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Managing Your Money

This's the secret to financial freedom

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When you use public transport, you get to know many things; some can shockingly catapult you from your slumber and beliefs. A few days ago, I was enjoying the beauty of Thika Superhighway as I listened to the serenading music the matatu driver had chosen to entertain us.

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Then the young woman in front of me received a call from, as I later concluded, a colleague at university.

Being a writer, you get to listen in to conversations, especially in public.

This lady was telling the other, "You know where I come from (she mentioned her tribe) how you get money doesn't matter but you must get money. I tell you, if I get a dying old white man who soils himself, I will take care of him with all my heart as long as I know he will bequeath me all his property once he is gone."

She continued to justify her thoughts in a conversation that went on and on.

It struck me that despite this girl being in university and having all sorts of opportunities around her even before she completes her studies, she was still reasoning like an illiterate person who spends days fantasizing about Lady Luck dropping millions from the sky her way.

It was disturbing to hear this. Hasn't education liberated her? At university, she must be a role model to many girls, is this the kind of reasoning she takes to them? Where is her self-worth?

Such mindsets make many women vulnerable to abuse and subjugation.

Unfortunately, the way women view and control their financial status has a profound effect on how they are viewed by everyone they relate with.

If you show that you desperately need someone to take care of you financially and you are 'lucky' to get such a person, you can easily be treated like trash.

The man will always view you as a leech, latching on him for financial gain and will have no respect for you. And you know what comes with that – dishonor, being looked down upon, despised and the like.

I tell all women to develop financial muscle if they want to be respected and I have given tips over time through this column how to achieve this.

If you also reason like that girl in the matatu, it is time to change the way you view life. Look at your strengths and how you handle your finances. Begin by changing your mindset; sing every morning 'I can do it...I can buy that car (house, start the business, etc) with my money...yes I can!"

Once convinced that the power to do it is within you, set out to make it a reality. If it means taking a loan to buy that which you initially desired to get a man (popularly known as 'sponsors') to do it for you, go ahead. But think of repayment too. Do not take a loan for the sake of it. You have to plan and organize your finances before you make that leap. You are not going to borrow money, even if the bank interest rates have come down to 14.5 per cent from up to 24 per cent, to enslave yourself whereby you repay and have no money left to see you through the month.

Once you demonstrate that you can take care of yourself financially, many will admire you and make irresistible offers. But you are not doing this to get approval from people; you are doing it for you. You will feel more confident and bold enough to tell anyone who wants to pin you down 'No'.

And once you have acquired this desired property, demonstrate that you can take care of it. If it is a new car, ensure you take if for service when due, fuel it without borrowing money to do so and ensure it is always sparkling on the road. It is unladylike to drive a car whose bumper is knocked and tyres look like a smooth tongue.

Because of this kind of planning, you are bold enough to seek credit and do more things to make you more empowered financially.

This will set you apart from the rest, who wait upon a rich man to help them achieve their life's desires.

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