How to avoid financial hardships

‘Chayuma!’ Peter (not real name) who operates a small business in one of Lusaka city’s markets said. I asked Peter what he meant by ‘chayuma’. He explained that there was no business; adding that such a situation has lead to serious financial hardships in his life.

But Peter is not the only person experiencing some financial challenges. Almost everyone seems to be thirsty, hungry and yawning from a similar situation.

Fuel pump price has gone up. Transport costs in some routes have also risen. Load shedding has caused most businesses to record low daily production and low sales. Job opportunities in whatever form are becoming more scarce.

From such a scenario, some workers in some firms have been told that, because of load shedding which reduces daily production; and with low sales some companies are experiencing, they will now be getting half of their monthly wages or salaries.

Are such situations and decisions not compounding on the already high unemployment and high poverty levels?

It is from such a background that former vice president in Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD)’s regime, Lupando Mwape says the cost of living has gone high; and some people are worsening high poverty levels in the country.

Truly, as one walks around in some streets of some towns and cities, one sees some depressed faces just because financial challenges have rocked one’s home. Food, rentals, school fees, transport, medical fees need money on each one of us. Illnesses and death attack each one of us regardless of our financial status. Some people go to an extent of weeping because one has no option to rescue oneself from such financial ills. It is unfortunate that both illnesses and deaths are too blind and too deaf to see or hear respectively how some people are suffering from such economic hardships; and exempt such people or their close relatives from such sickness or loss of lives.

But in the same streets, some faces are relatively glorious and jovial. One can see some smiles from one corner of some people’s mouth with fragrant smells coming out of their mouths and noses as proof that things are relatively fine with them.

This means that we have a ‘mixed grill’ from the same economic challenges our country is facing. As a result, in the same economic malaise, some people will get richer than ever before; while some will be poorer than before.

But what makes some people to be weeping while some are smiling in the same economic situation?

With peace and stability amidst many rich natural resources such as vast fertile land, huge water bodies, minerals, wildlife, etc, how has each Zambian citizen used such a favourable environment to manage one’s current and future financial situation; and to live a better life despite likely economic shocks? How has Zambia, as a country, exploited such a conducive environment to ensure that its economy is on sound base; and make the current and future Zambia a better place to live in despite some possible world economic turbulences?

From some current financial hardships most individuals, families and organisations, on one hand, and some economic challenges our country as whole, on the other hand are experiencing, one can conclude that our respective past financial and economic management have been poor.

But don’t despair. Romans 8:28 states: ‘…all things God works for good with those who love him; those whom He has called according to his purpose.’ In short, this situation brings us to remember an English expression: ‘Experience is the best teacher’. We have experienced financial hardships and economic malaise as a result of our past financial and economic mismanagement. Such a situation has generated good lessons not only for individuals and families but also for various organisational leaders and for our current and future government leaders.

The lesson is: ‘Strike the iron while it is still hot’; and ‘avoid extravagant spending in unproductive ventures when you have enough financial resources.’

One can argue that those of us who are crying from financial hardships now didn’t invest in productive ventures before while those who are relatively happy did so.

The current financial difficulties at individual levels and the socio-economic challenges our country is facing are signs that most of us and our successive government leaders haven’t been prioritizing allocation of our respective economic resources in productive ventures; and that management of such resources in various ventures has been poor.

Such a situation is an offspring of assuming that things in our peaceful country will remain favourable at all times. But can such a situation be possible at all times?

Both most Zambians, on one hand, and the Zambian economy, on the other hand, haven’t enough financial and economic ‘shock absorbers’ to cushion them from any financial and economic turbulence that might blow around respectively. As a result, any small, medium or big financial or economic tornado that blows leaves most Zambians and their economy with various levels of cold (flu).

Therefore, assuming that Zambians love God; and that the latter has called most, if not all Zambians; and Zambia as a whole, such financial hardships most Zambians are experiencing; and the high unemployment and high poverty levels our country is going through are for God’s good purpose. God planned that it should be so for some reasons.

Someone is whispering; saying: ‘This is political! Don’t drag God into it.’ No! God intervenes in anything. For many decades now, Zambians have been so reluctant to exploit their natural resources and the peace and stability this country enjoys to improve on their lives.

Therefore, God’s purpose for such situations at individual, family, organisational and national levels serve as lessons for us all to realize the importance of allocating our resources in productive areas at all times; and practising good financial management for sustainable growth and development at all levels of human endeavours.

God’s purpose in the current financial hardships at individual, family and organisational levels and the economic malaise our country is going through is to make us be pro-active in managing possible financial hardships and national economic turbulences.

In short, plan and manage scarce economic resources as though things will be worse in future. This can be achieved through allocating scarce resources in highly productive areas; and prudent management of such ventures for maximum returns at all times.

But since the future might not be as worse as perceived and planned, a person, family, organisation or a country which plans and manages its ventures prudently ends up smiling even when others are wailing from some financial hardships.

An individual, family, organisation and a country that assumes that the future will be worse than now; and plans and manages its resources well are like buying powerful financial and economic shock absorbers for any financial and economic turbulence that might blow.

Do you have financial shock absorbers for any economic typhoon that might arise? Have you invested in sound professional education, well paying job or in property such as land, buildings, plant and machinery as your financial shock absorbers?

Managing financial hardships and handling socio-economic challenges in a country demands being pro-active. And being pro-active means knowing where to invest your current economic resources according to available economic opportunities. Being pro-active in managing financial hardships and socio-economic challenges also requires prudent management of resources; and continuous investment against likely future financial hardships and national socio-economic depressions.

This is why when reacting to some concerns about the current economic challenges our country is experiencing, finance minister, Alexander Chikwanda said the only way Zambia’s socio-economic malaise can be resolved is through working hard, improving on work ethic and producing more for export. Similarly, Bank of Zambia (BoZ) governor, Dr Danny Kalyalya, commenting on how to arrest the falling Kwacha against the US dollar said, the sustainable way of strengthening our Kwacha against other currencies is through increasing on our exports. Both recommendations demand allocation of scarce resources in productive ventures and managing such resources diligently to realize maximum returns at individual, family, organisation and national levels.  Let’s produce more high quality goods and services to sell to your neighbours; and surplus for export. Investing in productive ventures; and managing such enterprises prudently ensures relatively regular flow of income. Such a situation can serve as financial shock absorbers even in some economic tornados!

The consequences of our past financial and economic mismanagement have been sour, painful and disastrous on each one of us at individual, family, organisation and at national levels. To the wise, this is a good lesson. Assuming that we have all become wise from such negative experiences, such lessons will help us improve on allocation of economic resources in productive ventures; and in prudent management of such resources at all times.

From such hardships, we also learn the importance of financial education in our society. Financial education can help us to know how to effectively manage our finances both at micro and macro levels.

But when in financial hardships, don’t borrow anyhow. You might make things worse for yourself now and in the future. When it is inevitable to borrow, don’t borrow for consumption like for kitchen parties, wedding or for a holiday at Victoria Falls or elsewhere. Borrow for investment such in furthering your education, buying land, buildings or for plant and machinery to capitalize your business.


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Categorized | Business

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