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The Secret to Saving Money

Saving money is not a matter of math. It’s a matter of urgency.

  • You won’t save money when you get that next raise.
  • You won’t save money when that car is paid off.
  • You won’t save money when the kids are grown.

You’ll only save money when it becomes an emotional priority.
We all know we need to save, but most people don’t save like they know they should. Why? Because they have competing goals. The goal to save isn’t a high enough priority to delay the purchase of that pizza, DVD player, new computer, or china cabinet. So we purchase, buy, and consume all our shillings away or, worse yet, go into debt to buy these things.That debt becomes monthly payments that control our paychecks and make us say things like, “We just don’t make enough to save any money!” Wrong, wrong, wrong! We do make enough to save money; we just aren’t willing to quit spoiling ourselves with our little projects or pleasures. It doesn’t matter what you make—you can save money. It just has to become a big enough priority to you.

Make Saving a Priority
If a doctor told you that your child was dying and could only be saved with a Ksh 15,000 operation that your insurance would not cover and could only be performed nine months from today, could you save Ksh15,000 between now and then? Of course you could!  You would sell things, you would stop any spending that wasn’t required to survive, and you would take two extra jobs. For that short nine months, you would become a saving machine. You would give up virtually anything to accomplish that Ksh 15,000 goal.
The secret to saving money is to make it a priority. But that happens only when you start to feel some healthy anger—or fear—and then focus that emotion on your personal decisions. Harnessing that emotion will make you move yourself to the top of your creditor list. Then ask yourself which bill is the most important. After tithing, who should you pay first this month? The answer is you! Until you pay God first, then yourself, then everyone and everything else, you will never save money.Advertisers and marketers are touching our emotions every day and taking every Kenyan Shilling we have by making us see our wants as needs.

Emotions make great slaves, but they’re lousy masters. It doesn’t matter how educated or sophisticated you are—if you aren’t saving money, you’re letting your emotions control your actions. You need to take charge!So whether you need to save for college tuition, House/Land Property, Vehicle, a plane ticket to the family reunion, new school clothes for little Ethan or Emma, retirement, or anything else, start now! It’s never too late!

Why You do not have to be rich to join property market

“Earth is the best investment on earth.”
That is a statement by Mr Gilbert Kibire, the CEO of Icon Valuers Ltd, a real estate firm based in Nairobi, a statement echoed by his colleague, Mr Martin Cheboror.“Land is the only asset you can invest in, where its value will almost always appreciate,” Mr Kibire expounds.Indeed, real estate has proved to be an avenue for creating wealth. Whether it is building your retirement home or buying plots as a group, many of us have dreamt of investing in property at a certain point in our lives.However, sometimes investing in real estate can be intimidating for beginners due to fear of the unknown.Mr Cheboror explains that these reservations are legitimate as he has seen people lose millions of shillings and go bankrupt overnight in real estate deals gone awry. “For smart investors who consult widely and seek guidance from professionals, the industry sure is lucrative, as we have facilitated deals in which people have made millions of shillings overnight,” he says. Below are 10 tips that will help you get started in real estate and turn investing in property into a lifelong pursuit to secure your financial future.

  1. START SMALL, START NOW

A common truism in property circles is that, with real estate, you don’t wait to buy, you buy and wait. “Many people lose out on making a fortune because they think the money they have is too insignificant to get them into the real estate business.They don’t know that there are investment packages and opportunities they can exploit if they seek guidance from a real estate agent,” Mr Cheboror offers.To drive the point home, Mr Kibire gives the scenario of two individuals with Sh100,000 each, and who both want to own a home in 10 years.While individual A might think it is better to save until he can raise the capital required to build a home, individual B, who gets into a joint land-buying venture with his Sh100,000, will be better off as his stake in the venture will have risen over the years since the value of land always appreciates.“There are many financing options available to people with an interest in the real estate, ranging from bank loans to mortgages and micro-finance savings packages. Just make sure the income or appreciation value of your property surpasses the interest on the loan to avoid burning your fingers,” advises Mr Kibire You don’t need to buy an apartment complex right out of the gate. It is okay to start small, even if it is with REITs or partnerships. Just start.

  1. REAL ESTATE IS NOT A GET-RICH-QUICK SCHEME

Most people find the allure of buying property today and selling it after a short time hard to resist. However, the two professionals caution against getting into real estate with such an attitude because, like any other investment, there is always an element of risk involved.“One virtue that will prove very vital in this business is patience, which goes hand in hand with the principle of delayed gratification.A person seeking to make a fortune in the real estate sector should be prepared to work hard and learn over a long time to understand how the market works,” Mr Kibire says.

  1. DO NOT QUIT YOUR REGULAR JOB JUST YET

If you are looking to  getting started in the property sector, quitting your regular job might not be a very sound move, especially if it is the job that provided the initial capital for your investment. According to Mr Cheboror, people who quit their jobs to concentrate on real estate are oblivious of the fact that they can get professionals to handle the management part of their investments.“Property agents and land economists have obviously been in the industry much longer, and are thus more experienced in competently managing your investments,” he says. Relying on professionals saves you time as it only requires you to play a supervisory role.

  1. DO NOT UNDERSTATE THE IMPORTANCE OF DUE DILIGENCE

The average Kenyan looking to get into real estate is always paranoid. This is because cases of people buying land whose title deeds are later revoked are rampant in many parts of the country.“We have had people asking us to do a title deed verification when their investments have already gone up in smoke.By then it is too late, and there is little we can do. To avoid being sucked into such unscrupulous deals, we advise land buyers to consult  professionals , who will carry out due diligence to verify the legitimacy of the property in question,” says Mr Kibire. Even when buying property from a family member, a friend or a person you think you know very well, resist the temptation to skip carrying out due diligence as unforeseen circumstances  could later lead to life-long scarring.“We know of people who spend the rest of their lives servicing loans for properties that turned out to be phony,” Mr Cheboror offers. Given the kind of emotions land  issues raise, it is certainly better to be safe than sorry.

  1. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH THE RIGHT TEAM

When getting started, it is advisable to build a team of professionals  you can easily consult before making any move, especially one that involves high financial expenditure. A property valuer, a conveyance, an accredited contractor and a loan adviser are a few of the professionals whose advice you cannot afford to shrug off. While adding the professionals to your payroll might seem costly at a glance, a closer look will reveal that it actually saves you money. Mr Kibire, the CEO, cites the case of a client who wanted to buy a house in Nairobi valued at Sh10 million, a week before the interview. Before he could seal the deal, however, the prospective buyer decided to call  the valuation firm for advice. “Our team visited the property and advised the client not to pay a cent more than Sh7 million for the property. He later sealed the deal for Sh6.5 million. While we only charged him 0.25 per cent of the property price for our services, he ended up saving a huge sum,” Mr Kibire  says.

  1. BUY THE WORST HOUSE IN THE BEST NEIGHBORHOOD

“The importance of location in any real estate investment cannot be over emphasized. This is because property in prime locations is measured not so much by the cost of construction, but by the value and high appreciation rate of the land on which the property sits,” Mr Cheboror says. Investing in a simple establishment in a high-end neighborhood always pays handsomely. However, the reverse can be the worst mistake an investor could ever make. Buying the best house in the worst neighbourhood, he warns, will always turn out to be disastrous as the value of the land underneath hardly appreciates, and future buyers will most likely shun the property because of the neighborhood.

  1. BEAR IN MIND  THE 1 PER CENT RULE

When putting up commercial or residential property to let, seek advice from your agent and do your calculation in such a way that, when the property is finally ready for occupation, the money collected as  monthly rent is always more than 1 per cent of the total investment cost. This is what Mr Kabire refers to as the 1 per cent rule.

“Say you put up rental apartments at a cost of Sh1 million. The total monthly rent collected from an apartment should always be at least Sh10,000.This will enable you to recoup your investment in less than 10 years,” Mr Kibire says. However, the 1 per cent rule is not cast in stone.“Some investors recoup the principal investment in a shorter time, even four to six years. But those whose buildings on prime land in places such as Westlands and Kilimani take as long as 30 years. These investors rest easy knowing that the land on which their buildings sit is gaining value at a much higher rate than the rents,” he adds.

  1. GOOD BOOK-KEEPING WILL SAVE YOU A FORTUNE

Mr Cheboror points out that many small-scale constructors do not appreciate the value of accounting for every shilling spent while constructing. They thus end up getting duped by unscrupulous foremen and contractors, so building a house ends up feeling like pouring money into a bottomless pit. He advises that investors get into the habit of keeping all the financial records pertaining to the construction. This, he explains, is useful in determining the amount of rent to be charged, or the price of the building, were it to be put up for sale. Keeping records can also save you money when the time comes to file your tax returns with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA). The financial records put you in a good position to enjoy tax exemptions.

  1. DO NOT FALL IN LOVE WITH THE PROPERTY

When buying property for resale, you are better off checking your emotions at the door. “There are buildings put up for sale that are over-designed and over-decorated. These buildings have great curb-appeal, that is, they look appealing at a glance. People tend to fall in love with such buildings and hence end up paying inflated prices, only for them to get shocked when they later cannot sell the building at a profit,” Mr Kibire says. “We always advise our clients that real estate is not a sentimental business. One should always be on the lookout for profits and not let the visual appeal of a property cloud their judgment,” he adds. However, when buying your own home, you can go ahead and fork top dollar for a property with great curb appeal.

  1. AVOID THE PATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE

The temptation to cut corners to save some money will certainly arise at some point. The agents agree that taking shortcuts is rarely ever worth it; if anything, it usually results in the loss of entire investments, and sometimes even lives. Going by the book might seem expensive, but it saves you a lot of mental agony and is actually cheaper. “Hire only contractors accredited and licensed by the National Construction Authority,” advises Mr Kibire. “Take note of the national construction regulations and county by-laws to avoid the possibility of your property being demolished in future. Conduct surveys to avoid encroaching on public land, and use only genuine materials while constructing. I have seen entire buildings being marked as unfit just because the owners did not see the need to conduct the necessary inspections at the foundation stage.”When it comes to contracting services such as borehole digging and hiring heavy machinery, deal only with reputable companies  to avoid getting into trouble with the KRA.

6 Critical Investment Questions?

Someone much wiser than me once said that if you don’t know where you’re going, any path will get you there. This couldn’t be truer than when it comes to investing. And often it will be a lot more dangerous. So there’s never a bad time to become wiser about your investing process. If you learn something today that you didn’t know yesterday, it will help you tomorrow.

Of course, you have to understand that investment risks cannot be eliminated, but they can be understood and managed to some degree. If you start the process by knowing the answers to the six questions that follow, your risks should be greatly reduced.

  1. What investment do you want to buy?
    Whether you’re interested in stocks, mutual funds, exchange traded funds or other investment, what you buy is really up to you (and not the focus of this particular article). Whatever your process of selection, I assume you have found something you feel good about for the right reasons. My team and I certainly have a very clear process for selecting the investments we choose for our clients, and you should too.
  2. Is now a good time to buy it?
    This is a tougher one to answer. It will likely depend on several issues: Is the overall market positive or negative? Is the sector or asset class you are looking at positive or negative? Is the price attractive? Based on what criteria? The list of considerations may seem daunting, but all of these questions are important to understand before investing.
  3. How much of it should you buy?
    This has proven to be the most misunderstood question that we’ve come across over time, and I’ll provide a more detailed answer in a moment.
  4. What do you do with it if it’s a winner?
    Do you have a specific plan of keeping it or selling it at some point? Successful investors have this determined before they buy.
  5. What do you do with it if it’s a loser?
    Not all good ideas work out as planned. You need to know at what point you will dump a loser, and you need to know that price point before you buy it. Otherwise, all of this becomes a guessing game.
  6. What do you do with it if it’s simply a laggard?
    This is something that most people we’ve had this discussion with have never thought about. If your dollars are just sitting there in a lagging investment, are there other investments that would be more productive or have more potential? Again, having a process to determine this in the beginning will result in better investment outcomes.We’re now back to the issue of how much to buy. This is by far the most difficult question. And one that rarely has a satisfactory answer, in my opinion.
    Rather than simply picking an arbitrary percentage of your overall portfolio or an arbitrary number of shares, why not base it on how much risk you want to take with that specific investment?

    Let’s examine this process: We’ll assume you have a Ksh 500,000 portfolio and are willing to risk 1% of that on any given investment choice. That equals Khs 5,000 of risk. Let’s say the stock is selling for Ksh40 per share, and you have determined that if it falls to Ksh 35 you will sell it because it’s a loser as discussed above. You now have Ksh 5 of risk–the current price minus the stop loss price–so divide the risk of Ksh 5 into the portfolio risk of Ksh 5,000, and you get 1,000. You buy 1,000 shares.

    You have taken 1% risk to buy the stock, and it represents Ksh 40,000 of value, or 8.0% of your portfolio. Does that seem like too high of a percentage? Why? You have clearly defined the amount you are willing to risk, and logical math does the work. There is nothing arbitrary here.If the price falls to Ksh35, you sell it. It’s a loser.

    If the price moves up to Ksh 50, things are looking good. You could sell it or simply move up your stop loss price up to Ksh 45, which will now represent your 1% risk factor for this specific investment that you had to start with.

    You can keep doing this if the stock continues to increase in price. Or you could sell some of it or all of it, take your profits and move on to the next idea.You now have the answers to all six of the questions asked. What, when, how much, as well as what to do if it’s a winner, loser, or laggard.Isn’t it nice to have the answers before the question is asked? Of course it is!This process gives you answers and should also give you better investment results without the worry of not knowing what you don’t know.

Betting, gambling or investment?

Sports betting is the newest thing taking Kenya by storm following the fall of casinos a practice that has affected a large number of the Kenyan people especially the male youth. Despite the fact that most of its lovers would prefer to view it as an investment where you place your money with an aim of getting it later with a benefit, the bitter truth is that the practice is actually a legal form of gambling which also brings the lotteries on board. By definition  gambling and betting is a game of chance where you can either win or lose. Let no one lie to you-gambling and betting are one and the same.I have watched people celebrate especially when they hit a jackpot. How beautiful it is when those who have hustled all their lives get an opportunity to be called millionaires. Many young people are hitting mind-boggling fortunes.
file-57b04fdac5d3c“Gambling can best be defined as a social disease, motivated by economic reasons. Gambling and betting is the worst “source of income” that anybody can ever depend on. Any country whose citizens depend on such chances for survival is at the verge of losing many of its subjects to poverty, scarcity and lack.
A student at Kabianga University has committed suicide by hanging himself after he allegedly lost all his tuition money to a Sportpesa bet. The student who was identified as Edwin Mogaka was found hanging from a tree inside a small thicket near Kabianga University. Its alleged that Edwin lost a bet of 20,000 during a recent Chelsea Vs Liverpool match, where Chelsea lost 2-1. Just last month, a man committed suicide after he lost a Sh 45,000 to Sportpesa. Together with his wife, they had borrowed the money from a local commercial bank for a family development project, but be first decided to ‘invest’ the money in a Sportpesa jackpot bet. He lost all of it and thats when he made the radical decision. Another man who works in a Nairobi bank lost Sh 450,000 to a bet. The money was also loan they had borrowed from Equity bank with his wife. (http://news-kenya.com/2016/03/13/kabianga-university-student-commits-suicide-losing-school-fees-sportpesa/)

Why people play

  • Get-rich-quick desire
  • Greed
  • Hopelessness

Here are the reasons distinguishing betting from investing?

When one places a bet he has nothing tangible for the reason apart from the confidence he has on the team, unlike in an investment where one considers a number of things including the probability of getting something back, business location, legal procedures like licencing and business partners.

In an investment, the investor has to do several follow ups to ensure that everything is well or even spend much of their time supervising their investments.Also, unlike in an investment where one stops to venture into other businesses in an event that the returns are low, sports betting is addictive.In sports betting the bettors only want money to spend at the moment while in investment the investor bases the idea on the future as the investment, if successful can be sold to another person at a higher price or passed down to a heir. So Be Wise And Invest.