Who Are you without the money?

Who Are you without the money?

Bob is a senior manager in a multinational company. When you look at Bob, you can tell he has a very well-paying job. It screams at you from afar with his designer clothes, his car and his air of self-importance. Say you get to spend a day with Bob to learn more about who he is. Maybe you are a journalist working on a feature about him. This is what you will learn: about his membership in prestigious clubs, the kind of homes he owns and lives in, the cars that he drives or is acquiring, the schools that his children go to, the exotic holidays he has gone on, the business travel in first class, the people in high places he knows, and of course the huge plans he has for the company he works in.

He will take you to the finest restaurant and drink nothing but the finest whisky. If you are clueless about whisky he will ensure that you know it is the finest brand.If you spend a day with Bob, you will be impressed with his status and material belongings. However, you will not know anything about who he is. It is the kind of interaction that leaves you wondering who Bob is behind the façade of cars, influential connections, lifestyle, and job title. By the way he talks and what he says about himself, you can tell that he completely identifies with his image and what he has.Bob cannot imagine and neither does he think he can survive without the trappings that his job has provided. Though he will not show it, his worst fear is losing the source of his lifestyle i.e. his job and, hence, losing the respect and status that come with it. What does Bob want in life? To Bob, the answer is always to make more money to secure this lifestyle. Even his children know they do not see Daddy much because he is out there making money. Now let us look at Jack. Jack runs a very successful business.  He makes more money than Bob.  He has a nice house too.

His children also go to great schools. He has a fancy car as well but during the week he prefers to drive his pick-up because that is more practical for his business.He has all the material niceties that Bob has, but if you spend a day with Jack with the aim of doing the same feature you did on Bob, he will not tell you about material things. Instead, he will tell you how he grew up.  He will talk about his business.  How he started it from zero and how it got to where it is today.  He will speak about the challenges faced as well as the victories.

He will tell you about his family. Probably how he met his wife.  He will tell you what she does.  He will tell you about his children; not so much that they go to high-end schools, but what they are learning, what they are good at, and what their hobbies are.He knows this because he spends time with them. He may talk about his travels and what they have taught him.He will talk about the people he has met in his life that have left an impression on him. So that you know more about him and who he is, you will probably have this discussion in his business premises so that he can give you a better idea of what he has built.

He will serve you tea himself. You may not leave that interview with all the information about what Jack actually has, but you will know who Jack is.Jack has everything and more that Bob has, but it is not the basis of his identity. What makes Jack is not his money or car.Jack can imagine a life without the status and he knows he will be all right. What does Jack want in life? Probably to leave a legacy.

Now let’s look at your life. Are you Bob or Jack? You may not have everything they do, but are you thinking like Bob or Jack?Have you placed your anchor in money, like Bob? You have if you think more money is the solution for everything in your life.Money, cars, job, status, and attention from people are not a constant. All these things are fickle and can disappear tomorrow.Who you are without the money is what is constant. Bob without the money is insecure and fearful. He thinks more money gives him security and respect.Bob equates what he owns with who he is. Listening to Bob, you would think that life is all about getting to this end game of image acquisition.

However, listening to Jack, you learn that life is about growth, processes, and the character that forms as you go through it.He is telling you about himself and what he has learned, the process he has been through and not what he has.From his conversation his values are obvious i.e. his family. To Jack, who he has become in the process (and not what he has) is who he is.The money can go but the character remains. The character is what can get you up again. Character is who you are when nobody is watching (and when nobody is inflating your ego for having the right size of bank account).

Unfortunately our society is listening to more of Bob and less of Jack. There are too many people being admired for what they own materially (and they are enjoying it) rather than what they stand for in life.Anchor yourself in the right thing. You do not really want to live a life where your own sense of value or confidence is dependant on the amount of money you have.

Before we leap into the new year, ask yourself: Who am I without the money or job title, or status?


Waceke runs a programme on personal financial management. Find her at


Twitter @centonomy

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  • Solid morals and values are attributes of movers and shakers who will leave behind untainted legacies worth emulating

  • Sam

    Well put piece, great insight on financial perspectives. Could I get an invite on some of your classes pleaase…

    • Hi Sam,
      I will certainly send you an invite. Check your email in a while. We would also love it if you could attend the Open day this Saturday 18th January at the National Museums of Kenya in the Louis Leakey Auditorium from 10am-1pm.

  • Dave

    I used to be Bob but life has taught me to be jack. i need more of your advise. kindly include me in your data base for updates on events and open day forums.

    • Thank you for your feedback & congratulations for the changes you made in your life.
      We now have you in our database & will update you on all future events.

  • very motivational.. please put me in your database

  • John

    This is very insightful. Keep me posted on your future events.

  • David Maruti

    Thank you for your insightful financial articles, Please include me in your data base, keep me posted and updated.
    Again thank you.

    • Thank you too for being an amazing and interactive follower of the articles David.
      When you choose to change your life for the better, you inspire those around you as well.
      We have certainly included you in our database & we’ll keep you well informed on all upcoming events.
      Do keep reading the articles ….. there are many more on the website & we’ll be sure to keep them coming to inspire everyone into living abundantly & creating wealth.

  • Diana

    Great piece Waceke! I really want to begin the transition from the world of employment to self-employment and would really benefit from your personal financial management forums. Please keep me posted on events and trainings.

    • Hi Diana,
      Thank you. We’ll certainly inform you about all of our future events. Our next intake is in June & we’d love to have you join us.
      Keep reading the rest of the articles on the website, we have new ones every week & you will enjoy them just as much if not more.

  • Zack Mwangi

    Hi i really like your articles as they have got sound financial advice.Kindly include me in your database please so that i could get updates on new articles and upcoming events.

    • Hi Zack,

      We have added your name & details to our database. Thanks.

  • Dominic Gitau

    Very informative articles. I would like to be updated on your events and if possible include me in your



    • Thanks Dominic,
      We’ll add you to our database for sure.

  • Josphat

    I crave for such practical lessons. Please include me in your database.

  • Lawrence

    Great job you are doing.
    Kindly send me updates on the latest events aswell.. Also kindly send me your schedule of courses for this year and beginning of next year..


    • Thanks Lawrence,

      I have sent you the details about the upcoming intake and i also added you to our database.
      Thank you for getting in touch.

  • Mike

    Nice piece. Put me in your database for updates

    • Thank you. We have added you to our database.

  • Tony ndirangu


    This classes should be a must for all,watching your tube videos and reading your materials made me think hard and realized almost everyone is on the wrong path to wealth.We boast of living in times where information is at our fingertips but we are becoming dumber by the day.Worshiping a material world full of fakes,and the so called “goodlife”…which literally is just chasing an elusive waterfall.

    Thanks a lot for the knowledge and please include my info in your database

    • Thank you for your positive feedback. We have added you to our database.

  • Linah

    Centonomy, thank you for your information i still have problems of financial management.

  • jenipher mwande

    Good work centonomy,watching your videos and reading your articles has made me realize a lot has to be done for one to be at the top…..looking forward for more updates

  • Claude Saula

    actually as I was reading, I was already analyzing myself, who am I without money??
    wow! am inspired, as a matter of fact am determined to read all this blogs.

  • Wairimu

    So glad I stumbled upon this article. Makes a lot of sense in my life right now. Thanks a lot Waceke.

  • Wanuma

    A good read, it’s this misplaced source of identity that has so many struggling with ‘status anxiety’ at the very least