Tag Archives: money

When motherhood overcomes career and money

Currently I work as tariff expert in electricity distribution and supply companies. It is an interesting job, well-paid and highly appreciative. This is one of the working place I would work forever.

As most of you already know, I’m pregnant and expect to give birth by the end of March (although my due date is beginning of April). I don’t know if you remember, but with my first child I didn’t have the chance to enjoy my maternity leave as I did change my job and had no vacancies whatsoever, so I went to work after 5 weeks I have birth to my daughter – leaving her with her grandma (my mother in law) for total of 8 working hours (plus additional 1 hour of traffic to get back home). As a result she became a very crying baby and I a very tired and kind of depressed mother. Thankfully those days are over and I did promise to myself that never in my life I would chose my carrier and/or money over my children.

Job or Baby

Today I’m 32 weeks and 5 days pregnant and just got an information that my manager will leave for another company and as a result I might need to replace him. My world turned upside-down. Am I in position to refuse the job? – No  – and you know why because there’s no one else who can replace him. Our work is very specific and no one can replace him – unless we open a call and hire someone from other companies engaged in electricity sector (which I doubt my director will be willing to do – when he has already someone from inside). Am I happy for this news? – NOT AT ALL. I was there once I know how it feels and no I don’t wanna go back there. I don’t want a career perspective, nor a higher salary. All I want for the moment is to be with my baby as long as the law allows me (6 months in Kosovo, with the possibility of extension of another 6 months). I believe that maternity leave will allow me firstly to overcome the birth experience and get well properly, secondly it will allow me to connect properly with my child – which might result for the baby to be more calm, and last but not least if me and my baby will be Ok I’ll have enough time for my daughter and as such she won’t feel bad for another sibling, respectively for sharing her with her brother.

The only positive thing right now is that our general director still doesn’t know the decision of my manager and he is not planning to tell him, until he signs the new contract, so that might give me enough time to start my maternity leave on time, and hopefully until I get back no one will call me and disturb me. But if you ask me how hopeful I am of this scenario.. I really don’t even wanna think about it!

Your life priorities and people’s judgments

Tonight I’m going out with my girls from work. I award myself every month to go out with my girls, sometimes twice a months, and once a month I go out alone with my hubby. Sometimes I also go out for a short coffee with my friends after the work – so it’s not like I don’t go out without my daughter, but still when I look at my friends it seems like I go out very rare.

Usually when I go out I’m very excited because it’s fun-time for me, without having to worry if my girl will fall or embarrass me somehow. But, tonight I’m not so excited.   Usually I go out with the ones I feel comfortable with, whereas tonight there are also friends I really don’t enjoy being around. In other cases I wouldn’t go out, but tonight I decided I will because I don’t wanna be the party-breaker.

I don’t know how it is in your country but in Kosovo going out means you HAVE to look astonishing. Trust me, girls pay special make-up artists and hair-dressers just to look pretty. Appearance is one of the most important things in here – everything should be fashionable and amazing.

I personally finished my grad-studies in Slovenia, where people are simple (like in most part of the world – at least the ones I travelled to – including some states in USA). They look clean, fresh and that’s it. So somehow that is how I became. To me feeling fresh, clean and comfortable is the most important thing. But as I said that’s not how people value you in Kosovo, so I often get judged because of this attribute. My friends accepted me the way I am but I now not everybody does, so tonight I’ll go out with girls who firstly will look goddess, and second will judge me for my appearance.

judgement

I’m not a very rich person. I’m not complaining because my life is above the average life of the people living in Kosovo, but I don’t have money to through away. Spending money on unnecessary and expensive cloths is not something I can afford. I can if I want to, but then I have to give up on something else like going out on weekends with my family, and this is something I would NEVER give up for cloths. I’m not saying I’m right, it is just the way I prioritize my things.

Sometimes I try not to worry about people’s opinion and live my life carefree just like I am, but some other times I can’t close my eyes, because when people stare at you it just doesn’t feel good.  Tonight is one of these night (although they are very rare) when I don’t feel good, and yet I chose to go out. I will always chose feeling bad over giving up because I want to let the others know that I am happy the way I am, I have a healthy and happy family and to me that is the most precious thing in life.

The emotional effects of debt

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I was reading somewhere that the average American has $15,950 in credit card debt, and 39% of Americans carry credit card debt month to month, which is huge I guess, without taking into consideration the loans issued from commercial banks or other financial institution.

In Kosovo with 1, 7 million inhabitants the amount of issued loans in the beginning of 2014 was € 1.86 billion (including personal loans, mortgages and business loans), whereas every working person at least has one credit-card (over 50% of the population). For you a loan of 1,058 €/person might not sound that bad, however the if we consider that the average interest rate in Kosovo is 11% compounding, this is huge burden for Kosovo citizens with the unemployment rate of 44% .

Although the latest report of the Kosovo Central Bank is showing a decrease in the loan value disbursed, it is mainly a decrease in business sector, due to the political and economic crises in place, and another very important unspoken reason is that personal loans have lower interest rate therefore small business purchase personal loans for their business purposes.

Nevertheless, one way of another, a loan weather is it for a ‘good’ purpose (buying a new car, house, going into vocation, etc) or ‘bad’ purpose (survival, sickness, etc) causes serious emotional effects. Dr. John Gathergood, studied the debt and depression correlation in 2012, and published an article about it in the Economic Journal (you can download full article here). He has shown us that the ones who cannot pay their debts and loans are twice more likely to experience any kind of health problems (emotional problems, such as depression and severe anxiety), compared to the rest of the population.

In Kosovo currently the non-performing loans account only for 8.7% which is the lowest in the region (Balkan countries), which also shows that we are willing to pay our loans before ensuring other basic needs per month (such as food), and this is another reason why banks are so profitable in here. However I must add the percentage of 8.7% was only 2.5% back in 2011; respectively people every day are getting poorer and unable to pay their debts. This also led to the increasing number of drug users, alcoholics and suicides, and unfortunately there is more to it: problems with debt effect also our marriage, children, job and friends.

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Some people, especially in Kosovo, find denial as the best solution to not pay a loan/debt. Denial might seem a momentary solution, because it just leads you deeper into debt: Not paying your loan means additional interest rate per day, it also means not having control over your debts, spending more, and sometimes losing more (e.g. house, car, etc. if you had to provide capital insurance).

Stress from debt is the most common emotional effect we get from loans, it is so powerful that is eliminates all happiness we get from spending money (buying food, cloths, dresses, etc), because we are constantly focused on ‘how much we spend’, or ‘how much would we be left with’. All this often translates into anger and frustration, and a constant reminder of the negatives in our life.

Other common negative emotiona we feel when we are in debt are also: Regret – for the good we purchased or an investment we did; Shame – because we are not earning enough; Fear – losing our job, family and friends; Anxiety – not being able to save for ‘black days’;…and much more.

Therefore before we purchase a loan we might want to use a ‘30 day’ rule, respectively leave the idea where it is for 30 days and come back later and see if you still need/want to purchase the good, e.g. buy a house and/or that particular house, or you want to re-consider you initial idea and let’s say buy something cheaper.

There are plenty of ways how we can help ourselves to stay away from loans, or take as less as we have to, we just need to read about it and speak about it. My suggestion for you that would like to read more about this topic is to start reading financial blogs, e.g. www.thesimpledollar.com is a great start.