Financial Blood Pressure

We are involved in different daily activities which affect our blood pressure in many ways. Your blood pressure could be normal, low, or high; depending on your circumstances.

The same applies to financial position. If you’re financially comfortable, your financial blood pressure could be regarded as being normal. If you’re struggling to make ends meet or you’re in serious debts, your financial blood pressure could be high or terribly low – none of which is great news!

Recognizing the importance of our blood pressure, doctors do advise that we check it regularly to avoid unpleasant surprises. That’s what we should also do for our financial blood pressure. When you know your status, you will be in a better position to manage your situation.

I like John Maxwell’s description of the three financial phases of Learning, Earning, and Returning (i.e. Giving) that one could experience in life. The pressure within each of the three phases is quite different.

At the Learning phase, you’re in school studying or learning a trade somewhere. You’re getting yourself prepared for the future. This stage is quite crucial because it will determine how well you do in the next phase of your life. Unfortunately, some people are so much in haste to move to the next stage that they don’t have the required grounding to sustain them later in life. They become half-baked with the attendant future headache. Though the financial blood pressure at this stage could be normal, it may later lead to a high financial blood pressure if not well managed.

On completion of the Learning phase, you’re fully ready to use your knowledge to earn a living. At this stage, the Earning phase, you’re either working for yourself or someone else. With proper management of your finances, you could become wealthy and be able to move to the third phase. Sadly, many people don’t get beyond this stage for various reasons. They earn, but they cannot share with others because they’re struggling to survive. If you’re not doing great at the earning stage, your financial blood pressure cannot be normal.

The third stage, the Giving phase, is when you have made enough to the extent that you can give out. Giving, at this level, will depend on your financial strength. For some, it doesn’t go beyond a couple of dollars or naira here and there for friends and relatives in need. For others, it is as big as setting up a charity or foundation for a specific course. The most important thing is that those in this category have the ability and willingness to give. Their financial blood pressure is normal. But the pressure still has to be checked on a regular basis to avoid unwanted situations.

The Giving stage is what we should all aspire to reach in life. But such an aspiration could end up as a pipe dream if phases 1 and 2 are not properly monitored. Like the blood pressure, things could go wrong – terribly wrong.

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