Help! I’ve worked for 5 years in a supermarket but have nothing to show for it

I’ve worked for 5 years in a supermarket but have nothing to show for it

What you need to know:

I earn a gross of Sh. 24,450. I don't even have an asset to show for the work I do. How do I turn this situation around?

My name is Sylvester. I am a young Kenyan, single, and employed at a supermarket in Nairobi as a sales assistant. I am almost five years into this job. I have never been promoted.

I earn a gross of Sh. 24,450. Out of this, Sh4,000 goes to Sacco savings, Sh2,000 to post bank savings, Sh750 to NHIF, Sh1,080 to NSSF, Sh2,370 to taxes and Sh200 to welfare.

At the end month, I am left with a net pay of Sh16,420. My rent is Sh5,500 for a single room, garbage Sh200, water Sh300, shopping Sh3,000, mother Sh1,000, and tithe Sh2400.

I have completely been unable to progress, buying new clothes is a nightmare. I don't even have an asset to show for the work I do. How do I turn this situation around? Please help.

Daniel K. Maina, Managing Director, Prittworld Properties & Mortgages Limited

Both the Sacco savings and Postbank savings will earn you dividends at the end of the year.

From the review of your expenses, you manage your bills without cases of impulse spending, which is the first step towards achieving financial freedom. I would advise the following for you to achieve the desired level of savings as well as be able to manage your bills without any constraints:

Manage your savings through the Sacco and ensure the Sacco where you are channelling your savings is registered by the relevant authorities and especially SASRA. This is to ensure that your hard-earned savings will not sink if things go wrong. You also need to enquire on the percentage of dividends given by your Sacco and also whether the members do benefit from loans because to grow you will require loans.

Therefore, I would recommend you maintain the Sh4,000 payable to Sacco but discontinue with the post bank savings. This will leave you with an extra Sh2,000 that you can redirect to your basic needs such as clothing. Also do not overindulge in savings and be left without sufficient disposable income to manage your monthly expenses.

The only bills you can try to reduce are the money you send to your mother, tithe and rent. I would recommend that the rent should not take more than 20 percent of your monthly income. Also depending on the situation at home, you may want to discuss with your mother whether you can scale down the money until your personal finances improve- this is unless there is an underlying factor which requires you to be sending the regular Sh1,000 per month. This money should be redirected to your Sacco savings.

From your initial Sacco savings of Sh4,000, you should have at least Sh48,000 at the end of the year. With dividends at a rate of 10 per cent, you will be in a position to have at least Sh52,800. If you save up for another year, at the same rate, your money will have grown to Sh110,880. These are funds that you can utilise to start a low-capital, low-risk side hustle. However, unless your earning power improves, you might want to avoid taking loans to start a business.

You need to figure out new extra sources of income, especially with the rising cost of living. Note, your finances over the last five years have been weighed down by your low earning power. If you are unable to move up the ladder at your place of work, you might want to consider higher-paying jobs and an improvisation of your skills. For instance, with the recommendation that you stop the Post bank savings, would the money already saved be adequate to sponsor you to a part-time short course such as driving, plumbing, or electrician that can lead to better sources of livelihood? You have an allocation of Sh2,400 for tithe. This is not cast in stone and doesn’t make a lot of sense when you’re unable to clothe yourself. Consider halting this for the time being. It will save you a total of Sh28,800 in one year. This is money that can fund you through a short-term course. Alternatively, this is money you can save in a money market fund as your emergency kitty.

If you have any money problems, send us an email at [email protected] and leave your number for contact. Money questions will be answered in this column.