Does your money work for you?

Larry Liza is a Director at World Customs Organization. One would think this is the level where he started saving and landed at the millionaire mark. On the contrary, Larry started saving at an investment bank with what was at that time part of a student loan he received. He started with KES. 19,000 and in 10 years grew his net worth through investing in shares, saving 5000 a month into a total of KES. 2m.

It’s inspiring, to say the least, the fruit of disciplined saving, and with what would seem like little money. Larry emphasizes “Regarding investments, discipline and patience is what helped. Many of us want to kill it quickly and want it done quickly.”

For Larry, even in the case where he started his career as a graduate trainee, he would still use part of his allowance to save and invest. “Whatever raise I got, I ploughed it back. 10 years later I needed money and I looked at my profile and saw I had 2 million shillings, I didn’t know I was a millionaire!”

Lucas Otieno, Managing Director at Faida Investment Bank, advises that there is no little or more money to start saving. Given a scenario of an individual who earns 30,000 a month, he says, “Out of income you have expenses and what you are left with is your savings. So if you can reduce your expense then you have more to save. With 30,000 don’t try to get a house in the CBD. You can get a decent living outside Nairobi. It’s also good to join a Sacco. They can issue you loans at lower rates. Get a loan buy say 1 bedroom out of CBD, so what you are paying out in rent is now an investment other than an expense.”

Taking inspiration from Larry and insight from Lucas here are a couple of investments to consider to grow your savings:

  1. Money Market Fund (MMF): “Save your money where your money can get high returns.” MMF is one way to do it. This is where fund managers pull funds together from institutions, organizations, etc. and invest money in conservative investments and also lend to strong companies (commercial pay pal) and treasury bills that need money for short periods. Because they are conservative your money is usually safe.
  2. Real Estate: This is not an option for short-term investment but makes a good option for the long term. “Real estate is highly illiquid so it is not a suitable investment for emergency use,” says Real Estate expert and consultant Lucy Kamau
  3. Business: Starting a small or large business creates income that has the potential to grow and business streams of income are limitless. It is even better if you do something that you are passionate about.
  4. Trading: Shares and forex are high-risk high-returns investment options. If that is your kind of investment style, with expert advice, your money will be able to work for you and not the other way round.

“You need to expect something from your money. You must demand something from that shilling.” – Pius Muchiri, CFA – CEO Nabo Capital


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