Monday, August 22, 2011

Money: A Faithful Servant But A Terrible Master

A large proportion of the population of the country is struggling financially. Most of our folks in the rural areas think that people who hold jobs and work for money have a lot of money. This may have been true in the past but today the majority of working people are up to their necks with financial problems, especially debt. In fact, I would say that they are up to their noses in debt, barely breathing.

My conclusion from observing both farmers and the working class is that the great majority of them earn enough. Their problem is not making money; it is managing it, and multiplying it.

Financial literacy is a big need in this country. People need to learn how to make money work for them. I guess I wouldn’t be wrong if I said that people like accountants and economists are financially illiterate. You know why I say this? My answer is that if they were literate, they would be the most financially successful people around. The fact is, the majority of accountants and economists – people who have received financial training in school – are living hand-to-mouth lifestyles. They earn a lot, but they also spend a lot (in fact over spend), live beyond their means, and borrow a lot. They are academically bright and professionally successful, but financially unsuccessful.

One thing we all need to know is that money is a very faithful servant, but a very terrible master. Money is neutral the moment it lands in our hands. When we have it in our hands, we decide whether it will become our servant or our master. When we manage it well, save it and invest it, we turn it into our servant. We make it work for us. And it works on a 24/7/365 basis, which is to say, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. It does not get tired, rest, sleep, observe public holidays etc. The faster it works (depending on where you have invested it), the more it produces more of its own kind. This, I believe, is the secret of the rich, which most of us have not been taught.

What the majority of us know is money as a master. We work our guts out for it, but when we get it into our hands, we don’t know how to harness its power for our benefit. The more we earn, the more we spend. This why coffee growers in the Highlands don’t have anything to show for the good international prices of the past two coffee seasons. And this is why the majority of salaried people have nothing to show for their educational qualifications, experience and the long years they have held paid jobs.

When money is servant, it works for us; when it is master, it works against us. When we work for money, it escapes us. It acts as if to say, “Catch me if you can.” But when money works for us, it reproduces itself. The more it does that, the less you need to work for it.

I hope you take stock of your financial affairs and the way you have been handling money up to now, and start giving it work to do instead of spending it all and going back to work for it yourself. I hope that you start making money your servant and not your master.

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