Hi, I’m not sure how many times you’ve heard or read someone take a hit on the Nairobi middle-class. They are such an easy target. I’ve come across writings on how they present a “facade of sophistication”, or how they “only depend on their salary” and how they are “actually broke.”
I’m not sure about all of this. I’m more or less a poor person according to the spending brackets set by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) haha. I don’t know why we measure these things by spending. I also don’t know why these critics conflate being a middle-class with being rich.
Still, you should be receptive of the underlying message on organizing your finances. As an entrepreneur, you may be doing well separating your personal spending from your business spending. That’s the now. But are your future financial goals separate?
Entrepreneurs don’t have the privilege to plan around a consistently defined income. Things may get really good and other times you’re left feeling very alone. Some people actually enjoy this rollercoaster thrill, you may too. Unfortunately, it can make organizing your finances more difficult. Do you enjoy the now even though you’re very much aware of the uncertainty of tomorrow? Do you just stay in the house, and keep money from our small businesses, because you never want to be broke?
No, live a little
You are aware of the two basics of organizing your finances. I hope you also live by them – budgeting, saving and they are pretty straight forward. We even gave you a suggestion to save money on a weekly basis for a whole year to build that discipline (no saying, “I deserve to treat myself”).
Also, there’s a third form that you should live by. This is investing. Most women in Kenya are superb savers on a personal level, it’s only that they earn less that it’s not as evident. But look at the chama!
Problem is that they do not invest as they are pretty much locked out of the known investment vehicles in Kenya like Real Estate – this is true for almost every other Kenyan.
Because you don’t have avenues to invest, you’re even forced to open a side business. This is not as smart as you may believe. It takes your time from your main squeeze (I wrote this intentionally). That free time from your operational functions could be time to review your business and draw plans for the future. It’s almost always better to be 100% focused on one thing.
So how will you invest then? Ideally, investing money should be about earning passively. If you have to go work that’s work. Another truth is that when it comes to investing, you cannot learn as you go as you do in entrepreneurship. You have to know how the finance sector works – including having contacts of that woman and this guy (not me, haha). Let nobody lie to you that you can just wake up and go time or game the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE).
Real women invest
Yes, don’t fall for that guy who talks to you about bitcoin and other crypto-currencies either. Your investments will not be protected by the government.
What you need is absolute professionals managing your money. You also want your investment custom-made so it suits how long you want to invest and how much risky behavior you want to be involved in. As much as this will make you an investor, you’re still a favorite business woman to us. So, you definitely want this cheap so that the other money can go towards growing your business.
All these specifications sound like the perfect man. Does such a thing exist? In Kenya?
Yes. Unbelievably, you only need some 10k to start. These investment vehicles are known to finance students suffering from the lecturer’s strike. They give you the chance to invest in stuff that you may not be in a position to afford today like the bonds Government sells to, hopefully, raise money to build roads and what not.
They are classed as Unit Trust Funds. I’ll repeat, you can buy in for only sh.10,000 from APA Insurance. You are also allowed to make top-ups from only 5k every time you feel money is better than boys – or idk you just want to invest. It’s like a chama except the money pooled is invested in all sophisticated assets you can think of.
If you want to test the waters, you can invest in the Apollo Balanced Fund. The name implies, it is a collection of different investments to spread or minimize risk as much as possible. Offshore, bonds, shares, etc. It’s magic is that you make even more money when the economy is doing bad (hence, magic). It’s a mid to long term investment, so a minimum of 3 years will do you good.
Another with this sort of time-frame is the Apollo Equity Fund. Around 5 years. It invests in growing businesses listed at the NSE. You’re an entrepreneur, you understand how it works! As the businesses grows so does the value of your stake (that’s an asset = collateral).
If you want to organize your finances by investing in short-cycles, you can. There’s the Apollo Money Market Fund that touches on investments assuring returns in a year or less. An example is the government treasury bills which last for even 90 days. Difference here is that top-ups can be as low as 2k.
You can either go it alone since it’s cheap and worth it, or bring your chama’s stash to the big leagues and still retain your close friendship – so win-win. Just visit the APA Insurance website and arrange for a new start to your finances.2