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How you can create a successful savings group

Managing Your Money
 Savings groups help you plan for the future with people you share a common vision (Photo: iStock)

Learning how to be wiser with your money takes time. Aside from practising self-control to develop healthier spending habits, you must also educate yourself on the values of saving and investing. However, most people just join savings groups.

Savings groups or chamas are not a new phenomenon, chances are; you have either heard about them or are a member of one.

It is a space where you actually get to learn new financial wisdom because members meet and share new ideas as you save money together.

Starting your own chama doesn't require you to have any particular skills. However, you need to understand the basics so your group may get off to a strong start.

Here is how to go about it the proper way:

Equip yourself with leadership skills

Although a chama is an informal arrangement, it still requires a lot of work. You might think that you don’t need leadership skills to run one but you will be surprised. Take time to learn the right skills so that you will know how to handle conflict, delegate roles and basically how to collaborate with others to meet objectives.

As the founder, you should also learn the best structure to put in place for your chama to run effectively.

 A crucial detail about a healthy chama is the type of members you choose (Photo: iStock)
Approach suitable members

A crucial detail about a healthy chama is the type of members you choose. It’s not just about bringing people on board who want to contribute and benefit because there are many more underlying details.

The right members will be committed to a similar goal and vision. They also need to be very disciplined and reliable people.

You would rather take a while and struggle to find members which are better, than rush to add individuals who will not add any value to the group.

Include someone with proper financial expertise

A successful chama needs someone who can give it a sense of financial direction. This can only be done by someone who has a financial background, otherwise, you won’t know how to make the right decisions. Ultimately, your group might collapse.

Your members will contribute as you learn from each other but it’s still important to have someone who has in-depth knowledge of how money works.

Set clear rules

A savings group without proper rules is bound to fail. This is especially the case where family members, friends and relatives are involved because sometimes the line between friendship and business gets blurred.

Be clear on expectations and the consequences of breaking those rules. You should also register your chama officially as a security measure.

Choose reliable leaders

You might be the founder but you will also need assistance. It will be hard for you to handle everything on your own as the group grows so this is an important step.

Take your time before choosing leaders because they have to be people with integrity. There are many unfortunate cases of theft and mismanagement in chamas, due to poor leadership, and that is why you need to select those who will genuinely put your members’ interests at heart.

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