Manyara Kirago is the founder of Financial Counselling Limited. He is a personal finance planner, trainer and coach.
Key to wealth creation: Better personal financial management is the secret. Once you manage your finances well, you’ll not only be able to take care of your current needs but also save money and invest to grow your net worth. However, in order to succeed, you must have three things; laser-like focus on your objective, skills needed to do what it takes, and the persistence to soldier on until the objective is attained. In life there are very many distractions that can pull ones attention away from what they are trying to achieve. I think one of the biggest mistakes Kenyans make is to give up too soon when something is not working and turn to try something else. With such tendencies, you’ll keep hopping from one incomplete project to another.
Biggest money mistake: I have made numerous financial mistakes. However, my biggest mistake was to use money meant for working capital for my business to build a house. This ultimately led to the collapse of the business and my deportation from the USA. The silver lining in this particular cloud in my life was that it led me to start my personal financial planning training and consulting practice.
Career mistakes: My career has gone through many challenges, mostly resulting from mistakes that I have made. I now know that I could have done a lot better if I had improved my business skills through continuous training. However, learning is a never ending process.
If I could go back in time: I wasted my first five working years in a dead end career and hesitated for months before I started taking a course that helped me get out. If were to start over again, I would not waste even one month in a job that is unfulfilling.
Money plan: My personal financial plan includes both short term and long term goals. I invest money for my goals in various places, each targeted to a specific goal. These places include stocks, unit trusts and real estate. There is no such thing as the best investment, but only appropriate investments for various goals.
Biggest financial milestone: Being reckoned as a reliable personal finance brand by multiple established local and international firms is one of my key achievements. But perhaps my greatest milestone is seeing those I interact with make positive financial transformation. This is an experience that has thrilled me over and over, especially in the 12-year period from 1998 when I ran a financial column for the Nation Media Group.
Side hustles: I would only recommend an employee to run a business on the side as an exit strategy to full time entrepreneurship. Trying to do both simultaneously for the long term would only result in you not being fully effective in either one of them. But remaining an employee does not mean you remain poor. What you need to do is learn better personal financial management so that you invest and ensure that you eventually achieve financial independence. When that happens, you will be able to work not because you must, but because you choose to.
Employment vs Entrepreneurship: On the surface, entrepreneurship appears to be the better avenue to wealth. After all, most of the wealthy people in society are business owners. But that alluring promise of wealth hides the fact that it is much riskier than employment. It is said that 90 percent of all new businesses fail within the first five years and of the 10 percent that survive, only 5 percent generate serious wealth for their owners. That means that out of a thousand new businesses, only five will result in wealth. I believe the most important thing is to do what is most suited to the talents that you have. Remember, not everyone can be, or even should be an entrepreneur.