KAMPALA – If you have ever heard me speak, you know how I hate poverty with a passion. I was born in a poor family. Poverty was so pronounced that things like sugar and rice were a luxury. Our house was made of mud and wattle and banana fibers for a roof. While poverty was prevalent we were raised proudly and taught to stand on our own. Many of us have gone to do well in life. Since we fairly can agree on what poverty looks like, we also need to define what being rich is. I have not seen anyone attempt to do this so I took it upon myself to do it.
You see we want our people to aspire to be rich and so defining it gives them a goal to pursue. If enough people honestly pursue wealth, we are sure some will get it. These could be the catalyst that we need to develop our country and change the fortunes of millions of people.
Just like many other Ugandans, I aspire to be rich someday. By the way its okay to be rich. Often people want us to apologize for ambitiously pursuing wealth but I am no longer buying into that crap. The journey is long and many get there from different routes but nonetheless make it. Being Rich allows you the enjoyment of some pleasures and the peace of knowing that you can take care of your family and loved ones. It also allows you to support causes close to your heart. Can you imagine what it would feel like to wake u and go to work knowing that all your needs are taken care of and barring some gross misfortune you will never be broke in life?
Since I am the people’s Professor of Streetnomics I have taken on the responsibility of defining who qualifies to be rich in Uganda. I know this is going to be controversial but if we don’t know who is Rich, how shall our people aspire for what is essentially not defined? Buckle in you about to be taken on a mathematical calculus journey that could fundamentally change your view about money and financial success.
To be considered rich you must own a home of not less than UGX 400M. To put this in context, this is a medium-priced bungalow in many residential areas of Uganda. You should be able to buy 2 used cars of UGX 30M each (for you and your spouse) without taking debt. I have assumed that you have 4 school-going kids paying UGX 3M each in school fees and requirements per term. The total annual cost for this comes to UGX 36M a year or 3M per month.
Lets us also assume other living costs of UGX 5M per month and you are close to needing UGX 10M in living expenses and another 5M to cover healthcare, emergencies, support to extended family and a few luxuries. Your monthly total living Costs would then need to be UGX 15M but there is a big catch; you can only generate this income from fairly passive sources and not a salary or active income.
Active income is where you only make money when you show up and must surrender your time and labour to make it. So to be rich you must be financially independent. In my book The Great Financial Rebuild, I defined financial independence as having assets that are equal to 150 months (12.5 years) of your monthly living expenses.
Using this parameter you would need Assets of UGX 2.25 Billion to support this lifestyle. If we add the money you have in your home as UGX 400M and in your Cars as UGX 60M, we arrive at a Net worth of UGX 2.71 Billion or USD 700,00. So if you are worth this much or more, you can be considered rich in Uganda.
For comparison purposes, you are considered rich in the USA if you have a Networth of $1.9M according to Schwab’s 2021 Modern Wealth Survey.
Next time you want to call a Ugandan or someone living in Uganda rich, check to see how they measure up to this parameter. However, the main goal for this submission is to encourage you to work hard. May this inspire a generation of men and women that will aspire for greatness and don’t have to have poverty in their rearview mirror all the time.
Do you agree with the People’s Professor submission? Who would you define as rich? Happy to hear your views and comments.
Livingstone Mukasa, is CEO/Co-Founder Four One Financial Services Limited, Chief Development Officer for Bitbricks and Lead Business Trainer for Living Business Education. He is also commonly referred to as “The People’s Professor of Streetnomics” and He has authored two Books “Investing for the Future” and “The Great Financial Rebuild”.