The Road Back to Financial Independence
Unit 1: Introduction to Financial Independence
Getting back on your feet financially can seem like a daunting task. However, when you look at the alternatives if you don’t, therein lies the motivation to get started on a plan to take you back to the road called financial independence.
I think it’s great that we want to be there for our kids when they’re growing up but we often forget about who we will be once they are independent and don’t need us anymore. It is often after the kids are in school or in the unfortunate event of a separation or divorce or death of a spouse that some women think about returning to work or how they will support themselves. And, without a doubt, this can be difficult.
Being out of the job market for years can hamper the job search process once they choose to return. This leads to issues around self-worth due to feeling that they aren’t able to stand on their own, financially.
You need to keep your resume fresh and skills updated all the time irrespective of the seasons of life. There’s no reason to neglect your career, goals and dreams during this time when the baby has come as one never knows what the future holds. It may lead to you needing to re-enter the workforce and hoping that someone will hire you once again.
As a single parent, as is with both parents homes, you also understand that money management is of utmost importance. Many a times we think that if we make the money, the money management skills will just show up. Not at all. In fact, the opposite is true. Teaching yourself the principles of money management will give you the foundations needed to be successful.
Unit 1: Supplementary Material (a) Retool Yourself (b) Recover from Past Mistakes, Failures & Successes
One step at a time!
WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR FINANCIAL STABILITY
Unit 2: How To Go Back to School - with Tips for Free Online Courses
Start there, especially for teenage moms and dads or for those that their parenthood got them away from school. Did you finish school? Whether primary school, high school, college or university? What are you passionate about that requires a degree or certificate? Do you need to go back to school? These are all questions that you have to ask yourself if your path to getting to the work force involves going back to school.
If it is not feasible for a single mother to make it to classes during the week, there are online opportunities that allow for parents to stay home and complete their school work. There are scholarships that are available to cover online tuition costs as well so that going back to school does not necessarily mean an additional financial burden to you. I got through my Bachelor’s degree with the help of government bursaries to subsidize my little income that I used to support my baby and sort out my university upkeep.
Any single mom or dad desiring to advance in their career can also take advantage of the massive open online classes that offer the education needed to stay relevant in their careers.What worked for me was the massive open online courses (MOOC) from which I have gathered so much knowledge and skills. These courses have enabled me to remain relevant in my industry and on several occasions got me a promotion and a much needed pay-rise (or extra income) that has helped me manage my bills.
Having sat on interview panels for probably hundreds of recruits with various organizations over the past decade, I know for sure that employers are not looking at impeccable resumes. Every employer is looking for the person who can do the job at hand. Get the knowledge needed to enable you do the job and you increase your employability a hundred fold.
Unit 2: Supplementary Material (a) My Testimony & Experience with Online Courses
Unit 3: How To Start a Business
Along the same lines of going back to school, what are you passionate about? Do you see a need in the market that hasn’t been filled? How can you work to fill that need while creating income for yourself? This can include producing your own products or services to sell.
In my second year of single parenthood, I tried to look for a job in Nairobi city to no avail. In some cases I was under qualified, in others I was overqualified and in many places, there were no openings. I purposed that in the meantime I needed to find something to keep my bills paid. I started several businesses for short periods of time based on the needs around me so the demand was high and revenue margins good for me. This is what we call in Kenya ‘side-hustle’. I have sold second-hand clothes, notebooks, supplied vegetables, and run a book-binding business before I got employment and eventually started a successful business-consultancy firm.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 encourages us (AMP, MSG emphasis added)
Whatever your hands find to do or turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily! This is your last and only chance at it. For there’s neither work to do nor thoughts to think in the company of the dead, where you’re most certainly headed.
So your part is to find what to do with your hands and God’s part in this is that He will bless the work of your hands and prosper you!
Unit 3: Supplementary Material (a) Don't Be Incarcerated With One Title (b) Key Note by Jim Palumbo, Author, 37 Ways to Work From Home
Unit 4: Renew or Update Your Professional Skills
If you’re in a field like consultancy or training, then you’ll need to make sure that applicable licenses or certifications are always up to date as allowing them to lapse costs more time and money. Talk to the licensing or certification boards within your field and find out what you need to do in order to maintain your skills in this area. If you plan on applying to jobs that require a license or certification then you’ll need to make sure this is up to date.
Attend workshops and conferences in an effort to remain up to date with the current trends in your field as well. This also gives you the opportunity to network with others.
The people in the hall of faith in Hebrews 11 are there because of their works in obedience to God’s Word to their lives. Verse 6 says that without faith, it is impossible to please God and James 2:18 says that faith without works is dead. Faith is not a complicated concept, it is simply the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses] (Hebrews 11:1-2).
You renew your certificates because you are sure that you will get a consultancy job, may not be right away but at some point. You renew your licenses because you are sure that your business will reopen. You re-write and update your resume because you know that a great opportunity will come your way. After you have done your part, then patiently wait for God to do His part. In the meantime, as stated before, whatever your hands find to do, do it very well.
Unit 5: Find a Support System
Who supports you professionally when it’s time to make hard professional decisions? Do you have peers or mentors you can turn to? Anyone who supports you and is able to provide professional guidance will do. Men and women are more successful when they have mentors guiding them both personally and professionally.
I recently read a book on accountability cover to cover. It was amazing to note that God has always insisted on accountability for human development right from the beginning. Nelly Kagoru’s book “Accountability – a Biblical Principle” encourages Christians to find an individual to walk with them. This starts with choosing your accountability partner(s). These may include a good friend or peer, an industry expert, someone you would like to look like in five or ten years, a biological or not biological parent etc depending on your circumstance.
Once you’ve picked who you want in your accountability journey, chart a plan to connect with them. This can be someone who is readily accessible or someone you’ve admired from afar. In the latter case, do your homework and make the process easier for them. Let them know how much their work means to you and that will open the door to discussions around lending their time to help make you a success.
In the modern times, many life and success coaches cost so much to walk with you. While the cost is most certainly value for your money because you get professional input to propel you forward, I advise single parents to start with free accountability partners. This way, you do not add to your financial burden.
In my road to financial freedom, I had my Pastors, Vincent and Dolly, walk with me and hold me to my goals. At a time when I was feeling like I had hit rock bottom, I remember Vincent letting me know, in front of a group of people that I was his project and that him and the wife would support me to their level best. I had started one of the business ventures I talked about in previous points, and he instilled confidence in me to move forward. His words echo in my ears so vividly to date, because he and Dolly believed in me; in what I was doing; and they foresaw my being such a success in this life. That’s all I needed to hear… and I made a good success of my life alright.
The business venture continued for about five years or so, and I eventually closed it when it outlived its purpose. The point here is not whether you make an empire out of whatever your hands find to do or not. The point is that you find someone who believes in you; instills confidence in you when the going gets tough; prays for and with you; helps you to open your eyes to making simple but life threatening mistakes; corrects you out of love; and keeps you accountable to your goals. If you get that person or persons, you are set for success in every area of your life.
Unit 5: Supplementary Material (a) How To Find A Support System by Nelly Kagoru (b) How To Find Support System Through Professional Counsellors and Coaches by Barnie & Grace Achoki
Unit 6: How To Do Savings & Investments
Saving money is important as it helps protect you in the event of a financial emergency as well as help you pay for large purchases, avoid debt, reduce your financial stress, leave a financial legacy, and provide you with a greater sense of financial freedom.
Investments are equally important and critical, to make your money work for you. After you have worked so hard for your money, it should get to a point where your money should also work hard for you and allow you to grow your wealth but also generate an additional income stream if needed ahead of retirement.
How Do Savings and Investments Help Towards Financial Independence?
If you need a personal Finance Coach to help you go deeper in Savings and Investments, we recommend Gladys Juma. She offers private sessions mainly targeted at those who love the flexibility and intimacy of a one on one coaching relationship and like the idea of having a financial partner. The number of sessions needed depend on the goals at hand. Click the link below and you will be redirected…
Books by Muthoni Omukhango and Program Guests. Click the books to grab your copies from CLC Kenya
Additional Financial Stress Management for Single Parents
Unit 7: How To Claim Succession After The Death Of A Spouse
When a spouse passes away, there are increasing cases of the families of the deceased swindling the bereaved spouse and children of their inheritance. What a sad state of our society when people care more for what they benefit from the death of their loved ones as opposed to trying to protect the spouse and children of their deceased relative.
In most cases, single moms and dads experience double pain when the relatives of the deceased spouse push or threaten to sell the properties of their deceased brother or sister (in case of siblings) or of their son or daughter (in case of parents). This is unlawful and you need to rise up and fight for the inheritance of your children. Family In-law can and will take advantage of the situation oftentimes and can leave you at a far worse financial position than you ought to be. It is already tragic that you have to bear the responsibilities of two people alone. You do not need the additional emotional and financial hardships in such situations.
DEFINITION OF SUCCESSION
In their frequently asked questions on succession and inheritance, Transparency International Kenya provides a good summary on this topic. Succession is the right and transmission of the rights and obligations of the deceased to his/her heirs. The Kenya law of succession prescribes the rules which determine what ought to happen to a person’s estate after his/her death. It is also referred to as the law of inheritance, that is, transmission of property rights from the dead to the living. The rules of succession identify the beneficiaries entitled to succeed to the deceased’s estate and the extent of the benefits they are to receive. The Kenya law of succession determines the different rights and duties that persons (for example, beneficiaries and creditors) may have in a deceased’s estate.
The main function of succession is to provide mechanisms for the transmission of property from the deceased to those who survive him/her. It involves identifying the legal/rightful claimants of the deceased’s property; The procedures of which are to be taken by the claimants to enable them acquire the property of the deceased; The tools for dispute resolution are provided to resolve any encounters between persons who claim to be rightful claimants.
THE LAW OF SUCCESSION Act Cap 160
The Law of Succession Act Cap 160 provides for persons that can inherit the property of a deceased person under section 29 as dependants which include: the wife or wives, or former wife or wives, and the children of the deceased whether or not maintained by the deceased immediately prior to his death; such of the deceased’s parents, step-parents, grand-parents, grandchildren, stepchildren, children whom the deceased had taken into his family as his own, brothers and sisters, and half-brothers and half-sisters, as were being maintained by the deceased immediately prior to his death; and where the deceased was a woman, her husband if he was being maintained by her immediately prior to the date of her death.
Apart from land, one can inherit Mpesa accounts, shares, bank accounts, SACCO savings, pension, life insurance among others.
TESTATE SUCCESSION (WHERE THERE WAS A WILL)
If your spouse had written a will, then the process is much faster and clear as everything is implemented as per the will – this is called testate succession.
INTESTATE SUCCESSION (WHERE THERE WAS NO WILL)
However, if your spouse passed on without writing a will, then intestate succession is effected. If you were married you shall be entitled to personal and household effects absolutely. Further, to a life interest in the remaining property of the deceased person. You will also have an interest in property which will terminate upon your death. If you were the wife to the deceased, that interest shall come to an end if you marry another person. Then your children will get the entire estate upon the termination of the life interest.
If you were not married to the deceased but have children, in such a case, your children will receive the proceeds of the entire estate at age 18.
INTERMEDDLING – Section 45 (1)
It’s important for you to note that your in-laws interfering with the property of your deceased spouse (whether you had a great marriage together or not) is referred to as intermeddling. To intermeddle means to interfere wrongly with property, or the conduct of business affairs, officiously or without right or title (Black’s Law Dictionary 6th edition). In law, the intermeddler has no legal authority or power to transfer ownership of the property of a dead person. This is an illegal transaction that can be reversed and set aside. In order to protect the estate and or the property of the deceased, intermeddling is a crime under Kenyan law. Section 45 (1) of the act provides that any person who contravenes the provisions of this section shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding Ksh 10, 000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year or to both such fine and imprisonment; and be answerable to the rightful executor or administrator, to the extent of the assets with which he has intermeddled after deducting any payments made in the due course of administration.
On the other hand, if the said relatives deny you rights to access your inherited or to-be inherited property, and if the property in question is land and there is no case that has been filed in court, you can place a caution/caveat at the Land Registrar’s office so as to prevent further dealing on the land. For any other property, you can go to court to seek an injunction to stop any transfer, sale, lease or any transaction on the property until the dispute is resolved in court. If a succession matter has already been filed in court, you can institute objection proceedings in court to oppose the application and state the grounds of your objection, which in this case include being excluded from the list of beneficiaries. The matter will be heard first by the Judge handling the case.
If your deceased spouse had more than one wife, in determining the shares by each wife, one will need to determine at what point the marital property was acquired. Property acquired before the second marriage is owned equally by the deceased husband and first wife. Property acquired after the second marriage is considered owned by the deceased husband and both wives (taking into account each wife’s contribution).
PROPERTY THAT HAS A COURT CASE
If your spouse passed on with a court case relating to the property, you will need to continue the case. The law provides that within ninety days of death, a notice of death and a copy of the death certificate be filed with the court requesting that a successor to the case be appointed. A failure to do so could result in the case being dismissed. The court will grant you or any other suitable person the power to continue with the case.
DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE
It is important to note that the above information is not legal advice for your specific case or situation, you should seek legal assistance from a qualified lawyer or advocate of the court. The organization Transparency International Kenya has assisted in this area in the past through their Advocacy and Legal Advice Centres in various parts of Kenya.
MY PRAYER FOR YOU
As you go through this painful process of grieving your loved one, know that God promises that He is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit (Psalms 34:18) and that you should fear not, for He is with you; be not dismayed, for He is your God; He will strengthen you, He will help you, He will uphold you with His righteous right hand. Yes it is a time of mourning, but as we reviewed before from Ecclesiastes 3, a time of joy and laughing will surely come. Hang in there and see God’s salvation for you in this season.
Unit 7: Supplementary Material (a) Julie Wagana's Testimony (b) FAQs on Succession by Transparency International - PDF download (c) Zoom Presentation slides - PDF download (d) Join Julie Wagana's program for widows - link to WhatsApp group
A Revamped Journey is a forum for women who are widowed and journeying towards healing in different spheres of life.
Our experiences and challenges make us both unique and strong.
By coming together and exchanging our experiences, we strengthen one another through encouragement, words of wisdom, pitfalls to avoid, and ultimately moving on as God leads because He has promised us He will never leave nor forsake us.
The program is run by Julie Wagana, the author of Pain To Heal – Your Pain Will Heal Someone.