Failure to Launch: Setting the path to desired outcomes


It remains a challenge to stay afloat in contemporary society, especially considering the ever increasing cost of quality education, housing and health care. As adults, it is imperative to reflect on our own economic shortcomings and want the best for our younger ones or the future. To mould an adult that will be self-sufficient and educated is the dream of any parent, a reality that our own parents fought and died to bring forth.

Yet achieving this remains challenging, and not only in Africa. On July 15, Philip Inman reporting for the Guardian, shared latest British statistics: “The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) found that average incomes for people in their 20s fell by 13 percent between 2007/08 and 2012/13, compared to an average fall for all workers of 10 percent, and only 7 percent for 31- to 59-year-olds. Finding a job proved to be a difficult task for those in their 20s, while the employment rate for 22- to 30-year-olds fell by four percentage points during the five years to April 2013”. 

It would, therefore, be wise to anticipate a number of factors to ensure that one does not fall short of achieving their potential. 

We briefly look into a few points worth analysing regarding individual and social failures to launch and achieving potential and capable outcomes.


Avoiding Debt

Staying clear of debt is so hard that getting into credit schemes becomes more and more enticing. There is no criteria of how one gets into or out of debt, but debts nonetheless remain an economic drain on any financial cycle. 

Daniel Motinga, Senior Manager of Research and Development at FNB Holdings, Namibia, believes that servicing debt has a lot to do with people spending more than they earn, “most Namibians struggle to make ends meet with their current incomes and many fall prey to the growing number of loans sharks. Although these loans are used to augment people’s income and thus living standards, they quickly lead to a vicious debt cycle”. • Daniel Motinga, Senior Manager of Research and Development at FNB Holdings


There are red flags to watch out for that indicate that you may be headed towards debt. One clear sign is when you begin spending 20 percent of your net pay on servicing debt. Other signals include: 

Reaching limits on your credit cards or credit lines. 

Drawing on credit to pay household and other essential expenses. 

Depleting your savings in order to meet debt obligations or to pay for day-to-day expenses. 

Increasing your outstanding debt balance every month. 

The problem with debt often begins when you start paying for your wants rather than your needs, “having to own everything you see”, a regular pattern of impulse buying that reflects an unhealthy need for immediate, rather than delayed gratification. 

More and more people, most of them young couples and recent graduates, are caught in debt as they attempts to match their parents’ lifestyles too quickly. 



Education is essential to ensure that one is empowered, well positioned within society and in good relations with others and themselves. It is, therefore, important to invest in education, the higher the better. Investing in education does not merely mean the availability of good schools; it has to do with what and how much knowledge people are exposed to, at school and at home. 

Quality financial and political education is essential for launching a competitive and self-sustaining adult. Andy Byron, a financial planner from Pleasanton, California, advises parents to “start early, be consistent, and make sure they know what their responsibilities are”. Seemingly simple, this is handy advice considering that, according to Pew Research Centre   a Washington-based think tank, “among people in their 40s and 50s who have adult children, a stunning 73 percent report lending financial help over the previous year”. 

Political knowledge is equally essential today. Knowing about elections, budget votes, parliamentary meetings and political debates is important. Without becoming a ‘constitution-thumper’, one needs to possess a certain level of political knowledge in order to protect their interests and those of the people they care about. It is, therefore, imperative to acknowledge that the education of our children should not be left solely to teachers. 


Governmental Short-Comings

Tales of governmental corruption or mismanagement of public funds are many and universal, and this only further justifies the need for critical analyses on the matter, yet critical analysis is not always welcome. 

Namibian youth activist, Job Shipululo Amupanda, believes that the government refuses to critically analyse matters like youth unemployment and poverty. In his words: “When youth state this reality, they are quickly blackmailed as disrespectful and without manners, when youth seek accountability from the elders, the response is a gun loaded with ‘respect’, or its lack thereof.” Namibian youth activist, Job Shipululo Amupanda


Empower Yourself


Who better to help you and your loved ones if not you? At a certain point, we need to acknowledge that beyond governmental shortcomings, a certain amount of input and dedication is expected from us in order to turn things in our favour. Hence, what are you doing in your free time? Empowering yourself is essential.

As young people, we should strive to empower ourselves beyond the predetermined avenues. Pave new opportunities for yourself and those in your community. I am filled with pride and joy when I see youth excel in more than just their academics. 

Be creative, active and open-minded in avenues beyond the lecture halls. Avoid restricting yourself to one method of analyses, one criteria, etcetera, even if only for rehabilitating your own mind. Set things in motion that will lead to your desired outcome. Ignite the spark within you. Rise and persevere 


July 2014
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