Scams in Kenya: David Wamiti is the founder and chairman of BeFEDO, a mentorship program running mentorship programs for the youth in 16 countries.
My biggest money mistake: I committed my biggest financial error in early 2009. I had been eying a piece of land at the popular Juja Farm area. After negotiations, the seller and I agreed that I would pay Sh. 450,000 for the parcel that was part of a three acre land on sale. The seller told me that he had a good relationship with officials at the Thika Lands Office, and that I did not need to worry about the land transfer procedures. As a result, I initiated the process of buying the land without involving a lawyer of conducting sufficient due diligence. Initially, a land search showed that the seller was indeed the owner. I paid him the first Sh. 150,000 commitment fee. A few weeks later, I gave him the remaining Sh. 300,000. But I got a rude shock when I went to file for a title deed. He wasn’t the owner. His names were not in the register. He had just colluded to have it appear in order to fleece us. I would visit the land intermittently in a bid to nab him to no avail. One day, I found the land being ploughed by the real owner. Up until now, I have never been able to reach the seller or recover the Sh. 450,000 that he took.
Biggest money lesson: This came from my biggest money loss. In each and every deal that I do, I have learned to always go through the details with a fine toothpick, to involve a lawyer, and to carry out due diligence. The journey to wealth creation is not only travelled by the honest. It is also full of con artists looking to get rich on the sweat of others. You fail to carry out due diligence, they stick on you like a leech.
If I could go back in time: I would save more than I did when I started earning. I would also invest more money in land. I have seen investments in land transform ordinary citizens into overnight millionaires. Land is still a very lucrative asset investment if you can get its location and rate of appreciation right.
My saving method: I used to save through shares on the local bourse, but over time, I realized that I was not good at it. Most often, prices would plunge shortly after investing or before I could score a meaningful gain. I have since refocused my strategy, and today, I save through retirement packages, increasing monthly retirement contributions, and buying plots and land.
The key to success: Through experience and my mentorship platform, I have come to learn that there are three steps that always unlock success: being passionate, having the necessary task skills, and continually upgrading your existing set of skills. Unfortunately, most people are more inclined towards the shortcut route. We want the easy way out, which always ends in either short term benefits or total failure.
Employment vs Entrepreneurship: I do not advocate for one over the other. I believe that you cannot create sufficient wealth without involving the two. For a start, it is always wise to be employed before you venture into entrepreneurship. Employment will help you learn the requisite business networking skills, aid you to collect your startup capital, as well as open your eyes on your entrepreneurial capabilities. It also serves as a good transitioning template, especially where a business is launched as a side hustle.