Find us on Google+ My Sensible Cent: December 2013

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Only Two Investment Option to Get Rich in Kenya

Everybody wants to be rich: a robber, teacher, engineer, idler, politician etc. The only difference is the method we choose to accomplish this universal dream.

Before we embark on the two investment methods of getting rich in Kenya, let us all appreciate that everybody wants to be rich and that human beings are naturally selfish. With that in mind, it follows that nobody will help you to be rich - you have to work hard and smart to be wealthy.

In Kenya, right from nursery school to campus you are prepared by your tuitors to be employed by somebody. You were taught to be smart (atleast in your school uniform), to be an early riser, to be disciplined and show utter respect to those in authority. When you pass high school with flying colours, you are invited to the University to study law, medicine and engineering. While here, they don't teach you how to start your own lawfirm, how to open and run a medical clinic or how to build an archictural firm. They teach you how to be servants, how to take instructions from your bosses and turn them into results. Your masters are the government (if you are lucky) or a mix of enterprenuers at Industrial area or upperhill.

While the instructions you received in school are enough to put milk and bread on your table, employment is never going to make you wealthy. The only two investment areas which will put real money in your pocket are entreprenuership and politics. Look the world over for the very wealthy individuals and you will agree with me. From Billgates of Microsft, Richard Brandson of Virgin Atlantic, Uhuru Kenyatta, the late Kirima, the Odinga family, Charles Njonjo, Kenneth Matiba, Daniel Arap Moi, Nicholas Biwot, Moody Awori, the list is endless.

Entreprenuership: this is one important area rarely taught in our schools. When they hint at it is a little too late. It is not uncommon to hear our leaders make speeches,  during graduation, advising young graduants not to expect jobs out there instead go and creat jobs. This is a fellow who has been, for the past 20 years, prepared psychologically to be employed and then you change the tune the last day. Seriously?
All the challenges not withstanding, entreprenuership is a very easy means to get rich. It only requires that you be conversant with the needs of your society and then devising away of supplying them at a cost. You do not have to be in Nairobi to succeed, you can identify a problem in your village, solve it, and the villagers will always reward you with cash. The key pillars of entrepreurship are problem (which are all over Kenya), Solution (which is where you come in) and reward (which will depend on the society's ability and willingness to pay for the product/service).
Hint: There are 30,000 digital tv setboxes in the country today. Nairobi alone has over 2,0000,000 (2 million) viewers. Do the math, get the difference and see what you can do with it before the new Febraury 2014 switchoff date.

Politics: politics, especially in Africa, is a lucrative business. All you need is a loud voice, a group of youthful campaigners, and four to five harambees to prove your willingness to 'serve' the society. Going by the hefty pay our MPs, senetors and county assembly representatives get, you will be rich within the first 5 year and a re-election campaign will not be neccessary. Couple this with their unethical ways of winning tenders for services they can't provide and supply of goods they can't distinguish, politics automatically qualify you as an entreprenuer and that comes with financial reward. Corruption and looting of public coffers have enlarged the bellies of most African politician.
So, how can you make money here? The money is seasonal, so you will have to wait until 2017 or put your ears out for any bi-election in your county. Meanwhile, you can start investing in harambees to start popularising yourself.

My Encounter With Muthurwa Hawkers

It was sotime in 2008 when i first stepped foot in Muthurwa and the welcome was amazing. Every hawker was screaming to the top of his/her voice inviting to buy, or the least, have a look at their wares. I felt more like a tourist in my own country - everybody was interested in pleasing me.
I had always heard of Gikomba and Muthurwa as the hawkers paradises. Tales in the villages had it that in Muthurwa and Gikomba, nice suits that Nairobians came wearing during Christmas, cost no more than ksh. 100 per piece. Children clothings, basic Tshirts and blouses will trade for between ksh. 5 to 10.
I came to Nairobi much earlier (even before Muthurwa was constructed), but being a resident of the western side of Nairobi, it took me very long to undertake this expeditous venture. Children west of Uhuru highway are prohibited from waliking beyond Moi avenue, I was made to understand. During this particular day, though, I felt I had grown big enough to take good care of myself and with security rising in Nairobi, I had no reason to hold back my adventure spirit. 
Back to the hawkers, I was called, pulled closer and persuaded to buy absolutely everything. From women bras to children socks. Obviously I didn't have anything specific to buy but decided to try out a pair of trouser. The vendor had pulled me closer to him and was busy showing me all types, sizes and colours of trousers, even before I made my mind to buy one. To him, all the trousers he was holding would fit and look good on me irrespective colour and size. He had guesssed that I was wearing size 32, which was true.
Searching through the bundle of cloths, I managed to spot a grey 'official' trouser. It was neatly sewn. The measuring tape on the vendors neck confirmed it was size 32. I paid ksh. 900 for it , which was lower than what we pay at Westgate by some hundreds.
I was disappointed that I did not get the deal I used to hear in the villages, but consoled myself that the price could have been much lower had I burgained further. This was a disappointment but what followed left me laughing at my self.
On reaching home, I went straight to my bedroom to fit the new cloth. The grey trouser went up with an amazing ease and came down much easier. The waist was too big for the slender boy I was. How did the hawker trick me into buying something that big? Didn't he confirm it with his tape? I struggled with so many questions and thoughts. I even thought of returning the trouser to the vendor the next day but shelved the idea since I could not remember the location of the hawker in busy Muthirwa market. A tailor who was to reduce the waist discovered it was size 38 and could not fit me unless it was tailored afresh. I discarded the cloth at his stall.
Experience taught me that Muthurwa is not for people like me. People who cannot burgain to save their dear life. And from that day, I have never gone back to Muthurwa except on special occasions when Foward Travellers buses abondon me in Muthurwa bus station. (I have since moved to Eastlands). I have never alighted at Gikomba and do not plan to go there in the near future.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Buying fron Hawkers in Kenya: Cons and Pros

The streets of major towns and cities in Kenya are littered by 3 groups of people; preachers, hawkers, beggers and idlers. As economy bites, the third and fourth groups are diminishing. However, the number of hawkers are going to reduce any time soon.

Hawking business in Kenya has been  facing major challenges and especially from the county askaris who nets and bundle the street vendors and their wares to the patrol vans. More often, you
will encounter Nairobi hawkers dropping their wares as they scrumble for safety, away from the city county authorities. The vendors in these streets have however out beaten the county askaris to some extent. For instance in Nairobi, the hawkers usually display their goods on some collapsible curton boxes. This means that the pedlers in can easily dismantle the display, gather their wares and disappear into the dark corridors before getting caught by the askaris.

In as much as the county governments in Kenya are working
towards containing the street vendors in one strategic position in the towns (Muthurwa, city park and Ngara in Nairobi), we all must admit these street sellers can save the day in numerous ways.

The importance of hawkers in our society is huge. You will readily find affordable goods in the streets without putting in too much search effort. Moreover, hawkers sometimes sell distinctive goods making sure that you do not join the 'Kenya Uniform' bandwagon.

Hawkers offer variety, affordability, and convinience that is second to none.

Limitations of Buying from hawkers

Not all is rosy in buying stuff from our street vendors. It is from a hawker where you buy a trouser which is just your waist size (measurement confirmed by the measuring tape on the vendors neck) only to reach home and find that the trouser is twice your waist size.

I recently bought an energy saver bulb along the streets of Nairobi on reaching home the bulb didn't even light.

You may also buy an umbrella, when found offguard by rain, which will only lead you to the bus stop before it breaks to pieces.

Sometimes you lose your money before you even purchase the ware. Pick pockets in our streets can make your shopping spree a nightmare.

In a nutshell, the quality of products you buy from hawkers is not gauranteed and worse still, there is no warranty. You buy it today, it is defective, tomorrow you look for the vendor and he/she is nowhere. Moreover, your safety and that of your money is not gauranteed. You will be knocked down by the same seller when county askaris strike.

All said, shopping from street vendors is a risk but most people will do it to save cost. If you plan in buying fruits and other foodstuff, you will get the best price at almost the same quality. For clothes, jewelry and footwear, you will get low quality at low cost. For electronics and electrical equipment, do not even think of buying one from a hawker.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Latest Business Ideas for Kenyan Women Wishing to Make That extra cash

Online home based businesses are the latest business ideas for the mums who stay at home as housewives or those retired. These women, some in their 50s, make good money online through these home based jobs they do during their free time. It is as easy as having internet enabled computer and some knowledge on how to use it. Most of these jobs are freelance therefore you are the person to decides when to do it.
Now, how can you tap this extra money in Kenya? The answer is just next.

Freelance writing: With the growth in number of websites, there is a high demand for content to fill these pages. All you need is experience in any field and good grammar and writing skills. You can sign up in these freelance writing sites, write and submit articles for some dollars.

Writing Blogs: How about expressing your feelings on topics of interest and making money out of it? All you have to do is create your own blog and share these ideas you got on fashion, food, politics and parenting tips. You can also sell items on their blogs.

Online stores: You can sign up with Amazon, eBay and Craigslist, just to mention a few, after which you can sell new or used products or become online dealers.

Secretarial and administration works: Very much suitable if you have some training in these fields. You can work as data entry personnel, secretary or administrator.

Writing E-books: If you have a passion and talent to write, you can write e-books on your preferred topic or area of study and sell this opinion or knowledge to the world.

If you are a woman at home, the internet is not just for entertainment and research, you can do some real good business with it.

Finding Legitimate Online Business Opportunities in Kenya

The internet today is home to numerous scam as well as legitimate online business opportunities. So, if you are looking for legitimate online business opportunities in Kenya, there are some tricks you can use to ascertain the legitimacy of the site.

How To Ascertain the Opportunity is Legitimate 

  1. When the deal look too good think twice. It is unrealistic that you can make a whopping ksh.500,000 in your first two weeks or a month, in a business you have no prior experience in. Any site trying to woo you with such enormous earning is possibly a scam.
  2. Search the website to see if it has any contacts like phone numbers, email address, and most importantly a physical address. Try sending a message to this email address expressing your interest in the business.
  3. Search for the logo of the business from reputable bodies on the internet like, Alexa Ranking and Better Business Bureau. Click on this logo to get more information about the company.
  4. Check if the site offers any guarantee or free trial for some period. Also check if they offer any training, as this is vital if you are new to internet marketing.
  5. You may also sign up for their free newsletter to help you understand the company and also connect you to your referrer.

It is always to your own advantage to invest time on studying these opportunities before parting with your hard earned cash.

The Basics of Conveyancing in Kenya

Conveyancing is the lawful transfer of property title from one person or a legal entity to another. It is usually a process worth paying for. For instance, if you are buying a house, it is always import to ensure that the sellers have the legal rights to do so. It also offers quicker and smoother transaction during purchase or sale of a property.
Since you cannot evade this process, it is only advisable to look for ways of saving money and time as you go through this vital process.
If you are here in Kenya and you need conveyancing services you may consider doing it online or at physically at the company's address. Online conveyancing services are both cost effective and fast. However, each transaction for a particular property can vary greatly - as the professionals search for title deeds and verify them.
The following are some key points you may need to know before doing this transaction:

What's the Cost of Conveyancing in Kenya?

The conveyancing cost varies just as the companies which offer them and the nature of the transaction. Conveyancing fee in Kenya is charged at a rate of 1,250 per lease, exclusive of legal fees. The legal fees will however depend on the Conveyancing firm. Lower fees are possible when dealing with larger firms with high transaction volumes. High costs do not usually translate to better services. So it is advisable to choose a company with proven reputation other than an expensive one.

Stages in Conveyancing
Whether you are doing these transactions online or at the company's physical address, there are three stages that conveyancing will have to follow:

1. Pre-exchange: At this stage, the original draft is considered to be negotiated by the involved parties. It includes details on the parties involved, costs, the seller's title deed and the amount of deposit to be paid. It is important to get a copy of the contract from your solicitor before making an agreement. When all these enquiries are through and both the parties are satisfied, an official mortgage offer is launched.

2. Exchange of contracts: With everybody satisfied, the contracts are signed and exchanged, and finally the buyer pays the deposit. This legally binds the two parties into a contract. The transfer documents are drawn up, transferring the title from the seller to the buyer and must be signed by both parties. Next, the mortgage documents are signed and then final enquiries are made to make sure there are no undisclosed mortgages or any other thing registered against the seller.

3. Completion: The property is handed over to the buyer and the seller has to move out the same day, if he hadn't. The payment must also be completed then the buyer receives the title deeds and a copy of the transfer documents. Extra costs like stump duty and land registry fee will need to be covered. Finally, the conveyancing solicitor carry out his due to of informing relevant authority of the transaction, paying stamp duty, registering the new ownership at the lands registry and sending the buyer a certificate of completion.

Which Law firms Offer Conveyancing Services in Kenya?

The list of law firms offering conveyancing services in Kenya is long and so may not be exhausted in this post. However, below are examples of firms you can contact for these services:

The domestic conveyancing market in Kenya is price competitive, with a large number of conveyancing companies and solicitors offering similar services. It may also be tempting for one to try out 'conveyancing' for themselves but this may lead to unnecessary legal tussles.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Financial Side of Christmas

The festivities are just about the corner and every Kenyan is looking foward to the celebrations. To a large group of Christians, this marks a celebration of the birth of Christ himself while others have dismissed it as a secular celebration with no biblical backing.
Whether Christmas' origin is in the bible or any other spiritual books is not for me to discuss. (The relevant person to engage you in that discusion would be my parish priest). However, whether you believe in it or not, Christmass is here with us and will be there for many more centuries. And you know what? You will be, one way or another, affected by it.

The effects of X-mass are diverse as the mode of celebrating it. The social benefits of  Christmas are obvious, but it is  its economic effects that have drawn my attention. Below, we look at the financial effects of Christmas.

1. Transport: Kenyans are fond of flocking the major cities and towns in search of work and when the festive season arrives, they must join their folk in the villages for these celebrations. December is greeted by fleets of busses to the villages carrying all sorts of people and goods. It is not uncommon to see a Nairobi resident carrying Sukuma Wiki back home.

The players in the transport industry have taken advantage of this to exploit the passengers. It is during Christmas that the fare to your rural home can instantenously double or even tripple, but you still find yourself paying it.

2. Idleness: It is during the festive period that most employees are forced to take leave from work for up to 3 weeks. This turns a hardworking Kenyan citizen into an idler moving from one social gathering to another. If you are tired with your coach, you will find yourself attending wedding ceremonies, harambees and all sorts of parties. All these doesnt help but increase the financial cost of Christmas.

3. Business: Depending on the nature of your business and its location, it can either flop or boom during Christmas. The number of customers in towns drastically reduce as most people travel upcountry while some stay indoors for fear of the bad weather. Any business targeting foodstuff, beauty, transport , money transfer services as well as those located in the villages are set to thrive during Christmas.

4. Expenditure: This is another obvious area affected by Christmas. However deep your pocket is, the festivities will surely leave holes in it. From Christmas attire to food and drinks, the festive season will only present you with reasons to spend. It is because of this expenditure that January has been cursed as a broke month.

5. Offers and promotion: This may turnout to be the only positive financial side of Christmas. It is during this period that retail stores treat  customers to amazing discounts. The clearance sale racks will offer up to 50% discounts. Most supermarkets will either permit redemption of loyalty points or double the amoubt paid per point. There are numerous shopping coupons, gifts and free device services tailored to reward loyal customers. The different lotteries and mini draws can turn you into a millionare this festive season.

Financially, Christmas day and the entire December holiday is not fun for family breadwinners. Business is down, expenditure sky rocket and the best you can hope for is to celebrate a debt free new year. However, with proper financial planning and disciplined expenditure, December can be like any other month.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Nelson Mandela's Life and Legacy: Lessons we can all Learn From Him

Even as we mourn the loss of one of the World's most inspiring man, we take solace in knowing Nelson Madiba Mandela leaves behind a permanent legacy of forgiveness and love. Below are a few lessons we can all learn from  the selfless actions and profound words of  the Nobel Prize Winner.

1 Giving up is not an option

The late Mandela cherished a democratic and free society in which all people can live together in peace and equality. It is an idea he hoped for, not only for the people if South Africa but the whole World. Madiba was even ready to die for this cause.

Nelson Mandela's 27 years in prison for fighting against the apartheid government must have been a taugh test on his faith. However, his determination triumphed and upon his release, he went on to become the country's first president through a democratic election. And, after one office term, he didn't contest his position and spent the remainder of his life tirelessly campaigning for peace, love and equality.

2 Our character is portrayed when we fail

A person should not be judged by his successes, but by how many times they fell down and risen again.

True to Mandela's words, when all is said and done-your character will not be measured by your success but how you responded to failure. Mandela had many challenges-divorcing two wives, some his children thought he was not the perfect father, facing political opposition from the Winny, his ex-wife. Madiba triumphed and the legacy is there for all to see

3 Diverse opinion is good for society development

Friends with independent minds tend to will make you see problems from all angles.

We can have different political views,  like different league football teams— and still be friends. And we will be better when we respect and see the merit in perspectives other than our own.

4 We're together in this

A concern for others in our individuality and community lives will make the world the better place we dreamt of.

Regardless of sex or age or color, the bottom line is we have all been put  on this earth together (by our creator). As Madiba so passionately reminded us, the world can be a much better place if we all work together to make it one.

5 Were it easy, all would be doing it

Difficult situation are meant to make a man strong but not to break him. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a failure who keeps on trying, one armed with faith and hope that he will rise again one day.

Worthy things in life are usually the hardest to achieve. It's the persevering and those who push through the difficult situations who ultimately accomplish their goals.

6 There's imense power in Knowledge

The most powerful weapon, to change the world, is education.

Change can be resisted by people who fear it. Or those who don't understand it. Knowledge is the tool for change - people won't fight for something if they don't understand it.

7 You can do it

It seems impossible until it is done.

Peoples' capability is much more than they credit themselves for. So, whether it is while struggling through the hectic life today or mourning the loss of a global icon Mandela is. Just remember: You can do it. Anyone can rise above the  curcumstances.

8 Love always triumph

No one is born hating another individual because of their skin color or his religion or his background. People always learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can learn to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than hate.

Mandela could have chosen to be bitter after being jailed for 27 years. Instead, he rose above the temptetation of anger to speak out about the healing power of love. If hearing those words doesn't grow your heart a little bit bigger, I don't know what will.