put the funds to good use.

Firstly, giving a small sum to charity, (say 2-5K) might not have been a bad idea. The rest could have been used to pay off debts and any outstanding bills or to put down a deposit on a house if there are no outstanding debts or bills to pay off. If the person is already a house owner, he or she would most probably use the money to carry out much needed renovation and repair to their home or to pay school fees or hospital bills. But these are probably sensible people. Older people with responsibilities and those who are frugal because that is the way they were brought up. When they were growing up, if they wanted something, more often than not, the answer was most likely either a no or earn it by doing chores or getting a weekend job. Or because life’s experiences have taught them to be less wasteful and save for a rainy day. But those who spend endlessly on non-essential items, just because it takes their fancy, are from a different generation. They are, of course, younger, in their 20s and it is highly likely they grew up with hi-tech gadgets and plenty of yeses from their mum and dad who had a hard time saying no to them.

People spend for a number of reasons. One of the well-known reasons is called retail therapy; I call it being spoilt as a child; it’s a learnt behaviour.

I don’t know what boys and young men squander their money on but girls’ out of control spending sprees tend to be pretty clear cut. Nails, hair, liposuction and other ad-hoc, and often unnecessary, enhancements are one kind. The most common, of course, is buying designer clothes, shoes, handbags and other accessories. Who is she trying to show off to? Often no one and sometimes someone, the latter maybe a newly acquired group of friends and she is trying to fit in. But some girls are not even buying for themselves. Often she could be buying for someone who has befriended her after learning she’s a big spender and could very well spend on her too. By the way, that’s not a friend. Then there are the endless weekend brunches, parties and nights out.

But let’s not forget the two most prominent reasons people spend even though they may not need to. The latest mobile device which could set them back in the thousands of dirhams and, of course, being influenced by a social media personality. If that influencer says that a particular lipstick is the one to have, then that is the one they will try to get no matter how much it costs.

Imagine receiving an inheritance from a loved one and you squander it away, within months of receiving it, on items you don’t need. How do you think that it would have made your loved one feel? Is spending just for the sake of spending not an insult to the person who saved it, depriving themselves of things, just so they could leave it to you? I think it is.

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