Sunday 24 March 2024

Why is a school child taught about bank accounts but not about investment accounts? asked Alex Kakande

By Arthur Moses Opio

An apple doesn't fall far from the tree. We are the by product of our upbringing and environment. We can't go beyond what we have been exposed to. If I grew with parent's talking about money in negative ways or just always complaining about how scarce or hard it is to make or even grow - that's what I will carry with all my life.

Alex Kakande recently wrote an article about a dream he has, he started by saying, 

"I have a dream that someday Uganda will transition to an investment-centric society. For an extended period, this nation has thrived on the spirit of entrepreneurship, which is commendable."

"My dream is to witness the growth of our capital markets, not through the participation of a mere 100,000 -200,000 individuals currently in the Capital Market Space, but to grow it to 1 Million people, 5 Million plus Ugandans.

Alex further said, 

"We need to initiate a paradigm shift towards investment. If an individual aspires to open a salon, they could alternatively purchase a stake in a thriving salon instead of starting from scratch. We need to embrace an investment mindset that appreciates the merits of shared risk, injecting capital into existing businesses, and discussing annual returns."

I responded to his article in the comment section and said, "Alex you have spoken well." You have said and I quote, 

"It is sad to see people well-versed in betting, yet ignorant about buying shares of companies like MTN, Airtel, Stanbic, Bank of Baroda, Dfcu, and others. If people can risk their money in betting, why not in purchasing shares?"

The question then is what is the root cause of all this misalignment? 

Why can't people have a change of mindset?

We all have a financial blueprint and our environments have a strong bearing on how we think and interact with money. From childhood, we have been told money is evil, rich people are evil, you can't have a lot of money and be good, etc. In school we were never taught about money except about cost or buying staff but nothing to do with investment. So we don't have that in our blueprint. Someone earns money and they first thing they think of is spending, they are hooked by the "Shiny Object Syndrome." Some have the Diderot effect, it's something that disturbs them. Some want to play the status game and not the wealth game. Some keep complaining, that life just happens while a wealthy person thinks totally different and says, "I create my life."

In schools, A is still for Apple and not for Asset, B is still for Ball and not for Bonds, C is still for Car and not Capital or Compound Interest, D is still for Dog and not Dividends. With such a curriculum, what do we expect?

All this stuff is by design, our poverty is by design, our mindsets are for consumption and that's by design. The poorer the person, the easier they can be controlled, someone still says, "I want my money where I can see it." That's by design. Our parents were limited to such education, the media can't give the knowledge on Unit Trusts and Bonds the airplay they deserve. Banks that have the money for adverts continue to dominate the airspace, they are always in our faces and what comes to mind first is to have a bank account and not an investment account. 

What you and many others are doing is going to awaken everyone. 

The conversation on money is best taught by the parent at the dinner table or on the way to school because the parent will have the vested interest but parents need financial education - this financial education is key to our problems.

If the boda boda man or builder can even grasp a little bit of this, we can continue to see great take up of these products. It has to be deliberate and intentional but the miseducation is by design, unit trusts continue to take the banks customers and it's now a massive issue.

I trust as we all contribute to the space, we will continue to grow the numbers and ensure this dream is achieved. Every parent reading this article should not only have a bank account but also an investment account for themselves and their children. Monkey see monkey do, we can't preach what we don't practice.

Jaspreet Singh once said, "We can all be investors by owning a share of a company not necessarily starting one." So this speaks to what you are alluding to.

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