They’re financially illiterate, these comrades of mine


The problem with my comrades is that they are financially illiterate. The concepts of working for their own money, saving and re-investing seem to be alien notions completely foreign to the comrades.

Mix this witch’s brew with their economic warts such as gambling boisterously and spending in a slapdash fashion  and what you get is a pregnant powder keg — a fiscal volcano.

My old man, Grandpa Richard, thinks the genesis of this financial maelstrom is my comrades’ reluctance to work for anything — and it is because they have been given everything.

“As soon as we attained the legal age, all of us laboured for financial independence, success, and a respectable amount of happiness,” recalls Grandpa.

“But nowadays, it seems like lecturers at universities have their hands full with handling students’ indiscipline that they only have time to teach economics halfway — the demand part.”

Grandpa is right. My comrades never generate any cash of their own, but instead prefer to rely on their parents and the government all through. Back at our homestead, any money Grandpa Richard gave me was simply a loan in exchange for my obedience and manual labour.

TAKE HELB, FOR INSTANCE

Take HELB loans for instance. While Grandpa has absolutely nothing against the government frittering away cash meant for his pension to gratify campus reprobates

(He in fact thinks it’s a noble move that ensures education is affordable to all), he is of the opinion that its spending should be monitored. This is because comrades use over 85 per cent of the loan to remunerate the staff at the brewery factory down in Ruaraka.

You might have noticed that every time the student loan is delayed, comrades go berserk and block highways in the name of fighting for their rights.

The government’s deep pockets have become their cash cow and they get cardiac arrests and conniption fits in case of delays.

“Students should strive to put that money in good use. Otherwise, it will prove to be nothing but golden handcuffs which will burn their fingers in future,” says the sage pensioner.

Being the proverbial fools who are soon parted with their money, comrades often resort to pawning their assets. They walk into a loan shark’s den where they exchange their laptops and gas cookers for loans at preposterous rates. They get into deals so bad and sink deeper into the quagmire of debt.

Their extravagance and show off nature borders on the extreme too.

If you are an undergraduate who spends Sh25,000 on a pair of shoes, you’re not fashion savvy. In fact, what you deserve is a kick on your hindquarters and a court-ordered trustee to manage your finances.

With comrades, it’s all about hanging out in the most expensive malls, acquiring next year’s smart phone, wearing the latest Versace T-shirt, puffing on the newest sheesha from Cuba, and fornicating with flavoured condoms.

They will never tighten their belts, both when it comes to their sagging pants and financially.

jowaljones

Jowal Jones is a columnist and correspondent with Kenya's leading newspaper, Daily Nation. He also dabbles in fiction works at times, hoping to be the next Stephen King. Sometimes he takes time out from writing to perfect his deer-dancing and goat-screaming skills.