The difference between a Stokvel and a pyramid Scheme

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For as long as there is no knowledge, his people will perish. This applies to so many aspect of our lives. From our health ( especially in the times of Corona), to our spiritual journeys ( in the time of mushrooming churches) to our finances in the economic crises. What will save you in these times is knowledge. Unfortunately, this is a journey you should embark on your own, by own will.

The recent stokvel to Namibia is one of many that has left people confused. Not so long after my Life change 24/7 came Namib dream network and people still fell for the trap. The idea of making quick money from just recruit somewhat seem to be appealing to many. Others even after finding out that the transactions that they are engaging in are illegal, still rationalize continuing to recruit others on the basis that they are would like to recoup their investment. This I find very sad.

So For those that do not know the difference, here it is:

A Stokvel is a group of people that save/pool agreed amount together at agreed interval. This can be in form of monthly, quarterly or bi- annually contributions. The group has full control on how they would like their money to be paid with the most common method being monthly payouts being rotated to a member or annual distribution in equal portion to the members.

The aim of the Stokvel is to have a group of people that give you financial support. The rules of the group are commonly set up in a way that everyone benefit equally. Take an example of 4 friends all contributing N$200 each on a monthly basis. They can decide that on a monthly basis, one member will get N$ 800 on a rotational basis such that comes at the end of the year, each member would have had a chance to receive N$2 400  at the end on the year ( $800 for 3 months). The members could also wait until the end of the year and do a once off payment of N$2400 to each member.

The benefit of the Stokvel is that it allows you to have lumpsum at regular interval. So if you maybe have months where your expenses are higher than normal, e.g months where you will need to renew your car disc, it might help you to do it in the months when you are receiving a payout. This will ensure that you have the support you need for your budget to still work if you live on a tight budget.

Contrast this to a pyramid scheme. The basis of it is sustained by recruiting people to keep liquidity coming in. New members must join in order to allow old members to be paid. For you to increase your chance of getting a payout, you need to recruit in people. Once this chain is broke, your chance of getting paid is minimal.

To get people in this trap, they payout is given to the early bloomers.  Those early bloomers than incentivize others by showing off their pay. The return on investment is almost used as a trap for the new comers but once the product becomes known to everyone, liquidity dries up and the late comers do not get a payout.

These sort of schemes are illegal and can land you in jail with a heavy penalty. So they generally do not last long before they are shut down by authorities.

In summary before you join anything people, do ask around. Stokvel are legal, pyramid schemes are illegal. If anyone is asking you for a joining fee and it requires you to recruit others without offering any tangible products or service offering, please do me a favor and run.

Stay woke

Dhalondoka

 

Financial wedding- Diary of a Village girl

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As the day days draw near, the numbers are beginning to climb up. Things were slow with lock- down but  now we are picking up speed.

If you are a frequent reader here, you would probably know that by now that I promised to start a financial wedding diary. This is me keeping track of major costs of various events in this journey and hopefully at the end of the day tally it up.

I will be doing this maybe monthly  between now and the event but once the full event is over, I will do a whole blog post , giving a detailed budget  prep- the wedding and the actual costs.  I will also be involving my fiancé on the financial “Fights , wins and compromise” of the journey to give you a tip of the iceberg.

A wedding itself is not expensive, what makes it costly is the costs around it. To illustrate this point let us look at the costs leading up to the recent photoshoot we had. The actual shoot was booked at N$300 per hour and we had planned to shoot for an hour. However given that the photographer was soo friendly, energetic and creative, we ended up topping a N$200 extra for his service and also because we slightly went over our one hour mark. He even suggested a venue that actually gave us the best photos, the bench below.

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Let us look at the costs around the photoshoot:

  • To look pretty and handsome  in the  photos, he had to go to a hair cut as well as I needed to get my hair blown out . He went to barber, I got my friend to come do my hair and make-up at home since I was late. Total cost was about N$170 in total.
  • Then we had to  buy a few outfits. I bought  two dresses ( so I have options because shops were not allowing fittings due to corona,), bought heels, a top, a sari , jean , shirt and hat. He bought a hat, a t-shirt, a jean and official short.  The rest of shoes and his other shirt in the shoot we already had. That was at least N$ 3 846 in total.
  • We also bought dinner on our way back from the shoot because we were supper hungry. That was roughly $150.

Add that up, the costs is roughly N$ 4 666.

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I must say at the end of the day, it was really worth the hype. I also has not shopped since January this year so this was a mini shopping spree for me.

In the process, you also get help from other people. For example we took his parents’ car to the shoot as ours is very small and I could not really change outfits in a spark.

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This  spending was mainly from the money we  had  at the time, not transferred to savings but because we were not really budgeting for this, I had to dip in my savings for the out of town job expenses.

Theme: Next time you plan an event do not just look at the costs of something, do also look at the cost associated with that one thing.

The overriding rule here is that we are not taking debt for this wedding, if there is no money, we are just not buying it.IMG-20200511-WA0016

 

Until Next time

Dhalondoka & Taatitanga

 

 

 

Financial Disappointments

Ruacana

Today was a horrible day. From waking up to the news that a very close friend passed away ( may her soul rest in peace) , to disappointing my nieces and nephews that their rich aunty will not be coming home and to top it all off, driving over 320 km (two way) to the find the Ruacana falls closed due to Corona. At this point I’m barely holding on to this day. Praying and hoping for a better and brighter morning tomorrow.

As part of this out of town job we decided to take a trip to Ruacana falls today. To confirm that that the place is open for public, we enquired with one of the local lodge close to the fall and they confirmed that it is open. We also enquired if we could get food by the lodge after the trip and they informed us that they are open for takeaway.

All was set this morning and off we went. We drove around a little bit because we almost got lost somehow, but eventually managed to find the place. Only to be disappointed that the fall was closed due to Corona.It seemed that we were not the only ones that did not know as there were other people that found us there that also were shocked by the news.

Anyhow, before we decided on going to Ruacana, we contemplated on going to Oshikango, just to go check out the place as none of us has ever been there. But after weighing the prospect of finding the Oshikango town deserted and the falls flowing with water, we decided Ruacana was the better option.

This disappointment did not just have emotional disappointment but also financial loss. All the petrol to drive there for nothing. We also spent a lot of time trying to see if there is anything we can do in the area with no success. In the end we wasted money and time. We also came back exhausted from this trip that was meant to rejuvenate us.

How does my disappointment of today has anything to with money? From that experience I draw some key lessons that can be beneficial in business or personal money management.

Here are a few lessons:

  • If you  commit to something and cannot keep to it, give people an update. This will apply to promising to help someone and your budget did not allow anymore, agreeing to deliver a deadline of the client and something came up along the way, manage their expectations.  I unfortunately got a call from my mother to tell me that the kids are waiting at home and needed to make up a lie to get them to sleep today whilst I go buy the snacks first thing tomorrow morning. If you do not manage clients expectations, it affect your service delivery, which in turn reduce your revenue.
  • If you are starting a new business, you  will need to do market research. In this process you will  get information  about customer behavior, product prices as well as demand. This could be from competitors, customers or from the general public. In the end  the reality will always manifest once you start trading. You might not make the money that you thought you would and you end up sacrificing your time and money to get the business of the ground. My one word of advise is do not given up before trying ( us driving to look for alternative destinations we could go to)  but also know when you need to quit to cut your losses. After we drove around for sometimes, we just needed to make peace with the fact that we are leaving without seeing anything and drove back home.

Finally as sudden as my friend’s passing, things can always come up unexpected. A death in the family, loss of a job, cancellation of contract from your main customers etc. The key is to build a safety net for your self.  Start a small business saving to help you cover costs when such unforeseen circumstances arise, build your personal emergency savings and finally if it will leave you bankrupt, please insure it.

Love

Dhalondoka

 

 

 

Financial fitness coaching – “Ask me how”

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2020 has been an interesting year. The year started off pretty fast, suddenly Covid -19 has caught us bringing  the world almost to a stand still. Life is no longer the same and we  must somehow find a way to adopt.

With the unprecedented times came a new wave of financial challenges. People are loosing their jobs, salaries are being cut, promotions are being delayed and re-po rates being reduced. It also brought with a mushrooming of opportunist that are luring people in making quick money.

As I watched these scenes unfold over the last two months, I am excited to launch our new program called “Financial Fitness’ . In this program, we will host a monthly event covering various topics that will help you build your financial file,  look at what you are doing with your money, how you can make money work for you  and ultimately help you build a healthy balance sheet.

Theese series will be mainly run via online platform such as WhatsApp, zoom, calls and also any other online app that can accommodate a meeting.

To be part of the fitness program, you will be invited to attend a free 25-30 minute introduction Zoom session this coming week ( The details will be up shortly). After that, you will have an opportunity to either subscribe to a monthly group calls  at a cost of N$50 or to a one on one session at a cost of N$150 per month.

If you would like to know more about this program, kindly please interact with us by either commenting on this post on Facebook, WhatsApp, commenting on this article, sending us an email at armaskelstina@gmail.com as well as sending us a WhatsApp message on +264 81 61 47 860.

Join us as we unpack the “Ask me how ” to manage your money and build wealth series.

Love

Dhalondoka

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A financial “No”

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Often I see people making mistakes not because they are not aware that what they are doing is not right but generally because they often do not have the energy or the guts to say No. Such weakness may cause you a lot especially if you do not have the boldness to give a financial “No”. What are some of the areas of concern that people are sacred to stand their ground?

I was not going to write this until the introduction of WhatsApp Stokvel. I have been asked by many people if would like to join and I  boldly said no. To some I gave reasons as to why I am rejecting the request, whilst to others I could care less to explain myself.

These sort of request comes from many in form of:

  • Family members wanting money “mainly in form of black tax” and putting one in uncomfortable situation to say no.
  • Can come from friends that even go the extent of measuring ones loyalty towards friendship against your ability to help them
  • Or even from one you have a romantic relationship with.

From whichever  source the request stem, do remember that there is always room for a no. This “No” although may not be easy to deliver all the time, it can be justified :

  • When you do not have the money that they are asking
  • When you regularly give to that person and they are developing an unhealthy reliance on you
  • When the possibility of that money not being paid back is high and if not returned could result in broken ties
  • And whenever you really just feel like saying “No” (unless someone’s life depends on it).

At the end of the day, every decision has consequences. What you do or not do today will yield result in the future. If you are generally a giver, your life may overflows with blessings and you may not lack anything. However people can  take advantage of you and you always bend your back to accommodate them. On the flip side, if you are stingy, you may be stuck without anyone to help you when in need, but this may  work out in your favor that your finances are in order and people learn to respect in the way they ask for your help.

In the end, happiness is a choice. If that means saying “No” , financially, let it be.

Stay safe

Dhalondoka

 

Financial adaptability

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Today as I pack for my first trip since Corona was declare a global pandemic, it reminded me of a very crucial concept in life, which is adaptability. This trip is like no other trip. We are just packing because we have to go do the job, no excitements of going to stay at a guest house as that is the last place you want to be in time like these.

Unlike other trips, out of town jobs normally comes with a lot of outings, takeaways as well as minor visit to any attractive areas near the job station. On this particular job, we normally do outings such as Etosha drive through, Ruacanna fall visits ,Epupa fall camping as well as dinning at my mother. This year instead of us looking forward to that, we are wondering how safe we will be out there.

last year

These also use to be my favorite trip of the year as generally ,it is the only trip I get to fly to Owambo land.

Because it is no more business as usual we had to quickly adapt.  We made a few changes to try and accommodate the situation as follows:

  • We are driving instead of flying. Normally flying saves times and is considered safe however in times like these, the plane normally has people from all different areas and hence increase the risk of coming into contact with a person who could potentially be infected instead of driving in your own car.  There were times that we would also drive in one car in an event that we could not fly , but this time we are taking up two cars as we can only be 3 people in a 5 seater  to comply with Covid 19 regulations.
  • Packing food from home. I packed rice, pasta, cooking oil, tinned fish etc due to the fact that we would like to rather stay in a self catering facility to limit the amount of time we go to the shops. Cooking own meals will prevent us from strolling around shops, other than just going to pick up perishables such as fruits and veggies.
  • And lastly no outings to other areas except maybe for dinning at mama Bear in the Village.

For you and me, what other areas of your financial life requires adjustments? You will need to adapt to make sure you are able to honor what needs to be fulfilled. These changes my comes with an uncomfortable feeling but  rest assured that it is just temporary and  this too may pass.

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Whilst you are adapting, kindly please refrain from scammers and get rich quick schemes. If you do not know about this, kindly read an article I wrote an article about the basics such when MLC24/7 was once the talk of town ( read it here).

 

Stay safe

Dhaolondoka

 

 

Until it hit home- Covid 19 Financial impact soldier on

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The past couple of weeks have been interesting. From reading various tweets about how people are affected by Covid 19, people loosing their jobs, business owners closing down as well as local fish shops running out of stock it all looked like a dream. This week there were series of events that actually got me realize that it is far from being a dream and it is actually a reality.

A very close relative got a letter from an employer this morning that effective this month, they are getting a 40% salary cut. This is because the employer is struggling to keep up the running costs of the business and that is the way they will stay afloat.

On Friday I was assisting a friend with a business plan and he mentioned that his salary costs is lower in April as there were employee who did not get paid on the basis that they do not get basic salary. They are commissioned based employees and since they made no sale, that meant no commission for them.

Lastly , this morning I also got an sms from one of the company I invested in asking me to reach out should I be affected in any way. This is because I have a pension fund. life cover and home cover with them and should I be affected , it might mean that I may not be able to honor those commitments.

So what should you do if you find yourself in a similar situation?

  1. Realize you are not alone and please do not take it personal. This is not some form of punishment and hence you are not to be blamed that you lost your job, you closed down your business and may default on fixed commitments. Getting to that understanding may be the best thing for your mental and emotional well-being.
  2. Act quickly – While you may still be in pain from the above, there is not much time to be sitting around waiting for a miracle to happen. If you were a salaried employee, revisit your budget to see what  can be changed. What costs can you eliminate ( such as TV subscription, monthly superaweh, luxury food etc) versus those that can be put on hold. Things like pension fund contribution are fixed but one can write a letter to the investment company informing them of your inability to pay during the tough times and maybe resume later.
  3. Have faith and focus the future. Do look at the possibility of what lies ahead and that things will look up for you. Maybe you do not get back your 40% salary cut but rather even more. Maybe you might not go back to the job you were retrenched from but instead start a business that will make you more than what your employer was offering you. You are stronger than you think.

 

As we ponder the above , let us pray for the safety and health of all of us and for the world to return to the new normal.

Stay safe

Dhalondoka