LIVING BEYOND OUR MEANS
How deep are your pockets? Let’s talk Money
Are we living beyond our means? Reaching into our pockets to pay for one’s lifestyle is the advisable thing to do, borrowing is not. It’s pretty easy to fall prey to the YOLO lifestyle. In fact we all have done it at some point in our lives. We are constantly lured by banks to take credit cards and by money lending companies to borrow money. The latest addition to this has been travel agencies offering trips that you can pay for later. Who doesn’t want a holiday, right? Unfortunately, this kind of lifestyle is not sustainable. I hate to be the one to burst your bubble but these are signs that you are definitely living beyond your means.
Recently I was invited to speak to a group of young energetic adults stepping into college and give them some financial tips to guide them through their time in college and beyond. As I stood before them and for about a minute or so, my mind wandered off to a time when I was their age. I told them, “You do not have to live below your means, you do not live within your means, you can live your dreams, you only need to plan for it.” To the ladies I posed this question, ”do you ever find yourself desiring to buy a new outfit, or to get on that road trip with your friends or purchase the latest makeup set or hair extensions? What do you do when you discover you do not have enough money for it? What do you do when every other girl seems to have what you want but you do not? What do you do when your parents are unable to afford to buy you the things you see other girls have or take you to places or countries other children have been to?” Thought provoking, right? Well this is what I asked the gentlemen: “do you find yourself wishing you had a car or house of your own, have the money to buy tickets to the rugby series, have enough money to take the girl of your dreams out on that date, go on some road adventures with the boys? What do you do when you barely have enough money to take you through the semester? Would you take up debt or do favors to get what you want if you did not have the money or would you work to earn enough to buy what you would like or do what you would like in due time? The answer to this question would determine if you are living beyond your means or planning for your dream, the difference is in how you get it. If you take on debt or do favors, you will get what you need now and you will owe a lot of people a lot of money or favors in return but if you choose to put in some good old sweat equity you will have earned whatever you will have acquired no matter the length of time it took you.
Life is all about choices, we can either choose to relinquish our desires for momentary pleasures to realize your financial dreams by planning for it, or you can choose to continuously compare yourself to your peers as a benchmark for social class. There is a certain joy and healthy esteem that comes from wealth acquired through hard work. They say a budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went. Truer words have never been said. Save for your next vacation, for the next music festival and for that next fashion haul to revamp your wardrobe; don’t YOLO your way through your youth.
Sheila Mallowah-Mwongera is a Wealth management advisor and the Principal Consultant and Founder of Zoel Capital Limited. Her experience that spans 12 years in the financial services sector is one she chooses to use to help people, and most especially the youth, to better save, grow and protect their wealth. She draws her satisfaction from seeing her clients prosper, a mission that she pursues through various investment platforms and is not afraid to go beyond traditional investment solutions in search of the best products for her clients. The wife and mum of two holds an MBA in Marketing from Daystar University and a Bachelor of commerce (Finance and Accounting) from Strathmore University.