Since I became a dad, my primary objective is to create a sustainable environment for my son. This requires me to work extra harder and earn more money to make sure I satisfy my family’s needs. At least this is what I believed at the beginning. But months and several financial literacy books later, I face another challenge. I need to create an environment that teaches my son various life skills. Skills that will propel him from being rich to becoming richer and consequently wealthy.
I believed the same was done for me while growing up. Therefore, I have a responsibility to do the same for my son. To ensure you better understand my opinion on why the rich become richer while the poor continue being poor, I will share two stories passed down to me by my father and my grandfather before him.
My grandfather’s story.
My grandfather was an elder and freedom fighter during our nation’s struggle for independence. After the departure of the Britons, the detainees, among them my grandfather became free men. He was allocated land in the Mount Kenya region and began his life there. Initially, my grandfather was poor with nothing but a piece of virgin land, a wife, and one child.
He would have chosen to live his life with minimal struggle. Instead, he cultivated his land and planted coffee which is the staple cash crop in our region. This would become his primary source of income and allow him a comfortable life. He provided for his family and more than a dozen children. The bottom line, he did not choose to be poor. Instead, he toiled and his children followed in his footsteps. He nurtured a generation of hard workers who embraced ambition and not settling for less.
My father’s story.
I will not share my father’s life story, instead, I will share one story he narrated very often. A story that changed my perception of life and the perception of poor and rich.
Often, society differentiates the rich and poor based on their material possession or rather their livelihoods. While growing up, houses were constructed using mud in their village. This kind of standardizes the standards in society since rich or poor was there based on the size of the house. One villager always complained of being very poor. The walls of his mud house had large holes and he did nothing about it.
His excuse was that he was very poor. Upon being questioned why he did nothing to fix his house, the villager said that he did not have money to finance the repair of his house.
While narrating this story to me, my father would often ask me, “How much money did this villager require to repair his house?” The first time my father asked this question, my answer was; “about 100 shillings ($1)” during the late twentieth century, this was a lot of money.
My father smiled and said, “that man does not need any money to repair that house. Mud is free. He only needs to fetch water, mix it with soil and repair his house. You see, he thinks that he is poor but he is just lazy. He has accepted being poor and this will carry on generations later until someone breaks this trend.”
I did not fully grasp this point of view until I was old enough and became an independent adult. This story and other stories narrated by my father make so much sense now.
I have learned that we can learn so much from our environment. So, I began listening to people’s perceptions on why rich families continue being richer while the poor remain poor or even become poorer. I also read several books from the likes of Robert Kiyosaki, Donald J. Trump, and Napoleon Hill among other writers in the genre. This changed my perception of life and helped me steer my life in the direction of stability.
Most people say that the rich become richer because they pass down so much money and assets from one generation to the other. But this got me thinking, how many children have squandered hereditary wealth and become beggars in a few years? I’m sure you can think of a few. Similarly, there are people who have risen from being very poor to being very successful and wealthy.
From the story told to me by my father, I learned that it’s all in the mind. Being rich or poor is often conceived in the mind. How we approach different situations in life determines how we live life.
My opinion on why the rich become richer
My opinion and insight on this issue have been influenced by case studies from our society, stories from my mentors, and several books I have read over the years. I think that the rich become richer because they embrace being knowledgeable. Instead of thinking they are poor and embracing that state, they go out there and work hard. Instead of openly affirming that they are poor, they embrace what they have and work with it to make a situation better.
“If you can’t do it with what you have, you can’t do it when you have more.” I came across this quote from one of Robert Kiyosaki’s books titled “why we want you to be rich“.
The rich empower their children with knowledge on how they can become wealthy. Over dinner, they talk about money and emphasize the importance of saving and investing. As a result, their children are nurtured and groomed to be wealthy in their adulthood. Their rich parents prepare them to become richer.
My opinion on why the poor become poorer
I know this might be a harsh way of placing it, but I tend to think that the poor continue being poor because they have accepted and embraced their situation. They affirm that they are poor and their children do the same thing. Affirmations are very powerful. By affirming that they are poor, poverty is conceptualized in their mind and realized in their reality. The same way the rich carry forward money, assets, and knowledge from generation from one generation to the next, the poor carry forward their acceptance of poverty from one generation to the next.
My grandfather was not a very wealthy man, my father after him is not a very wealthy man and I’m most definitely not a wealthy man. But they shared stories about wealth and financial empowerment that have made me a hard and smart worker. I did not embrace accepting what life gives me, instead, I choose ambition and working towards achieving the impossible. Similarly, I will carry forward these stories to my son and hope he carries them forward to his son after him. I will be rich one day and my successor with be richer.
This is my opinion and I hope it encourages and motivates you to never settle for less. Try different things, learn, and make some money. If you don’t make money, you will have learned. Try again. The pandemic has affected our economy but by changing our perception of our livelihood and the different situations we encounter during the struggle; I believe we can improve our livelihood. It starts in our mind by changing our perception and then actualizing to change our situation. I hope you learned something from this post. If you did, please lookout for more content on self-improvement and reality checks.