Who are your money teachers?

Friday October 19 2018

What lessons did you learn and what beliefs are you carrying around? Sit with yourself and go back in time. PHOTO| FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP


James’s first job was as a management trainee at a bank about seven years ago. He admired his boss and considered him a mentor.

They had a good relationship and James was sure that his career would progress as long as his boss held his hand.

They went out for drinks one day and his boss told James that despite his hard work and effort, he would have to upgrade his lifestyle if he wanted to advance in his career.

The words that cut deep were that he (the boss) did not get where he was by driving the kind of car James was driving.

Unfortunately for James, there was nobody else as influential in his life to teach him something different. And so the belief was set.



James slowly started changing his life, not because he wanted to but because he believed this was the right way to enhance his career. Seven years later this life has caught up with James.

This lesson has gotten him in loads of debt that he is now struggling to get out of.

Teachers are important – and not just for our children, but for us, too. I was at a forum where the speaker, in a bid to break the ice, asked us who our most impactful teacher was, and why. Some attributed pursuing certain careers or arts because of a teacher.

Others confessed to habits formed on the basis of something someone told them. That’s how powerful teachers are. Anyone who influences our actions and character is a teacher, be they a boss, a parent, a mentor or a colleague you find inspiring.

As we teach money in our classes, we have come to realise the problem is not the budget, spending or the fact that you are in debt, lack of savings etc.

The deeper problem is the initial teacher (s) who made people have a certain mindset about money. It is important to recognise your teachers. Some may have taught you the right thing. But, like James, others may not.

Rachel’s mother was a different type of money teacher from James’ boss. Rachel learnt to ‘hustle’ from observing her mother. She saw her do multiple things to bring in money so that Rachel and her brother could go to very good schools. Farming, selling household goods, investing in stocks, construction, etc. She would take Rachel around with her while banking, and conducting business, and did not shy away from having her children listen when she needed to discuss payment plans with the school. Rachel has a very good job but it does not stop there for her. She is invested in stocks, some businesses, and property. Her mind relates to money as something to multiply because it is what she saw. She does enjoy her money but has no issue tightening her belt when the need occurs.

What lessons did you learn and what beliefs are you carrying around? Sit with yourself and go back in time. Who has influenced your financial behaviour both positively and negatively? There will be some teachers who were wrong and you need to understand that. It doesn’t mean that they were bad people with ill intentions on your life.

Maybe they were also given the same lessons by somebody else. This awareness is a very important step.

Right now do you continue surrounding yourself with the wrong teachers? Certain friends, social media, groups etc.

You can also decide to find the right teachers. Have a conversation with somebody different, read something, take a class, etc.

The difference between people is not how much money they have today, or even education. It is really how they think. Somebody taught you to think the way you do. Do you need to re-learn?


Waceke runs a course on personal finance & entrepreneurship. Get in touch with her on [email protected]|Facebook/WacekeNduati| [email protected]