What if…

What if…

You are probably one step away from a financial disaster? Yes, I’m talking to you so keep reading. Does one move, circumstance, situation, decision by somebody else make all the difference? Poverty follows those who ignore this and do not take charge of this situation. Nobody is going to do life for you and neither will a deal/sponsor/tender/inheritance/unspecified windfall save you. If you are old enough to get yourself out of bed in the morning you are more than capable of taking complete responsibility over your own life. Stop waiting to ride on what you hope somebody else will do for you.

I have come to discover that the one thing we do not like to face is that we are often one move away from a serious dip in our lifestyles. That one move could be that your salary is not remitted next month. What will happen to you? You won’t be able to pay rent or service your mortgage, pay school fees, buy food, fuel your car, and keep up that life you are so accustomed to. Maybe that move is an illness in the family. What will one month in hospital do to you?

What will happen if you lose your job?

What if your business falls apart?

What if your spouse dies or you get separated?

Or if one of you loses their income?

What if your debts are recalled i.e. you are told to immediately clear your loans?

What if………… I know.  The ‘what if’s” have no end and I know that this scenario is starting to look morbid. Even as I write this I am getting a new and scary appreciation for my own scenario. However, it is precisely these things that we do not like talking about.

Susan recently graduated from Centonomy. She got separated from her husband eight months ago and realised she had nothing. In her own words, she had been living a “champagne lifestyle”. She literally enjoyed a glass of champagne every now and then but that’s besides the point. She could go to the supermarket and pick anything she wanted whenever she wanted with no thought to the cost. She could indulge her kids in whatever brand of cereal they wanted. She just appeared at the gas station and her car, that was also bought and paid for somehow, got filled up somehow. School fees was paid from her husband’s business. Increase in fees never affected her as it was sorted out somehow. She could go out and use the ‘family’ credit card for entertainment expenses. The bank was paid somehow. Ironically, this family credit card was in his name so it went out of the door with him. Suddenly she found herself with all these expenses to think about. She had to pay rent for the first time in fifteen years! All those ‘somehows’ became real and and the question was now ‘How?’

I have seen many people trying to deal with the consequence of their ‘somehows’. University students whose parents can no longer afford fees. Bills that still have to be paid in spite of retrenchment and job losses. Medical emergencies. Inheritances that didn’t come through as planned. Cars repossessed and homes auctioned. People avoiding various entertainment spots because tabs have accumulated. And what if you don’t pick yourself up e.g. get another job as quickly as you would want? These situations will not wait for you to get over what other people think or wait for you to stop being scared. We are so good at showing people how well we are doing though deep down we are one step away from disaster. To make things worse, instead of focusing on improving our financial situation we focus on proving how well we are doing.

For a while Susan tried to borrow money from her parents to show that she was OK. It’s the same way people take comfort in having a nice job and a salary even though they actually live paycheck to paycheck. In other words, they live on a fifteen to thirty-day disaster window and keep thinking that somehow life will get better. Instead of reducing expenses, saving or investing so that they can survive three months without an income, they would rather spend a huge chunk of it proving to the world that they have made something of themselves. There are so many poor people walking around in designer clothes, cars, phones and homes. They even have designer friends. These are the people who are there to help you keep up the façade, I call them the poverty support group. If you don’t face facts, you have decided that you are OK with the possibility of being poor. Face the “somehows” that exist in your life and deal with it.

So, do you want your life to be controlled by that one move? Even if you enjoy looking like success, do you want that to be dissolved at one go? If not, investing is simply not a choice. It is not something you do in your free time. It is not what you do when you have extra money. It is not what you do when you have made it. It is not what you do with leftover finances. You don’t hang around for opportunity to find you. You go looking for the opportunity. The same way you get out of bed in the morning and dress is the same way you invest. You don’t have excuses for not dressing.  You just do it because you don’t dare turn up exposed and naked. Don’t be exposed and naked with your money. Somehow is not a plan. It won’t just work out. Become the CEO of your life and take control. Investing is the journey between that one move from disaster and real financial freedom.

Waceke runs a program on that helps you understand how to make money work for you. To sign up, email her at waceken@centonomy.com| Facebook/Centonomy or go to www.centonomy.com

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