Immediately you see a person driving a car, you believe the man/woman’s bank account is loaded, but behind that steering wheel is a person full of regrets, misery and poverty. Most of these guys you see driving small cars, especially Toyota Fielder, Toyota Allion,Mazda Demio,and Vitz are living from hand to mouth.
It’s with much disappointment that we learnt most of the so called middle class citizens are actually living a lie. These people take loans from SACCOs or banks and end up sinking the money into personal cars, something that cannot bring food onto the table.
Alex, who is one of the car owners in Nairobi, reveals how he has suffered before his friends and family members after acquiring a Toyota Axio.
“I work for a government institution in Upper Hill Nairobi. Last year, I took a loan from Stima SACCO, which I used to buy a personal car. This though came as a result of influence from my friends who had bought their cars and were looking happy. I therefore decided to escape embarrassment by acquiring my own toy.
The moment friends and workmates saw me in the car, they said, “welcome to the club” while laughing loudly. I didn’t know I had built my own grave until two months later.
My basic salary was Ksh 80,000 and I used to take home Ksh 52,000 after NHIF,HELB .SACCO and NSSF deductions. After I took the loan, my net salary reduced to Ksh 38,000.
The first month was okay because I managed to top up my salary with what remained from my loan. The problems started in the second month when my net salary was Ksh 38,000 and I was supposed to set aside Ksh 15,000 for the car fuel and other minor expenses. After paying my rent and did my shopping, what I remained with was Ksh 4,000.That month was hell, at date 5 I was in debts. At the end of the month, I had accumulated my debts to Ksh 27, 000, which I repaid with my salary. Then the following month started.
Life continued for a while until depression set in.I found it too hard to cope with the new lifestyle. And for your information, immediately I bought my car, lifestyle changes. I used to eat in joints where a meal went for Ksh 50 but I upgraded to a swanky joint where I paid Ksh 150 per a meal.
What also changed was my friends—I could no longer interact with friends who were not car owners. This habit added more expenses.
My family too thought I had become rich such that whenever I visited them, they expected notes, not coins”.
After few months, I said enough is enough and had to sell my car at a throw a way price. I am now happy, I feel relieved”.
This is the life most people in Nairobi go through and they always keep it to themselves. To make matters worse, these guys don’t own any business; they simply fuel with their salaries
The sad thing about our middle class is that they have bloated ego. This group of people, due to peer group influence believes it’s demeaning to use public transport or a train. They end up taking loans to buy cars and relocate to posh estates where they are seen as people who have made it in life. At the end of the day, they save nothing, sink into depression and disappear completely from the system through natural attrition.
Financial experts warn that unless you have extra income, don’t fuel your car with your meager salary. But if your net pay is in excess of Ksh 100, 000, you can afford a small car of less than 2,000 CC.