Just about a month ago, I decided to sign up with Kiva and contributed $25 to a loan. The loan has a term of 12 months and is repaid monthly. Kiva just made a change to their procedures as well. Now, instead of making lenders wait until the entire loan is repaid before they can withdraw or re-loan the money, they have access to that money as soon as the monthly payment is made.
Last week, I was delighted to get an e-mail indicating that the borrower I loaned money to had made her first repayment! The borrower is a 23-year-old woman in Tajikistan who works in animal sales. She buys young cattle, raises them, and sells them at market with the help of her husband. I was delighted to see her making her payments on time, and I hope that the loan can help her grow her business.
I’m really happy with Kiva so far. I treat it more like a charitable donation than a loan, as there is no interest involved, and I will probably re-lend the funds from this loan once it is paid back. But that’s not required – I can choose to pull the money out as soon as the loan is paid pack each month and all I’m out is bit of interest. Not too bad for a gesture that provides a huge benefit to someone else. Right now, I’m letting that payment sit in my account at Kiva to be re-loaned when I have the entire $25 back.
If you haven’t already, go check out Kiva. And if you do sign up, I’d love it if you’d put me (megan [at] countingmypennies.com) as your referral. I don’t get anything for it, but when I open my Portfolio page on the site, I can see how many of my invitees have made loans, and it just makes me smile to know that the people I know are so generous.
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.