Financial Literacy: Saving Part II

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Photo Cred: Siphumeze Khundayi

Savings or the concept of savings is as old as the generations. The narratives, currency and focus evolve with the passage of time but the principle has endured and has remained steadfast. I say this because there has been a proclivity, on our part as a people, to misalign resources and the principle of savings. Some of the sentiments that infiltrate the contemporary vernacular of people today:

“I have no cash to save” overlooking the 50 goats in your backyard.
“I have no resources” overlooking the 10 hectares of land at my home village on which I can leverage.
“My salary is small” overlooking the unique qualities you have learnt on the job to generate income for yourself.

The secret is to efficiently utilize what we have until we start to generate parallel income, even when that income comes in as a trickle.

Many publications have made admirable attempts to delineate the poverty status quo. It warms my heart to see a myriad of world renowned academics and leaders giving this topical issue the attention and critical thought it rightly deserves.

Individual and household poverty is crux of my campaign, and is an issue that really moves my heart, as it is a dynamic that affects numerous people, leaving them destitute, and in a persistent state of cognitive asphyxiation, unable to mentally breath in life to resurrect their malnourished and barren hopes for a better tomorrow.

This is our current state and yet we sit on mounds of potential.

Let me go back to that person who has worked for 25-30 years, only to retire to a life of poverty and lack.
The cumulative total of all income accrued over 25 years of employment is quite substantial. In terms of strategic planning, it gives room for a lot of critical activities that can be undertaken within that time, given those resources. It requires, therefore, that as a first time employee, one undertakes some planning for the very long term in a more structured way. Simply put, prepare a balance sheet 25 years ahead.

Employees in the 21st century are luckier than the employees of former years. 20 years before, pension contributions were not potable; in fact they were not even contributory. Employers contributed on your behalf but you could only claim anything after you had served up to retirement. This meant that if the pension payout was your objective, then it meant you served one employer till the end. The risks are many on both sides. Believe it or not, the pension for some people was the prize for the race of employment that was run immaculately, to the end.

In itself, it was a noble pursuit. Well done after diligent service to one employer for 25 years and now here is your prize for all the loyalty. Its all very well if the other assets in the balance sheet have been built over the same time. But for most, that’s all there is. Why?

BN

Make sure to read part I of this post.

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