By Faridah Nakazibwe
It is 11:27 am here and I’m reclining at home, trying to decide how to spend the weekend. Yet what comes to my mind is Ma’am Fiina’s response when i asked her 2 years ago after the NTV Mwasuze mutya program; “Why the majority of people don’t succeed in life, less accomplish their goals?”
To which Sophie Namutebi a millionaire, responded, “If you fail in life, I can trace it to a decision you made or failed to make in your 20’s.”
So this post as a special dedication to all my Facebook friends who are determined to make the most out of their lives in 2018. The list is an outcome of years of sitting under mentorship-learning, reading, observing, and again, learning from the best.
So here are the top 5 mistakes most young people make in their 20’s, and consequently sabotage their future:
Your 20s and 30s are your foundational years, and the decisions made in these years are vital.
Inadvertently, young people set themselves up for tough times in their middle and old age when they fail to so some simple things.
Lack of a Savings Plan
The first mistake and possibly biggest young Ugandans make is failing to have a savings plan.
Like Warren Buffet always says, don’t save what is left after spending but spend what is left after saving.
Saving has to be done with a goal in mind. Mindlessly putting away money without an objective will not hold for long, the same savings account will be depleted by an impulse purchase.
Also, make sure to follow your budget to the latter and learn to save with an end plan. No need to have a lot of money sitting on your account, which is not multiplying.
As one established business man Newton Buterebe once said on Mwasuza Mutya , give your money to an expert who is in a better position to make it work for you.
There are several options that offer higher returns on your savings, don’t just put money in a basic savings bank account and leave it there. You could be getting 50% more on your money using common funds and Cash Management Solutions.
Consider life insurance and pension policies too, they are great for a long term saving and in getting good tax benefits, meaning you are taking home more of your income instead of surrendering it to the tax man.
Chasing Money and Instant Gratification
Young people are under a lot of pressure to keep up with what their peers are posting on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.
The world of social media has created a culture of instant gratification, which is a clear trap, leaving one with very little to show for all their years of work and experience.
Money is spent on expensive picture perfect meals, travel magazine worthy vacations and designer clothes.
To afford this flashy lifestyle, young people do everything they can to get their hands on more money.
Chasing quick cash, many people turn into gambling and betting. So many unfortunate stories have been told of individuals and families losing their livelihoods to betting houses lured by the premise of the odds of quick and instant cash.
At this stage in life, the focus should be on your passion or taking up a job with a high potential for growth, skills development, job security and great exit opportunities – even if it may give you less returns.
Investing in yourself and adding more value to your career/talent may not pay off immediately but the payoff will be worth it in the future
Budget = Bills + Fun
Many young people have become prisoners to their monthly salary. Once their pay hits the account, they clear bills and use the remainder on leisure.
While paying your bills is a key part of adulting, mismanaging it can leave the rest of your finances in an anemic state. This can have dire consequences in life when you have no savings, investment portfolio or even any financial goals.
Earning enough money to pay bills and have fun should not be the objective or be an achievement point in your life.
The 20s and the 30s is the best place to set long-term financial goals, learn more about investments and take risks as you brace yourself for the future.
Disregard for Health and Well-being
Disregarding your health is another key mistake you should avoid in your 20s and 30s.
It’s vital that you prioritise your wellbeing, Exercise for at least 30 minutes each day. Reduce or completely keep of highly processed foods.
Pick up healthy habits in your youth because this will ensure that you stay healthy for longer.
While your employer may have a group healthcare plan, you need to consider putting money away to manage your health after you leave employment.
Chronic diseases often hit later on in life, so plan ahead to avoid putting financial strain on your family and friends.
One Source of Income
Another key financial freedom tenet that Ugandans in their 20’s totally disregard is the importance of having multiple sources of income.
Most successful businessmen and investors will advise you to diversify your interests, and you would do well to abide by this investment principle.
Having multiple sources of income not only gives you that sense of security but can be your saving grace when the unfortunate times like retrenchment, sacking come around.
So instead of spending an entire weekend lounging at home join the freelance community, hone your existing skill into a sellable idea.
Join hands with a friend or two and start a small side business to generate some income.