I believe very strongly that life is an investment. That whatever we do with our time and money is an investment and should bring us a return on investments. Those returns may be positive or negative but returns all the same. I read that money, wealth, health, illness, weight etc are results. Results of our investments.
Life is an Investment
I think I am in the third banking generation of Kenya. It started with my grandfather. My great grandfather did not know what a Bank was because they were used to barter trade. This is where you exchange goods according to needs. If you need eggs and I have them we exchange with what you have that I need.
With capitalism the currency is not goods but money. So you have to make your money grow and that is only possible by investing it. The first step to invest is to have a saving culture. And saving money starts in the Bank. Barclays bank was the first official bank to open its doors in Kenya in 1922. Their main customers then were the settlers and colonialists who had incomes. I cannot imagine the original Kenyans needed a bank account until after independence which is in 1963 ( 49 years ago). America on the other hand had its first Central Bank open doors in 1971. So handling money is a pretty new thing in Kenya. I must therefore confess the saving culture is not inculcated in who we are.
Today you will find all banks for the first time in Kenya have bank accounts for children. When I was growing up, even Barclays bank, the oldest bank in Kenya did not have a Children’s account. Whilst in the West, investment is part of their culture, they know it starts with saving and the longer you save the more you make from your money through compound interest. So if you start a saving account for your children when they are 4 years old, by the time they will be 45, they will have saved for 41 years and that amount will have increased due to compound interest. Compound interest is the interest that is added to the principal amount so that the interest also earns more interest.
Evidence that the saving culture is not inculcated in most Kenyans. Most Parents open children accounts for their children and will only tell their children once about the account. The interesting thing is that when the parent is going through a difficult financial crises in the middle of the month, where do you think they get their financial relief from? Their children’s bank accounts.
Why? Because the child will not know and the parent does not know that that account is for teaching their child a very important skill – Saving. There is no wealthy man on this planet that did not start investments without saving. They do not seem to realise that saving is the ticket to financial freedom at an early age. The reason they do not know is because they were also not taught.
We have been taught to acquire money but never to protect and multiply what we have acquired. So we do not get returns from our investments.
This proves the point illustrated in the book The secrets of the millionaire mind by T.Harv Eker. It says that it does not matter how much learning you have done or how much expertise you have gained or how much money you earn, your money blue print determines whether you become wealthy or not.Investments: Financial Blue Print
T. Harv Eker describes your financial blueprint as a combination of your, thoughts, feelings and actions in the arena of money. It consists of the information or programming you have received in the past and especially as a child from Parents, friends, people in authority, teachers, religious leaders etc.
How can you tell what your money blueprint is?
a) Look at the results – bank account,
b) Look at your income
c) Look at networth – assets less your liabilities
d) Look at your success and investments
e) Look at your business success
f) Look at whether you are a spender or a saver
g) Look at if you are manage your money well
h) Look at how hard you work for your money
i) Look at your relationships that involve money
j) Is money a struggle or does it come to you easily.
k) Do you own a business or a job
l) Do you stick to a job for long time or do you hop from one to another?
You see most of our Parents had a financial blueprint that was more or less non existent because their Parents were the first Kenyans to put money in the Bank and did not know how to relate to it. Obviously the people in authority over us also had strange relationships with money and they transferred the same to us. Did anyone ever advise you to save? Did anyone tell you what to do with the money you saved?
I mean you can only give what you have so if you have never saved, how would you advise one to save. I mean most parents of our time only had one source of income – their jobs. Did they invest? The most important investment to a Kenyan Parent is Education. Whilst I believe in Education, we need to consider what is the return on investment on education in the 21st Century. Should it be your first or only investment to your children?
Investment: The Teacher Principle
Interestingly though the Sacco and co-operatives movement was the first to introduce saving to most Kenyans and the people who took on that teaching quite early were able to do much with their lives including educating their children. Teachers are known to be good savers especially through their Sacco. Infact their Sacco, the Mwalimu Sacco is one of the largest in the country.
If you want to prosper in Kenya, watch the teachers. They earn very little money but their money does wonders. Infact in rural areas in Kenya, the teacher is one of the most respected persons. Why? Most teachers employed by the Government save with Mwalimu Sacco. Little money they save but over the years it grows. When they borrow, they make an investment in their homes in form of a cow, chickens or engage in any other money making project. Simple projects but they bring an income sometimes every day.
I read somewhere that the middle class care where their money comes from or how they earn it whilst the wealthy do not care as long it is legal and ethical. The wealthy know that a dollar is a dollar and it does not matter whether it came from selling hot dogs or a law firm. What matters is what you do with it once it comes into your hands. IN other word how you invest it. The teacher knows this principle consciously or unconsciously.
Teachers love being employed by the Government. I did not understand why? After long deliberation, I realized that when a teacher is employed by the Government they are posted to a particular area and chances are they will live there all their life. So the teacher does not migrate from city to city in the course of their life. In the book the millionaire mind, most millionaire’s including Warren Buffest have stayed in the same house for years, more than 20.
A teacher also is on a paid break, off work, for 3 or so months in a year. The only time one can have three months break in the Corporate world is during maternity leave and this is only women. And even women you can only have children once every many years. This gives teachers time to make investments that add value.
Teachers also stay near the schools they teach so they do not pay transport, their children go to the same school they teach so they do not pay school fees and if they do it is subsidized. Their children are not spenders because they know their parents do not earn much so the cost of living of a teachers household is really controlled. All millionaires are the people who take care of costs more than anybody else.
Teachers are always able to educate all their children to University and the amount of money they earn is minimal. Why? Because the teacher knows the principle of investment. They know how and where to invest their time and money.
The hilarious thing about the financial blue print which is not funny, is that it not only affects your investments concerning money and time but also the kind of investments you make as regards a life partner. T. Harv Eker says that if you are a woman with a low money blueprint chances are you will attract a man who is also set for a low money blue print. This coincides with the teaching of the Millionaire Mind by Thomas Stanley that the choice of your life partner is the most crucial investment you have to make if you desire to be wealthy