Money Season: My Friends Used to Call Me a Walking ATM

Realizing your money season is knowing that your life and the financial journey are uniquely yours. It also helps to recognize your money personality.

Rose Ellah Ngari, Chief Executive Officer at Vasili Africa

Vasili Africa Founder Rose Ngari during the interview at her office in Nairobi on October 15, 2020. | Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

I quit my 8-5 for entrepreneurship in 2019. I had a well-paying job with all benefits you can think of; pension, medical, employer negotiated loans with financials… you name it. I was employed in the financial industry for about 10 years by the time I left employment, dealing with money and people who had it.

You would think by working in the investments industry. I would have acquired knowledge on how to manage my finances. (I have learned that it is an issue with many of us in the industry.) I digress… So throughout my life, I have made major money mistakes.

I managed to do very little when I was earning a lot than when I was earning what exactly fit in my budget without a surplus. The more I earned, the more I had the money for entertainment. I remember using Ksh 40,000 in a night for drinks. I was liquid to a point my friends used to call me a walking ATM. 

I moved through life without realizing the Money Season I was in. Every season of your life requires a different you. But it is crucial to keep to the basics of what works for YOU to keep you on track with your life goals.

When I was earning very little with a whole heap of responsibilities, I made huge strides towards achieving my goals and never lacked. Then, I had a lot of financial discipline because I knew money was scarce. Every coin was allocated to something in the budget. After I got a well-paying job, I just found more ways of spending money and not investing more now that I had a surplus to prepare me for the entrepreneurship journey ahead.

If I knew then what I know now, I would have done things differently. We all pray to make money, but that prayer should be accompanied by another prayer of how to manage the resources we get. Remember the parable of the talents in the Bible?

Realizing the money season you are in is one of the best financial principles you will ever learn. In times of lack or a tight budget, adjust your spending to what is necessary and cut out the extras or budget for them in sequential order of what is most important to achieve.

For example, if I want to upgrade my electronic appliances, I will start putting aside a small amount of the cost in a sinking fund until I can afford to purchase the item. In times of surplus, allocate the surplus to a project or an investment and give yourself a measurable goal that drives you to that investment. You may lack motivation if you merely put it aside for a future unconceived goal. 

Recognizing your money season is not only in terms of surplus or lack. It also applies to our ages and relationship status. Some of us have gone through the societal pressure of, ‘by this age, you should have bought a piece of land, or you should be married, or you should have children.’

Realizing your money season is knowing that your life and the financial journey are uniquely yours. It also helps to recognize your money personality.  As we go through the life cycle, our needs and goals evolve as well.  Avoid the herd mentality, and learn to recognize what works for you as a person and the discipline you need to achieve your goals.

In terms of relationships, realize that your money decisions might affect your status. A lot needs to be in consideration if you are not going through life alone.

What are your personal goals? What are your collective goals as a family? How can you align accordingly? How can you be able to achieve all those goals within the time frame set?  

Oooh well! I never meant for this to be this long, but it was important for me to tell you my story and what I learned along the way. I am on a journey to correct myself I would love to be taking you along with me if you allow me to.

This article was written by Rose Ellah Ngari, Chief Executive Officer at Vasili Africa. Get in touch with Rose for free investment advice via info (at) 


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