How to Master the Game of Money

We all interact with money. This is true for everyone. This programming for most of us started at a tender age when around five years. We got our first exposure to money as a spender. We started this programme before we went to pre-school. For those like me who grew up in a Christian home, we were trained to donate all the money given to us. This was loading a program in our young mind.

Our Lesson two with money came in form of a reward for good deeds. Sometimes it was for good performance in school or some household chores that we took to do without being cajoled. We spent the money reward to buy the things we craved for. In our village it was soda Coke or Fanta, a cake or bread. These were very rare items that we craved for as young boys growing up in the slopes of Mt Kenya . The reward system was meant to stimulate the release of feel good hormones like dopamine. We got hooked to this procedure.

Lesson three came at a later age when we were shipped off to boarding school. Here, we learnt how to survive through saving money. Boarding school offered perfect training on how to scale money for a duration. We learnt to manage our pocket money to take us until visiting day or to the end of term. Survival was only for those with financial discipline.

The script was well set. The lessons were a deliberate “program” meant to prepare our young minds for after life when we start earning a salary. Boarding school system is a clever designed to create employees not entrepreneurs. Pocket money is no different from sadaka, or the gift / reward we got for good performance. As I look back, I wonder why were not taught when in secondary school how to make money.

Our spending journey lessons continue until we begin to work for a salary. Salary is given to us by the employer. I remember I use to say When “given” salary not when I earn, I will … … … . This however brings to the fore our foundation and our programing. We do not regard pay as our compensation for our labor. We see it as a gift from a benevolent senior. Just like it was with money for Sunday school sadaka or the reward for a good deed and pocket money.

Today we spend salary money the same way. An employee receives their pay the first week of the month. They get excited and go on a spending spree. One week later, the money is gone. They go back to being broke and continue working until the next payday. And this cycle continues until retirement (or retrenchment these days). This is a cycle that enslaves the mind to peg survival on salary. An employee fear to face life without the security of a salary. Sadly in this day and age of quick loans, people are spending in advance. When they get paid, they pay their debts and in most cases they always end up being short to meet their pending bills and meet other monthly obligations. This causes stress to the workers leading to poor morale at the workplace and job satisfaction. In most workplaces, our productivity is going down because employees are facing huge financial challenges.

So how do we overcome this mountain called money? Stay tuned for the next article, as I share practical ways to navigate the money minefield.

What were some of the lessons that were taught to you about money growing up that may have enslaved your mind? Talk to us, in the comments below.

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