Tuesday 1 November 2022

Fireside Chat-Excerpt from Barbra Katende's Insights on World Savings Day Challenge

Fireside Chat Picture from Xeno

By Arthur Moses Opio

Yesterday, October the 31st, 2022, was world savings day.


XENO Uganda came up with a fireside chat, talking about savings. Andrew Kyamagero was flanked by Flavia Tumusiime Kabuura and Barbra Katende.

To go straight into some of the key things shared Let me start with this quote.

"A future without savings, you become an outcast in the family. You can't talk. At a funeral, you fetch water. You can't have access to credit. You become a burden to your kids. " —Barbra Katende

Barbra mentioned this to explain the above quote. Without savings, you become a beggar for life. This is so true, especially in a time like this where research shows that after retirement, the people who pick up their NSSF don't have it after two years. 

Uganda's saving culture (terribly low)

In an online article dubbed, "Why Ugandans don't save" by the Daily Monitor, first written on the 5th of November 2018 and updated on the 2nd of January 2021, it was mentioned that our saving rate is 12%. Compared to Kenya (23%), Tanzania (13%), and Rwanda (18%),

According to the article, they said, "Going by the statistics, the saving culture of Ugandans is terribly low."

Having celebrated the world's saving day, the question would be, where are you as an individual?

Ugandans' Lazy-Even a Fool Can Survive

The president of the Republic of Uganda, General Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, while being interviewed on KTN News, said that his compatriots are unwilling or unable to exploit the natural resources in the country. He further asserted, and I quote,

"That’s why these Ugandans are lazy. They are lazy because a fool here cannot easily die. Even if you are a fool, you can survive by eating from your brother’s house. "

Maybe there is some truth in what the President is saying, and many of us here quite know that you can't go hungry. But doesn't that reflect on our savings culture with the 12% savings rate? Many have reasons for not saving, and one of them is that they don't earn enough. Some just have too many excuses about FOMO, YOLO, etc.  

Advice to Young People on Savings

Similarly, Barbra Katende says, "Most of us learn about saving when we have a job and make mistakes when we are young." 

She mentioned that money is not taught in schools, so someone has to learn about it outside of school. She said, "In your S.4 and S.6 vacation, as a student, you should be working. Get experience. She advised students to open savings accounts.

Money and Marriage (It's easy to discuss children, but not money).

In regards to money and marriage, Barbra Katende said, and I quote, "The most difficult subject to talk about in a marriage is finances. You can talk about kids, but it's hard to talk about money."

She was then asked how much couples should contribute.

First, she said, "We should have individual and joint accounts. If I want to do my hair, it is easily done. If the husband wants to watch football, it can happen with ease."

Flavia interjected and commented.

My husband and I decided to open a joint account. I asked, "What's the point of having money if all we're going to do is pay fees?" and we decided to open an account for the child. As a couple, we decided how much to put into the account. My husband and I removed love from money, especially for the money we pull together.

Barbra further asserted this by saying, "I recommend a percentage of the income one earns. E.g., from my salary, "I will contribute 40% of my salary to the joint account." If one earns more, the percentage is more even at 40%.

She concluded by mentioning that not discussing money leads people to problems. Once you agree on percentages, it ceases to be a discussion.

Lying About Money

Andrew Kyamagero asked a question: Why are men scared to talk about finances with women? 

Barbra said, "Men and women lie about money." In giving more light to this point, she said, 

"My brothers said the reason men lie about money is simple; if a man says I have one million Uganda shillings, a woman will say buy land, pay fees, etc., yet he has tires to fix, etc." #SheMoney refers to the money that women lie about. He doesn't know that I have it. If my child falls sick at night, that's the money that will rush the kid to the hospital when my husband says there is no money.


Steps to Financial Freedom

A person in the audience asked about the steps to financial freedom. This is what she had to say.

  1. Get a job and start earning money. (Live on 50% of your income, the other 50% goes into an investment.)
  2. Start to save (pay yourself first). If possible, automate it. Put in a standing order.
  3. Start investing (use an institution like @XenoUganda).

Brian Ekajait further added:

  1. 4. Seek advice if you don't know how to approach your saving and investment journey. 
  2. 5. Be patient with it. It's not an overnight success project.

To conclude the fireside chat, talk, she said,

Don't touch the money for investment; it is money for your future. Set aside money for retirement on the first job or salary you get. Begin planning for retirement. You will retire at 55 and die at 90. It can be joyful or miserable.

Find out more about affordability and raising money-savvy kids from tweets made about the chat via @arthurkmo.

If you are thinking of starting your investment journey today, you can sign up with XENO Uganda @XenoUganda for as little as 10,000 Uganda shillings by dialing *165*5*7#, or by visiting their website myxeno.com to sign up. You can as well use the App. You can refer to my code XENO84105.


Happy saving and investment. 


Happy World Savings Day.

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