Liz Simiyu-Bisher is an engineer, entrepreneur, founder and CEO of Slim Therapy – a weight-loss and wellness group of spas in Nairobi and Mombasa. She also works as a Facilities Manager for a global real estate and facilities management company outsourced to a local company.
Saving method: At the moment, I use standing orders at my sacco and my savings account. These two have been effective ways of saving. Saving, though, is not the key to wealth.
Saving for example in a fixed deposit account that appreciates at a rate of 6 to 8 per cent per annum will only serve to retain the value of your money in the face of inflation. The real key to wealth creation is investment.
Building wealth: Diversification. Besides professionally being an engineer, I have several skills that I have used to create wealth. I also do extensive training as a trainer and that gives me the opportunity to earn through training groups on organizational development subjects such as professional development, change management, and personal effectiveness.
Many people, and especially women, have skills that can earn them money for things they currently do for free. For example I had a collegiate who could organize anything perfectly from a messy room to a complicated even. It was a skill that she did for free that people would pay good money for.
If I were to start all over again: I would take higher risks with my money. I would take time to formally lean how to invest and grow wealth right from Form Four.
I should have taken risks on investments especially at the time when I didn’t have any major responsibilities like family. That was a major missed opportunity. I got caught up in earning a salary month to month instead of growing wealth.
Biggest money mistake: In my early years as an engineer, I put most of what I earned into an insurance scheme that with hindsight was tantamount to putting my money under a mattress.
I wish I had taken time to first study what was being sold to me, because later when I tried to get out of it, I basically lost a substantial amount of money.
This taught me the importance of research, reading and understanding the fine print. Don’t get me wrong though, insurance is important, just not as an investment vehicle.
Entrepreneurship vs employment: you can make money from either as long as the money you earn is used to make the right investment moves. Take the stock market; it was depressed recently. This was a good time to buy.
It recovered within a week and made people good money. On the other hand, many entrepreneurs are currently facing low business and low income, but ironically, there are also those who are making money from the slowed economy.
The strongest survivors in wealth creation are those who know how to ride the waves.
Financial milestones: Paying off my house and being able to buy property thereafter are some of my current major achievement – and I must mention that I achieved this together with my better half. Though I wouldn’t say I have met ‘my’ milestones yet. I’ve still got much more to do!
Side hustles (Extra Income Sources): It will be very wise for you to have a side business if you can identify a gap or need in the market that you can satisfy sufficiently.
Side hustles may seem easy to open since women are known to be better at multitasking. It isn’t a walk in the park and I would only advise it if it makes financial sense and neither your employment nor business is at the cost of the other.