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Siamanta Martha: I learned the hard way after taking a big loan in my 20s

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Wealth creation: Siamanta Martha Van-Labeke is the Revenue Manager at the Ole Sereni Hotel. She speaks on wealth creation and how to make it.

Biggest Money or Wealth Mistake: Taking a loan with a plan in mind then digressing from the plan in my 20s ranks as my biggest financial mistake. To make matters worse, I was not able to pay off the loan as fast as I had expected.

This experience taught me that everyone has a journey, and that I need to understand my own journey in order to stick to it and avoid getting derailed by diversions. Secondly, loans can be a burden and if I saved the amount I was paying on the loan every month, I would have accomplished more.

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Biggest financial or wealth milestone: How I’ve grown in my revenue career is my most pleasing financial achievement so far. From this growth and the subsequent healthier salary that comes with it, I am able to fund my investments, grow my share portfolio, and invest for the future. Nonetheless, getting out of debt was the most relieving experience. This is because I can now focus more on wealth creation through my investments instead of getting drifted away by loan repayments and how to get my next installment.

Looking back at this growth, I have learned that the jobs we have can turn out to be our greatest growth asset if we focus on them properly. Don’t get in the habit of taking shortcuts in your career, do what is right, network with the right people and invest early. The end result will be wealth.

Siamanta Martha
You must have a dream board to create wealth, she says.

Biggest loss: When I was in campus, I started supplying cakes and candy to the café at USIU and got inspired to open a restaurant with one of my friends. It ran for six months because we did not have enough collateral or income to meet the high cost of rent. I had not done due diligence.

In fact, we had opened it in a residential area in Roysambu where the majority of our target clients were students who don’t spend too much on take-out food. This failure, though, didn’t deter me. I joined the hotel industry once I completed my university education. Always plan well before leaping into a business. Running a business is not always as easy as it looks.

Saving method: I pay myself first immediately money hits my account. Through bank transfers, I put money in my savings account, emergency account, policy, and investments accounts. Thereafter, I pay my expenses and use the remainder for spending over the month. This has ensured that I don’t spend more than I earn. I have also stopped using credit cards because I can be a bit of an impulse buyer, especially on luxury items.

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Secret to building wealth: Have a dream board of what you want in life. Then start investing little by little from where you are, and let the power of compound interest work for you. Be it in a sacco, shares, or business, start small and grow. The lessons you learn are incredible and provide a good foundation for the times you get lump sums of money. Also remember that wealth is not only financial. Invest in those you love and your community. Support and encourage others to grow instead of stepping on them to get ahead.

If I could go back in time: I would take advice from the right people in the planning stage of my major ideas. I am grateful, though, that my character has been molded out of the trials, errors and successes of my decisions.

Entrepreneurship or employment: Building wealth is not about being in business or employment. It’s about using your talent to attract wealth. What will make you rich is how you invest and how best your money works for you.

On side hustles: You should have diverse sources of income. This is a must in wealth creation. To do this, you must channel your talents in different ways that can bring you profit and financial stability. Have a growing wealth investment that you will fall back on when you leave your current position.

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