Debt can be compared to your shoes. You have great heels that look fabulous but hurt like hell.

You have your flat shoes that appear boring but are comfortable and you can still enjoy the use of your back in old age.

Bad debts e.g car loans, furniture loans, holiday loans, and wedding loans are like high heels. We look fabulous in our cars, and our furniture is the envy of all our friends but the monthly repayments we make are extremely painful.

At one point in our lives, we can all say we have lived beyond our means and we were able to recognize that fact. However, some may be living beyond their means but they have no idea.

It is easy to find yourself in this kind of situation given the YOLO (You Only Live Once) mentality of today’s society and the need to fit into a particular class, created by lifestyle trends on social media.

Most people live a lie. They drive big cars on loans that take them years to clear. They live in lavish apartments that they can barely afford to pay rent for. Others merely survive by relying on their family wealth and inheritance.

While it may seem like they are doing better than you, you might be shocked to find out that they are spending sleepless nights hiding from creditors. You might be shocked to learn that they are stuck in a vicious cycle of poverty with no light at the end of the tunnel. The best kind of growth is the one that comes gradually.

As much as it is good to fuel your growth through credit finance, always make sure you have a healthy debt-to-equity ratio. This will help you enjoy life more, be more stable, achieve a better credit rating, and above all achieve long-term financial success.

The reason we all work so hard is to ensure we can afford a good lifestyle and that we can live in a good neighborhood. The unfortunate thing however is that what we earn may not always afford these little pleasures but we insist on getting them anyway.

You may earn a salary that can afford you a good house is say Ruiru but you cannot imagine having to tell your peers you live there because it may not be considered a posh enough neighborhood.

You, therefore, make the decision to live in Westlands or Kilimani or any other neighborhood that may be considered leafy or posh. This in turn translates to you having to spend half or more of your income on rent.

Financial experts often say you should not spend more than 28% of your income on rent. So if your take-home salary is Ksh.30,000 per month, your rent should not be more than Ksh.8,400 per month.

Rent is undoubtedly the biggest monthly expense for most young adults and families which is why there is a real need to keep it as low as possible. Such a recurrent expenditure should be limited to give room for other developmental expenses like investments.

If you are going through life with zero savings, you are living dangerously financially speaking. No matter how little your income is, you should be able to save a little of that money for a rainy day or for retirement.

If by the end of the month you have spent all your money and saving a little of it was the last thing on your mind then it is a clear sign you are living beyond your means and if not then you are well on your way there.

Financial advisers generally agree that one should save at least 10 to 15 percent of their income at least for retirement if nothing else.

So if your take-home salary is Ksh.50,000, you should be setting aside at least Ksh.5,000 per month. If that is too high for whatever reason and you find you are having trouble setting aside even 5% of your monthly income, then there is a problem.

Continually setting a little money aside cushions you from life eventualities such as loss of a job or a sudden illness. Living with no savings can be compared to swimming in the big ocean without a life vest, you may survive for a while on your swimming skills but a big tide could end it all at any one time.

If by the end of the month you have already started taking things from your ‘mama mboga’ on credit and you keep calling your friends or colleagues for a soft loan to cater for your transport then you are definitely living beyond your means.

Funding basic lifestyle costs using credit is one sure way to confirm you are living beyond your means.

No matter your salary, proper planning should ensure that the ‘little’ you get should get you through the month.

To ensure the money you take home lasts you the entire month, adjustments have to be made. That means no weekend binges on nyama choma and alcohol, no weekly takeout because you feel too tired to cook, and no random trips with your boys/girls to Nakuru, Naivasha, Mombasa, or any other ‘sin’ cities.

Having a budget helps you prioritize your money on what is really important.

Are you one of those people who always wonder where their money went?

If you can never account for your money then you are living beyond your means because you have no budget in place.

Without a budget, it is difficult to control spending and as such you will never be able to save or use your money sparingly.

One should always live below their means.

Not within but below.

This means even if you can afford to live in a house worth Ksh.30,000 a month, if you do not absolutely have to, you can get a house for half that price and invest the rest.

Have you ever found yourself at a point when you felt like everyone else was doing better than you?

Back in college or University, you used to be the most confident guy around. Always attending all lectures and getting top grades.

By third-year, you had managed to get yourself a part-time job which meant you were above most of your classmates (financially speaking).

And on top of that, you managed to get a full-time job just a few days before sitting for your final exams. You did not “tarmac” and unlike your former classmates, you did not have to knock on endless doors hoping for a miracle.

But your wave of success was short-lived, or so it seems, because just a few years down the line, the once-broke guys started cruising around town with big 4×4 SUVs.

The ladies who you used to ignore suddenly became social media sensations – attracting numerous followers with each photo they posted on Instagram.

Suddenly, everyone seems to be doing better than you. This is despite the fact that you are working extremely hard in your middle-income job and trying your level best to save as much as possible.

Does this story sound familiar?

Well, if you think “YES that’s me” you probably would like to find out what changed. And as it turns out, you could be more of a victim of perceptions than reality.

Chances are that, even though you are more successful than them, they own better phones than you. By capturing more visually stimulating photos and captioning them with nice words, they may appear like they are more successful than you but in reality, they are just another lot of overhyped individuals.

You know, social media has the power to make small things look big and less important things look important. Don’t let the sheer numbers of comments posted beneath their heavily filtered photos scare you.

They are doing that for self-validation and you have no business trying to out-perform them in that. Look at the world’s most successful people like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. You rarely see them bragging about their money or luxury items in public.


The road to financial success is one full of potholes, hills, barriers, and roadblocks. Only very few manage to make it to the other side of the bridge of prosperity

Most people remain poor, not because they don’t have the knowledge. Not because they don’t read business books and other business-related articles. But because they don’t LEARN BY DOING.

You were born poor, but if you die poor you have yourself to blame.

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