Your financial health in 2023

It’s a new year and we are back to the grind, ‘chasing the bag’. Fantastic! But do you know how to manage ‘the bag’ once you get it? This one’s gonna be a long read.

When we speak about financial management, people think about managing millions of shillings. The good Book says, if you cannot be trusted with a little, you cannot be trusted with much. It doesn’t matter whether you are a millionaire or a ‘thousandnaire’, learning how to manage your money is critical. I come from a family of two accountants, both of whom have played a critical role in my life as far as managing my finances. My experience with these two has been that of accountability. As a young adult, if my brother gave me Kshs. 50 to buy him a newspaper that costed Kshs. 45 at the time, he expected me to return the Kshs. 5 change, without him having to ask. If I ever tried to be smart and didn’t, he would simply give me Kshs. 40 the following day and expect his newspaper. No negotiations. If borrow money from my other brother, we generally agree firsthand on whether it’s a loan or it should be written off and vice versa with me. Accountants can be a pain on your back side. (my brother is going to read this article and will reach out to call me ungrateful. Lol). From this experience and many others, I have learnt to expect the same level of accountability from every person I interact financially with; friends or family. No questions asked. If you ever try to shortchange me, you can be sure that you will never see my money again (my friends are probably rolling their eyes at this. They think I’m too uptight but they also know that they can trust me with their money. Lol).

When I moved out and started living alone, I realised that by mid month, I’d be flat broke. I wasn’t earning much, but the money would have been enough to meet my needs at the time yet I found myself reaching out for financial assistance¬† every month. My brother sat me down and was like, where does your money go because if you keep up like this, you need to stop working. He then asked me to prepare an excel sheet of all my recurring expenses per month. I was required to religiously follow that sheet monthly and only start spending on other things after the excel sheet stuff were paid. I was also required to prepare a list of all items I intended to purchase in a month and stick to that. Point is, I needed to know how I’d spend my money before I received¬† it and not vice versa. Long story short, I’ve done this for the longest time now and to date, I can tell you how much money I spent in March 2016, item by item, because it’s all accounted for.

As we start this year, one of the best decisions you can make for you is learn how to manage your finances. I’m not a rich person or a financial expert, so anything I share here is practically what has worked for me. Some of the habits you may want to avoid this year is borrowing money left, right and center. I know people who have borrowed money from family and all their friends and not paid back, so much so that they now have to find new friends because the relationship with the old ones has soured. Pay back your debts, without waiting to be reminded. It is part of financial discipline.

Learn to live within your means. Forget all that glam and lit life you see on Instagram. It is fake. People who are serious and genuinely making their money don’t even have time to constantly post that on Instagram. They are busy. All that show is just that. A show! Live the life you can afford. Most of those people behind the scenes are swimming in debt. Do you.

Save and invest your money. You cannot be eating all your salary every month. I consider that gluttony. It is one of the seven deadly sins. I will not also tell you how much you should save per month. Just make sure you are saving something because rainy days are there and they are coming. Stay woke! There are very many avenues you can invest your money through. Don’t wait to make millions to invest. You may be waiting forever. Take up a retirement cover. An insurance plan. Explore the money markets. One of my favourite people in the gym is my workout partner. She is an amazing soul. We don’t just crush weights together. We discuss financial independence. She introduced me to some amazing financial investment options. Make your money earn something for you. Keeping your money in the bank will not earn you the kind of interest you hope.

Help people who are in need. This year, commit to supporting one person who is struggling financially even if it’s per quarter. All that good you do for others will come back to you one way or the other. I’m not asking you to enable lazy people. There are so many worthy causes out here you may wanna be a part of. Step up. Taking your entire salary to your Pastor to buy a new car does not equate to charity work. It is stupidity. Again, stay woke!

Finally, as you chase the bag, be intentional about your emotional wellbeing. Take care of yourself.  Don’t be so focused on making money that you forget to rest and appreciate yourself for all the hardwork you are putting in. Don’t just make money so you can take care of other people. You are also people. Appreciate yourself. Give yourself some TLC.

Happy New Year everyone and may this be THE year for you. Blessings.