If I had a dollar for every time someone said to me, ‘Do you have N5k? I’ll pay you back at the end of the month’, then by now I would probably be under intense investigation by the EFCC (the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission). I mean, for crying out loud! we only just got paid last week! Broke already??? Are you owing the mafia or your mistress, huh? which is it?!! – Those are among some of the burning questions which I’m often tempted to throw to my prospective debtors, but I dare not ask (for fear of a diabolical answer…yikes!).
It all starts with the dreaded (physical) approach, which you almost never see coming. The approach is accompanied by a plausible story along the lines of a deal to be closed, rent being due or some other financial commitment. After you’ve assimilated the story then comes the amount being requested (which I probably feel is only an eighth of what they really want to ask for). You ponder over it for a few minutes and you feel inclined to dip your hand into your wallet to make someone happy. That person promises to redeem his IOU which you stupidly decided was not needed in writing. By the time it is month end, you’re hoping to get a cheque sent over to your desk or at least an sms credit alert confirming payment of the sum owed – but alas, you get zilch! You take it upon yourself to track your debtor and he/she starts to avoid you; you both just always happen to be going in separate directions. He/she suddenly becomes too busy to attend to you and even pick up your phone calls.
The worst part is that when you finally get to confront them about the debt THEY want to give you attitude. You become the pest who’s being inconsiderate because you’re asking for your own money. IOU forgotten, trust broken and friendship lost (along with your money). Ladies and gentlemen I give you the rules of lending:
Rule 1 – Assess the capacity of the debtor to pay back.
Rule 2 – Assess the willingness of the debtor to pay back.
Rule 3 – Keep record of the debtor’s stories (e.g. his/her father has to be buried…again)
Rule 4 – Lend what you can do without (not what would make you jump off a bridge)
Rule 5 – Collect a postdated cheque (they’ll know you mean business like ‘bounce that cheque’…I dare you! lol)
Well there you have it. You have mastered the rules of lending. Never again will you be duped into giving your hard-earned cash to ungrateful slobs who scavenge the earth. They’re lucky you’re not even charging interest (or pressing charges). Till my next article, lend responsibly