Living in the Clouds

A story on being real about your financial situation

Agatha from The Wealth Tribe
6 min readFeb 13, 2020

“Kuna biz nataka tufanye…”( I need us to start a business together)

Have you received these random calls or text messages? It’s usually from people who have your number but you rarely communicate or relatives who have the illusion that you are rich.

I loathe these phone calls or messages. They have a tinge of entitlement. In my case, it has always been a male relative who thinks that they can control me; they can control my money. Every time I received this call in the past, the person did not exchange common pleasantries. They went right ahead to give a few fluffy details about the business.

Moreover, they don’t understand the business they’re pitching. By the time you’re done with the phone call, they won’t have answered the basic ‘how do you make money?’

If a person cannot explain to you how the business makes money like a 12-year-old, flee. If they can’t communicate it clearly, then what they’re presenting to you is a blueprint on how to lose your money.

Third, they most likely still owe you money or you’ve been at loggerheads in the past about their inability to settle their debts.

They will also ask for a ridiculous loan or investment amount for this business. Most likely, it will be at mid-month. I’ve learnt a concrete finance lesson from people who are extremely good with their money; they never have a ridiculous sum of money idling in their accounts. They have a good grip on their budgets and investments. At the bare minimum, they have a solid one-year financial plan based on their priorities, life goals and investment principles. So no, they will not jump on every investment wagon that comes their way.

“We are most vulnerable at two points in our lives. First, it’s when we’re without a lifemate. Second, is when we have lost our financial footing. He told me that these two weaknesses in Human Nature are the easiest to exploit.”

(Excerpt from Book of Pook Quotes)

If you don’t have a solid financial plan based on solid investment philosophy or principles, you will jump on these offers since the person will have done the thinking for you.

You can come up with these principles based on your life goals. The other day I was consulting a friend about EABL stocks after their recent 300 million buy of Tanzania’s Serengeti Breweries which raised its ownership stake in the Tanzania brewery to 75%. My immediate reaction was ‘Damn! These guys are controlling enjoyment in the whole of East Africa.’ His reaction? “It’s probably a good buy but I don’t invest in alcohol or cigarette companies.”

What’s your investment philosophy?

One of my favourite things to watch on YouTube is the Dave Ramsey show. He gives hardcore advice on personal finance. The one episode that I really loved was when a lady called for advice on saving. She went ahead to inform him that she’s been listening to his show for years, was in her early 30’s but still hadn’t started saving. She was also deep in debt. Dave flipped. He couldn’t believe she’d listened to him for years but still hadn’t made any concrete move to get unstuck. ‘’Literally putting money in your savings account every month is the way to save.’’ No matter how much you consume the personal finance stories, if you don’t literally put the money aside, then you’ll remain stuck while consoling yourself with the idea that wealthy/rich people must have magically come across a huge amount of money to start off their investing journey. You need money to make money, and you need to put aside the money to start with.

I recently met a lady I hadn’t seen for more than a decade. We had a lit girls night out, but the experience also left me incredibly confused. At the club, the waiter asked for our orders. We both wanted to indulge in some wine. All the options we liked from the menu could only be sold per bottle, not per glass. On checking the price, I immediately told her that I couldn’t afford any of them since the cheapest was $100. It’s a beautiful place to be when you finally get to a point in your life where you openly admit when you can’t afford something. A lot of people will assume that you’re broke, which is okay. If whatever I’m being offered is not a priority or simply can’t afford it, I will say so. Without shame. We should normalize this.

“Do you know of any cheaper places?” “Don’t worry. I’ll pay for it.”

At 2 am, we decided to move to a different club that had music we could dance to. This place was even more expensive. She still offered to pay for the second bottle of wine and had paid for the cab to the second club. Out of curiosity, I asked her how she could afford to pay these bills. I had however noticed that she paid for all using a credit card, and a part of me was feeling guilty because I had been warned that in this city, a lot of people either want to knock you off your job or use your money. I always ask my friends before a meeting about how we’ll split the bill, and will always settle for a place whose price range is within my means. She answered vaguely and had been inconsistent all night with her answers when I queried about what I could do to afford the luxuries. When you’re new in town, you want to test all your assumptions.

We often interact with such people. People who will give you financial advice that doesn’t add up-my friend refers to them as legless coaches who want to teach athletics. They will not give concrete investment examples when you ask, yet they’ll brag about how much they’ve achieved. At the same time, they will give excuses as to why they haven’t achieved certain things. They’re the same people who will quote a ridiculous sum while bragging about how much they sold their car; always assuming that you don’t know the value of these things. They consistently live in a fantasy. They’re like balloons dangling in the air. They have no financial anchors; in matters money, you need an anchor in the form of financial principles. Use them to centre your financial decisions on.

Some claim that there are secrets to attract money. But it’s better to trust the old fashioned way; high savings, prudent investing and living below means.-D.Muthrukrishnan

We sometimes end up comparing our progress to theirs, and we end up editing our lives to fit in. Invest in financial education before anything else. Start with having basic knowledge of how people make money, how to read financial statements, inflation… Then have the curiosity to build on these. Aim to be at a mental space where you can confidently leave places where you feel out of place; places that you can’t afford to be. Then work consistently to afford the beautiful things in life that you so desire.

Person A: “Before you invest in financial assets, invest in financial education.” Person B: “Or the market will derive it’s on fees from your investment.”

(An excerpt from a twitter thread)

Having financial clarity will also lead to stronger relationships with people based on trust. You won’t have to make those awkward ‘kuna biz nataka tufanye’ calls as you fumble with stories that don’t add up.

I honestly feel my dignity walking out on me if I have to borrow money from somebody I don’t consider my close friend.

I have a friend who will never lend you money if you give an explanation as to why you need the money. He believes that if you have to onboard him into your emotional roller coaster, then he can’t trust you with his money. If you have to manipulate him, then you’re not close enough to be asking him for money!

Originally published at on February 13, 2020.