AWIB Event recap, Does Money Matter, Why? March 5 2015

At one point or another, we have all come across or used the phrase “Money makes the world go round”. Put simply, yes money does make the world go round. The importance of money cannot be overstated. But what is equally important is to get to grips with how to manage it and how to interact with it.

For the Month of March, AWiB presented “Does Money Matter, Why?” A panel of experts in the field of finance relayed their experience and words of wisdom regarding the importance of money and how to manage it.

The evening kicked off with Hajera Mohammed, a Financial Sector Specialist with a rich background in savings. Hajera explained that savings has a simple formula. It’s your income minus your expenditure. Many people assume that you must have a high income to save, this is a misconception. You can save at any income level and with any form e.g you can save in cash, in kind, formally using financial institutions or informally through equib. Howevermuch your income level may be, it is important that you know what your expenses are and then set a budget accordingly. After setting a budget, then set a goal that is personal, achievable and realistic.

Frehiwot Birke, Manager of Zemen Bank, has over 15 years’ experience in the banking industry. According to her personal perception, money is important. It allows women to be independent, to behave in a manner that is not dictated by society and enables them to build their identity and contribute to their society and country at large. Frehiwot explains that to make money, one must excel in his/her studies and to manage it effectively one must understand his/her current financial status and live within their means.  Frehiwot sternly believes in the concept of saving and as a citizen of Ethiopia and as a banker has dedicated her time to educating people on the importance of saving.

Bethlehem Bekele, our third panelist for the evening is the owner & GM of Lalibela Travel. Money is important she says. It’s part of our daily life and the base underpinning all that we do. But what fascinates her, is how money has evolved through time. Few generations back, money was stashed in the home for safe keeping. Nowadays, money is invisible. The use of debit cards and credit cards has made the use of hard currency obsolete in many parts of the world. Bethlehem advised members to be cautious and not develop love for money as that could lead one into a completely different life path.

After the panelists addressed the issue at hand, the floor was open to questions from the audience. Below is a summary of the discussion.

Should I be scared to borrow money to start my business?

“If you understand how to manage money, understand what you are using it for and look at your past habits, then you should not be afraid”

How can we instill the value of money in our kids?

“Educating your children on the value of money is essential. To get them acquainted with handling money, you can start by giving them a small allowance and when they are older, ask that they contribute towards the household’s expenses”.

What percentage of our income should we be saving generally?

“Your context dictates how much you should save, so there is no one real answer. The important thing here is to know your budget and know what it is you are saving for”

We concluded this highly invigorating discussion from a key comment from the audience. “When entering into an agreement/ borrowing money it is very important to read the fine print and know exactly what it is you are getting yourself into” 

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