As freelancers, we understand the unpredictable nature of our work. There are periods of high activity and moments of uncertainty. But guess what? As I have come to learn, there are ways to navigate financial challenges and secure your future.
In the last few years, I have followed and developed key relationships with people in the finance industry who have helped me understand the basics of money management.
So, here are some of the lessons I have learned about savings and investment opportunities, such as Money Market Funds (MMF) and Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOs).
Money Market Funds for Short-Term Saving & Investment Opportunities
MMFs allow for diversification, accessibility, and professional management, offering freelancers a secure and convenient investment option to enhance financial stability. I, for one, have saved my money with two MMFs, Genghis Capital and Britam. They both offer friendly returns, about 8.5% to 10%, which I would not get from my bank’s current account.
Here is a detailed explanation of why using MMF as a saving and investing opportunity is a good idea:
Money market funds prioritize capital preservation by investing in low-risk, short-term instruments. As a freelancer, you can ensure that your hard-earned money is protected during uncertain times or periods of low business activity.
Money market funds offer high liquidity, allowing freelancers to access their funds quickly and efficiently when needed. This flexibility is particularly beneficial during emergencies or when facing unexpected expenses.
Money market funds aim to provide stable returns, often outperforming traditional savings accounts. By investing in these funds, freelancers can earn a reasonable rate of return on their idle cash, maximizing the potential of their funds.
Freelancers often rely on multiple income streams, and diversifying their investments is equally important. Money market funds allow freelancers to diversify their investment portfolio beyond their business ventures, reducing overall risk and enhancing financial stability.
Preservation of Purchasing Power
Inflation can erode the value of money over time. However, money market funds typically aim to maintain the value of your investment by keeping pace with inflation, safeguarding your purchasing power in the long run.
Accessibility and Convenience
Investing in money market funds is straightforward and accessible to freelancers. Many financial institutions offer online platforms that allow freelancers to easily manage their investments, monitor performance, and make transactions at their convenience.
Unfortunately, Genghis is currently facing challenges with its Apps. However, its USSD is still functional and effective. So there is no need to worry.
Flexibility and Control
Freelancers have the flexibility to invest in money market funds as per their financial requirements and risk tolerance. Whether a short-term investment or a long-term savings goal, money market funds offer options that align with freelancers’ unique financial needs.
SACCOs for Long-Term Investment Opportunities
This is my preferred investment method because SACCOs allow me to earn interest and take out a loan equal to my deposit. Or more than your deposits, at least 3 to 4 times the deposits, if you have guarantors or an asset to act as collateral.
Here are their advantages:
The Power of Compound Interest
By reinvesting your interest, your savings grow, allowing you to increase your wealth steadily.
It’s disappointing that freelancers in Kenya face challenges when accessing bank loans. The lack of a payslip is a major hurdle in this regard. I experienced this firsthand, having been declined by two reputable banks when I sought a loan to purchase land. Despite having a steady and higher income compared to when I was hired locally, my application was unsuccessful due to this limitation.
Saccos, on the other hand, offers a great opportunity to get affordable loans regardless of whether you are employed or a freelancer. With its efficient mobile banking, you can easily manage your account and access emergency funds, financing for education, small business loans, or even housing loans.
Related read; Sacco Guarantor’s and How You Can Protect Yourself
Fueling Collaborative Investment Opportunities
SACCOs thrive on the trust and solidarity of their members. By joining forces, members collectively invest their savings in projects like land and houses, offering reduced rates for purchase. Additionally, annual dividends reward members based on the SACCO’s financial performance.
That’s not to say they are 100% safe. There are stories of SACCOs collapsing, where some members lose all their life savings. Luckily, there are some red flags you should look out for when it comes to SACCOs:
Are loan applications processed promptly, and are borrowing limits aligned with the SACCO’s financial standing? The lack of frequent credit availability is a sign that the SACCO is struggling and doesn’t have enough cash flows.
High Loan Defaults
If borrowers consistently fail to repay loans, it disrupts the SACCO’s cash flow, impacting its ability to serve members and sustain operations.
Dormant Members and Low Registrations
A decline in active members and new registrations limits the SACCO’s income potential, jeopardizing its financial stability.
Unpaid or Delayed Dividends
Late or non-payment of dividends raises concerns about cash flow issues, suggesting possible financial struggles within the SACCO.
Involvement in unexplained or unchecked projects may indicate mismanagement or potentially fraudulent activities, risking members’ funds.
Related read: Sacco vs Money Market Funds: Which is Better?
Buying Shares for Long-Term Investment Opportunities
While buying shares may not provide instant gratification, it’s important to recognize that investing is a long-term game. In fact, buying and holding shares for the long haul has been proven to be one of the best investment opportunities for building wealth.
Here are some key points to understand why buying shares is good but may seem slow in yielding benefits:
Building Wealth Over Time
Investing in shares is primarily focused on long-term wealth building rather than short-term gains. It requires patience and discipline to allow your investments to grow steadily over time. By holding shares for the long run, you give yourself the opportunity to benefit from the compounding effect and potential capital appreciation.
Market Volatility and Fluctuations
Share prices are subject to market fluctuations, which can cause temporary dips and downturns. Understanding that short-term market volatility is a normal part of the investment journey is crucial. While it may be frustrating during certain periods, the market has historically shown resilience and an upward trajectory over the long term.
Dividends and Passive Income
Investing in dividend-paying shares can provide a steady stream of passive income. However, the frequency and amount of dividends depend on the company’s profitability and dividend policy. Therefore, it’s important to build a diversified portfolio of dividend stocks and allow time for these dividends to accumulate and contribute to your overall investment returns.
Related read: What To Do With Your Dividend And Interest Payments
Focus on Quality Companies
One effective investment strategy is to focus on companies with strong fundamentals and growth potential. While these investments may require some patience to mature fully, they typically offer more stable and sustainable returns over the long term. Proper research is crucial when selecting firms, as it is important to identify those with a proven track record and positive future outlook.
Reinvesting and Compounding
One way to accelerate the benefits of buying shares is by reinvesting your dividends. By reinvesting your earnings back into additional shares, you harness the power of compounding. Over time, this can significantly enhance your overall returns and expedite the growth of your investment portfolio.
Embracing a Long-Term Perspective
Successful investors understand the importance of adopting a long-term perspective. By staying invested and resisting the urge to buy and sell based on short-term market movements constantly, you position yourself to capture the potential rewards of patient investing. Remember that wealth accumulation is a marathon, not a sprint.
Treasury bonds for Long-Term Investment Opportunities
While the benefits of buying treasury bonds may not be realized as quickly as with other investments, such as MMF, their inherent safety, stable returns, and portfolio diversification advantages make them a valuable component of an investment strategy. By including treasury bonds in your portfolio, you can achieve a balance between stability, income generation, and long-term wealth preservation.
Here’s why buying treasury bonds is a good investment option:
Safety and Security
Treasury bonds are backed by the government, making them one of the safest investment instruments. The likelihood of default is extremely low, providing investors with high security for their capital.
Treasury bonds offer fixed interest payments known as coupon payments, paid out at regular intervals. These payments provide a predictable income stream and help preserve your investment’s value.
Diversification and Stability
Treasury bonds act as a stabilizing force in an investment portfolio. Their low volatility and negative correlation with other assets, such as stocks, can help to balance risk and reduce overall portfolio volatility.
Preservation of Capital
If capital preservation is a priority, treasury bonds can be an ideal choice. They offer a guaranteed return of principal upon maturity, ensuring that you will receive the total value of your investment back.
While the returns from treasury bonds may be slower compared to other investment options, they can still provide a steady income stream. Regular coupon payments can be particularly attractive for investors seeking consistent cash flow.
Related read: The 7 Income Streams You Should Consider Having
Treasury bonds act as a risk management tool during market volatility. When the stock market experiences downturns, or economic uncertainties arise, treasury bonds tend to perform well as investors flock to safe-haven assets.
Treasury bonds are highly liquid, meaning they can be easily bought or sold. This provides flexibility for investors to access their capital when needed, offering a degree of liquidity and financial maneuverability.
Remember, financial empowerment is a journey, and by actively engaging in savings and investment opportunities, we can navigate the uncertainties of freelancing and secure a brighter future.
Now, I’d like to hear from you. Have you considered these investment opportunities? What has been your experience so far? Share your thoughts, insights, and any other investment strategies you’ve found beneficial as a freelancer. Together, let’s continue the conversation and empower each other with valuable knowledge and experiences in our quest for financial stability and success.