According to University of Berkley Prof Ibrahim Warde, Culture
is notoriously tricky to analyse. It is multifaceted, somewhat
amorphous and hard to pin down the product of historical process
and socio-economic variables it influences investors preferences.
Some cultures always put aside for the rainy day, others
are intrepid consumers and others are just dependent on every
fix and fashion.
People who are routine savers, more often than not, have
learnt the skill in their parents homes, or where they
grew up. People who find it hard to save, usually didnt
grow up in a home where saving was an ethic. They didnt
see others propelled to put aside, they didnt hear people
around them talk about it.
You see, perhaps the most tricky thing about the culture
of not saving is the fact of welfare. We can put it another
way, in simple terms: If you want welfare housing, you must
never earn a salary above a ceiling limit, you must not own
property, or assets, and then you can get stuff for free and
cheques from the government, and you really dont have
But my friends, its the biggest trick of all. It is
a poverty trap and it traps you and your family, until you
wake up and smell the fancy coffee from Star Bucks.
Of course, nothing is wrong with the duty to provide welfare,
it is the dependency and it is the cycle that it perpetuates,
that is wrong.
Because it then can grow into the culture, and that poses
the problem. The challenge for us is to make sure the children
who grow up in welfare break the mould, and move out of the
tenement yards and the projects as
they say in Jamaica and Chicago.
The worse thing for children who grow up in the projects
is to be unable to move out it. Even worse is to think they
can do nothing about it.
The pop and movie scene are replete with role models: Jenny
From The Block, just look at the rocks she got! Gloria
Estefan, she used to sleep on newspaper sheets when her mother
abandoned the national ideology for one in the free world.
These stories are well known.
Head of Paediatric Neurology at Johns Hopkins, doctor Ben
Carson, was a poor boy, who grew up on the bad side of town.
He didnt think he would live to be a man. He thought
he would die in the streets, a victim of violence, just like
his uncles and cousins.
But something changed for his family. He broke out of the
bitter cycle of poverty. His mother decided he and his brother
were going to read books from the public library!
Every week, they borrowed a book and had to write a book
report for their mother. She read their reports each week
and marked them with a big red tick. The boys never knew that
she could hardly read herself.
So you see, you dont need a lot of discretionary cash
to change your circumstances. What you need is a plan, what
you need is something to motivate you to take action.
A simple plan may be formulated based on a firm decision
planted in your brain that if you grew up in welfare housing,
you will not accept that yourself. Then, you devise a strategy
to get out of it. Make your children read books, just like
Carsons mother did.
She had made a decision that her children were not going
to be poor and dependent all their lives. Make that decision
for your children!