The reasons why we are still broke

30Dec 2018
Eliana Mwibari
Dar es Salaam
Guardian On Sunday
The reasons why we are still broke

IN our modern world the majority of us are fully aware of the term ‘broke.’ But not every person fully understand the meaning of the word.

According to its definition, it means that something is broken, being an object, or sometimes it refers to when something happens to a person and disappoints them, so they become heart-broken and so on and so forth.

But according to Americans where I believe it originates, and now the rest of the world understands as such, it’s a terminology that originates from the streets, meaning lack of money.

So, next time when you hear this terminology it could mean one of the situations that I have mentioned above.
Financial management is one of the biggest problems that most people suffer from, especially in Africa. The majority of us do not have financial education at all.

I am confidently saying this because, as a trainer, we do train on this subject, and most of the time when you ask the audience if they have ever attended any class where they learned about financial literacy, the results are usually one or two people in a room of fifty or even seventy people. That shows how big a problem lack of financial education is to our society.

So this past week I came across a post from a friend of mine. She shared a post that had a title ‘Reasons you’re broke.’ It reminded me of one of many articles that I tried to share a couple of reasons that can hold you into a point of scarcity as far as finances are concerned.

When I read it I found it to be so relevant that I thought it was important if I shared it with all of you simply because I know that we are all striving to be successful in life.

We are all fighting to be financially independent on a daily basis. And the reason this is important to me is because I have been struggling for such a long time and now I realize that I kept doing the same mistakes over and over again.

Now that I know and I have learnt my lesson I would like to share it with the world. Hopefully it might land into the arms of someone who really needs to hear it and clean up their acts that keep them in the same spot.

Having said all the above, now let’s jump direct into it. We are going to be looking at the reasons you are, or rather, we are broke - because I don’t want to point fingers at others while am also still learning these things.

Reason number one: Blaming other people. It is obvious that, as human beings, sometimes we don’t want to be held accountable for our mistakes. So what do we do? We tend to turn the blame to other people.

We don’t want to accept the fact that where we are and in whatever circumstances that we are in, it is not our mistake. It is because of other people, we blame everybody else but ourselves.

We forget the fact that we are the master controller of our own lives and not the people around us, that because of what they did or did not do that’s why we are here; because my parents did not take me to school that’s why am broke; because I was born in a certain neighbourhood, or because my father did not have a certain title in his office, or because my mother did not tell me this or that, that’s why my life is different.

No, I believe we all can change for the better. Yes, you went through the hardships as a child; yes, you were not taken to a school you wanted, your parents never had lots of money, so what?

You are now a grown up person. It is not about what they did not do for you; it is about what you have done or you are doing for yourself. It is said that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Your challenges should be the fuel to the desires of your heart. Don’t go around telling people about the issues you went through in the past, but inspire others by telling them that despite the fact I had a difficult childhood, my parents did not have a lot of money I declared to myself that I was not going to conform to that.

I did not let the situation hold me down so I went out, I put myself in a discomfort zone and worked hard and look where I am today!

I made it, and if I did so can you. That should be your story. So, don’t blame other people; find a way to change the blame game into a success story.

Reason number two: Quit giving excuses. Life is a battle and those who stand to the end will be rewarded.

We are all granted opportunities every single day. The reason why you woke up today and you are still breathing is because you have been given an opportunity. You are given a chance to make things right. |It’s an opportunity to move to the next level in all aspects of your life.

So, sitting down and giving and making excuses that I can’t do this or I can’t do that is simply abusing the opportunity that you are granted. So, wake up every day, thank God for granting you another day and get out there and make the most of it.

Do what you have to do, make sure you have moved even just an inch from where you were yesterday. The baby steps count big time. The reason we work hard is because we have goals that we want to achieve.

We want to be financially independent. So, why not make every day and every opportunity count?

Reason number three: Do not abuse your finances. If I may start by asking, how do we always spend our money? Are you operating on a budget? Do you have a budget at all?

Is your budget written down or it’s just in your mind? Does your budget balance? We both have different answers to those questions, right? Yes, there are some who have budgets and their budgets are written down and they also balance.

There are others who have budgets in their minds and they have no idea if their budgets balance because they can’t even trace their spending.

There is another group that have no clue what a budget is and how it operates, when they have their money in their hands is when they choose what to spend it on and they are always wondering where their money went at the end of the day.

And there are some of my friends who always swear that this time around I am going to make a budget and stick to it, but once the money is in their hands they forget and the budgeting idea flies out of the window until all the money is gone and they start promising again to use a budget once they get money next time.

Some may have been doing that for more than ten years now. My simple definition of a budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering about where it went.

So, what happens is, most of the time we do abuse our money by not having a budget leave behind not sticking to it.
I happen to know someone who was a friend of mine and his belief of money is that when you get money spend it all and once it is finished go out and look for some more.

What, excuse my language, a stupid belief? Where will that kind of a belief take you? Maybe you are still young now with full of energy, you can go out there and work and make money, but you will not be young forever.

Just ask yourself this question: will you still go out and work so you can sustain your life at the age of 80? Or 90, or even 100? What is your plan?

Are you planning to be somebody’s burden when you get older? Would you like your life story to serve like a warning to the society or an example to the society?

This is what I mean by that. When you are old and can’t take care of yourself simply because you did not plan or save and invest for your future, people will talk about you.

And the stories doing the rounds will be that he/she used to have a lot of money and used to spend and loved to have a good time, look at him now!

But when your life is an example you will hear stories like: He used to make a lot of money and he was very smart because he invested for his future and now at an old age he does not have to work but live his life because his investments are taking care of him. I believe we all want such kind of a beautiful ending.

One thing I know for sure is that when you keep abusing your income, you will make a lot of fake friends. They will make you as an ATM machine knowing that I can call him or her at any time and surely he/she will send me money, or they will be close to you because they know they will have a good time when they are with you, maybe eat, drink, party, etc.

But, my friend, the day that you can’t give them such pleasures again is the day you won’t see them again or receive calls from them. And when you try to call them no one will pick your calls. So, be smart, save, invest, have plans for your future.

Of cause I am not saying you should be stingy and not live your life. Live your life, have fun but be smart.

We shall proceed with this topic next week. Meanwhile stay tuned and blessed.

The writer is a businesswoman and a motivational speaker based in Dar es Salaam. Email: [email protected]; Mob: 0745 834 956