The Teachers Service Commission, TSC, employs and pays teachers their monthly salaries plus allowances. The teachers’ pay is usually processed and paid as from 22nd of every month and onward. Once you are newly employed, the commission will appoint you to the payroll and you start earning as soon as your casualty form is received at the TSC head quarter and your file processed. The salaries are disbursed to teachers’ pay points; Banks or SACCOs.
Some teachers have committed unprecedented and irreversible financial mistakes that they live to rue for the rest of their teaching careers. These mistakes usually occur during the teacher’s hey days; when newly employed. Most teachers get employment when still young, enthusiastic and energetic. Some have ended up squandering the opportunity to invest well and spend their monies wisely leading to many years of cursing; the resultant effect being depression.
Here are 10 points for your quick guidance. You must not follow all that is stated here, but somehow you will get some insight.
NEVER OVER COMMIT YOUR PAYSLIP
When going for loans and savings, remember to give your pay slip some breathing space. Long before a third rule came, some teachers (and not only teachers but other civil servants too) used to walk home with net negative pay. This prompted the government to come up with the 1/3 rule. It is thus advisable to have some amount off and above your net pay; so that in case of an emergency then such amounts can come in handy in terms of securing an emergency loan.
WISE CHOICE OF INVESTMENTS
It is the aspiration of everyone that they at least have some investment. In fact, investments are good not only for the immediate gains but also during your sunset years. But, some investments are not worthwhile. With your first pay and/ or loan go for income generating assets/ activities or assets whose value appreciates with time like land. Unless you have other sources of income/ side hustles otherwise never rush for such luxurious assets like cars. Yes, cars are good but if your pay slip is stifled up to the neck how will you maintain that car? Start a business, get a side hustle to supplement your pay. Take risks, be a go-getter.
AVOID ‘BAD’ LOANS
Do not be too quick to rush for bank loans. All that glitters is not gold! Yes, with banks you can get your loan after just three months of service and you do not need to save for you to qualify for a loan. Before the interest capping rule came banks could adjust their interest rates at free will. You take a loan at 18% interest rate and it is adjusted to 22% the next day! And now that the capping law is gone, it spells more gloom for borrowers who will now operate at banks’ mercies. Bank loans are damn expensive with a myriad of hidden charges!
And, be nice Mwalimu. You let friends sign your SACCO loan form and then disappear into thin air leaving them in awe!
BUILD YOUR CAPITAL BASE SLOWLY
Never be in too much hurry some times. Build your capital base slowly and patiently. Do not be too quick to be carried away by what you see. A colleague bought a car yesterday and you want to rush to the showroom the next morning! Mwalimu (teacher), be rational in your thinking.
TOP-UP LOANS IS A BIG NO.
Avoid top up loans, more so from banks, like leprosy. Consider this pathway when you are in a can’t avoid scenario. Banks will entice you to go for top ups. But, this will be a like a financial death sentence. You will be enslaved to these banks forever.
LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS
Cut a cloth according to your size. Not, because a colleague is driving a hot car and you also covet it! Do not borrow more than you can repay! Have your plans within your financial ability. Avoid big plans that may cause depression and anxiety to you.
SAVE! SAVE! SAVE!
Have a saving plan. Save even Sh100 bob monthly. Such small savings turn into humongous things slowly and without you realizing it. SACCOs are the best saving bets for a start.
ALL IS NOT ROSY AT ALL TIMES!
The early years of your employment are always glittering; in terms of ‘good’ pay. Then, your salary is not committed as such. This is followed by a quick common cadre promotion. You move to the next job group with a marginally increased perks. Wait until deductions get their way into your pay slip! What follows is hell on earth; you stagnate in the same job group for a long time. And, if you were not born on a Friday, luck will be so elusive that you end up retiring in the same job grade!
JOIN TEACHERS’ UNIONS
Do not see teachers’ unions as bothers. Those guys are very helpful when the waters become murkier and the going is tough. It would be need; less for you to be on agency fee (where you contribute money to the unions but you are not a member!). The TSC code of regulations and conduct is harsh, very harsh. You may find yourself on the wrong side of the code, by design, hard luck, coincidence or mere fabrication. That is when you realize the importance of teachers’ unions.
BE A MEMBER OF SOME WELFARE GROUP
There is a slogan that goes ‘UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL’. Do not be an island. Belong to some teachers’ welfare. There are so many out there. The common ones are BBFs (Burial Benevolent Funds), TTW (The Teachers Welfare. Above all, make connections. Have friends and social connections. AVOID UNNECESSARY CONFRONTATIONS AT YOUR PLACE OF WORK. Be aggressive. Apart from teaching, participate in one or two co-curricular activities. Drama, Music, Ball games, athletics