While the various Houses in the world of Westeros struggle for power, there is much wisdom within HBO’s critically acclaimed TV series that can be applied to your daily struggle with credit. Yes, lessons on managing finances can be learnt from the strangest places.
The highly anticipated seventh season of Game of Thrones will premiere in Singapore on 17 July - and what is that admonition the Starks and fans alike love dishing out - yes, Winter is Coming. We won’t be waiting until then, nor are we waiting until you get frozen out by banks because you are not exactly good at handling what you borrowed.
We are going to take action now - Game Of Thrones style. If you are one who has been turning to personal loans to bridge monetary troubles, we deem it proper to play Jon Snow and guide the Arya in you to wield this particular credit line like a pro.
Get a grip on your loans
Quite possibly the closest thing to personal finance management you would come across in Game of Thrones, the Master of Coin is a royal official in the government who handles money matters. In the earlier parts of the TV series, the position is held by Petyr Baelish, otherwise known as Littlefinger. The moniker alone certainly raises some eyebrows, and sure enough, there is something fishy going on underneath as his uncanny ability to come up with large amounts of funds is exposed by Tyrion (the replacement for the Master of Coin post). The whole time, Petyr has been borrowing heavily from Iron Bank of Braavos.
Ironically, we are going to suggest you be anything but the Master of Coin. It is most unwise to apply for personal loans just to hold up a façade of affluence and influence. A good example is someone who overleverages just to travel impulsively and unnecessarily. Sooner or later, it will catch up with you.
Take a cue from the Lannisters
Yes, you read our minds. A Lannister always pays his debts. The idea has been repeated ad nauseam, it might as well become the House’s official motto. Although it has sinister undertones in that a Lannister pays back in the form of paybacks, let’s focus on the literal meaning.
It is painfully obvious when we tell you to always pay off your personal loan diligently, so we will enlighten you on the backend consequences when you don’t. First, you would have to deal with late payment fees that stack on the interest payments. Second, you may be fostering a toxic habit of delayed payments. Third, and the worst one, your credit score will tank, making it difficult for you to borrow in the future.
Some of the Lannisters may be unscrupulous and harbour a twisted fetish for incestuous trysts, but this is one sound, if not common, sense philosophy you should abide by.
Don’t get in over your head
Ambition is a double-edged sword. It can motivate you to greater success, or it can motivate you to make questionable decisions and have things turn ugly real quick. There are many instances in Game of Thrones we can take our pick from, but let’s go back to the start of season one when Viserys Targaryen practically forces his sister, Daenerys Targaryen (Mother of Dragons), into an arranged marriage with Khal Drogo. In exchange, he would have Drogo’s army to help him conquer Westeros and claim the Iron Throne. Unfortunately, he loses his bargaining chips when the Khaleesi finds her own footing, and Drogo does not deliver the results he wants. He would later be killed by Drogo for losing his cool on Daenerys.
Perhaps there is some truth in Cersei Lannister’s words that half the Targaryens are mad.
When it comes to personal loans, one of the more common uses among applicants is to fund or expand a startup. Depending on which field you are in, business costs can run up to thousands and thousands of dollars, and personal loans can give you the extra leverage to grow your operations. Although personal loans come with borrowing limits, some may hop over to another bank to seek another loan to supplement the first loan.
Every aspiring entrepreneur wants to cash in on their million-dollar idea fast, and greed can sometimes be mistaken for ambition. In order not to let it consume you like Viserys Targaryen, do an honest assessment of your goals (it is OK to go slow and plough your profits into your business instead) and borrow only when you are 1000% confident you can comfortably stomach the monthly repayments (including interests).
Resurrect your finances
By the end of season five, it is an understatement to say that the internet went amok with speculations on whether Jon Snow, a staunch fan favourite, is really dead. Of course, there seemed to be a collective sigh of relief when he is brought back to life by Melisandre at the beginning of season six. Likewise, if you think that your debts are all over the place and your credit score gives banks a scarier foreboding than winter, all is not lost. It does not necessarily spell financial demise.
One of the benefits of securing a good, low interest rate personal loan package is the ability to consolidate debts. You can easily keep track of all your outstanding debts under one account, and having a low, fixed annual interest means you don’t have to worry about paying more than you should. Slowly but surely, watch as the burden of overwhelming debt gets lifted off your shoulders and your finances start getting its pulse back.
Don’t buy into societal/financial ‘norms’
One of the more notable characters in Game of Thrones is Arya Stark. She does not only pledge allegiance to House Stark, she also pledges allegiance to the idea of defying the traditional arc of a female’s life chart. Instead of embroidery, she learns combat skills and is at one point part of the Faceless Men assassin guild. In the same vein, Tyrion Lannister overcomes his congenital deficiencies and embraces his intellect and wit to dwarf others (ha).
The overlapping rhetoric here is you should challenge preconceived notions, norms and urban legends. Avoid conforming to or be beguiled into thinking that extending yourself – i.e. applying for a personal loan - is absolutely a bad thing. When utilised responsibly, it can resolve pressing needs such as wedding costs, new home furnishings or a medical emergency where your Medisave or insurance is insufficient. Personal loans are handy that way, also because of its immediate nature of approvals and fund disbursements.
Article first published on GoBear