It’s the end of the month. You’ve been working really hard. It’s probably your favourite time if you get paid around this time. Getting money feels good – cents for your wallet and sense for your soul. Seriously though, who do really work for? Yourself, or someone else?
Money, money, money
How you think about money and relate to it affects who you become, what you do and what you have. It’s one of the human treasures that are hard to ignore in the world we live in.
Learning how to be a good money (resource) manager is profitable in both too-much-money and too-little-money situations.
Ultimately, money is a great servant but a harsh master.
Who do you really work for?
Do you say you work for [company name] or [client name] or [boss’s name] when asked who you work for? That’s one way to look at it.
Or do you say you work for yourself? Don’t we all to some extent?
Why do you do the work you do? What motivates you to earn money regularly? Who do you hope will benefit in the end? Think about it.
Now, if one of your answers wasn’t yourself or your family, I’ll be the first to call you out on your dishonesty.
Your income vs your money
“I found the road to wealth when I decided that a part of all I earned was mine to keep. And so will you.” – Richest man in Babylon
It was the last official work day in 2013. The manager instructed everyone present to go read “The richest man in Babylon” by George S. Clason, a great book that teaches simple lessons in financial wisdom based on experiences in business and managing household finances.
“They say money talks, but mine only says goodbye – leaving me faster than Usain Bolt.” Does that happen to you?
Don’t you wish your wallet came with free re-fills? Me too. The way to fatten your purse, the first lesson taught in the book, is to pay your self first.
You can learn something about how to practise this lesson from the government. When you earn your income, they pay themselves first (income tax). Religiously.
Do you pay yourself first every time you get money?
What’s yours is ours. Surprise!
This really blew my mind when I first realised it. Let’s do some simple math to see who really smiles to the bank when you get paid. This example may not apply to you 100% but it might teach you something about who you really work for.
David’s got an above-average salary of 100k that checks in at the end of every month (around this time). Happy times!
In Kenya, income tax is about 30%. So before Dave gets his money, the government takes it’s cut. In a year, he works 3.6 months for the government (30% x 12 months). Money left: 70k.
How much do you work for your government?
David rents an apartment in an estate outside the city centre. His landlord has a no-jokes policy on late rent payments. He pays 25k monthly (25% of his salary) before he can enjoy his money.
Let’s assume this also includes garbage collection fees and a standard monthly water bill payment.
In a year, he works 3 months for his landlord (25% x 12 months). Money left: 45k.
How much do you work for your landlord?
David needs to buy household items, groceries and personal effects every month. He spends 10k (10% of his salary) to stock up on these items till the next pay day.
He loves dressing well and spends 5k on clothing, shoes and accessories every month.
In a year, he works 1.8 months for shop owners (15% x 12 months). Money left: 30k.
How much do you work for shops (supermarkets, kiosks, markets, boutiques)?
Transporters (Matatus, Buses, Uber, …)
David spends about 10k (10% of his salary) on public transport every month.
That’s 2 – 2.5k each week for commutes to work (Mon – Fri), getting around on weekends and occasional trips to a weekend getaway destination.
In a year, he works 1.2 months for transport providers (10% x 12 months). Money left: 20k.
How much do you work for transport providers?
Utility Providers (Electricity, Internet, Tv, Mobile Tariff, Home Care…)
David loves to stay connected; he’s got an internet and TV subscription that’s 4k per month. He spends 1k on prepaid airtime for his phone and 1k max on electricity monthly.
He pays 1k every week to have his house (and clothes) cleaned, some food cooked and get some errands done. That’s 4k monthly.
In a year, he works 1.2 months for utility providers (10% x 12 months). Money left: 10k.
How much do you work for utility providers?
David’s pursuing a college degree to get ahead in his career. His tuition fees is 30k per semester, which he pays in 10k instalments every month.
In a year, he works 1.2 months for his college (10% x 12 months). Money left: 0.
How much do you work for your school(s) or their (your children’s or dependent’s) school?
David loves to hang out and have fun: watch movies at the theatre, have drinks, eat out, party, travel (about 10k monthly).
He wants to tithe and give to charity (that would be about 15k monthly).
He’d also like to have some insurance for rainy days (about 5k monthly). He’s had his fair share of unexpected hospital bills, late salaries, friends and family in need.
For the last 2 years, he’s dreamt of buying a car and a plot. He wants to save towards a deposit (about 10k monthly) for that.
Money Left: – 40k.
Moment of Truth
David’s already (thinking of) spending 40% (40k / 100k) or 4.8 months (40% x 12 months) of next year’s salary this year. And he doesn’t have any savings or investments. Know somebody like him?
Does David really work for himself? Who really smiles when he gets paid? Are you like David in any way? He works for money but it doesn’t work for him (harsh master, money is).
Now that you’ve read David’s story, how much do you really work for yourself? Is it really you that smiles when you get paid?
What’s your key take-away from this post? What sort of advice would you give David to help him out? Let me know in the comments below.
– Evans “Know who you work for” Musomi
P.S: As always, I’d like to challenge you to become the most valuable person you were designed to be and that the world really needs.