Find us on Google+ My Sensible Cent: January 2014

Monday, January 20, 2014

Investment Options in Kenya: Where to Make Money in 2014

December holidays are now behind our backs, January blues will soon varnish and the only challenge remaining this year would be to implement the many resolutions you reached with yourself for 2014. The razor thin wallet, empty fuel tanks, school fees and tense relationships characterizing this dreaded month of January will be gone immediately you receive your first pay check of 2014 in a week or two.
Despite the tough beginning to the year, majority of Kenyans remain hopeful that 2014 will bring with it better things; a bigger house, a new job, financial stability and a new car.
However, difference between those who will achieve thier dreams this year and those who won’t comes straight from the investment decisions they have made or will make this January.
For the business savvy individuals, the time to reflect on the enjoyment over the December holidays is gone.
They have already ordered consignments of goods from Dubai or China, scanning through the  newspapers for lucrative government tenders, contacting their brokers and / or financial managers on which cherry stocks to pick at the NSE, the next car, land, or real estate deal to close and the like.
Below are a few tips on where to invest and make some good money in 2014:

Stock Market
The NSE is a one hot investment option for those willing to take the risk and have a sizable financial cushion to absorb potential losses.
Measured by the NSE all share index, a well-balanced portfolio of shares in the stock market in 2013, made returns of upto 50 percent. This means that a ksh. 500,000 investment in the stock market would have swelled to 750,000 on average.
The Nairobi Stock Exchange has been on a 2-year bullish run and the indications are that the appreciation in share price is set to continue for a third year running.
Safaricom shares made headlines after soaring above the 2008 LPO price of KSh5 per share, more than doubling the investment to trade at 11.10.
However, the stock market, is quite volatile and is therefore most suited for investors with long-term investment views. It requires patience and good investment strategy as it can result in loss of investment in some instances.
Generally, there are two categories of companies listed at the Nairobi Stock Exchange; the growth counters which basically pay the investor through share price gain but offer low to zero dividends and the mature ones which pay high dividends annually.
Growth companies should be viewed as long-term investments. They include NBK, Britam, DTB Centum, and NIC, among others.
The mature stocks which pay high dividend annually, include BAT, Bamburi, EABL, Carbacid and the Nation Media Group.
A clear understanding of the performance of listing companies and the overall economic performance are good indicators of which shares to buy and which ones to sell.

Forget Maina and King'angi's cash cow, farming is becoming the new money minting machine. Young investors have realized the huge potential in this industry and the handsome returns it offers.
Besides soiling hands, setting up a value-addition plants represents a massive growth with potential for high return on investment, for the small scale investors who grow and sell agricultural products like onions, watermelons, apples, and tomatoes.
Technological advancement, such as the use of greenhouses has help farmers controlling crop growing conditions thereby almost guaranteeing good yields.
Look at the number of Kenyans scrambling for fruits and vegetables and you will realize that agribusiness is the in thing. Timing your harvest to coincide with the dry season will automatically multiply your returns.
For large scale farming investors, agribusiness also offers lucrative opportunities such as leasing land for maize, wheat, or potato farming. The high demand for Kenyan flowers oversees provides a ready market for horticultural investment farmers.

Real estate:
The boom in the Kenyan real estate sector has continued for the past few decades, lifting most investors into the millionaire class.
A quarter acre piece of land in Nairobi, Kisumu or Mombasa could earn you multi-millions either through just waiting for price appreciation or developing it into residential or commercial property.
A high-rise residential apartment, directly targeting the middle to lower income class where demand for housing is high, can fetch anything between, Sh4 million to Sh13 million depending on the location, neighbourhood and quality of finish.
The houses selling for between Sh1.5 million and Sh3.5 million targeting the lower middle class are also a good investment opportunity  for investors this year.
Establishment of county governments and the devolution of functions and civil servants to the counties,  offer good bets  as thousands of civil servants will looking for new homes.
To get the most value in future, always be sure to move in before the infrastructure. Real estate investment thrives on speculations. Therefore, if you get wind of a planned hospital or road at a site in a year or so, get in now.
The Thika Superhighway, Northern bi-pass came and went and real estate investors made a kill for their money. The Standard Gauge Railway, Outering road, Turkana oil fields and Lamu port are coming.

Government tenders:
30 per cent of all government contracts, this year, will be reserved for the marginalized: the youth, the women and the disabled. This opens a huge business opportunity for groups and individuals to do business with the state and earn some extra coin.
The most important requirement is that you must have registered company and get a KRA certificate.
The beautiful part of this investment option is that the tenders range from smaller contracts like supply of stationery to bigger ones like construction of roads. This opens the door for Kenyans from all walks of life aged 35 and below to participate.
Investment in Government tenders require individuals or companies with deep pockets. This is because government tenders require huge capitals. The cash-flow projection is rarely accurate as payments may delay by months and payment is only done after service delivery.

Foreign Trading:
The import / export business is an area likely to experience high growth especially now that the government is trying to promote its exports relative to the country's imports. Export opportunities can be exploited in the form of value added agricultural products.
Most of the Chinese products that may seem cheap to Kenyans are even even cheaper in Shanghai.
There are high chances that the Chinese earphones that you bought, in Nairobi, for ksh150, go for as little as kSh30 in Guangzhou. This is a business in which profit margins of 500 per cent is often attained.
For property developers, importing construction materials like roofing and floor tiles from China or Dubai may just help you cut costs and make huge profit.

Construction of hostels:
Expansion, Devolution add subsequent expansion of our public Universities in the last ten years has lead to at least one or more University in your county. 
However, despite the rise in admission numbers to match the expansion in public and private universities, development in accommodation facilities - hostels, have not kept the pace.
For instance, it’s now common for self-sponsored students, and at times JAB students to look for their own accommodation around our public universities.
This has opened up investment opportunities to build hostels around universities and their satellite campuses to accommodate students.
Considering the small size of a hostel room and that an investor can put multi-storey building with multiple double-Decker beds per room, the margins from this venture are high.
For monied investors, you can get into public-private sector partnerships (PPPs) with public universities.
The private developer will build the hostels on the University lands; operate them for up to a period of 25 years before leaving it to the Government.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Ways to Make Extra Cash to Suplement your Income

There have been an increase in the
number of people asking about ways to make extra cash and felt it would be a good discussion area here. Making additional income is as legitimate a way to help with personal finances as saving money and I'm sure that people have a lot of experience to share with those that are looking to supplement their current income. However, what worked for one may not work for you.

How can one make that extra money?

There are a number of ways to earn
extra income and the full list would be far too lengthy to discuss in any single post. In short you either work for yourself or you work for an employer.
The choices for the entrepreneur would be to sell products, services or a combination of the two.

Whatever the industry, it is important to find a need and fill it. It's not necessarily important that you are the first to do something but paramount importance is to be the
best at what you do.

I worked part-time at an information science college teaching computer applications for one year in addition to my full-time employment. I loved it ... but between paying taxes per pay, taxes at year end, paying for gas, buying lunches or dinners, and just the time away from home it wasn't worth continuing to keep the part time job. I recently quit and while I am writing this on a Monday night at 7:15 pm, I would normally be at this college earning around ksh. 500 for a 3 hour shift. The take home (after expenses) would be around the same amount of money that a 7 year old boy makes working in a factory in China.
Sometimes (not always) working for an employer is not the way to go. I am also a part-time graphic designer for small businesses and individuals in the city. I will design a logo, a receipt book, a poster or a flyer for between ksh.  400 and Ksh. 1500 per page and charge for further editing and printing. I am booked for business for quite some time. I also offer small business computer repair services and individual customers often turn to me for consulting services and vice versa. I earn (and keep) much more than working at the college. I can do it on my own schedule, and enjoy a legitimate home business.

What I am saying is that I am using my skills and each of you should do the same. One person could have an award winning food recipe while
another person may want to perform energy audits, sell or install energy efficient light bulbs and thermostats, and/or associated products and services. Mr. Muscles over there might consider teaching exercise classes in his garage alone or in groups. My list of options can simply go on and on but all relates to one basic question... what's YOUR passion?

Do you know anyone who might like a scrapbook but lacks the time,
equipment or skill to put it together on a computer? Hmmm... that can be a lucrative money-maker especially to an elderly person who may want to hand down recipes and photos and such. Another skilled person might want to buy and refinish old discarded furniture found in a dumpster (only lucky people will find it) that can resell for ksh. 2,000 - 5000 with a coat of paint, sanding, upholstery or whatever. What about Mrs Stay at Home Mom becoming a virtual assistant for an entrepreneur with a day job? She can take messages, answer questions, type invoices, mail postcards or whatever's needed on her own schedule in between diaper changes and naps.
Do you have a great idea for a book,
newsletter or magazine? Start out by writing it and then worry about self- publishing or selling to a publisher. If you find and fill the needs of your audience you can earn not only income but royalties. I have an active interest in passive income.

Do you enjoy washing windows?
housekeeping? running errands? There are a number of disabled and senior citizens who could use your energy. What about doing taxes, bookkeeping or using accounting experience? make up? Sewing or alterations? Teaching computer skills? Clowning? swimming instructor? crafting? consulting? Designing houses? Blogging? Opening an online store?

I told you this could be a long list but what works for one person won't work for another.
Don't just wait for your ship to come in, swim out to meet it!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Why Medical Cover Should be Your Top Priority this Year

Are you a healthy person who rarely
gets sick? Do you even need health insurance coverage? Those who seldom become ill are fortunate but things could change in the future. You just never know when your luck could change and your health could take a turn for the worst. To be prepared for anything that could happen, having insurance is wise. You can never be too careful when it comes to your well- being.  Moreover, it is not financially wise to depend entirely on the government backed NHIF. The last time I checked, NHIF were only paying for inpatient services (for those not in civil service) and maternity delivery charges (which is free in Government hospitals). This enterly leaves outpatient services, which account for the huge part of medical services requirements, for your pockets.

If you hurt yourself or develop a serious medical condition, you could rack up debts at an alarming rate. A broken leg could cost you a few thousand shillings and even a short hospital stay could see the charges into hundreds of thousands thousands. To prevent cringing at the total cost of treatment when you are presented with the bill, invest in a health insurance policy. It will protect you from unexpected medical charges that could potentially bankrupt you.

Many health plans also protect you from potential financial ruin because they limit the out-of-pocket expenses that you are expected to pay.

If you require medical care and you do not have coverage, you will have to pay for the services you receive (100 percent of them). Even if you earn a good income, that can be hard on your bank account. For those who purchase policies, insurance providers negotiate lower rates with hospitals, physicians, and specialists. This means that as a policy holder, you are not responsible for the total cost of medical treatment, but only for partial payment.
Protecting your health and doing everything you can to remain healthy should be a top priority this 2014. Those who have health insurance are more inclined to visit their doctors for preventative care and for the treatment of smaller issues such as infections.

By seeing a physician for routine
check-ups, smaller problems can be detected before they have the opportunity to turn into more serious conditions that require lengthy and costly treatments.
Getting the care you require when you need it goes a long way in improving your overall level of health. There is peace of mind and confidence in knowing that if you feel sick or if something is not right with your body, you can book an appointment with your physician or go to the emergency room immediately.

Studies have shown that individuals who have health insurance coverage are less likely to drink and smoke. They are also more likely to eat healthier and to engage in physical activity on a regular basis, in comparison to those who are not covered.

You have more options for your medical needs when you opt to get insured. As a policy holder, you have access to a wider array of health care resources. In other words, the network of physicians, specialists, and medical facilities you have to pick from is much
greater than if you do not have any insurance at all. The services and treatments available to you may also be of a wider and more varied nature if you arm yourself with insurance that protects your health.

Health insurance is a great way to protect yourself and your wallet.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Making Money Online by Writing Articles

Writing articles for websites is not only highly profitable but enjoyable if you like writing. Although many site owners can write, their time is better served elsewhere so they hire others to do it for them.
Why Are Articles So in Demand?
Quite simple, the more content an
owner has on their site the more traffic they will attract. Let's face it, the more traffic, the more sales and that leads to more income!
I'm Interested But I've Never Written for Others Before:
Even if you are new to freelance writing or have never even tried it
before, you could build a nice income rather quickly by developing your writing skills.
Let's take a look at article writing, understanding keywords developing a fast but unique writing style and writing article packages.
Keywords  Speak Volumes Online:
Some say content is king, well then
what are keywords when it comes to the Internet? Actually, content and keywords can very well be one and the same. Keywords drive traffic to sites, without keywords your wonderful article will be read by none! Keywords are usually more than one word and pretty much in the form a searcher would put into a search engines looking for information. More often than not, your client will provide you with keywords he or she want you to use in the article. That said, keep one thing in mind, never over use keywords. Overkill is almost
as deadly as using no keywords at all.
If an article is too loaded with keywords, search engines will look at these articles as spam. Your articles must always run smoothly and sound natural, you will know if you are overdoing it because your sentences will sound phony or stiff.
Can You Write Quickly and Efficiently:
Obviously, the faster you can write
articles, the more income you will earn. Developing your own
style will help you pick up the pace as you develop your skills. Starting off you are not going to be clipping off a ton of articles a week. Learn your own writing skills and style, find techniques that work best for you and you will eventually have the entire process mastered.
Some ideas for Creating a writing style
Some writers will create short outlines of approximately 6 to 8 lines for possibly 10 articles at a time. Creating some interesting titles that will cover those 10 articles as well, will help you save some valuable time. Keep in mind, you want each article to have unique content. It's important to your clients and it's important to search engines.
There are various free softwares online that allow you to check the uniqueness of your articles. It's usually advised to have a rating of 92% and up for passable content.
Find a place that works well for you
when writing. Some writers prefer the peace and quite of their backyards while others like working from a coffee shop. Others prefer to listen to acertain style of music for the creative juices to flow.
Play around with it until you find what works best for you.
Writing  Article Packages:
Writing article packages is a niche on its own. If you choose this avenue, you will need to find a certain theme collection of keywords to base your articles on. Fortunately, there are tons of keyword tools online to help you
build your collection(s).
Many article writers turn to out sourcing freelance sites and bid on any article writing project that is available. The downside to this is
bidders are trying to outdo each other by pricing projects low. Unfortunately, your overall income could suffer quite a lot if you rely on these sites.
Your best bet is to sell your article
packages on your own site. Write
anywhere from 10 to 20 articles on
popular subjects/keywords such as
dieting, dating, pet health, etc.
Buyers love well written, instant articles!
Instead of waiting for you to write a particular article, you have exactly what they are looking for and it's ready to roll!
Once you have started putting together packages, start promoting your website and yourself as Web Content Seller that provides custom written articles for purchase.
In a Nutshell:
If you enjoy writing, writing articles for others can be a wonderful home business opportunity. Unlike some startup home businesses, you can be up and running with a great deal of success in a very short period of time!
By following some of these suggestions and doing a little research (especially if this is new to you) you will be able to have a very lucrative home business that you truly love doing!

Forex Trading for Novice

Forex currency trading is rapidly escalating as a popular online method of earning big cash profits. One of the main reasons being that investors find it relatively simple to master the techniques required to generate a great deal of money in a short time frame, given the frequency of market changes. High volatility plus the continually changing global marketplace conditions open up many buying and selling possibilities. Another factor is that the Forex market is open 24 hours a day, 5 days a week from Monday to Friday and you have virtually unlimited trading hours worldwide.

Forex currency trading has several excellent software systems that can help you to make substantial profits. But it is a good idea to research and thoroughly understand what each system provides before investing. The best suggestion is to try out a demo version of the software to see whether it meets your needs first. For those
that don’t have a lot to invest or just
want to get their feet wet before
committing too much money there.

Forex currency trading is basically exchanging different pairs of currencies buying at one price and selling at another. The intention is to make a profit whenever the currency goes up or down. Whilst this is not complicated to grasp any transactions made in the international currencies market really should be done by using a Forex broker.

When searching for a Forex broker to handle your account, it’s important to check out their capability and qualifications. Try to find a company that is well established so you can feel confident that you are getting good
advice and will get the most return on your investment. Most Forex brokers offer training online, through workshops and in some cases using 1 to 1 mentoring. Don’t make the mistake of underestimating the amount of information there is to learn before you can feel confident in making consistent profits. There is a lot of free training material available on the internet, most of it written in an easy to understand manner even for a complete novice to succeed in foreign exchange trading.

Remember that although in most cases it is safe to conduct transactions over the internet, you will still come across the crooks and the scam artists hoping to part you from your money. So just make sure you are dealing with a reputable broker. You will find that a Forex broker doesn't charge a commission for placing a buy or a sell order in the same way as a stock broker by taking a commission on the sale. Forex brokers make their money on the difference between the bid and offer prices which is known as the spread.

Brokers are also in this game for the
money and the spreads can be quite
substantial when you consider the
amount of trades that take place in any given day.
The only tools you need to get started with your Forex trading are a good computer with a fast internet
connection. On a final note keep in
mind that Forex trading isn't for everyone. You will often need to make split second decisions as prices change, which can be nerve wracking for some, but can be very rewarding when the right decision is made.

For More Information you may

Monday, January 6, 2014

Financial Management: Creating a Family Game to Prevent Debt

Have you ever thought about making your household finances a game for the whole family to play? With so many board games that utilize money to win the game, children will have the basic concept that winners have the most money in the end. Besides creating a way to keep monthly costs down it promotes family time and builds a financial understanding for money management. Who wants to teach a child that using other people's money is best? A little practice on self-sufficiency will go a long way and prevent a fast cash advance from entering the picture. .

Depending on the age of your children, you will want to include as much detailed information as you can.
*It is important to begin the game with an understanding of income and a budget. It's always good for kids to understand that money comes from somewhere. Too many children only see plastic cards as a source of payment. Take a few minutes and explain what credit or cash advance loans means and how it can hurt you if you don't have the money to pay it back.
*Define needs and wants and see what the children can come up with to place in each category. They need to start understanding each category in order to play the game.
*Talk about utility payments mortgages, car loans, insurances groceries and fuel. Use an average
payment and subtract from the total
*Use old receipts to show food and
fuel costs so they can see how
controlling these two can make a
difference in what is left over for other household needs and wants.
*Ask for suggestions on how to handle unexpected costs like the mechanic or trip to the doctor. Discuss how these costs are often handled by credit cards or direct cash loans especially when there is limited money to cover everything else that month.
Create a game out of saving money. Trips to the grocery store when kids find needed items on sale or keep their bedroom lights shut off whenever they are not needed are great opportunities to earn 'game cash'. Your child ran outside to play without turning the television off would end up as a forfeit of cash. Children will begin to internalize routine behaviors for the benefit of the household budget. Bonus shillings for children who make it through the trip to the store without asking for extras are a great way to nip certain behaviors in the bud. It could also promote brown bag lunches or snacks rather than cries to stop to buy something outside. At the end of the week the person with the most 'game cash' could win a small treat. As a family, go over what was saved by the end of the month and celebrate together.
Games are a great way to provide incentives to improve. Once the saving money behaviors become habit, your budget will be better for it. Talk about money as much as you can in child friendly terms. True life money management lessons are a great way to set your child up for life. Free them of ever feeling the need to apply for cash loans or max out their credit cards in order to pay the bills. Personal finances are about finding freedom that you can afford with the money you earn.