Uncommon ways to get ahead financially

1.  Do what makes you money

The worst business advice I ever received was ‘do what you love’ at my New York University graduation commencement. I have since learned to ‘do what makes you money’. It works much better for me. I know – it’s not exactly the stuff that makes for a good Instagram post. And on one level, this approach goes against everything our culture tells us we should do with our careers.

But there’s something to be said for financial stability. To a greater extent than most of us want to admit, you’re only as principled and independent-minded as your bank account allows you to be. ‘Do what you love’ is probably much better advice for someone who’s born rich or holds a tenured academic position than it is for the rest of us in the 99 percentile. And are we really so sure that the best thing to do with passion is attempting to monetise it, anyway? 

SEE ALSO :Money rules you should expertly break

Why assume it’s easier to turn passion into money than it is to turn money into passion? Why not side hustle for love, and enjoy your career to make money?

- Christopher Madison, CEO at Dentsu Aegis Network

2.   Get your chunk of real estate and stock market

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Properties are a great long term investment. You can buy land, you can buy into a REIT (a company that owns, operates or finances income-producing real estate) that is listed on the exchange. You can also build residential or commercial buildings. We still expect this year to have a lot of volatility for investors, because of what is also happening in the global economy. Therefore, look for something that has value. Property prices keep rising. If you get an undervalued property, it will weather your investment more.

The same goes to the stocks market. Try and get something that is currently undervalued. A lot of sectors like the financial services took a beating last year, so we expect earnings to improve this year. For example with properties, you can look at areas surrounding Nairobi, with undervalued parcels of land that are set for improvement infrastructure-wise. Those will benefit you in the long-term.

SEE ALSO :Financial indiscipline catching up with Uhuru

- Caleb Mugendi, an investment analyst at Cytonn Investments

3.   Don’t work for free

The biggest mistake I made in my 30s was giving too much value and credit where it was not due. People would request me to do a job because it would expose me to their networks and therefore other people would call me to work for them as well, be it for MCeeing or managing events. Most of the time, that does not work. In fact, the people that you charge are the ones who call you back because they value you. I discovered I had done a lot of work for free and the best I got out of it was that they would maybe give me food and fare. It never translated to return calls for business. So you can work for free if you want to, but don’t expect it to translate to future business. The best you can hope to get from it is use it as reference when presenting your work to other people, so do an excellent job whether it is free or not.

- Chris Kirwa, events strategist and COO, CateChris Ltd

4.   Pay less tax 

Take a mortgage instead of a loan. A mortgage is an agreement with a financial institution that allows you to borrow money to purchase property. With this, you can get mortgage relief, where the law allows you to claim a tax relief of up to Sh25,000 per month or Sh300,000 per annum. If you plan to buy property, it is important to take a mortgage rather than an ordinary loan because an ordinary loan has no tax relief.

-  Dennis Mutunga, a tax consultant

5.   Build a safety net

Have an emergency fund. This will ensure that you do not have budget interruptions, because you will not be blind-sided by unforeseen expenses or an unforeseen reduction in income. A good safety net would be enough money to cover your current expenses for at least three months, but ideally, it should be six months. People with such contingency plans are not usually affected by sudden rises in costs.

-   Wahome Ngari, CEO of Personal Finance Academy

6.  Borrow smart

If you borrow, always consider two questions; 1. Will you get your money back? 2. Will it grow? Then, when you borrow for investment, it is only a smart investment if the return is more than the cost of debt.

You should borrow towards growing your wealth. For example, if you are borrowing at 14 per cent in the market and invest in something that gives you 25 per cent, then borrowing is the right thing to do. However, borrowing the 14 per cent for personal consumption, such as going on holiday would be bad debt.

 As long as you are smart about debt and use it the right way then it should be beneficial, and not something that people need to be afraid of.

-   Shiv Arora, the financial controller at Cytonn Investments

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