Search for Savings & Loans
Money and Me: ‘I Save Ksh35K Monthly, But I Don’t Know How to Invest’
Money and Me: ‘I Save Ksh35K Monthly, But I Don’t Know How to Invest’
See The Best Loans Available in Kenya Today
Money and Me

Money and Me: ‘I Save Ksh35K Monthly, But I Don’t Know How to Invest’

Kibaki Muthamia
April 8, 2022

This is a financial distress message to my DM. 

“My name is Kathleen. My friends call me Kathy. I'm a single mother of one. I have a decent, salaried job at an insurance firm. Also, I run a grocery side hustle. From both incomes, I'm able to save Ksh35,000 on a good month. Problem is, I lack investment skills. This money just sits in my bank account. Besides, my child is getting into high school, and school fee requirements have increased.

With my current financial set up, is it advisable to get an education insurance plan? I’m confused.

Can you suggest a simple roadmap to investing I can consider?"

I am no financial expert, but I have had a some experience with financial products. In recognising the challenge that single, working parents with little investment knowledge face, I engaged a professional investment consultant to put together this article that should serve as an exploration of options one has for their savings and not in any way or form be construed to be investment advice.

Always take investment advice ONLY from a licensed investment advisor. My aim with this article is for awareness purposes as we all are going through this journey of figuring out the best way to get the most of the money that we have.

Also Read: Where Do I Keep my savings? The 7 Main Places to Put Your Savings

How Best Can You Describe Single Parenthood?

Single parenthood is a little like riding a bike. Except that, you are riding it backwards. All this while, you are juggling a couple of balls in the air. It's not common to purposely choose single parenthood, but once it happens, one has to deal with the balls the best way they can.

Also Read: 7 Key Money Mistakes Single Parents Make

The most delicate of these balls is financial stability - for self and loved ones.

In a nutshell, this single mother seeks a simple-to-follow roadmap to investing. Here is a soft approach, which offers to build security - and yet, some fluid liquidity to handle emergencies and short term financial needs.

What Savings Options Are Available For Kathy?

To start off, at this point - an education insurance policy may not deliver what you need. There are better options, in my opinion.

It’s also prudent to avoid keeping money idle in a bank account. That incurs costs, with zero returns. 

Also Read: Should You Keep Your Savings in a Current Account?

The basic tip is to stack the savings in a place with better returns than a bank's savings account.

The next best options are split evenly between a Money Market Fund (MMF), and Sacco shares that earn an annual dividend. In this case, the single mother can ride along with both options.

To build a good portfolio, it's vital to prioritise liquidity and security in the early stages. That lends it a good foundation, in my opinion. This is because, you do not want to stand the risk of losing your life savings while you are still trying to acquire foundational assets and neither do you want to have all your money tied up in an illiquid asset such as real estate when you need a significant amount of cash fast - in both worst-case scenarios, you will have to get into debt.

Split the existing savings into three parts: as follows:

1. Emergency Fund

The first part of the existing savings is used to create an emergency fund. Also, specific monthly allocations continue for the first six months. An emergency fund account is not an ‘ever-green’ account. This means that a target amount is determined, and saving done towards that target.

For example, the single mum can set an emergency fund target at Ksh120,000 (Six months of Ksh20k monthly expenses). She then allocates a monthly amount, for a specific number of months. Maybe, six months allowing her to reach the target.   

You can choose to keep your emergency fund in a money market account to earn more interest. 

After the six months, or when she attains the target - whichever comes first - this account can then be used to save for other short term expenses - this is without EVER withdrawing the emergency fund amount, unless an ACTUAL emergency occurs. Short term expenses include school fees, vacations, household milestones - say, birthday parties, and so on.

Note that everything else should not exactly be suspended until the emergency fund is fully funded. You have to allocate part of monthly income to other savings goals. So, if you need to, you can stretch the funding period to even over a year and half, as long as you diligently add funds to that account. 

Read Also: What is an Emergency Fund and Why You Need One

2. Long Term Investments

This is an account with a sole purpose of accumulating funds that enable you to pursue long term investments. This account also demands a target amount, or target savings period. This target amount or period is dependent on the specific long term investment one is willing to pursue.

For Kathy, some of the long-term investment options include real estate, stocks, mutual funds and government bonds among others. The idea is to first build up enough capital as you explore your risk tolerance and learn more about investment options available before committing your money.

Read Also: Investing for Beginners: How to Get Started

Investment 101: Most Popular Investment Types in Kenya

What’s the Difference Between Treasury Bills and Bonds?

Sometimes, people get mixed up when talking of treasury bonds and treasury bonds. Let me explain, for Kathy’s sake, too. It’s a viable option. 

The main difference between the two is the maturity term. The treasury bills also known as the T-bills have maturity periods of one year. It’s all about offering the government loans on short term. This comes with very attractive returns.

On the other hand, government bonds are investment instruments with maturity periods of more than one year. If an investor waits until maturity, they get their principal back, along with its interest. Of course, this has relatively higher returns than T-bills.

For Kathy, she can start off with both T-bills and government bonds. To handle high school fee structures, these investment options can be timed to mature coinciding with fee payment points. It’s a win-win.

If she has the fees handled, the T-bills or government bonds can be rolled over to the next investment cycle.  

3. Sacco Shares

Once a member joins a Sacco, they start saving on a daily, monthly - whenever income comes in. The deposits are converted into shares, which allow a member to borrow funds against their savings. For most Sacco’s, there’s only a 3-month holding period for a new member to qualify for a loan.

For Kathy, our single mother in a dilemma, this is ideal. 

She can use her account to build extra savings, which also partly acts as an emergency fund. In this case, she’s within reach of an emergency loan usually processed within 24 hours. After a while, say six months, she can take a loan - three times her savings - with generally low interest rates. 

Read Also: Windfall: Sacco Members Reap Big in 2021 Dividends

What other financial tips would Kathy find useful?

  • Be patient - saving towards financial security is a slow, long journey.
  • Keep out of debt, especially to acquire depreciating assets - like cars. Save for it, instead.
  • Keep track of your expenses - cut out unnecessary expenses. Or, keep it to the minimum. 
  • Make monthly budgets. Keep to the budgets.
  • Invest in self - learn new skills that can translate to a new income source.


Study the habits of the rich, and wealthy. They lean towards investing. But, then - you need resources you can invest. As a beginner, concentrate on ways of growing and saving your income to build a nest egg for investing.

After 1-2 years, you’ll have a sizeable amount - in savings. It’s time for long term investments. Start buying cash-producing assets. Diversify that portfolio, as the wealth increases. 

Kibaki Muthamia is a creative non-fiction writer with over three years in narrative-style content writing, SEO, digital marketing and social media copywriting. Away from writing, if you don't find him volunteering with St John's Ambulance, he's weaving spoken word and poetry at the Kenya National Theatre. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

Learn more about Personal Loans available in Kenya on Money254

Money 254 is a new platform focused on helping you make more out of the money you have. We've created a simple, fast and secure way to find and compare financial products that best match your needs. All of the information shown is from products available at established financial institutions that our team of experts has tirelessly collected.

Instantly search loan products from established providers in Kenya and compare on the terms that matter most to you.
Find the best Personal Loans for me

Don't miss another article - download the new Money254 App Today

Get it on Google Play

Sign up for our newsletter and get weekly money tips to your inbox.

Get updates from the Money254 team on financial news and new Money254 features.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.