By George Ototo, MBS, ICUDE

“A penny saved is a penny earned,” said Benjamin Franklin.

Many of us are familiar with this saying right from our childhood. However, evidence suggests that few people actually heed this advice.

Statistics show that Kenya’s Gross Savings Rate was 5.4 percent in December 2019, relative to 5.3 percent the previous year. This points to a low savings rate in comparison to 11.7 percent in 2007 when it was highest.

The Gross Domestic Savings consists of savings of the household sector, private sector and public sector, and is thus representative of the country’s savings. Therefore, as we celebrate this year’s World Savings Day today, it is prudent for you to endeavour to excel in the culture of saving.

Saving while you are still young, active and productive is a smart financial move. Learning how to ensure you are financially secure is one of the most important things you can do in your life. With a plan and the commensurate discipline, it is achievable.

It is crucial for the youth to start saving a small amount of money regularly from their first pay-slips or businesses, as they will be more financially secure, rather than saving a larger amount, later in life.

Over the years, Savings and Credit Co-operative Societies (SACCOs) have risen from being rural-based financial institutions to organisations with loan books that translate to billions of shillings. They play an important role in uplifting lives across the country through financial inclusion.

SACCOs have made access to finance easier for both households and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Here are three reasons why you need to save in a Sacco now!

1. Compound Interest

Saving in a SACCO allows your money to earn interest on deposits, whose rate is ratified by members at the annual general meeting, depending on the SACCO’s financial performance. Thus, rather than cashing in on your interest, you re-invest it into your savings, which causes it to grow over time. The interest added on top of that interest is known as compound interest. This means that the longer you save, the more you benefit. As a wise man once said, “Money makes money, and the money that money makes, makes more money.”

2. Accessible loans

The SACCO model espouses savings and credit. You should join a SACCO because they offer members loans at affordable and stable rates. They also have a wide variety of loans; for instance, emergency, education, SME/business loans, and housing, among others. The process of acquiring loans has also been simplified and digitised in many SACCOs through mobile banking. 

3. Investment projects

The SACCO business, like other financial institutions, thrives on trust and confidence of the depositors. A SACCO is owned by its members, who buy shares in the entity. This offers solidarity, community and collaboration among members to solve their socio-economic problems.

SACCOs pull together their members’ savings and invest them in joint projects such as land or houses that members can purchase at reduced rates. Dividends are also paid to members at the end of every financial year, depending on the SACCO’s financial performance.

Do not wait for tomorrow. Join a SACCO and save now! The benefits you will reap later in life are worth the effort it will take you today.

The writer is the Group Managing Director of KUSCCO Ltd.