Lets Face it: Relooking the culture of Savings in this era

".. The habit of saving is itself an education, it fosters every virtue, teaches self-denial, cultivates the sense of order, trains the forethought, and so broadens the mind."

I could see a clear expression of emotion, pain in particular. This is after she was removed from several chamaas she used to save money in. The inability to attend weekly and monthly meetings due to arthritis caused her to lose the membership. For those that don’t know, chamaa is a group of people who pool resources together mostly on a weekly or monthly basis and use it to uplift one or several members. This cycle is repeated until all the members benefit from the pooled resources in that chamaa. This is the method most of our parents especially mothers used to save money that usually purchased certain items or paid bills.

Back then, chamaa acted like a low savings account. This is the one you put money in and at the end of the stated period, the money you get from it is just a total of your monthly savings. Today it’s quite different, some groups are making chamaa work for their benefit by offering loans to the members, table banking, etc. Days have changed, so has the techniques. The traditional method of saving may work today, but not so much. The difference between traditional and modern-day methods of saving is purely based on the intellectual ability and economic changes. People are becoming smarter by day. This can be attributed to two factors; access to information and harsh economic times. Saving has always been a good practice, and the discipline much rewarding but according to Dan Lok, a penny saved is still just a penny.

Growing up in a dusty town within Nakuru County where the main economic activity is agriculture, I made some observations. There were maize farmers who chose to store their maize produce until the prices go up. On the other hand, there are those that sold during or immediately after harvest and the little they stored, was just in case they went broke, they would have something to sell. These are likely similar actions with different intentions. One farmer is anticipating double profit while the other is preparing for a future emergency and this is wisdom too. I have seen men save little by little and do big things in life like; setting businesses, buying properties, sending their children to colleges, etc. This practice has also helped many to become better in various aspects of life and I can’t agree more with T. T Munger when he said, ” The habit of saving is itself an education, it fosters every virtue, teaches self-denial, cultivates the sense of order, trains the forethought, and so broadens the mind.”

Saving is a good way to obtain something in the future that can’t be afforded or may not be a priority today and also for financial security purposes in the unforeseen days ahead. More than before, life today has become much more demanding, and saving alone may not be the wisest thing to do. Savings never grows the value of money, in fact, the time value of money, an idea in financial management states that today’s dollar is worth more than tomorrow’s dollar. That is also to say money loses value with time and the money you keep can only do less in the future compared to today. You can bear me witness that today you will buy fewer fruits with a thousand shillings note than you did two years ago. We like to say that the prices have gone higher but the truth is, the value of a thousand shillings note has gone down. Imagine the beautiful stories by the older folks of how little coins did so much, and all you wish is to have lived then because you feel you would have been richer, lies!

Life calls for calculations, this is what I didn’t know when I refused to memorize the multiplication table in our books back in class 2 C, at Githinji Primary school. However, I wish to convince you multiplication is a principle to live by. There is a reason he told them to be fruitful and multiply, not only in procreation but every aspect of life including money. Scott D. Allen and Darrow L. Miller wrote a book titled, “The Forest in the Seed,” although, in a different context, it reminds me of the idea of increasing greatly in number or quantity. It’s actually sad to imagine that many people would be owning forests with million tons of fruits and wood, unfortunately, they chose to keep the seed. Richelle E. Goodrich says, ” If you invest nothing, the reward is worth little.”

Grant Cardone once said, ” Investing puts money to work. The only reason to save is to invest it,” but I would say investing is the best way to save money, yes it is. Our banks seem to understand this language better and that is why they encourage their customers to put money in savings accounts only to turn it to investment and make billions of cash in return. As we adapt to the future world of work and business, it is prudent to choose best over good. Saving is good but investing is best, and the difference is like heaven from earth. For guidance on how to control your financial future, contact ESL today as I leave you with a question by Robert G. Allen, ” How many millionaires do you know who have become wealthy by investing in savings accounts? I rest my case.”



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