Grow up, don’t just grow old

Tuesday May 04 2021

Mr Samuel Mugenyi, the proprietor Kibale Guest Cottages explains how he invested his withdrawal benefits from National Social Security Fund NSSF in a tourism business. PHOTO/Eronie Kamukama

By Charlotte Ninsiima

‘Time is money’ is a phrase that portrays the relevance of time. From when one is confirmed an adult to retirement, numerous risks, planning, investments have taken place. Hence the variables and time change with immediate effect.

At the end of March, Uganda Law Society Labour & Retirement Benefits cluster together with the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) organised an open webinar titled ‘Planning for Retirement.’  The session was aimed at mentally preparing one to position themselves for the rainy day. 

Apollo Mbowa, a customer financial adviser at NSSF opened the discussion with emphasis on understanding the need to work for a comfortable retirement now rather than procrastinating it. It starts with living within your means and not keeping up appearances. Save monthly and do not solely rely  on the ‘next deal mentality’.

“Money respects no human being hence there is no law against being poor. Do you have experience ahead of expertise? You may be growing old but are you growing up?  Are you putting your title ahead of you?” Mbowa questioned.

“Are you working because you need to work or because it is service? Go down and define your amount!” he challenged those attending.

“Grow up and don’t just grow old. Old age is gold but no one takes grey hair in the supermarket to purchase something,” Mbowa articulated further that growing up means how you take things and position yourself. It means planning for two generations ahead of you.


The personal finance  expert confirms that action changes things. Things are probably not changing in your life because there is no action. Quit the talking and embrace action!”

Miriam Musaali, Director Legal, Capital Markets Authority, posed a few questions to reflect upon like how do you plan for retirement? What are your intentions today?

According to Musaali, retirement is the withdrawal from one’s active life. He advises that it is very important to think of a retirement goal and where you are going to live. Therefore, think about the decisions you make and how they will impact your life later on.

Who will you be with?  People have short term views on relations yet with retirement planning, you have to think about who you will be with.

Mussali also suggested that people think about who their friends will be and their health. It is thus important to take care of your health constantly with good nutrition, regular exercise plus conducting an annual health check-up.

Going forward

It is never too late to get started. Musaali advised the attendees to save more towards retirement by making additional voluntary contributions leveraged on tax benefits.

She continued, “Aim at saving 60  per cent net replacement rate -the amount of money that replaces what one was earning. Statistically, it is proven that 60 to 80 per cent is good. In addition to this, think about the best time to withdraw and how much to withdraw. If you have an alternative income, delay withdrawal.”

Apollo Mbowa shared that if one does not have options, they are poor. Poverty is not lack of money but lack of options. Financial options are regulated by either the capital markets or Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA) which doles out low returns like 10 per cent which is good if it is guaranteed. So it is important to plan for these options before retirement and avoid jumping into new ventures before asking people who have engaged in them for expertise.

Ms. Waceke Nduati, the founder of Centonomy says the best way to ensure a steady increase in your wealth would be to have a well-planned functional budget.

“Focus on reducing your expenses and increasing your savings. Start with the least needy expenses, such as reducing what you spend on lunch and entertainment and work your budget up to the greater expenses like what you spend on fuel,”Waceke says.

Make your budget as detailed as you can, including what you spend on lunch and refreshments. The more detailed your budget is, the easier it is to track your expenses. Make sure you save as much money as you can then invest the money in the best way you can. It is better to constantly invest your money rather than just leaving it in a savings account that earns you an interest of just 2 per cent a year.