serenity…

Life does not consist in an abundance of possessions…

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Savings and investments go hand in hand. One facilitates the other and in other occasions one is an alternate to the other. The discipline is made easier when motivations are clear. It is difficult sometimes to define our intentions and so asking the question “what you’d do with a $1,000,000 inheritance” 😊 can help a great deal. In fact, this is what I’d do…

Security – I shudder at the thought of not being able to support myself. Not being able to meet my obligations. Becoming a nightmarish burden to others. I’d save the money in places that would come through in the forthcoming days or rather years…

Serenity – I have dreams of living in a place with growing gardens and inviting interiors. A place where kids can happily play and their papa can find absolute rest. So we’d rush to get that ridiculously priced and awesomely beautiful house we thought we’d never own…

Surety – this word has 2 definitions. The first is being sure about the immediate future. More or less like what’s mentioned up there under security. The other is being legally responsible for debt or obligation another. With the pocket change 😊 I’d quickly set up a printing / publishing outfit in the hope that it would also profit the loads and loads of people employed…

Catch my drift? 😊 So then is it all about amassing wealth and living the good life? Luke 12 offers some sobering perspective…

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.

16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

21 This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.

Back to my $1,000,000 loot 😊 story… I don’t think my desires above are greedy but I can tell you there’s stuff my heart conjures every so often that is pure greed. The greater challenge is being rich toward God. Not allowing money – or anything else for that matter – to take the place of God. My prayer “So help me God! So help me God…”

FIRMEnough

7 years…

The plan seemed good…

A couple of years ago, a friend asked me to share God’s word at her graduation. Intimidated but also intrigued by the invitation, I chose to speak about Joseph. Yes the one who got sold off by his brothers for his ‘annoying‘ dream. “Do you intend to reign over us?” They challenged. What his brothers did not know is that dreams and interpretation of the dreams would eventually place Joseph at the helm of Egypt. I could go on and on but allow me to focus on a dream recorded in Genesis 41 that led to Joseph’s installation as Pharaoh’s deputy. Hint: it gives insight to why saving is important 🙂

28 “It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29 Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, 30 but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land. 31 The abundance in the land will not be remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so severe. 32 The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon.

33 “And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt. 34 Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. 35 They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food. 36 This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine.”

37 The plan seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his officials.

*   *   *

56 When the famine had spread over the whole country, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe throughout Egypt. 57 And all the world came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe everywhere.

🍎Verse 36 makes good food for thought especially the end of it …so that the country may not be ruined by famine…

FIRMEnough

3 months…

Saving for a rainy day…

I REMEMBER WHEN OUR FRIDGE – of many years – CALLED IT QUITS ON US… ‘She’ had been complaining for a while and we tried to get many ‘fundis’ to fix it but to no avail. It was when the meats, the beans, the veggies begun to thaw that we knew we were in serious trouble. The provisions were two last us another two weeks but being the middle of the month, it caught us flat broke! There were two options, use traditional methods of preservation (make water fridges and smoke whatever could be smoked) or two, get another fridge immediately.

Thankfully, I had a credit card and rushed to the nearest retail outlet. I recognized, though, that my card had a limit and should another emergency situation come up, there was no possibility of managing. I was also now well aware that a credit card is not something you flaunt for your peers to recognize your status but it had the evil possibility of channeling huge penalties and ugly interests my way. I paid it off in the immediate weeks following the acquisition with saving for a rainy day making divine sense!

Over the years I have tried to build an emergency fund, but as my previous post allude, it’s a huge struggle. Still I try and have achieved considerable wins through saving in places where frequent access to cash is restricted. The challenge has been finding ‘accounts‘ that deliver decent returns. In addition, figuring how much of my monthly pay to save has been a challenge.

Experts say that you need savings equivalent to three months worth of monthly expenses. This implies that you need to have an almost accurate picture of how much you spend in a year so that you can work it back to three months. A year? Yes because this helps you see the irregular or adhoc expenses that do not necessarily happen in a ‘regular’ month. It also means that you have to consistently save towards the fund. 3 months may seem insurmountable but the great thing about personal finance is that you get to set your own timelines. If you feel this goal can be achieved in 3 years, then commit to consistently saving amount X. This way you’ll be paying yourself first before you disburse the rest of your earnings. Don’t be discouraged by the fact that what you can keep aside doesn’t even represent 5% of the monthly target, just do it consistently. And by month 3 of consistency, your statrment will reflect an increase that will give you the impetus to do better, faster 👛

FIRMEnough

saving…

Every dollar counts…

My next few posts will be on savings and investments; an area that I have long struggled with especially the investments part of it. The dreams always seem to be bigger than what’s available or what’s humanly possible. Still, my goal is to grow in this area and one day look back and say it all made sense. Today’s post focuses on savings and why I never bothered with it earlier in my life…

One, I didn’t think it was necessary. In my schooling years, my parents did everything to ensure we had what we needed. What I didn’t know is how hard they toiled! I salute them for saving, for borrowing but most importantly for loving us. Nothing greater! When I begun working, I expected that my parents good fortune would follow. The youthful mind is so naïve I must reiterate. A stifling debt situation is what made me realize that if saving was my thing, I would not have needed to sink deep.

Secondly, I didn’t have much to save. I wasn’t earning much and even five years into the job, it still felt so little. I now know that it will never be enough or rather I need to see it as enough. But putting away a burger’s worth into savings then didn’t make sense. “It would take hundreds of years to get anything done…” I thought. Seasons of lack is what taught me that every dollar counts. It is now amazing to watch pocket change grow into something that either holds the rain or makes the sun sunnier 🙂

Finally, I didn’t think it was worth saving. My savings never seemed to yield anything. The bank seemed to be charging more than they were giving in interest. Also the future seemed so intangible and living in the now is what made (still makes) sense. I pulled out of investments before they matured. The result – unripe fruit. I trusted the flow and failed to do my own research. I have fought a long battle with regret. I chose movies over business news and for this reason it was hard for me to see good investments opportunities.

My story is different now. I am now trying to save consistently and boy! don’t I have to fight with the desires of my living room. I am an interiors freak ❤ ❤ ❤ I am also saving with a plan because without one all seems meaningless. You wake up one day and squander every bit of it because you can’t see the point to it all. When you label a fund say education fund, it both clarifies and motivates your vision. Finance has become an exciting area of study and especially when I get to prove a theory right!

FIRMenough

asante…

Swahili for thank you…

It is not a given that we will see the next and the next and the next day. And so I celebrate this day and the beautiful month of April. I can’t wait to see what’s in store. Before I resume regular transmission 🙂 it’s important for me to stop and give thanks for the quarter that has been.

THREE THINGS

I am grateful for life. It’s so beautiful to wake up to the sun and enjoy its shine. And more beautiful to wade through the rains and making it through. Life is beautiful!

I am grateful for work. The opportunity to creatively execute my role. The opportunity to be me. Such sweet sweat! Such sweet sweat…

I am grateful for dreams. Not just mine but of others as well. Dreams colour the world. Absolutely nothing wrong with viewing stuff through rose-coloured lenses.

Happy April