GOFAONE NINA TLADI
It has been a tough week in the news both here at home, across the continent of Africa and in the United States of America and as we send our prayers to the people in the latter countries. It is payday week and with the ping of our phones the pain of Janu-worry, the concern for our fellow men and the mess that is our finances is forgotten and we press the refresh button!
We insist that January was the trial month and we will start to get out lives together in February, the month of love. The malls fill back up and everyone signs up for yet another wasted year long gym membership.The Decembers and Januarys we waste by deferring the change we desperately need because change is hard. “ Until the pain of change is greater than the pain of change, you will never change.” Dave Ramsey
Like trends and challenges that are short lived we beat our chests with righteous indignation, only for a little while and move swiftly to the next wave and the fury topples the previous societal headline and all our energy and focus is channeled elsewhere. The need for change becomes a standard agenda item that rolls over from one year to the next.I am all for the trends that bring light to much needed conversations and bring social justice. We need to speak openly about money for example, our struggle with it and get the help we so desperately need. I am however, not for staying the same. If you do the same thing every year that you have been doing, you will get the same results.
We hope for salary increases or a large infusion of cash etc but those are often swallowed up by lifestyle creep: get a raise, get a top up, increase your lifestyle, work harder to get a raise to pay for the higher instalments, rinse and repeat.
Being a Motswana has afforded us great access and dare I say made us a privileged bunch and it is the nature of priviledge to blind. What happened in America where hundreds of thousands of people didn’t get paid? That could never ever happen to us. I wonder what sought of catastrophe that would be for our country. I love being a Motswana. I would not want to be from any other country, but recently as I read the Statistics Botswana Annual Report, I had to raise the carpet and look at some really hard truths that Batswana need a financial wake up. Though I am only a young woman with a love for my country and somewhat of a platform, I want to shout as loudly as possible to Batswana to “wake up and change for the better!”
The cycle of a financial free for all December begets a dismal January and year long crisis control because we are unable to manage ourselves which translates to poor personal finances. There are more people in the business of loaning us money due to our impatience to saving and buying things cash, then there are those in the business to grow money in the form of investments. This alarms me and it is something I hope will be the opposite in my children’s time.
We live for payday. We are happier, more engaged and it is directly correlated to the amount of money we have and as we get closer and closer to payday we get more and more dejected. Once the payday notification hits, it is like coming up for air after holding it for so long. The only exciting thing for me about payday nowadays is that I am knocking off debt and colouring in my debt free chart. As the salary notification text pops up on your phone, take a deep breath and as everyone takes their money, may you be filled with anger enough take everyone’s name off of your earnings. Draw up a budget, you need to know how much you make and where it is going. Getting your financial act together should not be a trend but a way of life.
This year is called: now that you know better, what are you going to do about it? Forgive yourself for the financial mistakes you have made and get to work!!
PS: You don’t have to be a hero, you just have to be what most people aren’t, consistent!
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