Family Bank’s Area Manager in charge of the Nairobi Central Business District area Dennis Thumbi shares tips on how he has been successful financially, and where many go wrong.

The interview originally appeared in Daily Nation Magazine.

One of my biggest money mistakes was not starting to save early and not keeping track of my spending. I had not clearly defined my needs and wants. This meant that I was living from paycheck to paycheck. I remember a time when I got a work transfer and I was expected to move to a different region.

Then I realised that I had not set money aside that I could use to ease the move and help me settle down. That was a big wake-up call for me to set up an emergency fund, to start budgeting and saving. I later realised that to get there I needed to first learn what I was spending my money on.

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Given that I work with diverse teams and in a fast-paced environment, keeping the team inspired and motivated can prove to be a challenge. The work landscape and dynamics keep changing. Teams especially the younger generation are looking for purpose and as a leader, providing clarity and keeping them engaged is key. Starting out, this was challenging but I have over time learnt to always be ahead of my team in order to steer them in the right direction.

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Throughout my career, I have worked in the banking sector dating back to 2004. I have grown through the ranks to my current position and I am passionate about being in the financial sector. My experience has afforded me the opportunity to walk the journey with my customers.

Choosing to come to Family Bank back in 2016 was a career highlight for me. I was yearning to redefine myself, re-establish my values and I needed a fast-paced environment to do so. I took the risk despite the fact that it was similar to the role I had. My yearning to grow pushed me. I am glad I made that decision because I have seen myself grow from a branch manager to a regional manager.

I would have definitely started saving earlier, set financial goals, created an emergency fund, and challenged myself more. When you are younger, you have a higher risk appetite and sometimes, we limit ourselves to investment because we think the little we make may not be sufficient. However, looking back I would have taken more risks when it comes to investing.

I pay myself first before I spend on any other expense. This helps me to put money into the financial goals I have set. With this, I am able to diversify my investments into different classes. In addition, I am very keen on tracking my spending and this has helped to tame impulse spending, making me well aware of where my money goes.

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Take care of the cents and the shillings will take care of themselves. If you take care of the little you have, you will achieve your financial goals. Now that I deal with a younger generation a lot, I would also advise them to avoid trading conveniences for an opportunity. These conveniences are those things that eat into the money you would have otherwise saved up for your future.