Just like most of us, I used to think that investing is reserved for a certain group of people. You guessed it right: the wealthy. In this beginner’s guide to investing in the stock market, I shared how for years, I observed young people being told…
‘You need a minimum of KES 100,000.’
When they asked…
“How do I invest in the Nairobi Securities Exchange?’’
The idea that I had to have such a huge amount of money always held me back.
When I eventually mastered the courage to do my own research, I was surprised – shocked really – that I could start investing in the stock market with as little as 1,000 shillings or less.
That experience was one of the many that inspired me to start this blog (join The Wealth Tribe 🤑) so that I could use the platform to demystify all the investing jargon and make sure that young people and low income-earners know that investing isn’t reserved for the wealthy.
You don’t need to be a Wolf of Wall Street to start investing. It’s okay if you’re more of a mouse on your own damn street.
If you’re a visual learner, you can watch the video on our YouTube Channel.
How to invest 1,000 shillings in Kenya
Isn’t it interesting that when we’re in such desperate situations, we value small amounts of money differently than we do when it comes to our savings/investments?
Any time you think that an amount of money is too little, reverse the situation and think of when you were broke and desperate. That will remind you of the value of 1,000 shillings.
With this mindset, you can start investing whether you’re a student who depends on parents, an intern, self-employed or an employee. Whichever amount of money you make per month, you should always put money towards investments.
So yes, ‘how do I invest my first 1K?’ is a valid question.
When you’re starting out in your investing journey, it’s not about how much money you invest, it’s about mastering the habit of saving and investing consistently.
It’s about teaching yourself that you do not need a reason to save money because as Morgan Housel teaches in his brilliant book The Psychology of Money, having a reason for saving (or investing) would only make sense if we lived in a predictable world, a world without surprises and curveballs. We are nowhere close to such a world, right?
Most people will list their responsibilities to show they cannot afford to invest. Investing in your future is not optional: you have to learn early on that paying yourself first is mandatory.
“Saving money is often associated with sacrifice. However, you can associate it with freedom rather than limitation if you realize one simple truth: living below your means INCREASES your future means. The money you save this month increases your purchasing power next month.”- Atomic Habits by James Clear
And now, lady/gent, here are practical ways to help you answer the question:
What can you invest in with 1,000 shillings?
‘‘The first idea-simple, but easy to overlook-is that building wealth has little to do with your income or investment returns, and lots to do with your savings rate.’’ – Morgan Housel
1. Invest in a personal/business website
A personal website, which can include the services or products you offer, is an extremely useful professional tool.
This website has helped me:
I suck at traditional networking that involves attending conferences, cocktail hours or sending cold emails.
I learnt from James Clear that “The most effective networking strategy I’ve found has nothing to do with conferences, cocktail hours, cold emails, or any of the common ideas you hear.
1) Do interesting things.
2) Share them publicly.
Like-minded people will come to you.”
It works like magic!
Land financial coaching clients.
Being a personal finance coach wasn’t part of the plan when I started this blog. The initial goal was to simply document my financial freedom journey as I build a community of young people who have honest conversations about money and help each other build wealth.
After a year of consistently publishing articles, a few people started reaching out and asked me to be their financial coach. See? Being consistent and having a professional website pays.
Impress a few people😉
Both professional and in social settings.
We all have a digital footprint, one of the best ways to enhance yours is by having a website.
You don’t need to be a web designer to create your own website. You can build your whole site without needing to touch a single line of code as I did.
With Bluehost, you can get started at only $2.95 per month (approximately 317 shillings). This deal also includes a FREE domain name (which usually goes for at least $15), custom email address, and free daily backups for your website, at no extra cost to you!
*Your domain name is your website address. For example, my domain name is thewealthtribe.com.
2. Pay off debt
There are two ways to make a guaranteed return in the investing world:
- Pay down debt (none of your money will go towards paying the interest rates)
- Save on taxes.
Everything else is not guaranteed! Directing your 1,000 shillings towards attaining debt freedom is, therefore, a wise way to ‘invest.’
The interest rates you pay especially on high-interest loans such as credit cards could give your investment account a big boost! Getting out of debt increases your net worth by reducing your liabilities but also gives you more money to direct towards your investing goals.
Coming to terms with all the debt you’re carrying can be a daunting experience. Using this Debt Payoff Planner & Calculator, you can put a stop to walking around with stiff shoulders, clenched jaws, shame and switching off your phone to avoid phone calls from debt collectors.
3. The stock market
As established at the beginning of this article, you don’t need KES 100,000 (or an amount close to that!) to start owning parts of the businesses listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange.
Let’s use an example:
Company: Kenya Power
Share price as of 27th Jan 2022: KES 1.57
You need to buy a minimum of 100 shares: 1.57*100=KES 157
You can start your stocks’ investment journey with as low as 157 bob!
From the above example, all you need is 157 shillings and the following documents:
- ID copy
- KRA pin
- 2 coloured passport photos
- 1 page of Bank or Mpesa statements
- A filled application form (your broker will provide)
And a licensed stockbroker to help you set up your CDSC account.
*Your CDSC account is an electronic account that stores all the shares from the different companies that you own.
If you need a more detailed guide on how to start investing in the stock market, click here.
If you want to own stock in companies whose stock prices are a bit higher such as Safaricom which is currently trading at 37 shillings, you can send the 1,000 to your brokerage account. Use it as a savings account until you have enough to purchase 100 shares: in this example, you’ll need 3,700 shillings. By sending the 1,000 shillings to your broker, you won’t have access to the money which will reduce the temptation to spend money meant for investments.
In owning stocks, we own businesses. These businesses have assets and create products. The value of those rise with inflation, providing a hedge against the falling value of the currency. This is especially true in times of low to moderate inflation. — Excerpt from A Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins
4. Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
You need about Ksh 20 billion to buy the 50-acre Waterfront Mall in Karen.
It will cost you another Ksh 1.35 billion to put up a project similar to the upcoming Meru Greenwood City being constructed by Fusion Capital.
If you have been keen enough as you move around Nairobi, you may have seen the Qwetu brand of Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) facilities. Owning one of those e.g Qwetu Hurlingham or Qwetu Aberdare Heights will cost you not less than Ksh 1.5 billion.
These are eye-popping figures that you may not even want to think of as an individual investor, more so, a beginner. In the wisdom of many, this is a lane best reserved for deep-pocketed institutional investors who have all the monies to splash around.
While that may be true, here is a much truer statement: with as little as under Ksh 1,000 bob, you can start owning slices of these investments. Yes, you heard it right.
Using an investment vehicle called a REIT, you can own units (shares) in these humongous investments previously inaccessible to retail investors like you and me. To whet your appetite even further, you currently need just Ksh. 212.39 (circa. 4 loaves of 400g bread) to buy 10 units of ownership in the Qwetu portfolio of student residences and begin earning returns right away.
REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) are regulated investment vehicles where investors like you and I pool their funds (just like we do while investing in Money Market Funds) to invest in real estate assets. In exchange for the money you invest, you are allocated units from which you earn dividends and capital gains. It is that simple!
Yes, you can invest in real estate without having to directly buy a house, plot, or put up rentals.
This Saturday (29th January) from 7:30 to 9 pm, we’ll have a deep dive into everything you need to know in order to start investing in REITs in Kenya.
Can’t wait to help you become a real estate mogul!
5. Money Market Funds
Money market funds are one of the best beginner-friendly investments in Kenya.
They’re a low-risk investment which makes it a safe investment for a beginner in investing or anyone who doesn’t want to have sleepless nights thinking about losing their investment. I guess that includes all of us?
Money Market Funds do not require a lot of money to start. With as low as Kshs 1,000 you can begin your wealth compounding journey using companies such as Britam Money Market and Zimele Asset Management.
A Money Market Fund is managed by a professional money manager.
The professional money manager invests the money you put in Money Market Funds (MMFs) in different asset classes.
MMFs predominantly invest in 3 asset classes commonly referred to as Money Market Instruments. These are:
- Commercial paper – issued by corporations to finance their short-term cashflow needs.
- Treasury bills – when the government borrows money from the public.
- Fixed deposits – deposits in commercial banks.
For the best beginner’s guide on how to start investing in MMFs, click here.
The real secret to wealth is to spend less than you earn, invest the difference and do it regularly for not less than two decades. No wealth coach or get rich book would tell you this. Remember, for most of us, there is no other way than the hard way. – D Muthukrishnan
6. Join a Chama
“When you’re young, you’re either very rich or very many.”
This is one of my favourite investing quotes that a member of a Chama that I belong to keeps repeating.
If you were born rich (please rescue me!), kudos to you.
If you were not born rich like most of us, then you need to find a group of young people you trust to invest together.
When you’re many, you can all chip in small amounts (1,000 or less!) and buy an asset. Numbers also means you have the bargaining power, and if it’s a serious company you also get to learn valuable investment skills from each other.
Such groups also teach you collaboration which is a skill needed in the investment world. And the best part? What you achieve shows you that it’s possible to build from nothing.
You achieve so much together and form strong networks.
There’s an Ethiopian proverb that I love ‘when spiders unite, they can tie up a lion.’ Nothing beats the power of collaborative effort.
7. Invest in yourself
How could there be any type of return when you invest in yourself? You are your most important asset and investing in yourself is one of the most lucrative investments you could ever make.
Megan Tull, the author of The Passion Belief Method, writes that investing in yourself is so powerful because “the value and potential that you possess, is important enough to you and you should give it the energy, space and time to grow and create results.”
How can you invest in yourself using 1,000 shillings or less?
Books are the best ways to build knowledge and expertise in any area of your life.
If you’re looking to attain financial freedom this year, we created 2 financial freedom e-books to help you get started.
A. 14 Habits That Will Make You Wealthy (499 Bob!)
Trying to be disciplined in your spending, summoning your willpower to avoid buying an extra pair of shoes (insert your current addiction) or forcing self-control to avoid impulse purchases is a short-term strategy.
It’s more sustainable in the long term if you create an environment where positive money habits are a normal lifestyle.
This is an e-book that will help you design an environment that will help you succeed financially by incorporating the 14 habits while also helping you track your progress.
B. When Helping Hurts: How To Deal With Black Tax (999 Bob!)
How much of your income should go towards extended family support?
This e-book will help you navigate the gift & burden that is black tax with practical solutions on how to effectively help your family without jeopardizing your financial health & freedom.
Here’s what a reader said:
“This book made me escape a bullet of having to pay black tax for the next 20+ years! For 12 years, I carried the full financial responsibility of taking care of my parents. This would leave me with 0 savings and I barely had any investments yet I’ve had a good job all along. I learnt that: Unless somebody is incapacitated, I shouldn’t take over 100% of their financial lives because that’s literally disempowering them. Instead, I invested their retirement lump sum in Treasury Bonds which gave them an income. I’m now left with supporting their minor emergencies and my retirement fund is fattening every day! I’m buying it for all my girlfriends!”
8. High Yield Savings Account
While I was still stuck in the mindset that investing is for the wealthy, I used to invest by keeping my money in a high yield savings account. It used to be one of those where I could access my money only 4 times a year. It wasn’t the best way to invest but it helped me with the discipline I needed and a platform since I only had 1,000 or less to invest per month.
When you have money tucked away in a savings account, you usually earn some interest on the account balance. Unfortunately, the interest you earn might not generate much income. That’s certainly true in today’s low-interest-rate environment. In some cases, you’ll end up earning less than the inflation rate, which means the money you saved is actually losing spending power over time.
The current inflation rate hovers around 5.62%. This means a savings account giving you 5% is hardly protecting you against inflation, you are losing money instead.
9. Employer Retirement Fund
Does your employer offer a pension plan?
A lot of people that I’ve asked this question say they don’t know. This can be either because they didn’t read their employment contract or because their employer doesn’t play an active role in ensuring that they sign up.
Not signing up if they do have one, means you’re leaving free money on the table.
It could be a government pension scheme such as the NSSF in Kenya or one offered by your employer.
This is one of the most affordable ways to start keeping money aside for your retirement.
You might think that you’re too young and that being 65 is a million years away but it’s not. As Richard Thaller and Cass Sunstein write in Nudge, “self-control issues are most likely to arise when choices and their consequences are separated in time.”
Find a balance between spending your money now and investing in your future.
Ask your employer if they offer a pension plan and sign up.
As JL Collins writes in his book The Simple Path To Wealth, “stop thinking about what your money can buy. Start thinking about what your money can earn. And then think about what it earns can earn.”
Even if you currently don’t have the 1,000 shillings today to invest, start where you are with what you have and grow. Surely you must be having a few hours to spare. Visit a broker and open a CDS account, it’s FREE.
We all have money. We should learn to manage the little we have and grow it.
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