You see the topic above? That is what I call a ‘nonsensical and anti-empathetical’ statement. How the heck do you manage money when you have no money to manage? Don’t fool yourself. When you are in poverty, you are in serious money problems.
But unfortunately, no matter what the poverty level, everyone still has to pay for daily expenses like food and shelter, unexpected health care costs, education, weddings and funerals.
Living in poverty may mean a life of struggle and deprivation, not being able to afford a doctor or medical treatment. It means lack of stable electricity, poor shelter, and often little food on the table. The big question is: IS THERE ANY SENSE IN TEACHING THE POOR HOW TO MANAGE MONEY?
That’s a resounding YES.
There’s a big difference between being “broke” and being “poor”. Poverty is the daily agonising feeling of not having ENOUGH money for groceries, or having to decide between buying food for your children and paying the rent.
Imagine a blogger encouraging the poor to start a blog as a means of creating revenue (I laugh out loud in Swahili!). Not that it’s not a sound advice but, in all honesty, that doesn’t take care of immediate financial problems. Or giving advice on how the poor can manage money when the adviser doesn’t know what it means to suffer the psychological trauma of not knowing where the next meal will come from. Can you compare your experience to that poor, tattered lady in her sixties, wizened by ill health, starvation and insecurity begging at the corner of the street with her lean nine year old son? Can you teach money management to the millions now incapacitated by the current pandemic whose means of livelihood have been wiped out because the government is not responsible enough to ensure the citizenry receive a cushion through palliative. The citizens are now seeking alternatives to survive.
You can’t preach to the poor that a strategy to money management is to live below one’s income. There is no adequate income in the first place so how do you live below it? By the way, the poor already live BELOW everything.
Another advice for money management you don’t give to the poor is telling them to make do with the bare necessities: clothes on your back, shelter, and food. When you are in poverty, all or most of the bare necessities are nada, zero, zilch.
1.3 billion people in 104 developing countries, live in multidimensional poverty, according to a 2018 survey by the U.N. Development Program.
Nigeria remains one of the top two wealthy nations, if not the wealthiest, on the African continent, (yet, one of the most poverty ravaged countries in the world). Our leaders make us poor. It may interest you to know that the same set of people that have been ruling Nigeria since independence in 1960 are still ruling in 2020. Sometimes, it makes me wonder if Nigerians are not slaves in their own country. Nigeria is regarded as a rich country with poor people. Now that is a paradox!
Suffice to say, without mockery, the best managers of money could be the poor. So what should poor people do in terms of managing money? Believe it or not, my fellow Nigerians are already on top of that question. Poor Nigerians are already ‘acclimatised’ to their toxic economy. For one, poor Nigerians are no longer in doubt that the government does not give a hoot about their pains and suffering. The recent pandemic proved all that. They no longer BOTHER about a government that is not bothered about their livelihood and wellbeing.
An example is a nairalander who wrote a post about his current excruciating experience as a private school teacher during the pandemic and begged for assistance on the platform. He included his bank account and other means of identification in order to allay fears that he was not scamming people and that his plight was real. This is just a tip of the iceberg when it comes to Nigerians managing under a lackadaisical government.
Here are adjustments poor Nigerians have had to undergo in order to manage money.
1. Debunk any notion of government assistance from your psyche.
2. Hide from family and friends any extra source of income.
3. Use every opportunity to raise money such as begging at bus stops.
4. Stick to your rich friends like a leech.
5. If you have family and friends living abroad, cry and complain bitterly about your money issues.
6. Avoid police and other law enforcement trouble.
7. Avoid supermarkets and departmental stores. Instead stick to markets where you can haggle and get the cheapest bargains.
8. Buy second hand clothes, second hand furniture, second hand gadgets and second hand everything.
9. Avoid hospitals (both private and public) at all costs. Instead, patronise the local pharmaceutical shops (known as chemists) and nurses.
10. Avoid travelling.
11. Attend wedding parties (even if you were not invited). You’ll get a free meal, probably a gift and free entertainment.
12. Seriously ponder over how to go about internet scam. But do not try it because that goes against number 6. Except if you are okay with spending the rest of your life in jail.
13. Look for a friend who totally likes you and can provide you with assistance financially.
14. Stick close to your religious affiliation. You can easily get financial support from the members who are well to do.
15. Invest in good power banks and rechargeable lights to avoid using candles and kerosene lanterns during daily blackouts.
16. No matter how impossible this might sound, save money for the rainy day.
The intention of this article is certainly satirical. It is a reminder that our government has failed, and the ravaging poverty affecting the greater number of Nigerian citizens is the fall out of the government failure.