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How to invest money in Kenya – investment options at a glance

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Friday, November 25th, 2022 at 4:53 PM (EAT)

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There is no general answer to the question “ How do I invest my money correctly in Kenya?”. It depends on individual needs and expectations. Some people prefer to hold the money for a short period of time so that it can be accessed at any time, while others invest the money for the long term – with limited liquidity but with higher interest rates and/or income opportunities than those that prefer a short-term investment.

There are numerous investment options available to you in Kenya: from overnight deposits, to securities in the form of shares, bonds or share funds , to other tangible assets such as gold or real estate. This is an introduction to the different investment options in Kenya. Overnight deposit’s rates are fixed on a daily basis, and the rate keeps on changing based on the market forces of demand and supply for that day.

What are the considerations to make before investing your money in Kenya?

  1. Possibilities: Money can be invested in different ways . In this way, every investor can individually determine what the investment should look like and for what purposes the money should be invested.
  2. Flexibility: It doesn’t matter whether it’s a savings plan with a small amount per month or a larger sum as a one-off payment in one fell swoop: Thanks to numerous options, you can invest money individually and flexibly . You also decide whether you want to invest your money permanently or have access to it at any time.
  3. Yield: If you want to invest money with a view to yield, you usually have to take a higher risk. ETFs offer the opportunity to spread the risk widely and still achieve an attractive long-term return for wealth accumulation.
  4. Duration: Do I invest money for the next summer vacation or for personal pension provision? The period of investment – from a few days to several years – is decisive for liquidity and the level of interest.

How can I invest money sensibly in Kenya?

Before thinking about an investment and its strategy, savers should first make sure that they are debt-free. Anyone who still has outstanding debts from loans or financing should settle them before money is reinvested and otherwise invested. If you want to invest money privately, there are various options to choose from. An investment usually has the goal of generating a profit or not suffering any losses. Therefore, the question arises as to which strategy should be pursued when considering the different investment options available to you in Kenya.

Should you invest short-term or long-term in Kenya?

In order to invest money, it must first be determined whether one can do without the money for a longer period of time – possibly even years – or whether one would like to get hold of the money again quickly, should the worst come to the worst.

In order to determine the investment horizon, savers should be clear about their goals. One goal can be long-term wealth accumulation, another private pension plan. But larger purchases such as buying a car, a home or money for the next vacation can also be goals of an investment.

As a rule, the lower the interest rate, the faster it is possible to get hold of the money . Investors often receive higher interest rates the longer the invested money is invested . Overall, it also depends on the amount of money that is to be invested and the risk that you are willing to take. For some forms of investment , for example, certain minimum investment amounts must be observed.

Some ways to invest money in Kenya are:

  1. Gold
  2. Short term options
  3. fixed deposit
  4. securities such stocks or bonds
  5. funds or ETFs
  6. savings in bank, etc.

Invest money in gold

Precious metals represent one of the oldest investments and have been used as a means of payment for ages. From a long-term perspective, the price of gold has risen sharply in the past and is currently at a multi -year high . Many investors therefore think it is a good idea to invest at least partially in gold.

Advantages:

  • Long Term Investing: Historically, gold has always maintained a fundamental value. Even with losses, it is unlikely that it will ever become completely worthless.
  • Security: Unlike gold securities or certificates, physical gold is considered a safer investment.

Disadvantages:

  • No Real Yield: Precious metals like gold and silver produce no yield unless supply and demand drive prices up.
  • Costs: In addition to the acquisition costs, the costs for safe storage and insurance should also be taken into account.
  • Harmful Effects: Precious metals are often mined under extremely polluting conditions . Human rights are also disregarded in many places.

Invest money in Kenya’s banks’ savings accounts

Strictly speaking, the money in the bank account isn’t really an investment because it’s just being held there. Still, we think it makes sense to include it on our list because a lot of people do just that. While there used to be some attractive interest rates for it, this strategy promises little today.

Advantages:

  • Security and availability: Your money is safe from fluctuations and immediately available in case you need to access it quickly.

Disadvantages:

  • Hidden costs: Services provided by banks cost money and they know how to hide bank charges – this often leads to nasty surprises.
  • Negative Yields: Savings account interest rates are currently around 0% to 1% per year and are not expected to increase. If we now also factor in the significantly higher inflation, you will even lose money in the end!

Investing your money in cryptocurrencies in Kenya

Ever since Bitcoin was born in 2009, the digital currency has been surrounded by myth and speculation. While some early adopters made millions, others lost nearly their entire investment.

Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple are still hotly debated today. The market continues to be extremely unpredictable and some experts even compare it to the tulip mania of 17th century Netherlands! These high-risk investments are certainly interesting, but should also be treated with caution.

Advantages:

  • Simple and Fast: Transactions are easy to make, lightning fast, and relatively inexpensive.
  • Future potential: The decentralized approach is an exciting alternative to traditional banks and has great potential.

Disadvantages:

  • High risk of loss: Cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and could become completely worthless within a short period of time.
  • No real income: Digital currencies do not generate any real income, but rather rely on price increases as an object of speculation.
  • Seriousness: Many cryptocurrencies have extremely questionable business models. There have been several instances of Ponzi schemes.
  • Lack of regulation: Bitcoin and Co. are still little regulated. This can lead to tax and legal problems in the future.

Cryptocurrency or digital currency is a type of investment that allows faster payments and transactions at significantly low fees in place of traditional banks. So how do you invest in cryptocurrencies in Kenya?

To invest in cryptos, such as bitcoins, KenyanWallStreet explains:

  • Join a bitcoin exchange; where you will make purchases of bitcoins. Examples of cryptocurrency exchanges include Kraken, Coinbase and Binance.
  • Get a bitcoin wallet; you can get either a cold wallet or a hot wallet to store your bitcoins
  • Have a bank account; to transfer funds easily
  • Place your bitcoin order
  • Keep track of your bitcoin investment

Short term options (call money, overnight deposits)

There are situations, such as when suddenly the washing machine is defective, which prompt one to need money urgently. A call money account is suitable to set aside a buffer for short-term purchases. Call money is any type of short-term, interest-earning financial loan that the borrower has to pay back immediately whenever the lender demands it. It can help for emergency purchases: it is recommended to save 2-3 months’ salary as a reserve. It is important that you can access the money flexibly at any time.

With overnight deposits, you can look forward to permanently higher interest rates than at your savings bank. The call money interest is variable and the deposit is legally protected by the deposit insurance. The call money account is therefore a good alternative to current accounts and savings accounts, which currently do not earn any interest.

Fixed deposit

In contrast to overnight money , fixed -term deposits are usually not available at all times. Also called a time deposit, it is invested for a fixed period of time. The longer this period, the higher the fixed deposit interest rates, which remain fixed for the entire term. You can determine the period yourself – from a few weeks or months to several years . The larger the investment amount and the longer the term chosen, the higher the interest income can usually be.

Investing money in Kenya securities (financial markets)

Another long-term investment option is investing in stocks. These can come in the form of stocks, bonds , certificates, warrants, ETFs, and funds.

ETFs

ETF is the abbreviation for Exchange Traded Funds, which translates to exchange-traded index funds. They are characterized by low fees and reflect the performance of an index. ETFs have the advantage that they spread the risk across several securities and thus spread it widely.

Like traditional funds, ETFs are made up of various stocks. The difference is that they are traded on a public exchange and not sold privately through a bank or wealth manager. Most ETFs are passively managed index funds. So they replicate an index, such as the DAX or the MSCI World. If you want to invest your money in ETFs, there are special aspects to consider.

Advantages:

  • Diversification: As with traditional equity funds, investments in most ETFs are diversified, resulting in low risk and good returns.
    Costs: The passive management of ETFs causes lower costs than actively managed funds. Even so, there are sometimes hidden fees.

Disadvantages:

  • Complexity: ETFs are highly complex financial products. For example, so-called synthetic replications create a counterparty risk if the latter becomes insolvent.
  • No ownership: Even with ETFs, you do not own any shares directly, only the shares of the fund.
  • Lack of sustainability: ETFs don’t let you make decisions about specific stocks, with even “sustainable” and “socially responsible” ETFs containing questionable companies.

Invest money in stocks in Kenya

Investing in stocks still sounds like a risky endeavor to many beginners. But it doesn’t have to be that way – with a mature strategy, money can be invested sensibly here. Online platforms and digitization have helped make processing both easier and cheaper in recent years.

You should also  focus on investing in the stock market. The prerequisite for this is a well-diversified portfolio of at least 30 to 40 stocks. These should be spread across various industries, countries and currencies and contain companies of different sizes. Depending on your age and preferred investment horizon, a proportion of government bonds to reduce expected portfolio volatility is a good option. Depending on your preferred risk level, you can increase or decrease the proportion of bonds. It is of course important that you consider your personal circumstances and seek independent advice before making an investment decision.

Invest money in bonds

Obligations, fixed-income securities, bonds or bonds follow a simple principle: You lend money to a state or a company and receive interest for it. These are set in advance and paid out annually before you get your money back at the end of the term. Unlike a loan, a bond can also be sold. In this case, the new owner receives the subsequent interest income and the final payment.

Advantages:

  • Safety: Bonds in Kenya are generally considered to be very safe. The risk of insolvency is extremely low. With other publishers, it depends on the individual case.
  • Low fluctuations: Bonds are not very volatile and therefore represent a stable investment.

Disadvantages:

  • High minimum amounts: The minimum investment for bonds is usually very high. Therefore, many investors cannot or do not want to invest in bonds. An alternative are shares in bond ETFs that contain several bonds.
  • Low income: Low interest rates also mean that hardly any income can be expected here. It is often not possible to offset inflation with bonds these days.

Invest money in real estate in Kenya

Real estate prices in Kenya have risen rapidly in recent years. In large cities such as Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, and Kisumu in particular, the prices for houses have multiplied. This causes many people to want to jump on the bandwagon as they watch the price action and are afraid of missing out on the tempting gains.

Many people prefer to invest their money in an owner-occupied home to save on rental costs if they have sufficient equity. However, if you want to invest in real estate, there are a few aspects to consider.

How much money should I invest in Kenya?

It doesn’t take a large fortune to start investing money . However, investors should only invest money that they do not need over the investment period they have set themselves. Access to the global financial markets has become child’s play with ETFs. It is possible to pay a smaller amount – e.g. Ksh5,000 – to invest monthly. This savings rate can be invested with an ETF savings plan, for example. In addition, a larger amount can be paid in as a one-time payment directly at the beginning or during the savings phase in order to be able to obtain a return on a larger total sum.

More ways to invest money

Many attractive companies are not listed on the stock exchange. Investors can only invest in these companies through private equity funds.

Investing in other tangible assets has also become increasingly popular over the years. In addition to art and antiques, gold and real estate are among the most well-known options for investing money in real assets. Many investors opt for this form of investment because the goods are mostly inflation-proof and crisis-proof and the demand for them is constantly increasing.

The disadvantages of real assets include the limited tradability and liquidity of the asset classes compared to shares. The safe storage of gold and art as well as the high acquisition costs can also pose problems for investors.

Invest in an income raise salary negotiations

We come across salary negotiations again and again in life – whether it’s for the first job, when changing employers or, as is currently the case, at the end of the year appraisal. For most of us it is rather an uncomfortable topic. How much money should you ask for? What arguments do I use to convince my boss? And what are acceptable alternatives if there is no salary increase?

A salary negotiation is a very emotional matter for many people. The majority of Kenyans are very reserved when it comes to this topic. After all, most Kenyan workers have never achieved a wage increase in their life. Others just rely on the bargaining power of a trade union or employee representative body. Others just wait for the employer to approach them, or hope to achieve a higher income by changing jobs.

But what actually happens to the money after a successful salary negotiation? You can put the excess income aside and save it, explore wealth accumulation, increase your standard of living with the increased salary, spend the money on more consumption, pay off debts, invest in further educational qualifications.

If you don’t ask for a salary raise, you lose – when it comes to salary, this applies in two ways. Many people underestimate the potential for returns from wage increases. This is all the more problematic when salary increases only remain in the account instead of being put to good use. It pays off twice as much to always invest part of a salary increase in wealth accumulation – for example, broadly diversified in ETFs. This is how the money works and produces a handsome return over time.

Conclusion: how to find the right way to invest money well?

There are different ways money can be invested . Depending on individual needs and wishes, you can choose between a short-term investment , which you can access again quickly, or a long-term investment. Depending on the investment period and the investor’s willingness to take risks , different interest rates or returns can be achieved.

This results in a wide range of options for savings such as money market or time deposit accounts , which are subject to deposit protection, or riskier investments in shares, ETFs and real assets.

Investors should only invest savings that they do not need over the investment horizon. If you don’t have large savings, you can invest even with low monthly contributions in the form of an ETF savings plan. Investors can make secure savings investments as well as investments in ETFs and thus put together their own investments according to their own risk expectations.

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