The Personal Finance Show

The Personal Finance Show is a place for people to tell their personal finance stories. Everyone has a personal finance story.

12 - Personal Finance in East Africa

December 21st, 2017


“What we are looking for is partnerships, opportunities to learn, and collaborations to push forward the betterment of humanity.” - Richard Ndahiro of the United Nations Capital Development Fund

When I attend any conference, I’ve realized the most valuable part is the time that exists between scheduled activities. Mainly meals and breaks. This is generally when I meet the most amazing people and have the best conversations.

At the SIBOS 2017 conference in Toronto this past October, 8,000 delegates came from all over the world so I was definitely hoping to have great conversations with interesting people from different countries. I got to have many conversations over the 4 days of the conference but when I met a group of delegates from Uganda at my lunch table on day 2, I immediately knew they would be on my podcast.

Since my visit to Kenya last year I’ve been wanting to tell people about the state of personal finance in East Africa but my knowledge only scratches the surface. (When I say East Africa I mean the East African Community (EAC) of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and South Sudan.)

In Canada we take things like bank accounts, credit reports and credit scores for granted. We have credit cards and loans available to us from multiple sources. If we have talent, is it not hard to find the opportunity to use that talent to get a paying job or get funding for a business.

It isn’t that easy in East Africa.


My 3 guests on today’s episode are:

Richard Ndahiro, Digital Finance Expert for the United Nations Capital Development Fund or UNCDF

Ronald Azairwe, Director of Business Development for a Fintech company called Pegasus Technologies

Eric Kamau, Managing Director of a Fintech company called True African

Richard, Ronald and Eric have all made it their life’s work to improve the way that East Africans manage their finances.

Only 11% of East Africans have bank accounts. In contrast, according to the World Bank, 99% of Canadians have bank accounts.

Without a bank account, your cash is at risk, you can’t really prove you make any money, you don’t exist from a bank’s perspective, and you are unlikely to be able to get credit anywhere.

I am very happy that Richard, Ronald and Eric made the trip from Uganda to Toronto to join me in an inspiring conversation about bringing opportunity to those who need it most.


13 - Todd Bender


13 - Todd Bender

December 21st, 2017


“Relationship builds trust, trust builds credibility, credibility builds influence. There are no shortcuts to that. There’s no app for that.” Todd Bender, Founder, CityKidz

Two weeks ago I got an email from J. Money and the team from Rockstar Finance. They had $100 to give to the first 20 personal finance bloggers to respond to the email, with the condition that the $100 would be used to give back locally and do some good.

The Rockstar Finance Community Fund is an amazing initiative that helps people do good in their community. Rockstar Finance has many personal finance bloggers on their list, so even though I thought I responded quickly, more than 100 others responded before me. I didn’t get the $100.

But then I thought: I like this idea. And: I have $100 of my own!

So I started looking for a local charity as I am a new Hamiltonian and didn’t already have one in mind. Google led me to CityKidz.

CityKidz has a Gift of Christmas campaign, where you can buy toys and drop them off at a Canadian Tire or local police station. Then I started reading more about CityKidz and realized there was much more to them than I thought.

Todd Bender founded CityKidz over 20 years ago and it has become a huge organization in Hamilton with branches in Ottawa and Regina. I decided I would visit the CityKidz headquarters, bring the toys I bought, get a tax receipt and see if Todd wouldn’t sit down with me to tell his story.

I talk about saving and investing and even spending your money, but I don’t talk as much as I should about giving away some of that money to those who might need it a bit more than you. The holidays are when we can all take a break from our daily lives, spend time with family and friends and reflect on what’s important to us.

It’s important to me that there is more giving in my life. Maybe not always money or things, but time as well. We all have skills and talents and we use them to make money, but they can also be given.

I’d like to thank J. Money and Rockstar Finance for inspiring me to put together this holiday giving episode and the last episode of 2017 where you will learn about Todd Bender and his amazing charity CityKidz.


14 - Mike Wickware


11 - Chad Sichello

December 14th, 2017


"I'm thinking about building Lego right now Dad. Talk to me about compound interest later, ok?" - Chad Sichello

Who will teach our kids about personal finance?

In Canada, parents can open a bank account for their kids when they are really young. But at what point do you give them access to that money? At what point do they get a debit card?

These are decisions every parent has to make eventually. But it’s not enough to give them access to the $1,000 that’s in their account one day and say: “Remember to spend responsibly.” Or “Did you know that if you save just $1 a day, you could have $100,000 by the time you are 65?”

Do you know how far away 65 is for a 12 year old?

The point is that you may not be the best person to teach your kids about money.

With kids, it’s not always about how much you know about money, it’s about how you communicate with them. And it’s about how they learn and how they engage.

That’s where Dojo comes in.

Dojo is an interactive tool to teach your kids about money. It’s a smartphone app and debit card that are connected to your kid’s bank account.

Parents get a version of the app that has all the spending controls and monitoring abilities. The kid gets the version that tracks their spending, and let’s them work towards savings goals of their own.

You can add money to the kid’s account easily by using the app and even set up things like a scheduled allowance. As a parent you get to see where your kid spends their money and help them make better decisions, in real time.

I originally met Chad Sichello, CEO & Co-Founder of Dojo, at the Payments Canada Summit in May of 2017.

I really liked the idea and I started telling people about it, but I would say “It’s credit cards for kids!” and everyone thought I was crazy.

Well, of course, it’s not credit cards, it’s debit cards, which I suppose makes more sense since you can’t get a credit card in Canada until you are 18.

But no matter the product or the interface, what I liked the most was the idea of raising money-smart kids and that Chad and his team took the time to figure out how kids are learning today, and they created a product that met them, as Chad says in the interview, “where they are”.

I was happy to see that Dojo had a booth at the SIBOS 2017 conference in Toronto and I really enjoyed chatting with Chad about how he’s working to make sure the next generation is even better at managing money than we are.

As Chad mentions in the interview, Dojo is currently only available through ATB Financial in Alberta, so if you’re an ATB customer and have kids, please try it out and let me know what you think.


12 - Personal Finance in East Africa