Kenyan Money: Very often people underestimate the power of money that is within their grasp, argues Waceke Nduati Omanga in this feature that was first published in the Centonomy personal finance online journal:
We find ourselves perpetually waiting for bigger amounts of money as that is what we feel is adequate to start saving or investing with. We feel that it is only with these huge amounts that we can actually do something significant. And while we are waiting for these big amounts we are usually recklessly spending small amounts of money everyday without realising their value or the alternative use of the money. Secondly we are letting opportunities pass us by.
I think sometimes the disease of instant gratification filters down to our saving or investment mentality. We want to immediately be able to say we have Kes 50,000 to put aside without realising it is also small amounts over time that build up to Kes 50,000. Today, we explore the power of Kes 5,000. You might be wondering where to get Kes 5,000 given that your bank account is usually empty by the end of the month. Well, do you easily spend Kes 170 a day without thinking about it? If you left your house with Kes 170 in your wallet, would it be there at the end of the day?
Right there is your Kes 5,000 at the end of the month. Maybe you are spending it on lunch, snacks, drinks but you can make a choice to ensure you have Kes 5,000 every month. So what can this Kes 5,000 actually do?
You can have a savings account with Kes 5,000. You can opt to put this money in a savings account. Many banks will be able to provide this to you and these days even some mobile service providers are offering a solution for these savings. At the end of one year you will have at least accumulated Kes 60,000 plus some interest in this account.
This is money you can use to pay school fees or even go on a holiday. Even if you are not sure where to invest, start here. Open this savings account even as you research on various areas to invest. Don’t wait to have the perfect investment to start putting aside your Kes 5,000. Starting this way will actually start creating the discipline of saving that many of us need to foster.
You may even opt to put this money aside in a SACCO every month and at the end of the year earn dividends on the shares you have accumulated. Just using an example from one of my SACCO clients, you would have earned Kes 6,000 shillings at the end of that year. This 6,000 can be used to reinvest in something further or enable you to pay your utility bills that month.
Your Kes 5,000 has started making money work for you. Accumulating this amount of money in a SACCO will enable you to borrow up to three times what you have saved. This means after one year of saving you can borrow Kes 180,000 to do further investment such as a business and in some areas you can buy a plot of land with this. Remember to ONLY borrow for investment and not consumption purposes. Ensure that the return you will get will exceed the interest you are paying. Your Kes 5,000 has therefore enabled you to leverage and access good debt for investment purposes.
You can invest in the stock market with Kes 5,000 a month. The minimum number of shares you can buy on the stock exchange is 100, hence as long as you are buying shares that are trading below Kes 50, you can invest. There are actually many fundamentally strong companies that are trading below Kes 50 at the moment that you could actually be accumulating ownership in with this Kes 5,000.
Let’s use an actual scenario. I have picked one of the banking shares and assumed in the last one year, you had been investing Kes 5,000 per month accumulating this share. In the last one year you would have accumulated 1,800 of these shares. You would have spent Kes 60,000 (Kes 5,000 x 12) in total but the value of your shares would have been Kes 75,000 (after brokerage commissions). Of course past performance is not necessarily an indicator of future performance with shares and you would have to do further research on the particular share you are buying but this goes to show that with Kes 5,000 you can actually activate the process of growing the value of your money.
You can invest in Treasury Bonds with Kes 5,000 saved for 10 months. The minimum investment in a Treasury Bond is Kes 50,000. You can put aside your Kes 5,000 in a savings account and when it accumulates to Kes 50,000 you simply go and purchase a Treasury Bond. Depending on the rate offered at the time, this bond will pay you some interest every six months.
You can create or join an investment group with Kes 5,000. Do you have 10 friends who can join you in this venture to save Kes 5,000 a month? Being able to pool your money with other people will significantly multiply the impact of Kes 5,000. If there are 10 of you, that means you can put aside Kes 50,000 a month! In a year you can collect Kes 600,000 (as a group). You can buy more shares, you can buy larger property, you can start larger business etc. As a group you can accumulate a significant investment portfolio if you each commit to putting aside Kes 5,000 a month.
Kes 5,000 a month over time is a very significant portion of your Retirement Plan. Kes 5,000 a month saved over 10 years and earning just 10% p.a. will accumulate to just under Kes 1 mn. Do not hesitate to start with or put an extra Kes 5,000 in your pension fund.
You can eliminate your debts with Kes 5,000. Say you had a loan of Kes 500,000 for 5 years and you were being charged 18%. If you put an extra Kes 5,000 towards your repayments you will pay off this loan in 3 years instead of 5 and save Kes 100,000 in interest costs in the process.
I could go on and on. This is just simply an introduction to what you can do with Kes 5,000. When you start taking notice around you of what can be done, more and more ideas will open up. I know people who have started poultry farming, vegetable trading, catering and various other ventures with this amount of money. Remember that a bird builds its nest one twig at a time. The nest just doesn’t appear. Let that Kes 5,000 be your first twig. Kenyan Money.