Money clubs popularly known as ‘mukando’ in Shona or ‘stokvel’ in neighbouring South Africa are widespread nowadays in Zimbabwe. The general definition is that this is a savings or investment society to which members regularly contribute an agreed amount and from which they receive a lump sum payment. There is a reason why I am writing this article about this issue. There is a basic approach people have adopted over the years regarding this ‘mukando’ or money club thing in Zimbabwe. However, I strongly feel there is more people are not exploring.
The Traditional Model
The most basic model that has been used traditionally is simply the definition I shared with you. Individuals come together to form a society or group and they agree on amounts to contribute, usually every month. Then each and everyone will be entitled to a pay-out equivalent to the sum of the monthly contributions when their turn comes. This means if it is 4 individuals then every 4 months each member will be entitled to a pay-out. This is the traditional model in its simplest form and many still use that even today.
Some Variations To The Traditional Model
Over the years I have observed that people have tweaked the traditional model to include more. I will explain just two tweaks I have noticed many people including as follows:
Aside from just monetary contributions, some are now including grocery contributions. This entails the members contributing an agreed amount that is specifically meant for the purchase of basic grocery items. Thus during the course of the year, they will gradually purchase grocery items that will be ultimately equally shared at the end of the year. Items with substantially long shelf lives can be bought way in advance whilst those with shorter ones are purchased much later on. With this tweak, it means a member makes two separate contributions every month.
This yet another tweak I have seen and I think it is very interesting. Given the fact that money contributions can sit idle for some time some people have come up with ways to put that money to work. Thus they can come up with a loan scheme where group members can borrow money and payback with interest. Additionally, other people (outside the group) can borrow that money from the group members. Let me cite a practical example so that you get what I mean:
- Interest Rate– to be charged per month. This means the rate is calculated on the total due if a month is exceeded before paying back. For instance, one borrows US$50 and the monthly interest rate is 20 per cent. This means after one month the amount due would be US$60. If the borrower steps into month two without still having paid, it becomes US$72 (i.e. you add 20 per cent of US$60 to US$60).
- Different Rates Applied– essentially a group member would be charged a lesser interest rate than when an outsider is borrowing. However, since an outside borrows through a group member, the group member would be liable if the borrower defaults. So for example, the interest rate for a group member could be 20 per cent whereas it would be 40 per cent for an outsider.
This loaning tweak is strategic in that it actually multiplies the money as opposed to having it idle. I would have to highlight though that extreme caution must be exercised since irreconcilable differences can emanate from this if not managed well.
What More Can Be Done Then? – Raising Money For Business Partnerships
All those various models I have discussed are great. However, I feel there is more to what money clubs can do. Probably there are some out there who might be already doing what I am about to propose. First off, it starts from making a realization that money clubs are in principle a form of crowdfunding. I have at times encouraged people to explore crowdfunding as a tool to raise capital for a business. Well, I feel money clubs can be used to actually raise money to start a business partnership. Another practical example:
Let us suppose 6 of you come together to form a money club – exclusively for starting a business. You agree to individually contribute US$150 monthly. That would translate to US$5400 in 6 months – could even be more if you try out the loan scheme tweak.
Here is a possible business venture you can try out:
Business: Greenhouse Tomato Farming
Tomato Variety: Trinity (Starke Ayres®)
Greenhouse Size And Type: 200 square metres (wooden)
Cost Of Greenhouse Setup: US$3000
Tomato Plant Population: 664
Cost Of Production Per Plant: US$1.5 (average) (this is inclusive of everything from chemicals to irrigation and labour)
Total Cost Of Production: US$1500
Greenhouse Setup And Cost Of Production = US$4000 (Against US$5400 raised in 6 months)
Yield Potential: At least 15 kilograms of tomatoes per plant
Profit That Can Be Realized (after one season): US$3000 (even more because that is a conservative figure)
So that is just one relatable example I chose to share with you to show you how much more we can achieve with money clubs. It is high time we start thinking of money clubs as pedestals to a future of sustainable financial freedom. That simple model or example I just shared with you can be applied for literally any business venture that has guaranteed returns on investments. Let us think outside the box or as if there is no box at all.