Multi Generational Wealth

nicehouseMy wife and I once lived in a comfortable house in a nicer suburb than we could afford. We loved our neighborhood and felt very comfortable there. One day however, we both realized that many of our neighbors were actually far wealthier than we were! They owned businesses or worked in careers that allowed them to earn far more money than we did. After some sober reflection, we reached the conclusion that living in that expensive suburb was slowly ‘eating’ our future! And so we made the humbling decision to move to a much less expensive area. Needless to say, some of our friends found our decision very difficult to understand!

movinonupYou see, we are part of a culture where everyone wants to own the latest gadgets, drive the car of their dreams and live in the leafy suburbs – as quickly as possible! We want it all and we want it NOW. A friend who works in HR and regularly interviews fresh college graduates told me that many expect a starting salary of two hundred thousand shillings, as well as a car and a house! Blossoming casinos and the abundance of SMS lotteries point to the dream that many have to strike it rich quick. Politicians award themselves arbitrary pay-rises to live at the standard they desire, whether the nation can afford it or not. And preachers preach a non-biblical gospel that says you can get rich without working by simply ‘naming and claiming it’.

All these factors have resulted in a ‘get rich quick’ mentality that is undermining our ability to succeed as a nation! The result is a people who prefer to take shortcuts, give bribes, and steal our employer’s time, all in a bid to get ahead. We not only want to get rich quick but we want to live rich now! I have known of businesspeople who on winning their first big contract immediately moved to a bigger office, hired more staff and upgraded their car only to find themselves struggling a few months later after the money was spent!

brokeWhat my wife and I had realized in the nice suburb is that our rate of consumption and our desire to live the good life now was hindering our ability to create the financial margins that would allow us to invest for our future, grow in our generosity and leave an inheritance for our children. 

Reminds me of the time a wise older man asked my investment group, ‘how long are you planning to invest for?’ We confidently answered that we were investing together to provide for our retirement years. His reply shocked us. ‘I didn’t realize I was talking to such selfish, short-term thinkers!’ He went on to challenge us to invest not for ourselves but for the next generation. As the richest and wisest man in the bible once taught, ‘a righteous man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children’ (Proverbs 13:22)

planttreeAsian cultures have practiced this well, even here. The Nakumatt we see today is a result of the investment of several generations. Notice that there are precious few examples of successful, multi-generational, African-built companies! If we want to create lasting wealth and to be part of the generation that see’s Africa stop being called ‘the dark continent’ and become ‘the great continent’, then we too must stop eating our future today. We must develop a multi-generational view of wealth!

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4 responses to “Multi Generational Wealth

  1. Pingback: Multi Generational Wealth | Space in Between

  2. your post is very timely Pastor M. my parents left something small to us their children, but we are increasingly finding it difficult to work together (I guess the issues of in-laws and family dynamics) to make it profitable for the next generation. But left and right, we are constantly been told that working together will never succeed as you cannot force cousins to work with one another i.e. the next generation, so why work so hard? it does not have to be multi-generational.. why not split up and everyone gets their portion and works it to their level best?

    it is hard to swim against the current, and sometimes can be a losing battle for the sake of peace in the family, because once married, your spouse is more immediate family than your sibling, and each has a contending view on investment which causes extra strain on relationship. I believe you are working for the better of your children, and I am sure you would want them to work the same for the sake of their own.. but think of them in 30years time, and the family wrangles & dramas we see in the news.

  3. Thanks Pastor M for this post. I’m guilty of this “get rich quickly mentality” and i thank God i came across your post because it gave me an opportunity to pose and think.
    Just this week i was occupied with plans to buy a car and even got various offers. However, i was not sure if i was doing the right thing because the only reason i was buying a car was because all my friends and the people around me had cars and this has always made me feel left out. Furthermore, I do not have enough money to buy the car and have to borrow some in order to have enough yet my plan has always been to buy my first car debt free. The urge to belong drove me to contemplate eating my future today.

    I have taken a step back and abandoned my plans to buy the car now. I just need a few more months of disciplined saving then i will have enough money to buy the car without having to borrow. I was reminded of your wise phrase ” live like no one else today so that you can be like no one else tomorrow”. Thanks again.

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