Crisis brings clarity. In times of fear and uncertainty of extended lockdown, stay home directives, non-essential business closures, curfews, social distancing for your own safety and wellbeing, you can’t help but reflect on your business and personal finance reservoir.
Before March 2020, life was normal and presumably good. Today, I don’t think one can confidently make such a remark in regard to their business or personal lives.
Uganda’s economic scenario has deteriorated due to Covid-19 and continue going down, according to forecasts by economists.
The fourth quarter of 2019 registered accelerated economic growth of 5.6 per cent. However, it is clear that the measures put in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19 have affected us and are going to affect these numbers. The youth in Uganda are the youngest population in the world with 77 per cent being under 25 years old.
Nearly 700,000 reach working age every year, but the economy creates only 75,000 jobs, leaving nearly 70 per cent of Ugandans employed in subsistence agriculture. Much as a steady economic growth has been registered, not many jobs have been created. The unemployment rate is forecast to reach 2.40 per cent by the end of 2020, and this could go higher as a result of Covid-19 measures put in place.
A very small segment of the employable population is employed in the formal sector, others running own businesses, others jua kali - earning a daily income – while a bigger majority are unemployed. The truth of the matter is, we all fall in either of the categories. Lockdown has been common to all, and we‘ve had time to reflect on many aspects of our lives, including our finances.
Findings will either fall on the positive or negative side of the curve. With a lot of time resource, we need to assess our business and personal finances, asking questions such as - what are we going to do to snap out of the situation we have all found ourselves in? What must we do to improve or sustain our financial reservoirs post-COVID-19?
Your assessment would cover aspects like assessing your income and expenditure-inflows and outflows, your spending and saving habits, your emergency fund - if any; can it sustain you for the next six months if your inflows were to be cut off?
Your children education fund, your retirement strategy- goals, plans, and savings if employed? Your short -term, medium-term and long-term financial goals?
These would help you understand your current situation, which is your baseline to plan for your future, post COVID-19.
And for those unemployed; devise ways of being job creators. We certainly know that life will never ever be the same.
In conclusion, for your path moving forward and solutions to growing your business and personal finances, you need to be deliberate and put these suggestions in place. You need to establish simple financial processes that will help you achieve your planned goals and objectives.
These would include understanding basic financial literacy, understanding concepts of income and expenditure, cash flow analysis, investment strategies, leveraging, risk management, savings, find good soil for investment and adopting simple models of managing your finances.
This Jewish financial management model could be your immediate starting point and part of your culture moving forward. Take your total income, give 10 per cent to God, 10 per cent to giving alms/offering, 20 per cent to savings, 10 per cent to investment and ONLY 50 per cent for all your needed expenditure. This would be a start to your success and growing your business and personal wealth post Covid-19.
Dr Jeanpo Olowo, firstname.lastname@example.org | Advisor/ Consultant, Financial & Business Operations