Al Kags

#OdeToYouth Lesson 9: Think differently about money


Guest blogger, my friend from Passionately Kenyan just sent me the blog that I could never have written better. Lesson 10 of the #OdeToYouth series.

You are in your mid 20’s or early 30’s. You have a job.

You have a nice crib somewhere, a flat screen, a home theatre- you can chill and feel nice. Your closet has a few statement pieces you can brag about; there` is that Gucci handbag, there are those heels, and then there’s that two button suit and a couple of some slim fit white shirts (the one you wear at marketer’s night). Your watch is definitely a brand and you have dem gadgets; a slim phone, tablet. You are always going for koroga and those Naivasha plots must be graced with your presence.  

You are young, you are hot, and you are good.

Life is so damn good!

Now, let’s do a quiz;

Questions 1:

  • What is your favourite alcoholic drink and how much does it cost?
  • What is your favorite hangout joint?
  •  How much do you roughly spend on a weekend out through entertainment?
  • What is the total cost of all your electronics?

Questions 2:

  • Discuss in detail 5 dreams/goals that you have
  • Using the goals you have described above, kindly outline your plan for achieving them

Question 3: You have been working in company X for the last Y years, earning XYZ @` month. Describe 10 tangible things you have done with the money you have earned during this period.

  • To help you answer this question, please break down your answers according to years. E.g. Year 1- did ABC, Year 2, Year 3 etc.
  • To help you answer this question, do not include things like bought a 42 inch TV, moved out of my folks place as these do not count. We expect answers like enrolled for my masters/undergraduate degree, put up electricity for my folks in the village, bought a fridge and cooker for mum. You can also include the secondary school fees you have been paying for your small sister for the last 3 years (hope you get the drift now)

The irony of life is that many of us are happy when we are young and without “issues”. This is the time we party lots, we live full lives and we have fun. As we do this, we also get moments of wishing where we dream of changing jobs coz the one we have sucks, it could pay better, we wish we could drive, or  at least upgrade our Subaru to a Mak X.

Now, you know life is generally and always unfair, right? So guess what happens?

Four years fly so fast and you meet with this pal of yours whom you used to work with in the Karatina branch when you guys were new bies. You were lucky you moved to Nairobi eight months after employment whilst they have been in Karatina until 3 months ago when they moved back to Nairobi. As you catch up, you discover that this pal of yours is living in Kitengela in his own place and has a 2013 KBX premio. He has those shiny round metals on his left finger and his ka-daughter just turned three yesterday!

Ok, wait, how did this happen?

Eehhh….this guy was a teller when you guys used to be in Karatina together. In fact, he was a teller until now that he’s been promoted and transferred to Nairobi, right?

Kwani this pal of yours stole some money ama how did he get to have his place at Kitengela? And how did he get married? Kwanza to that fancy girl at KMTC who is now a wellness manager at BM Insurance and is doing her MBA at Daystar? He even has a side business of selling chickens and he is not even kikuyu or luhya!

Aki life is unfair, right?

You got promoted like three years ago, moved to Nairobi where you were earning a bigger house allowance and because of your job, you get some allowances out of the work trips to Eldoret, Kisumu and Mombasa.

“Aii…? kwani where have I been?” You ask yourself

Suddenly and without warning, you become overwhelmed with emotions. There is a sudden rush of anger and something harsh swells in your belly and rises to your esophagus. You get irritated with yourself and who you are. You are suddenly uncomfortable with the 2003 Subaru that you have loved for the last three years. Suddenly, your crib with that 42 inch and Sony home theater is no longer good enough. You are angry and totally dark green with envy. What is your friend trying to show you? What is wrong with you?

Let’s scroll up and go back to question 1, 2 and 3

What are your priorities? How have you been spending your money?

Do you take time to review your years and seek to consciously add value to them?

Pesa, Pombe na Wanawake will be the downfall of many. You must know which of these three you should hunger for and pursue if you are a man. You must realize that if you are a man with a vision, you need a woman with vision to help you get where you want and not every skirt wearer has a vision or the capacity to support visions.  Alcohol will never be out of stock, so as you age, stop thriving in bottle drowning competitions with your friends; Those bottles cost money, money that you’re wasting trying to show your machismo for which none of your friends will reward you for.

Shopping, pesa na wanaume will be the undoing of many women.  Stop those silly shopping sprees at Mr. Price and spending hours and money you don’t have at art cafe and super cosmetics because you want to keep up with the glam squad.  Invest that money in stocks, in the Sacco; in something useful other than an Indian beyonce wona be weave!  You want the good life, keep your legs together and work for it, earn it, save it and invest it; then you can spend it.  You don’t become Caroline Mutoko or Amina Mohammed by being pretty and always showing up for plots at Olepolos!

So ladies and gentlemen, every December when you make merry and celebrate the passing of a year, take time in the dryness of January to reflect on your years and how much value you added to yourself!

Lesson 9 (a) Think differently about money and take the time to define seriously what “achievement” and “success” actually look like. Be careful about what you prioritise.

Lesson 9 (b): Your wealth disappears down the drain, one bottle at a time, one Mr. Price shoe at a time, one shiny gadget at a time, one turn-. Thats how you get to be ex-youth (35 and above) without property. Thats how you end up never getting into the C-Suite (Chief X Officer). 

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