Money Matters

A few months ago I attended one of Centonomy’s financial literacy courses, which was amazing! I’m pretty sure you have heard of them, Centonomy, if not, Google them. Thank me later. Well, I learnt loads from this course. Some of which I already knew, some of which I did not, all of which I was really happy to have exceptionally covered! I kept turning to whoever was sitting next to me in our sessions and lamenting at how I wished lecturers were this passionate about their work, the trainers are outstanding! Each and every one of them!

Okay, so after this course, I felt equipped to make my first million right then and there! I had a little money saved up and I was going to invest it because I knew exactly where to put it and seeing as I was finally making more informed financial choices, I excepted to see my money multiply right before my eyes!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I know that these things do not happen overnight. I know that one does not buy shares today and then wake up tomorrow, find their cost has gone up and they are now worth about 100 times what they once were. I get it. I shall however admit that I hoped something like 3 months would be this unspecified period of time that I needed to be patient for.

For the three or four months after attending this course before the year 2015 ended, all I did was save. Which I was very proud of myself for doing. The course taught me to really pay attention to all the money that goes through my hands, so to speak, no matter how little it may seem. I tracked every single shilling and managed to hit some pretty amazing saving targets that I set for myself.

When this year began, 2016, I felt I now had substantial capital to start investing! Time to make that money multiply! I have dedicated the first quarter to forex trading. I have read up on it a little bit, I still am not quite sure whether it is even possible to predict whether the strength of a currency will rise or fall in the days and weeks to come(if you can, please share your intel?), but as unprepared and scared as I felt, I went ahead and bought me some foreign currency!

Then began the religious daily checking of CBK forex rates, they regulate the Kenya money market. I wish they would update their site first thing in the morning, at 8am maybe, that sounds reasonable, no? They don’t. On my first day of officially being a forex trader, I found myself in class, repeatedly refreshing the browser on my phone, my thumb dragging down every now and then, almost like a nervous tick. Eyes darting from the lecturer down to my phone, hoping to see the dollar rate 10 shillings clear of what it was the day before. Sigh. I had been at it as of 6am and the site was finally updated somewhere between 11am and noon. The dollar rate had not changed. I tried to save face with myself, telling myself I really cannot have expected it to have changed significantly after just 24 hours…(you know, those things you think internally to try convince yourself you really don’t feel thaaatt disappointed?)

48 hours later and still the same story, very little variation if at all. By the time a week had gone by, I was seriously doubting myself. Wondering if perhaps I would have been better off leaving the money to sit in the bank. Picturing every worst case scenario, the shilling gaining on the dollar(a good thing for the country but a bad thing for me…), me making massive losses…but, risk, risk, risk. This is something the trainers kept iterating. Where you can make money, you need to be prepared to lose money as well. I told myself to be patient.

3 months are not yet up as I write this, yet I feel as though I have waited a millennium. I of the instant gratification generation.

I remember wishing the trainers would just tell us exactly where to put our money, I guess I hoped to get a road map to riches from them. A very serious road map, like walk forward for 100 metres, turn left, proceed for 10 dwarf-sized paces, hop on your left foot while holding your right ear with your eyes closed then open your eyes and start digging…there lies your treasure!

Well, yeah, that is what they give you, a road map, they teach you a whole lot about money and how and where you can put it to make it grow, but I guess I wished I had been spoon fed. Alas, this is not the way of the world, only of 8.4.4. In the real world, you have to get your hands dirty and learn the ropes and that is what I am setting out to do. Perhaps the next time I write about this I shall have made a killing on the money market(I wish!), but even if I haven’t, I’m still at it. Trying to take it all in my stride, uncertainty, risk, the good and the bad, taking it all in.

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