Setting Resolutions made Easier

Good morning my people, receive my warm greetings, I have missed our interactions so much. It’s been a while and a sure just like me a lot has happened with the Christmas and new year celebrations. My hope is that you’ve enjoyed the festivity and have been refreshed to start 2019 at a good pace.

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For me a lot has been happening almost overwhelming, both good and bad which is all about living anyway. My favorite of memories was my bus trip to Dar es Salaam. A beautiful coastal city i must say but the 16 hours journey was not funny at all. Am not sure whether the decision to take a bus was motivated more by my economics mind that’s pro saving a coin where possible or to see other towns along the road from Nairobi to Dar, but whatever the case it was quite an experience. I learned, laughed, danced, swum and did some African print shopping. I’ll share some photos as the year progresses.

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And after our most generous break of the year, back to work and to blogging and this time i promise to keep you here chilling with me at least once a week. I’m determined to have a better balance between my day job, business ventures and blogging. And not just balance but to pour my heart in each of those .

 

My favorite things about January is, its the best season to start a fresh. the freshness in life is experienced at hearts of humanity across the globe. And we all at individual and organisation level aim to reflect on the past and set a fair bar to aim and surpass all throughout the year. The first time i experienced a true resolutions achivement was in 2017, i know, just the other day. The two years prior were specially challenging and i constantly pulled my heart through most seasons of the year. So as every year starts i bought a beautiful journal but this time i promised myself to be as honest and realistic as i could be. After days of soul searching, i only wanted one thing direly- to be happy. I just wanted to experience true enjoyment of regular activities, people’s company and derive joy out of my small everyday accomplishments. And i did, 2017 was one of my happiest years, i learned to be sincere with self, appreciate people’s paths but take on mine with diligence discovering myself everyday and indulging in my path the more. It’s rewarding to work with your heart and mind present it brings about satisfaction and fulfillment.

So my resolution setting honest advice to you;

  1. Be very honest- some people write beautiful resolutions on paper but hold different resolutions at heart. They soon forget the ones on paper.
  2. One resolution is enough- There power of a new beginning should be harnessed at all cost, a small beginning is better that no beginning at all. If this thing has never worked for you, just set one most exciting one and spread it through the year, you will achieve much you’ll be surprised.
  3. Get very specific- If me reading your resolutions should lead to a question, then they are not specific and clear enough.For instance, if you are praying for a car in 2019 ask yourself; what model, fuel consumption, what make…. and make it end at 2019 Toyota RAV4 (for me maybe) because from here even estimating price and drawing a saving plan or payment plan is easier.
  4. Make them fun– This is a self administered test please don’t bore yourself at the least. Drafting a work plan in the office should be different from personal goals. In fact be as exciting as your sense of entertainment allows keeping in mind the aim is accomplished goals, which ever route you choose.
  5. Take your time- Ladies especially pay more attention to the ambiance around annual goal setting. Sit on sofa with a coffee, happy socks and beautiful diary only to write goals that remain on paper. Am not against our preferred mood setting techniques am just saying have your eyes on having a fruitful reflecting session and thinking of the process to achieving full stop. Some only make one resolution on a sticky note hang it of the bed or fridge but accomplish it, that’s brilliant, whatever works for you.

Finally, for those wondering what the Smartwoman’s focus for the year looks like am more than delighted to share.We start by sharing two quick blogs to wind up on the seven principle of making money by George Clason; then for the better part of the blog do topical money posts and of course i will invite you to make request for topical pieces or ask money-related question that i can answer or research and/or look for the right people to answer. The bottom line is it will be better and more informative than before. My resolution here is to give you well research and informed opinions on money.

Once again thank you for stopping by.

Talk to you soon.

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What makes Saving only Safe and Investing Smart

Rule 3: Make thy gold multiply

I want to believe that just like me saving a part of your income is no rocket science, if anything it’s only an issue of self-discipline with regard to expenditure. However, saving without investment in the hope of accumulating wealth over time is like a wild goose chase, it could bail you out of a situation but might never really transform your lifestyle. The ideal situation here is financial freedom where one is able to live without income from employment, this person therefore must be owing assets or businesses that are generate enough to pay for all their expenses and maybe even still have a surplus. But is it possible?

Among the four major groups of people that make up the work world; employees, self-employed, business owners, and investors the wall of separation is NOT MONEY. It has never been money maybe the only lucky characters here are heirs and heiresses of successful family businesses and assets, for them the script could be different. But for the majority of us who did not have a benefit of feeding from a silver of gold spoon or maybe even no spoon at all, I want to have a talk with you today. So are you employed and you hate your job? What are you still doing there? Do you have brilliant business ideas that exist on paper and mind but never tested in the real world? Have you finally found your employment of choice or quit to build your own empire? This piece alone does not have all the answers to your challenges and questions but it surely has some guidance. The only thing that separates socio economic classes is ATTITUDE and COURAGE TO TAKE RISK at least they make up the prerequisite and grease required to keep moving otherwise, the most successful individuals in this world would have been the geniuses or those seen to possess highest intelligence. But often times the most celebrated are the few human beings who gained zero tolerance for temporal comfort and mediocrity, who sacrifice to work on a dream and who defied social norm. See the norm around finances, whose reward is some sought of security is getting a well-paying job and saving for retirement. Those who go above average develop the discipline of saving which comes with sacrifice of quick gratification of various wants. But those who set foot in the next level, seek to continually search information, analyze it and deposit their hard saved coins in activities or assets that generate extra coins from the principal amounts saved grow the principal amount until it gives stable returns. These have earned the courage to deal with the FEAR of risks/loss. I have lost money also in few investments I have tried before but the most rewarding feeling from it was the lessons learnt in pain that are often invaluable and unforgettable, so do your homework but if you want to be an investor RISK is part of the game and information and analysis is a useful tool. But overly wealth is created by self-sacrifice and taking risks.

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Today I want you and I to celebrate and learn a thing or two about a very phenomenal woman that ranks high as a SMART WOMAN in the current world, who has surpassed the struggles and made a rags to riches story and the world has paused to listen. So a young woman in China, a third born of three loses her mom at age 5 and her father later becomes partially blind from an industrial accident. To make ends meet she is forced to drop out of school at the age of 16. Her dream at the time was to become a fashion designer but at this point it is threatened by unexpected eventualities. It did not stop her though, the young girl works in a company that manufactures watch lens until she was 22 when she started her own company. At the time she had saved $3000 and with support from family the company ‘ Lens Technology’ began operations. If you are with me at this point you notice that in 6 years she had saved some money and went ahead to risk it in a business whose ropes she was familiar with in her previous employment.

Fast forward the turning point for this lady was back in 2003 when Motorolla gave her a call asking if her company could make screens for Motorolla V3, she described this as a yes or no chance. So she said yes and the company got the contract. Her screens been scratch resistant and displaying sharper images- other major mobile phones companies (2007) gave her business including HTC, Samsung, and Apple. In 2015 the company went public and accelerated her to a multi-billionaire. Today, Zhou Qunfei is the equivalent of Mark Zuckerberg: a self-made billionaire. She has gone from a school drop out to the China’s richest woman and the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire who is worth about $9.2 billion. Her company employs 75,000 workers and has three manufacturing plants and a few branches. She changed her story and more interestingly she was handed nothing by parents and at her time girls in her village were getting engaged and married but she chose for herself a different path. From investing her savings to a company worth about $11 billion today.

There are many other women with great inspiring stories of how they re-wrote their story with tremendous transformation of their lifestyle and their legacy. Only that for Zhou, the world is listening more keenly because she has hit the billboards of the top talents the world has got today. If you haven’t started I hope this story has taught you lessons of courage to face risk, patience in building your investments or assets pool and the commonly missed fact that success often finds its way to diligent hands that are willing to shelve part of today’s harvest to increase the quantity of seed to plant tomorrow with hope of greater harvest in the future. So grapple with your ideas and dreams until you get it right, but you must remember it takes time. Again start as young as today for money grows exponentially.

Thanks for reading till the end. Remember to share your thoughts by commenting below, like and share.

Do you PAY YOURSELF?

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Learning never exhausts the mind, a famous saying by Leonardo Da Vinci, I believe him. There are seven invaluable lessons taught by George S Clason in his book the ‘Richest man in Babylon’, which are often quoted by the best Money and Finance writers. In this regard, I would like us to start from these seven fundamental and universal rules of money so as to apply the lessons to our personal finance and businesses. For this piece we only get to look at two lessons/rules.

Rule 1: Pay yourself FIRST

This rule he calls start thy purse to fattening but I like to refer to it as ‘pay thyself first’. The statement brings an awakening to me because the reverse means that it is possible to work, pay everyone else but myself, oops not good! So you work 20 or 24 days a month in a Kenyan economy for instance, get an income of say $300 that’s Ksh.30,000 pay tax, rent, water bill, electricity, do some food stuff shopping, keep some away for transport to work, and somehow the money is not even enough to get you through the month, it’s actually too little to tithe or save. Replace the Ksh.30,000 with your monthly income, what is your expenditure like? Do you constantly save or are you living paycheck to paycheck? Unfortunately the rent you expend to your landlord is his/her income, same to the amount spent at your supermarket or grocery store, to the person on the other side of the transaction, that’s an income. What do you get to keep now that you worked one whole month? This is the point the rule applies for each 10 shillings you earn one shilling is yours to keep, you can only spend nine if you must. That means 10% of the income coming to your purse should remain in it, that my dear you guard jealously as an appreciation of your labor.

At this point some people will say, I don’t even earn enough to cater half of all my needs, you could have a point, but that is debatable. If today you lost your job, somehow, you will still survive, even before you got the job you still ate, dressed and moved point to point anyway. That being the case, if you put away at least 10% of your share loyally each month you’ll be just fine and with time the struggle will become a habit. Secondly, we imagine we have too many necessary and unattended needs because we can’t differentiate between desires and necessities. But hear this, desires always surpass gratification, even the world richest has not satisfied all their desires.

Rule 2: Shave your EXPENSES

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What are your desires like; buying an Iphone XS, moving to a bigger rented apartment, buying longer wigs, adding to the make-up collection, exploring more food joints? Or is it owning a piece of land, buying a house, investing in real estates? The coins quickly withdrawn from your pulse could easily get the former desires but the accumulated coins over time could get you the latter. The expenditure trap is the one that holds a good number of us captive. Majority, especially women suffer the impulse buying syndrome, anything you come across that appeals to your eyes, in attractive branding or that your girlfriend recommended you buy. And that’s why most women wear less than half of the clothes they own, because we buy and keep buying, nothing is ever enough.

Before shrinking your expenditure for this new month of October get to know exactly how much money you spend monthly or weekly for all your recurrent bills, I recommend that you write it down. After tracking your expenditure, then look at what seems extravagant and unnecessary and cut it off or reduce the amounts spent on it. And don’t forget rule number 1, the expenditure must be below 90% of your income. At this point some people feel like this is a stingy way of thinking, but in essence this delayed gratification of immediate wants is what in future secures you stability financially and hopefully even grows your money.

 

Let’s be practical

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If you fall in this category, prepare a budget for each month before pay day (it’s hard to think past desires with money on your hand). Then highlight what is necessary but within your 90% limit, the rest just forget about it and live past the thoughts. But what about the 10%? If you are too tempted to spend, do what I do, open an M-shwari locked account in your phone or any other limited withdrawal savings account and do a standing order or deposit on the pay day the 10%. The satisfaction from your progress will keep you going.

If you are self-employed, my question to you is, does your business pay you an absolute income or you just take money daily for your personal needs? Well, I know there is also a category (which we discuss later) that is still injecting money into their business which is yet to compensate incomes. Start by adding yourself to the payroll from your company then pay your bills from 90% and 10% SAVE it.

Next Blog

Next week we look at Rule 4 and 5. Be sure to internalize the first two rules and see how best to apply them to your situation.

Once again thank you for hanging out here with me, please let me know your thoughts by commenting below and don’t forget to please like, share with a friend and subscribe. Cheers!

Why talk Money?

DSC_1490Why is the conversation about money important? You may ask but let’s scratch the base. The human life spectrum is broadly divided into six major aspects; physical, mental, emotional, social, financial and spiritual.  Agree with me or not the financial aspect (money) is a major motivator of majority if not all the aspects in question. Having a look at history, exchanges of commodity have been existent as long as community life has. Reason being, the nature of the varying needs of man, which then necessitates for people to exchange what they have with what they don’t have (barter trade) and as populations grew and barter trade became more complex mediums of exchange like gold, silver, precious stones and paper money among others that simplified the exchange have been used over time. At this point though we cannot ignore the growing demand of paperless money in the world especially as a result of growth in technology. Maybe you’ve swiped your debit or credit cards by now at a petrol station or supermarket etc, depending on your attitude of adoption or opportunities at your disposal. Yet again there is one other that has evolved over time and is gaining acceptance globally and even in Kenya- Crypto currencies (digital/virtual currencies) and to draw you closer home, have you heard of the Bitcoin? If not google it and learn something new today.

Is it really necessary to go back to the archives and peruse the history of money? Yes it is because it shows us that as fast as life is moving especially in this very competitive society so are things changing around us. And our ignorance might not only push us away from new opportunities of investment but also lead to bad expenditure habits while the money in your pocket could be quickly losing value every day, what economists call inflation that then frustrate you and strain all other aspects of your life. How do you feel when you lose your job or source of income, much worse a bread winner? – Vulnerable I guess? That’s emotional pain right there. How about when you go to church/mosque/temple when you don’t know where the next meal, school fees, rent will come from? – Terrible right? I think your mind is also not at peace at this point. This discussion can go on and on to illustrate how money affects other aspects of your life, and though we treat it with too much privacy, the frustration and happiness from it are publicly displayed for anyone who cares to see. Yes, or does anyone need to issue a questionnaire to establish whether somebody is poor, middle level or rich? In my opinion, no but of course these three classes according to various studies can be further subdivided and more defined to know what standards make one poor or rich, but what am saying is an observation at can give a clue.

By this point I hope I have worn you over to the thinking that apart from planning to add handbags, shoes, cars among others after you receive your income, there is more to think about and to understand about money. Well I like to think that some of us are in ‘Chamas’ very nice, its important but what’s more important is what you do after it’s your turn in the merry go round and how that sustainably improves your life. We must talk about money, and for you as a woman especially to better manage your home’s consumption habits. Can I make you a bit guilty at this point? For mother and big sisters and anyone living with a younger child, teenager or young adult, these people don’t hear what we tell them, no, they emulate what we do. What lessons about managing money have you demonstrated? And what attitude have you inscribed in them? The ordinary Kenyan mother always says “Hakuna Pesa” January through December- a stingy attitude. What’s the explanation for this defensive answer? “I don’t want them to buy sweets or squander my hard earned money?” But think about it, the same way they have learnt money has a purchasing power, they can also learn from you that it can be balanced between spending and saving; such habits they will practice them with religiously as they do with eating and sleeping, pretty obvious. Most Kenyan parents hardly ever discuss their businesses and jobs with their kids, maybe until they are above 21. This then explains why family businesses don’t perform so well and why most family businesses are not sustainably profitable after the death of the entrepreneurs, which is as a result of poor apprenticeship of the heirs. So when you are now 70 years and want your Finance undergraduate son to run your business, he rebels and says he prefers employment or wants to start their own business empire requiring nothing more than initial capital from you, and of course that raises your blood sugars. The only thing this could mean is that they are bad and good attitudes and habits that govern money, which remains the secret of a few that have managed to live out of the vicious cycle of poverty and some living financially free. So at this point let’s appreciate the fact that money is important and is a power.

Next Blog

Anything that is learned can be unlearned. Next week we focus on the universal and unchanging basic principles of money. Want to know the secrets of the few who dare to understand what it takes to build wealth? Stick around hang out here with me next week. Cheers!

 

 

let’s get started

cropped-smart-2.jpgEver found yourself wanting so bad to adopt a certain personal habit or value but the notion of ‘fake it till you make it’ drains the life out of you? For me for a long time this is my testimony with developing a reading culture. Progress in the subject chocked between not genuinely enjoying the reads and unwillingness to pretend just to fit in the category or women readers. So some years back on my dad’s graduation among the presents was Robert Kiyosaki’s ‘Rich dad Poor Dad’, the title caught my eye. First thought in my mind at the moment was- I choose a rich dad- I mean which daughter doesn’t dream of being spoilt by her dad. Months down the line dad offers to lend me the book, I took it, I wished at that moment I would actually read it, because I knew beyond doubt I won’t even see the last word of chapter one. To my surprise I actually read it, cover to cover, and for the first time I was the woman I had always wanted to be ‘the reader’ type of girl. But what was different with this book unlike all other books I had tried to read? Or what had changed in me at this point in time? Well, to be honest, I did not understand much, all this time I kept reading because I was in owe of Kiyosaki’s courage, his pursuit of not just knowledge but true understanding of the invisible hands that monitor money, and thirdly and most importantly by his childhood discovery of this hunger to learn about money and systems around money and years of commitment to learning. I felt like I met this man in this book, I wish I could actually meet him in person though. He spoke to me at the time and spoke to the ideal woman in me- that’s the future Eve, and a desire was born in me to re-read that book to honestly get to understand and apply the profound principles therein. But more importantly I was inspired to meet more good writers in the subject and ‘Eureka’ I finally landed a subject I earnestly enjoyed reading, talking about, engaging at different levels, and information that edified me each time and redefined my perspective of the world. Years down the line, my knowledge in the subject has grown and a thirst also to learn other subjects as well. Slowly bookshops have become attractive, and can you imagine I can nowadays visit Carrefour supermarket at Two Rivers, be attracted by the book section, peruse through book titles and synopses buy with a few, and go home with my heart full. It had settled in, what my restlessness was looking for, not per say a reader but an informed woman, a woman who can close a big business deal, engage actively in a policy debate, be in a list of top wealthiest in a country, simply a pace setter and a woman of influence. Continue reading “let’s get started”