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Money Confessions: I am Tired of Pretending to be a Rich Man
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Money Confessions: I am Tired of Pretending to be a Rich Man

I am tired of living a fake life while my wallet suffers. If you bump into me in the streets of Nairobi, I am almost sure you would make way for me to pass. 

I work in sales at a reputable company, and I take my dressing seriously. Picture a 6-foot, mid-30s balding guy in an Italian leather shoe. I drive a German car, I haven't seen the inside of a matatu in seven years. 

I can guess you are already making assumptions about my salary. Well, this is exactly why I am tired of keeping up appearances.

My salary is not bad but it’s not enough to afford this lifestyle. My take-home salary is 69,000 and I have no side hustles or any other source of income. My wife and kids live in a modest 3-bedroom bungalow in Syokimau, I pay Ksh35,000 per month for it. 

How can I afford a German car with that salary? Well, it’s not my car to begin with. It’s my wife’s. She earns more than thrice my salary, she is the lucky one - having gotten a job with a leading investment firm just after we graduated. 

After we got our first kid, she took a loan and bought our first car. Her employer had a discounted package for employees. The loan repayments were taking a toll on her finances so she asked me if I could take over the rent until the loan was paid off. That lasted two years. 

Once done, she was advised by a colleague that it’s always safer to have a credit facility with the employer. This is how we bought a piece of land in Juja where we plan to ultimately build a home of our own. The plot is in her name.

She is still repaying the loan we took to buy that plot so this is why I am paying the entire rent on my own. I also contribute about Ksh7,000 for household expenses. 

If you do the math, I am left with about Ksh27,000 after making these expenses. For a while, I would save about Ksh15,000 and spend the rest on entertainment, black tax, etc. I have a Ksh20,000 fuel card provided by my employer so I do not have to worry about fuel. 

Over the past two years, I have been going through a tough time at work and I think the stress pushed up my drinking habits. I would stay up late drinking with friends; only to later realise that I had eaten into my savings. 

My wife noticed this and out of concern, she offered to be my accountability partner. Now I send the Ksh15,000 that I used to save independently, to her MMF account which we use for our savings. 

The investment firm she works for pays higher returns for employees so it only made sense and although my sixth sense was reluctant, on what basis would I refuse?

Unfortunately, despite the savings solutions, I am still unhappy. Now, I have more problems because everything is more costly than it was two years ago. 

I have had the shame of having our German car stall on the highway a couple of times because of low fuel. And each frustration pushes me into more drinking which I know is unhealthy, and it also pushes me further into debt. 

For a while, I felt so helpless that I started to unknowingly resent my wife. I feared that if I came clean to her, she would leave me with nothing. The shame of starting from zero was unbearable.

In 2024, I have reflected on where the rains started beating me. I realised some of my mistakes and I take responsibility for them without blaming anyone. I did not give my voice to some of the family decisions that impacted me and I am working on correcting that. 

I have since started seeing a therapist individually and I also convinced my wife we should have one couple’s therapy session every month. Since January 1st, 2024, I have not had a drink and my body and mind feel different.

I now have more time to look for side hustles and spend time with my kids. I am happier. I know some of the mistakes I have made will take time to correct course but I am determined that so long as my mind is focused, I will conquer it all. What do you think? 

EDITOR'S NOTE: Would you like to share your personal finance journey? email us your story via editor@money254.com

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Tony Mukere is the partner content lead at Money254. He is a trained journalist with a passion for impactful storytelling. Before joining Money254.co.ke, he worked as an editor at Kenyans.co.ke, and as a reporter at Pulselive.co.ke. Connect with Mukere on Twitter.

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