Saturday, 16 December 2017

22 things I learnt at 22: #1 Finances

Hey guys,

I guess I might as well state the obvious, long time no see. I wish I had a logical explanation for my going from an all time high; reading a book a week  and writing every day to disappearing of the face of the blogosphere. All I know, one minute I had written four posts back to back, the next,I may have had an assignment due, then we were in this class is on, no class stage  which made for a  perfect excuse as to why I couldn't keep up with the whole writing  everyday endeavor.

However in a few days, 22 to be precise I will be turning 23. Some vlogger, probably Lily from LilyLikescom said that 23 feels so much  older than 22. She literally took the words out of my mouth. 21 sounds grown, 22 is just a number but 23 is the near end of the early twenties. 23 carries a certain je ne sais quoi about it; most people are university graduates if everything went according to plan, making their own paper, sometimes have left the nest and are full on adults by societal standards. Granted, I feel some type of way turning the big 2-3.

22 was, well, bad. Let me rephrase 2017 was just a dead end. This I judge based on the amount of time I spent in the classroom. There was a point in time I would ask myself why we gauge milestones through academia. I thought it to be shallow, tunnel vision surely not everything revolves around just the one  thing, education. Then 2017 happened;January-March lecturers' strike, a few weeks in July another lecturer's strike, August Kenyan general elections and waiting on the Supreme Court judgement, October my university was closed indefinitely, guessed it another lecturers' strike. A few hundred thousand shillings spent on tuition and this year I can say I have nothing to show for it except one measly, half-assed semester.

Since I had all this "free time" on my hands I had my fair share of  lessons outside the classroom. This is what this series is all about, the lessons learned this year and the years prior in my 22 years of existence. 22 things might be pushing it, I'll say and committing to 22 articles from now through the festive season and into the New Year is really shooting for the stars but a girl has gotta at least try.

Lesson numero uno.

Get your finances in check.

This year marks my second year in employment if I haven't drummed that enough into y'all. Who would have ever known that the second year is so different from the first. You've got a year's worth of experience under your belt and aren't the meek church mouse you once were. When I first got into the scene I was scared stiff of spending even a shilling worth of my hard-earned cash. That year, I lived like I was still unemployed and just stacked up paper in my account. This fear is what allowed me to have some level of comfort when I would make it rain at Mr. Price, of course, only for items that were on sale or during their end of summer sale. You can take the girl out of the cheap skate scene but not the cheap skate out of the girl.

Somewhere along the line I got a little too credit card happy. If you put the sign 'SALE' on your door, no doubt I would be your first customer, getting in with the sole intent of just having a look around, running my hands over a couple of items here and there, you know, the old in and out, no strings attached, no damage done. Except what was meant to be me just poking my head in, almost always ended up with an impulse buy.

I did the only thing I could, I pumped the brakes on myself. Rather, I found a way around my spending habits.

For one, I set up a savings account. The best one hands down, this is free intel by the way, KCB Goal Savings Account with 8.3% p.a interest rate.  I would like to say that it was a seamless process but you know me, would it be a story if there wasn't a mishap somewhere? Circa August 2017. Side note, I realize I use the word circa with reckless abandon, it adds flavour to all my pieces so just lean with it and rock with it. Circa, August 2017, Kenyans are all jittery with the upcoming general elections and this was when I figured I would make my money moves. All in one day I opened a Savings Account , a Central Depository Account and a few days later bought bonds issued by the government.

For the Savings Account, one word cost me. I intended to open a Goal Savings Account, KCB on the other hand opened for me a Jiinue Savings Account. The expectation was that I would go into KCB, I would tell them I want to open a Savings Account, they would then spell out the options I have and I would choose the Goal Savings option. The reality, I said I wanted a savings account and a savings account is what I got. Just. Not. The. One. I. Wanted. . One word cost me a significant chunk of my Saturday going from desk to desk trying to make sense of this mess.

If you take away anything from this post, take this, it is a Goal Saving's Account you want to open, not just any old raggedy savings account that just so happens to be on your list of options.

Now you have a savings account, now what? Me, I put a thousand shillings in there per month. The ideal situation is having it deducted from your pay directly. This way there is no room for excuses, you can't spend the money if you don't have the money.  It doesn't get any simpler than that.

On to my Central Depository Account. That process went a lot smoother. Actually I lie. I filled out the forms in August and nearly three weeks down the line they must have been in the same spot they were left before we headed to the polls. So I had to do one of the most least liked things that comes with adulting, getting on the phone with customer service. Revisiting the whole ordeal gives me a migraine. After showing them my true colors, over the phone, you would think that KCB would step up their game. I had one simple request, once all the particulars were met send me an email. I even got a call that the next morning your girl would have a notification that it was all systems go. Yet, another one of my precious Saturdays was spent in the banking hall going from desk to desk dealing with yet another mess.

The gag is, I may have to make a trip to KCB sooner than I expected why? Remember the wrong savings account that's where I wanted the dividends to go. Except that account no longer exists.

Even with all the hurdles, remember, I am either investing or stacking up my coins. It goes without saying, that you should be on a similar path as well. My rule of thumb, never ever just let your money sit there. The argument is if your banking it then it's doing 'something',I hate to break it to you but nearly all current accounts earn interest below 1% , in my books that's not a profit to write home about. My take, invest.Investing is as easy as turning a Ksh. 100 note into a Ksh. 200 note, and wouldn't you know it you are on a promising path.

It doesn't matter how much you start with, so not having a consistent cash flow is no excuse. After all everybody has a humble beginning, of course some more humble than others, regardless it still counts as a Bawse move.

Thought I was done making money moves? You thought wrong. I thought I would get myself some bonds. That was much easier. At least that's one thing the government is doing right. All the details to the how are on the M-Akiba website. The one thing I will emphasize though, the line you wish to purchase the bonds with needs to be in your name. My phone number is registered under my Mom because at the time of registration I was either under age or my ID was not yet out, either way if your number is not under your name, sis, that's not going to fly.

Within a span of weeks I had met all my 2017 financial goals. Would I do anything different?

I should have been on the program as soon as 2017 began. Lord knows I put this off for far too long. I would have also written these financial goals down and stuck them somewhere out in the open, that way they'd be a constant nag. For sure that would have gotten the show on the road ages ago.

Have a good one!

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