Financial empowerment to many has meant having extra or excess money today. Sometimes things do not happen to us, we actually take away this power from ourselves, and it has nothing to do with today’s financial situation or getting more now. We tend to look at everything else apart from our own role in our circumstances. Last week I wrote about how quick money has not resulted in more financially empowered people. In many times they are left worse off. So in that case it’s not the money that’s the starting point. Sometimes we simply financially disempower ourselves, here are some ways in which this happens.
- We remove ourselves from the driver’s seat of our lives and expect money to take up that role. Money is a good servant but a terrible master (Click to Tweet this thought). It was not meant to direct your life. It’s mind boggling the number of things people will decide they cannot do because of money. I know for many of them, money is needed and it is acceptable to come to the conclusion that you cannot do something because of the funds. The problem is when the decision, with no additional attempt, analysis, evaluation just stops because of money. It is the automatic and immediate settling because of the money. Without even trying or stirring up any creative juices to find solutions. Money is meant to follow a vision, not be the vision holder. Hardly do we meet anyone who achieved anything because they started off with money. So our excuses are not that special. Decide to start that business, learn what you need to learn, take the first step and you’ll figure out the money. Don’t say you can’t start because of the money. If that’s the constant position there is not enough money that will show up, to make you start. It will never be enough. So you’re in debt and need to get out of it. Talking about how you don’t have money to pay it off will not solve the problem. Start thinking of ways to manage expenses or generate income to pay off debt. No matter the situation do take the driver’s seat and let whatever conclusions you make come to be from that position.
- We play the victim. We blame everything and everyone else but ourselves. We blame the employer, the economy, the interest rates, inflation, bills etc. We even blame social pressure, our parents. We blame our upbringing. We get comfortable blaming others, especially for things that were our own actions. If you decide to give money to your relatives, it is your decision. Do not blame them. If you chose to have a more expensive lifestyle, do not blame your employer for not paying you enough. For many people even if they do get a raise in pay it usually translates to even higher expenses. When we stop blaming people, we are forced to accept the responsibility for our own actions. Because of accepting the responsibility we then know we are the same people who can choose to take a different course of action or change something.
- We let things master us rather than mastering our things. There is nothing wrong with nice things. However, you are not your things. Your sense of value or success should not come from things (Click to Tweet this thought). They will master you when you get your identity from them. It is fine to have a nice car or even want a better one. However, when we are driven to get this car because of what people perceive, the car has mastered us. This very dangerous motive leads us to do financially unintelligent things like taking on debt that we cannot afford. Many people have found that this car provides at best temporary satisfaction and then they are left wanting something else and feeling inadequate. This desire doesn’t quite go away because there is always a different benchmark. A new car, a new phone, a better house etc. Decide what you value and what is important. That will help put the boundaries we need to have on things. You shouldn’t let things steal your retirement or prevent you from truly experiencing the things that are of value to you. You are not successful because of the living you make but because of the life you have.
- Our money empowers everybody else but us. Your money pays everybody else but you. It pays the government through taxes, landlords, supermarkets, fuel companies, electricity, entertainment venues, schools etc. You get the point. We don’t feature in this yet we are doing all the work. If we do feature it is a small proportion. One of the reasons for this is because we do not know where our money goes. There is nothing good about not having a spending plan or a budget. If you do not dictate how your money will be spent there are enough people who will gladly spend it for you. There are enough distractions in the the world to keep you spending especially if you don’t have a plan for yourself. Your earnings start to empower you when you put yourself in the equation. When you decide that your hard work will also bring you financial benefit by using it to invest in a way that brings you more money. We need to think of saving over thirty percent of our income from the money we earn to play a part in empowering us. More money will not make you wealthier until you start creating wealth from what you have (Click to Tweet this thought).
- We don’t try to learn. Opportunities to invest and create wealth are there. They only require you to invest the time to learn. This learning may be in a course, having a conversation with someone, spending time talking to an investment professional, visiting a project, doing research on a business idea etc. School did not stop with a degree. We do need to be intentional about our financial goals. It’s choices not chances that get you there. Go and seek the information.
Waceke runs a Personal Finance & Wealth Creation program at Centonomy. For details email Waceke on firstname.lastname@example.org | Facebook/WacekeNduati| Twitter@cekenduati