Building Community Through Better Relationships

Assets: Currency or Gifts

Business is built on trust, people and value. Essentially, one individual trusts another individual to provide something of value. In turn, there is an exchange of something of value back to whoever provided the first something of value. In a classic sense, an exchange of money for goods happens. Ironically, personal relationships work in a similar way. An individual reaches out to another based on shared interests. The shared interest provides a foundation for trust. The benefit from the interaction is a sense of self-worth. Self-worth has personal value.

Over time, in both types of relationships, financial considerations are made and good feelings are exchanged. The problem arises when the relationship begins to confuse the types of value. Business is simple when you buy a good or service. Relationships work when your buddy does you a favor. Currency is the exchange for business. Favors, gifts and good feelings are the exchange for personal relationships. All are valuable. All are considered assets.

Then, a colleague needs $100. $100 is considered an asset in every sense of the word. But as a friend, does this currency represent a loan, or is it a gift? A loan should be repaid with currency. A gift may involve reciprocity. It just might not be worth $100. So the key question is: when is an exchange of assets recognized as currency or a gift? The answer lies in the agreement.

Contractually, an agreement is a written document stating what both parties will do. Believing that my word is my bond constitutes an agreement. A pinky swear is also an agreement. To answer whether an asset is recognized as currency or a gift, the agreement must be established at the beginning of the transaction.

Friendships have been ripped apart over such misunderstood agreements. Businesses have been decimated because of the lack of understanding in such agreements. Wars have been raged resulting in countries being removed from the map because currency had been exchanged as an investment, and then accepted as a gift. To understand the stakes of an exchange in assets, take the time to determine what is given and received. Currency or gift? The asset may have measurable value. But, the relationship’s damage can endure for generations with unfathomable costs. Build strong relationships. Reach agreement before exchanging assets. Understand the real value of exchanges.

By Glenn W Hunter


January 24, 2014 - Posted by | Better Communication, Better Community | , , ,

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