Photo: Dollar billionare DP William Ruto with his wife Mama Rachel. Ruto joined YK92 as a fresh graduate, made dubious money , joined politics and he has never looked back, it doesn’t matter is his cartels have to invade NCPB or Arror and Kimwarer dam, pesa tamu !
Memo No. 63 From the National Welfare Desk of Men
MAKING MONEY AS AN OLDER MALE IS NOT EASY
I recently realised that most of my peers who barely ten years ago were making good chumes, are suddenly broke, stagnated in their careers, or jobless, with dwindling job prospects. Oh Man! The dreams we had!
How did young men, so full of hope, such sunny optimism about their future suddenly found themselves in a rut?
If you suddenly lose a job or your business tanks in your late 30s or 40s, you can easily end up in a dicey position.
Been thinking about the Financial Clock (Steve Harvey said, women have the biological clock, men have the financial clock) and the way it can do a number on men. Here are a few things that I have found out.
1. As you age, you may lose your agility, and become increasingly replaceable by younger, cheaper, and dynamic folk. You may easily be staring at an abyss. Often, it catches you flat-footed.
2. Whatever you set out to do at 25, maybe obsolete or badly compromised within a decade. I set out to be a bad-ass print journalist and a lecturer. Your favourite minister killed the two careers within three short years. Print journalists and adjuncts have not been the happiest people since Jubilee happened. It is a suicide mission. I saw many careers and sectors that thrived under Kibaki, wither so bad under Jubilee and you won’t believe how many folks have been laid off, and have had to start over.
3. For men specifically, there are four career trajectories: a) those who flourish early, from mid 20s, to early 30s and their fortunes change, b) Those whose career grows slowly and peaks later in life e.g a teacher who starts from a mere teacher to become a principal later in life, c)late bloomers, and d) the unlucky ones whose career or business never picks up. Try and know where you fit. The most disadvantaged are the early winners, who squander their fortune. Sometimes it is gone for good. Either way, when older, it may be very difficult to get a job or make money, or very easy. Rarely in between.
4. What matters most is the foundation that you lay as a man from the age of 25, mostly, or for those who get police or teaching jobs at an early age, your first two years of working determine a lot in terms of your attitude towards money, saving culture, marriage and family. Some marriages can rescue men from bad decisions, some it ruins them. But with these memos, you can avoid the ruin by following the advice of wise men. A woman should never set you back in 2021 and beyond.
5. Those who invested in education and skilled labour are the hardest hit when the economy grounds to a halt. As you grow older, your skills may become redundant, or you become replaceable by younger people or machines. It is worse, technology is about to replace so many skills and people better brace themselves for the coming winter. That is why reading about innovations in your sector and having world knowledge goes a long way. I have seen many guys get caught up when their company or departments fold up, when the warning shot was fired three or four years before.
6. Kudos to those who opt to earn extra skills out school. In finance, there those who go for professional papers that save the day for them. IT, Design, academic writing, DJ, and a host of skills that may not be moral but can put food on the table. Increasingly, few people will stick with one job, may be engineers, doctors, nurses, and teachers may have one job in our lifetime. Most of us have to switch. For one, I would like to be a masseuse, who targets female clientele.
7. If you are in what David Graeber called a Bullshit Jobs, be versatile, highly adaptable and resilient to adjust to changes that may come your way seasonally. Ten years ago, focus group discussions discussing how to improve products of multi-nationals were all the rage, I no longer see such around. What else was so fashionable a while back that died?
8. If you are in your 30s, and your company is issuing profit warnings and the noose of redundancy is tightening, you need to be worried and act. Fast. Ensure you have networks that can help you to seamlessly move from one job to another, from one field to the next. And to young people update your skills, constantly. Don’t be complacent. A lady friend recently told me, she did some online tutorials on software development and that is what has been feeding her for the last three years. We are moving towards an era where you need three or more plans to beat capitalism.
9. Don’t panic if you end up in a sticky situation. Sometimes in life you will find yourself in a very unfamiliar terrain. A quick assessment of your lifestyle, a bit of auditing and adjusting is a good place to start. You no longer have the creativity and the energy to pull certain moves. Unless, you have the adrenaline for the same. Just know yourself well. But this does not mean you accept easy and lazy choices. Should you slow down? By no means NO. It is one thing to be ambitious and aiming high, and it is one to be pragmatic.
10. You can switch careers. One of the hotshot lawyers in town was a high school teacher not too long ago before he came to Nairobi to be one of the most sought-after legal mind. You can relocate from the city to another country, always keep an open mind and don’t have useless attachments to certain things. It is OK to love someone and such, but remember, even love needs resources. I know men who made what seemed like selfish choices and ended up better than those who stuck around because of love and lost it all in the end.
The idea is to know when stagnation and deprivation are staring at you and the tough choices you have to make.
Look for men and women who changed careers. Who moved from office job to farming or business and never looked back. Those who moved from business to politics, or to government jobs and never looked back. Their stories can inspire you.
11. I remind men to have an equine vision. Horses have the largest mammalian eyes for (land mammals). They can rotate 360 and are active both day and night. Be like a horse. Let your eyes roam around, smelling danger, smelling opportunities and like a horse, move strongly and fast, where necessary.
Lastly, understand as a man, the older you grow, the more money you need. Not all problems you have will be solved by money, but almost all problems you will have can be solved by money. With this knowledge, do what you must.
In short, always have a plan. Know what is coming your way.
May the day break.
Pass by Nuriah book store or the Book Lounge and grab a copy of the memos.