Should an African woman invest her limited funds? If so how and where does she start?
In my earlier article about how to spend less and save more ( here) I shared tips on how any ordinary African woman can cut down her expenses and create some extra money to save. Assuming you have followed those tips and now you have some excess cash, you need to learn how to invest that money so that you can possibly multiply it and be wealthy. Can you imagine becoming a rich woman just from a few saving tips you applied? Yes it is very possible.
What is investment? Investing in a layman’s language is trading of your money today with the hope of making a lot more money in the future. It is putting the money that you have saved into things that you think will grow in value over time.
Investment is longer term, about more than three years hence helps you achieve longer-term goals such as saving for a mortgage down payment.
Investment, however unlike savings, involves a risk i.e. if the value of your investment goes up you make more money (capital gains) but if the value goes down, you could lose your money (capital loss). My post though, and for your own peace of mind, is to highlight ‘safe’ investments in which you can start small and you are highly unlikely to lose your capital. We can tackle riskier investments later when we have more money to risk with.
So below are five ways you can start investing your hard-earned money and make more out of it.
- Open an investment account: This is a type of account at a financial institution e.g. a bank that allows you to save but limits you from withdrawing frequently and gives you interest on the money saved. You can open this to save towards your child’s education, mortgage down payment, raising capital to start a business, etc.
- Imagine every month you save an equivalent of 50 USD (Ksh 5000) in three years you will have over 2000 USD (Ksh 200,000) which you can then use to start your own business or as a deposit to something bigger. Source around for the account that will give you highest returns. I once saved money in a savings account for several years with no interest only for me to transfer the same amount to another bank and earn 7.5% p.a. interest paid quarterly.
- Save in a SACCO: This is a type of cooperative whose aim is to pool resources of its members together and in return give them credit facilities and pay out dividends. I recommend you get a credible SACCO and join. You will not only enjoy dividends but you can also borrow three times or more your savings. Using the same example above of 2000 USD, you can get 6000 USD after three years which you can repay at minimal interest while your savings are still safe.
- Take a life insurance policy: Some years back I took a 10-year life policy and after three years I got my first cheque which I used to pay a whole year premiums for one of my babies’ two education policies (for high school and university). Wasn’t that awesome? A life cover not only will give you returns but also secures your family in case anything were to happen to you, God forbid.
- Invest in a plot/land: Land is a highly appreciating asset with very high capital gains. Imagine you have saved in a SACCO then qualify to take a loan, you can buy a piece of land which you can resale later at higher returns or even put up rental houses on it. And here I am talking to African women, yes it is super OK to invest in a plot/land and it is Biblical. My husband and I have jointly bought a plot and now we are building our one-storey family house on that very plot, a story for another day.
- Invest in yourself: I once attended a training that taught me that any woman should invest in herself more than she invests in her job. Those words put a fire in me and have never looked back. Do not be afraid to pay for that personal development course, buy that motivational book, advance your education, etc.
- Invest in a business: You can start a small business but make sure you do enough market research before investing your money. In another post, I will write about side hustles that you can start to earn you extra coins monthly.
As I said, there are still many more ways you can invest in such as bonds, shares, unit trusts, etc, but my intention was to start with low risk methods. So if you are there and wondering where to start investing from, try the above before you venture more.
If you already have a success story about how you have grown your savings, let me hear about it in the Comments Section below. Also let me know of other areas we can tackle together to boost our finances as African women.
Key words: investment, savings, invest, life policy, account, SACCO, business, personal development, African Woman, plot, land