Our people are still being taught that they need to go to school, get high grades, get a high paying job, save money, buy a house, invest in stock markets, and be self-employed.
Needless to say, that has been one of the major reasons this country is in such an economic mess – in addition to the Zanu PF government’s chaotic, corruption-infested, and cruel economic policies.
However, people should not expect any significant economic improvements by merely changing the government, without also changing the education system.
The emphasis in our schooling should be on financial education, as the tradional system is outdated.
We go to school hoping to get an education that will enable us to earn good money, yet we don’t learn much about finances, and how to make and manage them.
Buying a house, having a high paying job, saving money, and being self-employed are not investments.
Contrary to a long-standing popular misconception, a house is not an asset – since one just stays in it, whilst it depreciates, yet not making any money for the owner.
Real estate only becomes an asset when – as in Donald J. Trump’s case – it makes money for the owner.
Financial education should focus on us being entrepreneurs of big businesses, and understanding how debt, taxes and markets work.
Our school reports mean nothing to bankers who might want to invest in us, but our financial reports mean everything.
The majority of people today do not even know how to draw up a financial statement, yet we want to be wealthy as a nation.
Employees, savers, self-employees, stock markets investors pay between 40% and 60% in taxes.
However, big business onwers, and professional investors pay from 0% to 20% taxes.
Thus, our education teaches us to become poorer, as we have to work harder to make more money.
Nevertheless, the more we work, and the more money we make, the more taxes we have to pay – and we are caught up in a trap whereby we never become wealthy.
Whilst, those with financial education learn that other people should hard for them to make more money, and also that their money works for them.
So instead of us rushing to buy a residential stand or house, we should invest that money.
Most wealthy people made their millions whilst still renting, then bought their own houses later.
Our education also teaches us to listen to stockbrokers, who are merely salespeople for professional investors – as such we fall into the trap of enriching the investors, whilst we virtually get nothing.
Who made any money from buying shares in companies such as CBZ, or by buying unit trusts?
We were duped, and those companies became richer, whilst we got nothing to write home about.
Thus, the poor get poorer, whilst the rich get richer.
Our education does not teach us that savers are losers, as people lose money through savings because bankers are more interested in investors than savers, that is why they (bankers) do not offer much to savers.
All that money we put in banks, and buy unit trusts and shares with, is invested into higher paying investments by those companies, which in turn earns them much higher dividends, whilst we get nothing.
Would it, therefore, not be wiser for us to go for those higher returns investments?
In addition, starting a big business has very little to do with one’s financial capacity – it all has to do with one’s financial knowledge.
Believe it or not, all Donald J. Trump needed to start making his billions was one dollar – yes, US$1.
How many of us know what the value of one dollar is?
If someone has a dollar right now, what would they use it for?
That is where the difference between those with financial knowledge, and those who do not, will clearly show.
The same goes for the phones most of us are holding in our hands right now.
Do we know the vast global business potential we have in the palms of our hands, or it is just a tool to gossip?
The very same dollar, WhatsApp, or Facebook most of us have, can be used as a conduit to build a vast conglomerate by some, but they will just be a means to nowhere by others.
It all boils down to financial knowledge.
It is a matter of making an effort to network with the right people in big business, including bankers, and professional investors – and having a brilliant idea that they can invest in.
The Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerburgs of this world did not have large sums of money to start Microsoft or Facebook.
They had a passion, which they simply translated into very small businesses – but, after seeing their huge potential, big investors started scrambling to invest millions into these companies.
We make the mistake of scratching our heads as to what businesses we can start – what is the ‘in thing’ – put in some money, yet we go nowhere.
That is why we have so many people who just follow the trend, yet flush their hard-earned money down the drain.
Today we sell zvihuta, tomorrow it is chicken, the next we sell bhero – we go on and on like that, without ever making any breakthrough.
The first thing is always passion – do what you have always enjoyed doing, and – together with the correct financial knowledge – will open the right doors for you.
Additionally, with passion comes resilience, as the business world is very tough, and passion always breeds creativity to stay ahead of competition.
Colonel Sanders always loved cooking, and that opened doors for KFC’s worldwide growth.
Once the passion for something is already there, the right financial knowledge, and networking will lead one to worldwide business success.
We really need a paradigm shift in our education, especially in Zimbabwe if ever we are to get out of this economic mess.
If our education does not change, we will always be crying of joblessness, and for investors to come from other countries.
As Adolf Hitler once said, “What luck for the rulers when people do not think”.
We will forever be running after jobs and money to other countries.
We are our own investors.
Our country will never develop, no matter who we vote for, and we will forever be crying.
Tendai Ruben Mbofana is the Programmes Director at the Zimbabwe Network for Social Justice (ZimJustice), but writes in his personal capacity. Call/WhatsApp: +263782283975