Book Review – Making Cents: Real Conversations About Personal Finance

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Article by: Nicole Waweru

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The author of Making Cents, Waceke Nduati Omanga, is a name that is familiar to many if not all. She is the founder and entrepreneurship coach of Centonomy Limited, of which she is also the lead trainer. The book talks to us about managing our finances, how to create a budget, the importance of investing, and how to manage debt, just to name a few things. It has a total of seven chapters and in each, the author spills a lot of dos and don'ts on how to handle money and how we can all strive for financial freedom.

In this book, Waceke uses real-life experiences and people who share their personal struggles with money. And from these stories, we get to see how they were able to learn from their problems and grow. One of my favourite characters in the book is Douglas. I felt connected to him because I could relate to him more than the rest. He grew up in a home where talking about money was taboo. He believed that money was only managed by parents. However, his family was bad at making financial choices. Therefore, he grew up believing that ‘his family, his people were bad at handling money.’

After high school, he started a business that was successful at the time. However, he would always spend the profits on himself and his friends. At the end of the day, he had dissipated all his money. He carried this behaviour on to when he got a well-paying job and was fully independent. He would find himself in the same hole over and over again. His answer to this was to believe that he had fulfilled his prophecy of ‘being bad with money’ like his family.

The personal ordeals mentioned in the book are like a slap in the face because they cause you to really reflect on how you use your money and how to make better choices moving forward. Chapter 2, 'Gucci and Versace for your body-o', opened my mind since it talks about spending on lifestyle. The main message Waceke tries to put across in this chapter is not to let other people pressure you into a lifestyle that you KNOW very well you cannot live up to.

The engaging part of this book is also very refreshing. After each chapter, there is a reflection page with questions that relate to the chapter. To me, this was helpful. The questions guide you in deeply analysing your relationship with money.

Depending on money to give you an identity is too big of a job description for money.

~Quote from the book

Back to Douglas. When he started working, he would earn a monthly salary of 150K. He rented out an apartment worth 16K a month and only furnished it with a bed, TV, radio and three cups of tea. He would then spend the rest of his salary every month in bars and would quickly blow through his salary.

The author teaches us how to understand what drives our spending behaviour. This will in turn allow us to consciously note when we make unhealthy choices that are damaging to our financial progress. The book also has a personal workbook and templates of a budget, assets, and liabilities.

More money never solves problems if the core habits have not changed.

~Quote from the book

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to have a deeper understanding of how to manage their money on a long and short-term basis. I think it is important that we create a community where talking about money is not uncomfortable or taboo.

Is this one of those books which you quickly read and shelf? No, it's not.

You need to deeply concentrate to be able to understand all the concepts that Waceke has laid out in the book. I highly recommend for you to read it with a pen and paper so that you can scribble down any key points or calculations you might need to do. The technicality is what makes the book worth your time... or money – you decide.

My overall rating is 9/10.

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