10 Unpopular Money Opinions That Everyone Should Think About


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We live in unusually tough times and a lot of traditional financial advice is proving to be a tough pill to swallow for many. More and more people are developing controversial opinions around money, going against the status quo as a result and now voicing their thoughts more and more…and we are here for it.

Here are some of the most controversial or unpopular money opinions I have heard out there:

[1] “Personal Finance is not about math. It’s all about behaviour.”

This cannot be understated. Building wealth is a habit and there are so many habits you’ll need to build.

The first habit is earning. Having a good income comes first before the popular “save and invest”. It is important to master the art of earning and focus on building this habit for the long run. At the end of the day, you can’t save and invest if there is nothing to save and invest.

The second habit is to master your own emotions. A lot of people overate their own risk appetite. People be panicking over paper losses then they (should) theoretically know better.

Related: 3 Ways the Emotional Elephant is a Danger to Your Finances

[2] “Regular employment can also make you rich.”

There is a widely held belief that ’employment won’t make you rich’ and that having a business is easier because you won’t be answering to anyone but yourself. However, I would like to dispel this belief and state that: everyone works for someone and people who shouldn’t run a business don’t realise this.

Business has a big price tag attached to it to succeed – and it’s not just monetary. Starting your own business can be profitable but a lot of businesses fail and the majority of the time, it’s because of the ‘owner risk’. It is important to note that not all business owners are rich, many are barely scraping by.

So in that 9-5, there are quite several people doing quite well for themselves just being an employee. Some people are best suited to excel more by holding a day job. Nowadays, you can earn the equivalent of running a small/mid-size business by being employed in technology/automation/engineering and more. The problem is that most of these well-paying jobs are overseas. In Kenya earning the equivalent of a small/medium-sized business will take time, skill and connections to build up your career to garner income to this level – however, it’s doable.

Think about it this way… Would you rather earn Ksh 100M over years in the 10th year, or yearly payments?

[3] “Babies are options luxuries, not necessities.”

Among Africans, we believe that it takes a village to raise a child. Society was once structured to take care of the young and ensure they grow into healthy contributing members of society.

Nowadays, this isn’t the case. Having children has become a luxury. Simply having a good healthy home environment where children can be raised by a mother and father, three meals a day, and access to good healthcare and education is a luxury most cannot afford. Society is rotting from the top with mixed priorities that prioritise the wrong things. Food and healthcare are such big issues, that the government has proved that even with all the taxes, they cannot solve.

Because we have lost our way…our cultural mindset on how we tackle the family unit has shifted and trapped us with no way out of this.

[4] Sometimes “renting is the best option.”

Sometimes buying a home is not always necessary. Often, owning your own home is more an emotional sentiment than a pragmatic decision.

Consider the cash outlay involved.

If you own your own home, you’ll need to maintain it, pay real estate taxes on it, pay insurance, and anything else needed to keep your home in good shape. And if you’ve bought your home on a mortgage, you’ll need to keep up with the principal and interest payments. Long-term commitment to paying the mortgage in itself can be quite stressful.

When you rent, your cash outlay is predictable, and thus manageable over the long haul. Consider how much of your monthly income would go to paying the mortgage. I believe it would be about 30% of your income, while your rent might be well below this range. You can easily just focus on earning money by receiving dividends/cash instead of at a rate 14% per annum, without doing anything. Rather than expending interest payments at a higher rate for 15/20/30 year period for a mortgage. Additionally, renting offers you great mobility and home ownership does not.

[5] “Do put all your eggs in one basket”

The saying goes…”Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”.

Financial advisors have always advocated for diversification. This common advice is mostly for newbies though – to offer protection and limit risk against what they don’t know but ought to know while making investment decisions. Warren Buffet has often said that diversification is protection against ignorance. So if you know what you are doing, why diversity when it only limits your odds of growing?

Therefore, bridge the gap between what you know and what you do not know by conducting thorough research and due diligence, and do put all your eggs in one basket.

[6] “Cutting losses is better than “always” buying the dip.”

There is nothing worse than buying the dip that is on a downward trend, as the next thing you know you’ve got no money left to buy. This is particularly so for extremely volatile assets (ex. Crupto, Basura stocks)

[7] “Debt Can Make Your Rich”

Caveat: Detb can make you rich, only if you’re smart about it.

It all boils down to what you spend the money on. For example, using credit card debt to buy the latest gadgets on installments or taking out a car loan or paying for a wedding will put you in a worse financial situation than when you began. What is acceptable, is taking credit card or loan debt for emergencies – they will save you on a rainy day but won’t help you build your wealth.

Borrowed money should buy productive assets – things that have a higher return than the interest being paid on the borrowed funds. For instance, a piece of land, rental property or business capital.

Sophisticated investors/entrepreneurs understand that debt is one of the only sources of income that is tax-free and you should capitalize on this. Therefore, borrow money responsbility and use it to buy productive assets.

[8] “Luck is a bigger factor than talent and effort”

You can make your own luck or position yourself to be in the path of luck.

To succeed, you’ll need to be prepared so that once that chance lands on your lap, it doesn’t slip away. Not many people know how to make their own luck….but there is something I have learned is that luck is an aggregate of smaller risky efforts done consistently until you luck out.

Inorder to have the lucky opportunity to sit under a shade or eat fruit in the future, you’ll need to plant a tree first and tend to it to increase its chances of survival in the long run. Everyone wants something for nothing, just be that somebody takes time – not the shortcuts, the hacks etc – to put in the work that will yield results in the future.

[9] A wise man leaves an inheritance to his grandchildren

A wise man seeks to build wealth not for his future, but for the future of his grandchildren. This is what it means to build a legacy – to be able to impact future generations by leaving them wisdom, wealth or some influence that makes a positive difference in their lives.

It is quite unfortunate that some people live to leave legacies of pain and heartache for their loved ones by the choices they make. I won’t mention the ills we see around, but many people carry a heavy heart due to the actions of their parents/grandparents and they, not wanting better further propel those ills upon their own offspring, and the offspring of their offspring.

[10] Investing is for the Rich

Investing has its own paywall. Most investment types have a price to be paid, thus not for everyone.

Firstly, you’ll need money to invest in the first place. Learning how to earn and earn well is the first paywall you’ll need to overcome. Then, if you want to become and stay wealthy, you must know how to preserve your capital. But before you can even do that, you need to know how to appreciate your capital.

Secondly, to build a sizeable amount of wealth, you’ll need to invest more instead of saving your money. Investing requires large capital so you can handle the losses later on. If you don’t have the correct risk profile, then you can’t make bigger investments for greater returns.

Learn More: How to Save, Spend, and Think Rationally About Money


Have you ever asked yourself why financial literacy isn’t taught in school? That’s because it will lessen the value of it. Imagine, if all people upskilled and invested in stocks, the marginal returns would diminish. All these myths and some radical downright untrue unpopular money opinions would be held. This is to say that, successful people know things ordinary people do not know and thus take advantage of it to the fullest.

To get ahead, are you actively trying to bridge your own informational gap in personal finance? At the end of the day, you must become and savvy investor as you’re not going to get rich investing like an average investor.

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Irene Makanga
Irene has an MBA in Finance and is an avid businesswoman, passionate about financial literacy.


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