Perminus Wainaina is the managing partner and head of recruitment at Corporate Staffing Services, a human resource consultancy firm.
Perminus Wainaina on Saving method: I make it a point to save at least 25 per cent of my monthly earnings. Every six months, I analyze where I can invest and the lump sum I have come up with. 10 per cent of my monthly earnings go to an emergency fund. This means that whatever happens within the month, I have money targets that I can’t get distracted from.
Money mistake: My biggest money mistake has been investing at the Nairobi Securities Exchange several times without making a thorough analysis on the various issues that were affecting the company whose shares I bought. This turned costly in some instances as the share prices fell resulting in losses for my investment. I have since learned to know exactly what I’m getting into. If I don’t exactly know how an investment works, I prefer paying an expert who can guide me and keep my money safe.
If I had to start all over: If I were to go back and start my career and business again, I’d plan and execute better. I would get into the habit of putting things on paper and following them up with strict actions. This would work because since I started doing it, I have been reaping fruits and feel a sense of direction.
Building wealth: Spending less than I earn has been my secret to building wealth. I have come to learn and let the lesson sink that at the end of the day it isn’t how much I earn, but how much I am able to keep. I also don’t just save money. Real wealth is in investing and getting positive returns. Venture into activities that help you earn without direct involvement such as renting houses or investing in bonds and treasury bills.
Biggest milestone: Six years ago, I left employment and ventured into HR consultancy. Today, over 7,500 Kenyans have gotten jobs through my firm. This has taught me that it is important to grab opportunities while they are still hot and also invest yourself in them. For example, when I started, the HR industry wasn’t regulated. I saw an opportunity, went back to school, and got a HR practicing license.
Women and salaries: From my work, I have noticed that women don’t know how to ask for good salaries. This is an area they ought to learn. You won’t get paid well if you don’t ask or negotiate for it. And don’t look down on yourself assuming some roles and salaries are a preserve of men.
Entrepreneurship versus employment: Don’t fall for the myth that entrepreneurs make tonnes of money. You can make money in whether you’re employed or in business as long as you are providing value be it to your employer or your customer. You just have to assess your strengths and where you’ll be happier.