Caller: Mrs. Reem, AssalamuAlaikum. I’ve been trying to reach you yesterday but to no avail. I’m calling from Al-Qassim (central Saudi Arabia) and I am a faithful woman. I’m famous for “answered prayers”. I will pray that you get granted all your wishes. Amen.
Me: Amen, thank you, mam.
Caller: I heard you on the radio talking about money and budgeting and I really liked it. I asked the producer for your number. It wasn’t easy but thank God I managed to speak with you. I hope that you won’t let me down.
Me (impatiently): Thank you again. What can I do for you mam?
At this point, I was certain she’d ask for charity money. It has happened before.
Caller: I need help with my daughter.
Caller: May God guide her through the righteous path, she won’t listen to my advice, and I no longer know what to do to help her. Can you please speak to her. Please.
Ok, that’s a second Mother and daughter money issue in two months. The first, was that of a divorcee whose daughter follows me on snapchat and requested a formal consultation.
Me: Mam, I don’t normally address my followers individually without their consent. Plus, I do not offer unsolicited advice over the telephone. I can try to offer some general remedies but only if you explain the problem in more detail. How old is your daughter?
Caller: She’s in her last year of college and is terrible with money. Please talk to her.
Me: Mam, what’s your name?
Caller: Umm Majed
(i.e. the mother of “Majed” presumably her son. In Saudi, it is an honor for a woman to become a mother. Moreover, to be called by the prefix “umm” i.e. the mother of followed by the name of her son. If she had no son, the daughter’s name is justified!)
Me: Umm Majed, even if I agree to speak to your daughter, she won’t listen to a complete stranger. A smoker will not quit due to the abundance of treatment options but because they want to. Maybe her spending habit is a reaction to some familial situation. Can you ask her father to talk to her?
Caller (long sigh): Her father does not really care. He offers some words of wisdom and walks away.
Me: Can you ask her to follow my social media accounts. Are you familiar with snapchat or twitter?
Caller: I do not know anything internet related.
Me: Ok, do you have another daughter?
Caller: Yes, her younger sister is in high school.
Me: Great. Please ask her younger sister to recommend my account on snapchat. Every kid in Saudi knows snapchat. This is like a radio broadcast where my account offers financial tips and helps people understand money better.
Caller: Snapchat, ok. Thank you so much. May God answer your prayers. May God grant you happiness and wellness. May God…