Yesterday I had a phone call from a company that offers funeral plans. I don’t have one and normally I’d refuse to speak with them but after my mum died I think I become more aware of my own mortality so I thought I’d talk to them.
It turned out the lowest monthly payment was 28 quid and the more I want to spread my payments the more it costs in total, which I don’t think is fair as I’d be still paying upfront so there is not interests to cover like with loans. I wasn’t aware of that and never looked into it. Funeral plans are not available in Poland so I didn’t have much exposure to them.
I decided not to take any at the end and told the sales man that I have different priorities at the moment. Which is true as to have more time for blogging and radio programs I’d need to reduce time I spend in paid employment so it’s better if my bills are low. And the sales man asked if what I’m saying means that I can’t afford 28 pounds a month. I repeated that I have different priorities and he again asked if I can’t afford it. I then said ‘well, if that’s how you prefer to call it’ and I started wondering if the phrase ‘I can’t afford it’ was coined to get rid of people trying to sell stuff and then got transferred to everyday life?
But then I decided, no, I will not be using it and once again I said I have different priorities. He finally accepted that as an answer.
As I said here before, in Poland we don’t say we can’t afford something. We say we have different priorities, or, alternatively, if we talk about something that requires bigger investment, like home improvement, we may say we can’t afford it at the moment and we give a reason why. Both of those statements communicate that we are in charge of our finances and that we make choices. And what the phrase ‘I can’t afford it’ communicates? That people who use it have no control over their money and, if a lot of people use it, that means, it’s ok. I wonder whether that is why a lot of autistic people have problems with money? Possibly neurotypical people know that those are just words, but autistic make it to mean the above: that it’s ok not to have control over own finances. Possibly. But if that’s true we really can’t afford making the mistake of using this phrase any longer.