Opinion and Editorial

Credit is not creditable enough

Allan Jacob (Senior Editor)
allan@khaleejtimes.com Filed on May 22, 2021

I have recovered from the experience that happened in my twenties.

In a rich man’s world, I am a sore spender, casual saver and a firm believer in what money cannot buy. Let me admit it: I am wary of the world of finance and the impact on my household expenses. That’s because I was once taken for a ride by a financial planner who led me up the garden path and left me poorer for it.

I have recovered from the experience that happened in my twenties. Over the years I have gained a reputation for being frugal, yet frightfully stupid when it comes to my daily, monthly and annual spends. Even BNPL (buy now pay later) plans sound like get-rich-quick schemes for some poor dude on the BPL (below poverty line) scale. Don’t throw more financial jargon at me. I tend to duck and slink into a corner.

I first stumbled upon BNPL plans some years ago but these have failed to evoke an enduring interest, though millions have benefited from these delayed payments that charge zero interest.

Accumulating wealth is a worthy endeavour, if one is good at it. I am afraid I am not but I happy that I have enough for my daily bread.

It’s all about contentment, I console myself, because I haven’t learnt the subtle art of making my hard-earned money work for me.

Staying out of debt, and guilt-free, has been the mantra at home, one reason why BNPL plans hold little interest even in these uncertain times.

I will, however, not deny being tempted in the dead of the night; drawn to these payment plans, only to stop short of keying in my credit card details to complete the transaction. It’s a financial fling that I can do without.

My wife steps in at this critical stage of every purchase and does due diligence. Why now, she asks, and reminds me that the rent is due. There are the monthly insurance premiums to pay. “And have you forgotten the kids’ school fees?” she reminds me. She’s adept at sowing the seeds of doubt that sprout worries in an instant: about a future that is getting harder to predict.

Controlling spends is important for a stable marriage.

I have come to realise that this too is a transactional relationship that can go a long way if there’s enough money in the bank when work dries up. It has helped me stay above financial storms that seem ever closer during the pandemic. We somehow manage to talk our way out it, and I shall gladly give the missus full credit for the achievement.

However, there’s no harm in looking for stuff online. I am an impulsive buyer by nature and I am trying hard to resist the temptation. Gadgets have saved us during the pandemic by helping keep our jobs. They have now become essentials. I need them to work and even commute. The missus call them the “cycle of needs and wants”.

Sports goods have been my obsession for a while now and I don’t intend to stop looking. Looks can’t kill my passion… for sport, until the missus intervenes.

Indeed, spending (or not spending in this case) is a one-way street — when the man gives in without a fight. It makes me laugh, and not at my predicament, but on the state of pay at home.

I am wiser now and have made my peace with the myriad and attractive schemes plans being touted by retailers and merchants who want you to spend first and count the costs later. However, I am convinced my credit score remains ‘good’ at 700-plus. I intend to check with the Al Etihad Credit Bureau in the coming days to confirm the score. It’s been a boring financial life with no risks but that’s okay as long as it pays the bills and put bread on the table. And yes, we bake our own bread.



Allan Jacob

A news junkie with an abiding interest in foreign affairs. I'm a keen follower and learner of the media and how it will pan out in the future when the common man and woman will themselves be journalists and not just sources of information. Lead a team of bright journalists who are driving the change and have their feet on the ground.

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