Florence Nyokabi is the Standard Chartered Bank head of HR responsible for Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
#1. Building wealth: I started by identifying my purpose for investment which was informed by defining the kind of lifestyle I want to lead now and in my retirement. As part of the process, I take an honest view of my personal balance sheet and net worth every year, and I set the shorter term goals that I aim to achieve towards this broader purpose. In my investment journey, I have taken some measured risks, especially around the type of investments I select, such that some are high-risk, high-return; others long term, and others with capital.
#2. Handling wealth: To me, wealth is not an end in itself but a means to an end. I started by defining the kind of lifestyle and values I wanted to live by, and am using wealth as a means to lead that lifestyle. For example, I want to achieve freedom, security, comfort, peace of mind, have fun along the way and help others by way of giving back. This is my motivation for building wealth.
#3. Biggest money mistakes: I have had three main money mistakes – buying a house in an area that depreciated in value, copying the latest fad with respect to investment, and lending a substantial amount to a friend which led me to losing both the money and the friendship. Along the way, though, I have learned that one of the main money-related challenges women face is waiting too long to buy assets such as a house, fearing debts and failing to try again when we fail.
#4. My saving method: I save by investing my surplus funds in near-cash instruments such as TBills, Fixed Deposits, Money Markets and shares in Saccos. I channel the funds on a monthly and quarterly basis. I believe this is the route women looking to save wisely ought to take. I have observed that many of us will leave too much liquid cash in non-interest earning accounts. This becomes a dead asset and a target for unplanned expenditure.
#5. Biggest loss: I took a business decision that led the then company I worked for to lose Kshs. 2.5million. This was a learning lesson for me that no good crisis should go to waste. If I err, I’ll look at the mistake as an inspiration to learn what not to do. Mistakes should not signify the end. You must find a way to rise up, dust yourself off and try again, only much wiser this time.
#6. If I were to start all over again: My first investment would be a house – not a fancy, black Mitsubishi Lancer aptly named Winnie. I would also seek advice from experts early enough. I would find a mentor in money management at an early age.
#7. Women starting side-hustles: It might go both ways, depending on your ability to balance demands from your main job and the side business. Invariably, one of the two will suffer. In my case, I have a highly demanding job and therefore have always favoured passive investments.
#8. Biggest money milestone: Investments that give me passive income have been my best milestone. I achieved this by applying a mix of personal savings and borrowing to access the investments. This never happens overnight. It’s a journey of continuous learning and delaying gratification. For example, right now, over 80% of my net income goes towards investment. My leisure habits are funded by the income out of those investments.
#9. Making it in corporate world: You need a combination of being good at what you do, consistently delivering high performance, profiling yourself and showcasing your ability, building a network of professionals who will coach, mentor and vouch for you. Yet, I have observed that many of us sell ourselves short, underestimate our capability, value and talent, and fail to support each other in the growth journey through what I call PhD – “Pull her Down”!
Writer at Tunayo Business Magazine