By John Kariuki
Bastan Ngururi, a retired civil servant, does not regret working hard in his time to see his children through school and college. And like most working class Kenyans, he began on the fast lane.
He was burdened with his siblings’ education bill from the moment he earned his first salary.
And when his siblings were through with school, his own children would stake their claim to his finances.
This, coupled with other parental responsibilities ensured that Ngururi would not have money for his own plans until all his children were grown up and gone.
With only a few years to retirement, Ngururi seriously began considering his old age money plans. It dawned on him that he did not have substantial savings, which he could live off.
His life had been a whirlwind of borrowing and repaying loans and the sudden financial freedom awed him. He began worrying that it was too late in the day to invest and secure his sunset years. At his wits end, Ngururi sought financial help.
“The expert and I estimated that I would need at least Sh2 million to live on in my retirement,” says Ngururi. “The financial expert then posed the stark question of where this money would come from,” says Ngururi.
This retiree factored in what would be available from other sources besides his savings. But whichever way he looked at it, his financial future was bleak.
“At the prodding of the financial expert, I did what many people considered the unthinkable,” says Ngururi. “I sold part of my inheritance — a tract of land in the rural area — and bought a commercial plot in my home town,” he says. With the proceeds from this sale and part of his Sacco savings and lump some pension, Ngururi constructed a commercial building on this plot. It was a lifetime gamble that had to pay off.
“My fortunes took a turn for the better as my home town was elevated to county headquarters and the rooms were rented out long before the building was complete,” he says. From the rent goodwill alone, paid six months upfront, Ngururi was able to recoup half of his investment and the rest is now history.