Money Is Not A Measure Of Character; When You Have A Lot, Don’t Entertain An Entourage


Suppose you have some money and you wondering in which project to invest the money in! Or, imagine you have a windfall of some money that you don’t know, out of the blocks, how to spend. Or as in the case of those who bet, what if a mega jackpot came your way!

Wallace Kantai has some words for you. These are wise words that ought to apply to anyone looking to spend money wisely.

So, 220 million shillings comes your way. You’re a decent and semi-wise fella/ lass and you’ve read too many stories of people in whose laps money fell, and promptly fell out again. So you come to this page for advice. Here are twelve tips:

1. Recognise the fact that 220 million shillings is actually not that much. Once you get to this realisation, then you will banish unrealistic thoughts of buying a football club, or founding a university, or such. 

2. Separate your money immediately. What this means is that you should have different pots of money for different purposes. For example, have an account for frivolous spending (you can’t avoid this, seeing as you have lucky laps and you need to do something stupid to celebrate; have an account for investment (more on this later); an account for general expenditure; an account for charity/ tithe/ extended family etc. If and when money runs out of one pot, do NOT top it up. This ensures that one spending plan will not bankrupt you. If your ‘jibamba’ pot has 5 million bob, and it’s gone within a month, that’s it. No more jibambaing. 

3. Upgrade your life by a maximum of two notches. If you lived in Komarock, skip South ‘B’ and Doni, and move to, say, Kileleshwa. Do not move straight from Komarock to Karen or Runda. Go from mathree, past a third-hand Allion, to a new-import Allion. Do not harbour thoughts of a new-import Prado. Realise that each upgrade comes with hidden expenses. Insuring a VX can cost you half a million bob a year. 

4. All your charity and social expenses should come out of one pot. Giving back to your church/ educating the children in your shags/ establishing a charitable foundation all come out of one pot (that should not take up more than 20% of your net money. And the rules remain. If this money runs out, that’s it. Do not top it up. 

5. The best investment I can think of for a significant amount of your money is government bonds. You can earn up to 14% (depending on which one you buy), and you’re only taxed 15%. In practical terms, if you invest KSh 100m in a bond paying out 12%, you will have a net ‘salary’ of just under a million bob, every month, for practically the rest of your life. I know I’m a very conservative investor, but do not invest in something you don’t understand, like buying a fleet of mathrees when you’ve never run a single matatu in your life. Do not entertain offers to invest in greenhouses and salons and gated communities if you don’t understand those businesses. Do not invest in a business which needs your hands-on operational attention, when you’re clueless about that business. Your lessons in business will be far too expensive. 

6. Remember friends and family. They were there when you were broke, they should still be there when your lap turns lucky. But remember, there’s a pot for them and if it runs out, that’s that. 

7. Forget friends and family, especially if they assume that your laps are their laps. We’re Africans and have obligations to carry people with us, but there’s no obligation to break your back under their weight. Do not entertain the ‘clever’ cousin who has one hairbrained scheme after the other, each of which schemes costs a million bob. 

8. Do NOT get an entourage. 

9. By family in (7), I obviously mean that extended family that has shown up the instant you were in the paper. Don’t be nasty to them, but your obligations to them are limited. Do not let them guilt you into anything. 

10. Look around you now. See that wife/ husband/ boyfriend/ girlfriend? Keep them. Gold diggers (of either gender) can smell gold across time zones. It’s like the club – if you came at the beginning of the evening with someone, leave with them, however hot the other girls/ guys look. It’s an illusion. 

11. Should you choose to bless your church/ mosque/ temple, then all power to you. However, if you ever previously approached your church/ mosque/ temple with a spiritual or material need and were ignored, and they’re suddenly solicitous; if you’ve always sat anonymously in the middle or back pews and you’re suddenly being invited to the front pews, LEAVE THAT CHURCH. It’s as much of a gold digger as that dude/ girl to whom you’re suddenly handsome. 

12. Don’t forget yourself. Money is simply a bunch of entries in a bank’s computer, not a measure of your character.