Building Wealth: Derrick’s One Brick At a Time Story Part II


‘When I get married, this will be my children’s bedroom so that implies that I’ll have to shift to the master bedroom, the beauty is that it will be complete soon. The reason I broke that wall is because I’ll want my wife to have a spacious kitchen,’ said the jolly Derrick as he gave me a guided tour round his three - bed roomed house. A brief view on the outside, the house occupies half the plot (100ft by 76ft) and beside the house is a kitchen garden. The remaining section of the plot is occupied with banana stems and his future plans are to set up a few rental units on it. As I sat back on the comfy sofa at Derrick Ssekitoleko’s living room, he continued to reminisce about his humble beginnings and hardly did I notice a chilly breeze that had me butt in on his narration to lament that it was getting cold. In reply to my interruption, he said, ‘sorry kid, this place is a little chilly in the evenings, but I love it. It’s my home,’ briskly rising from the sofa to shut the open door as well as the windows.

No hefty job offers
With the warm aura in the house I recollected a fact that had caught my attention previously....
Derrick commenced the land purchase way back in 2006 when still an undergraduate student majoring in Accounting at Makerere University Business School (MUBS). During this time his savings amounted to Ugsh. 500,000. Last week on this platform we saw that Derrick had used all these savings as deposit for the land. The only challenge now was that the land owner was obviously expecting more in due time though he had managed to negotiate a three – year window period on which to complete payment. He therefore settled for a job as a shop attendant at Shell Bugolobi’s select shop. His hard work as well as excellent customer service earned him tips which augmented on his meagre salary of Ugsh.100, 000 and within a span of four months he had saved Ugsh.200, 000 which he used to pay the landowner. His relentless efforts at the shop too did not go unrewarded as he was finally promoted and became a cashier.

One brick at a time
It takes 3 hours for five strong men to dig a four – metre deep hole, how long does it take one similar man to dig a larger hole? Tricky, isn’t it? Well I guess it’s pretty easy, it depends on strategy. There were a few simple strategies that attributed to Derrick’s success on his endeavour to build a home. One, he made use of free resources. His elder brother is an architect so he was able to get a free professional plan for the house. He then made use of the fact that engaging builders on weekends was likely to be a little cheaper and he could also roll up his sleeves and forego one work man’s pay! You could therefore always find him on Sundays at Namanve deployed as a workman. Second, he developed a savings kitty to cater for the building expenses. Probably he could have opted for a fixed deposit account, but capital NO. He however opted for instalments. He could buy a bag of cement as soon as he had garnered the worth of a bag. By then Derrick had moved on to Street Feet (a local shoe retailer) as a marketer and his relentless determination again came in handy leading to his promotion to a branch manager. The new position came along with a much handsome salary than at the select shop but not quite enviable because it was only Shs.400, 000 exclusive of perks pertinent to such a role. Third, he leveraged his savings on the stock market. In 2008 during the Stanbic initial public offer (IPO) a friend approached Derrick and told him the likelihood of a good return on the investment. Without any prior practical knowledge on such investments, he gave the friend Shs. 500,000 to invest the money on his behalf. The stock was such a good investment since it rallied on the market and by the time Derrick instructed its sale, it had appreciated by 100%. He therefore used this money to cater for the various construction expenses.  Finally, he maintained his saving discipline. He was therefore able to save an extra Shs. 2.5 million within a period of seventeen months. It was here that Derrick thought that he could drive like the said lavish Ugandans. He therefore bought a Toyota starlet. After a while, it was evident to him that he had bought a liability. He therefore decided to park it and could only use it on weekends to ferry cement and other construction necessities.

One final most important aspect on his home building journey was his circle of friends (members of the Rats Network Investment Group). Apart from their moral support they could habitually lend him interest free loans. I came across one such agreement and one statement read, ‘Home ownership is the cornerstone of a strong community.’