How many times have you had to bite your finger at the disappointment of passing up a business opportunity for which you were financially ill prepared to take advantage of? Occasions probably too numerous to count I am sure.
Compounded to your seeming frustration might also have been the fact that a purposeful walk into any of our Nigerian banks lends no reprieve as most would gladly dance naked in the simmering Nigerian heat or unforgiving torrential downpours than take a second look at your well prepared business plan. Your savings just won’t cut it, plus, it also seems, unfortunately, like other avenues of independent fundraising in a bid to benefit from that seemingly ‘hot’ business opportunity looks abortive from every angle.
Well, maybe there is one angle you failed to consider, and guess what, it’s one that enjoyed huge popularity at some point in the Nigerian business space. A casual discussion about it with a friend once lent the near heated response, “Investment Clubs are dead abeg! Let’s think of something else…” he said to my utter wonderment. Really? I mused, are Investment Clubs really dead or did we just see it as a passing fad which we were only too glad to drop at the first sign of ‘bump ahead’ we came by?
And now we scratch, unsuccessfully so, too far down the ‘well of opportunity’ for fundraising solutions that stares us right in the face? Hmmm, maybe it’s one or the other or it’s neither, but did you know that the Paris Club for which Nigeria and several other African and global nations always enthusiastically run to for financial aid is actually an informal group of 22 creditor nations, with no official global statues, who give concession–based loans to mostly poor nations.
And are today owed monies to the tune of half a trillion dollars by more than 50 global nations? I can’t even begin to imagine what could happen to the global economy if this group ever decided they needed all their monies, plus agreed interests, back. In other words, it would be bad news for the world, and good for the creditor.
Believe it or not, the Paris Club is one of the highest forms of Investment Clubs there is in the world today, and though there may be others, such as the London Club – a private group of creditor banks that also loan monies to countries and other banks, the Paris Club is one of the oldest, most successful and popular Investment Clubs in the world.
Of course, there might never be anyway that you or your entire village could together ever match the kind of investments that has seen Paris Club rise to the pinnacle of global financial prominence as it has today, however, might the idea be one channel to reach your goals of financial independence without the hassle of loan repayments, displeased shareholders, a greedy creditor and/or some form of indebtedness for which you could have future regret? Maybe…
Alright then, let’s delve a little deeper into this financial crevice and reeducate ourselves about this once forgotten money spinner and see if it could have some exploitable hidden gems.
What is an investment club?
An Investment Club is a group of individuals who come together to combine funds mostly for the purpose of investments, and with positive returns as an outcome. These members typically meet on a periodic basis to make investment decisions, mostly through, a voting process and then proceed with their investment objective(s). Investment Clubs are an excellent way of reducing the risk of financial losses, in the case of a bad investment decision, and are also good ways of meeting new friends and learning of new investment opportunities that exist and having a means of easily taking advantage of them.
Although people have been investing in groups for thousands of years, the world’s first investment club was allegedly established in Texas in 1898 back in the Wild West when few investments could be considered safe. Investment clubs were seen as an ideal way of spreading the risk away from just capitalizing in cattle farming, the popular business at the time. And one of the major reasons people, particularly Americans come together in investment club is to learn how to or other ways of investing their own personal monies outside of the group.
It is important that each Investment Club have ground rules, strict laws that must be abided by each and all members, a solid strategic business direction and firm investment objective and procedures otherwise its objective could be defeated from the get–go. Usually Investment Clubs do not have to be legally registered or offer or sell membership slots to interested persons, but most do and since each club is unique, each should, for best practices register at least as a private entity, a social club or find ways to abide by some statue governing the laws of the land which it finds itself.
Investment Clubs can invest in next to anything, both legal or (believe it or not, illegal). But the most popular, legal, vehicles are shares (stocks), mutual funds, bonds, treasury bills, property, junk bonds and direct investment in ownership of companies. However, other Clubs have been known to stake in big oil and gas deals, farming/agricultural projects, next–generation pharmaceutical and/or medical solutions, weapons manufacture and sale, to mention but a few.
How to join an investment club
Joining an Investment Club may require a connection to an existing member or a vacancy in the club, but any group of individuals may start their own investment club. The process includes finding a group of like-minded investors, registering it with state and/or federal government, obtaining a taxpayer ID, and holding regular meetings. The investment club should also open a brokerage and banking account and maintain organized and strict banking and accounting procedures.
Investment Clubs are commonly formed as partnerships or limited liabilities, and investment income and/or losses are consequently passed through to its members through monetary or physical terms as agreed by its members.
Contributions into investment clubs
Some Investment Clubs are gender or age specific and members may be required to make an initial minimum investment and then make regular contributions as agreed in its membership terms and conditions. Often, but not always, each member of the investment club contributes the same amount of money and is expected to do so periodically. Members are often always free to invest outside of the club, which makes an investment club a good way to diversify a portfolio.
Club meetings are usually held monthly but some Clubs meet more frequently, and most meetings involve reviewing existing investments, taking deposits for new investments, selecting new investments opportunities, and on some rare occasions, as a festive gathering. Members personally research existing and potential investments, and the group is often able to conduct more thorough research as a team than each member could do individually. A majority vote is normally required to buy or sell an investment, making it one of the safest investment options known to man…
To be continued…
About the Author
Whenever he is up nights, faffing around the internet gathering material for detective novels he is not sure when he’ll ever publish, Brain Essien, likes to play investment and brand strategist in the mornings and website architect/builder in the afternoons. On the weekends he likes to throw on a few bouncing apparels and gadgets and go bounce people out of their own parties if they become a handful. Besides that, he loves reading detective novels, building muscle, daredevil racing, video games, shad
Up for a raise? Use these 5 strategies to make it happen
To avoid appearing selfish or materialistic, here are five strategies to employ when demanding a raise.
Requesting a raise is an important conversation that you should have with your employer, particularly if you believe your salary does not measure up with the value you bring to the company or the duties for which you are assigned.
In a bid to avoid appearing selfish or materialistic, many people shy away from this. They continue to expect the day the company will announce a raise or promotion for the employees. Although in some workplaces this sometimes plays out as expected, many other businesses seldom revisit the salary specifics and performance evaluation document of their employee to evaluate and conduct a correlation in order to make recommendations for a raise to those who merit it.
Demanding a raise does not entail asking for a favor from the company, it simply means asking for suitable market value for your job roles and responsibilities. In as much as this might be the right of an employee, it is necessary to know how to go about it appropriately in order to achieve a favorable outcome.
Here are five strategies to employ when demanding a raise:
1. Evaluate your contributions and performance
To ask for a raise, you need to have a well-grounded knowledge of the positive contributions you have made to the company. Create a list or record of your discharge obligations or duties, as well as significant achievements that you made on the job. This will give you insight as to the value you bring to the company and what you get in return. Evaluating your results will provide you with a sound understanding of your efforts, achievements, and will also increase your confidence to demand a pay raise. This will help your boss realize that you know your worth.
2. Boost your negotiation power
Negotiation is the process of reaching a fair agreement for the parties involved by means of meaningful conversations. Most employees cower in the face of salary negotiation because of the impression this may create about them to their employers. Others who are brave enough to take the step lack the skillfulness to achieve or reach a handy result.
Negotiation is an art that should be learnt. Employees should improve on their negotiation skills if they intend to get a fair bargain for their efforts. One of the negotiation techniques that can be incorporated when asking for a raise in pay is to layout specific options from which the employer is to choose. This will offer both parties substantial choices to make a decision from.
3. Right timing matters
There is a time for everything. As cliché as this may sound, it is a fact you should accept and work with. You have to assess the company’s financial position to ascertain if asking for a raise will be feasible. When this is done, you can proceed to arrange a meeting to discuss it with your employer. Find out from your employer when it is convenient to discuss issues of concern that you have.
4. Present cogent reasons
When demanding a raise, one of the strategies to achieve this is to tender reports or proof of your achievements or efforts that have contributed to the development of the company in some way. You can request for a raise on the grounds of the length of service, duties, or performance. Your motives should reflect the principles of the company and they should be objectively stated.
5. Express gratitude
Appreciate the employer for the ability to work for the company and show a sense of appreciation for their service. Let the employer know that your demand for a raise does not mean that you are dissatisfied with the employer or the work, but rather that it is a request for what suits the specified roles you play.
For a variety of reasons, many organizations give an employee a raise based on different factors that range from efficiency, motivation, length of service, promotion, and a few other factors. If you are assured that you have fulfilled the requirements for a raise, the methods mentioned can be used to improve the chances of having a raise.
Personal Finance Culture: The 4 Cs of Financial Success
To achieve financial success, the 4Cs will be of great help.
Many Nigerians who had a pseudo-confidence in their financial stability, were rocked by the storms of the economic hardship that followed the COVID-19 pandemic. Some did not survive it, while those who did, now seek ways to be better financially equipped for future eventualities.
It’s six (6) months since the COVID-19 outbreak was officially declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11th, 2020. With the full enormity of the pandemic in mind, we cannot come out of this without noting its attendant life lessons. Interestingly, some of those lessons correlate with principles that can enhance your personal finance, on your journey to financial freedom.
Financial freedom does not happen overnight, as it results from self-discipline and good money habits practised consistently over time.
To help you on your journey, I have come up with the 4C’s. To achieve financial success, you must be;
- Creative – Find creative ways to earn more money. Having more than one source of income is a good way to increase your financial security. I’m sure the people who lost their jobs or took a pay cut during the pandemic will agree with me.
- Conservative – Be conservative with your expenses, and make sure to spend less than you earn. You can actually save more if you stick to a budget. It is okay to occasionally reward yourself, and enjoy the finer things of life. But that should also be on a budget.
- Consistent – Form the habit of saving and investing a part of your income. As far as savings go, you need to have at least 3 months’ worth of living expenses, stashed away in liquid assets – Emergency funding, to cushion the impact of job loss, unplanned medical expenses, and other emergencies. It also applies to small businesses – many SMEs without any financial buffer felt the impact of the lockdown from Day 1. Investing, on the other hand, is the only way you can grow your money. You should take it seriously; develop the right mindset, become financially intelligent, and seek expert advice before taking a step.
- Careful – Be careful who you listen to. Not every investment advice is good for you, and you should do your due diligence before releasing your money.
So, will you be making any changes to your money management style? What did you wish you learnt about money pre-COVID-19?
Importantly, we are not out of the woods yet. The virus is still out there, and you should stay safe, as Health is Wealth.
Temitope Busari, CFA
Temitope is an Investment Professional, with over 11 years of cognate experience spanning regional financial markets across Sub-Saharan Africa. Her technical skills cut across Treasury, Risk management, Fintech solutions, and Strategy. With a passion for positive social impact, she leverages multiple media platforms to advance financial literacy efforts, helping individuals and small businesses make better money decisions.
Budgeting apps that help you manage your personal finance
In today’s world, these apps make it easy to effortlessly manage your finances.
In our fast-paced lives and rapidly evolving world, technology makes it possible to get things done in a more convenient manner, saving time, energy, and other resources. Personal budgeting should be a daily routine and somewhat a habit in our lives, unfortunately, not many people pay attention to this.
The tech world has taken notice and provided us with ways to manage our finances with convenience and ease through mobile apps development.
Life is good when you are on top of your money and ahead of your expenses; these apps make it easy to effortlessly manage your finances.
1. GoodBudget: This budgeting app uses the shared envelope-budgeting principle. With its virtual tracking program, it makes it possible to not only, keep up with friends and family by syncing shares and budget, but also lets you save for big expenses and pay off debt. With a friendly user interface, the app makes it easy to categorically differentiate your regular monthly expenses from annual savings goals and irregular expenses. It is important to note that this particular app doesn’t sync transactions with your financial institutions, so for every amount that comes in or goes out, you’d have to manually enter the transactions. Another incentive this app offers is that it provides customisable reports for you to keep track of budget trends, offers helpful tips on how to create a budget and get ahead of your expenses. Works on android and iOS devices.
2. Piggyvest uses the traditional, simple saving idea of a piggybank, also locally known as ‘kolo ’. It presents you with the opportunity to use the ‘piggybank’ feature to reach personal savings goals more quickly. There are several other features for various purposes such as ‘Target Savings’ which helps you save for multiple goals like holidays, fees, and special events, ‘SafeLock’ which secures your funds by locking it until your pre-selected, this helps avoid impulsive spending. There is also the opportunity to partake in investments by investing in little bits that one can afford whilst still enjoying the same rate of return as a well co-investment option. Every option is vetted and secured by Piggyvest and you can easily monitor the progress of your investments. This is a Nigerian based app and accepts all Nigerian debit cards.
3. YNAB short for, You Need a Budget, is a personal finance help app that teaches you how to manage your money. The general principle is to ‘give every dollar a job’. For a dollar saved, it is saved for a particular purpose which could be long term or short term. It strives to eliminate the common trap of living paycheck-to-paycheck. One of the pros of this software is that it displays the user’s financial reports and syncs transactions so that users can seamlessly categorise their finances at a glance. It has a more proactive rather than reactive approach to budgeting. For every dollar you’re expected to earn, work is assigned to it, that is, to either spend or save. With over a million downloads, it’s gained popularity with its educational and philosophical approach to financial management.
Works for both android and iOS devices.
4. Carbon: If you have ever been caught in a predicament where you needed just a small amount of cash to solve an emergency, but you probably thought it was not possible to access loans in such a short period of time, you’ll really love this bit of good news. There’s a mobile app that you can use to get that ‘small cash’ without stress and have the money deposited directly to your account in 24hours or less. That app is called Carbon. Formerly known as Paylater, this is a personal finance and loan service app that helps you make all sorts of bill payments and money transfer with ease. It is built to help users understand their spending habits and learn how to categorise income and expenses to have full control over their finances. With this app, you can get a short-term loan amount as low as #10,000 and as high as #500,000. In addition to making it easy to recharge your phone, transfer money and have access to short-term loans, it also provides users with the option to invest using Payvest and earn up to 16% per annum. Available on Google Playstore.
5. Expensify: This mobile and web-based application is developed from the world-leading expense management company of the same name. It was originally developed to make it bearable for anyone to analyse expense reports. It is a software that allows individuals and businesses to track and file expenses such as fuel, travels, etc. Just by snapping receipts of transactions, the software uses artificial intelligence to identify the details of the transaction and automatically categorise and save the expense. It also allows users to download these reports based on user transactions. The product offers two payment options for individuals and organisations; for either annual subscriptions or pay per use charge. One of the pros of this particular app is that you can easily convert currencies for international travel. It is compatible with android and iOS devices.
6. PocketGuard: This is a personal finance help tool that makes for a more simplified budgeting snapshot. It helps you manage your disposable income, bills, and subscriptions. While some other personal finance apps try to provide you with tools to discipline your saving and spending habit, PocketGuard simply shows you what you have available for daily spending. The software is built to help you manage your everyday spending after your regular bills and subscriptions have been paid. Upon sign up, the app syncs with your financial accounts and helps you keep track of your account portfolio. Using it to pay for services helps you stay ahead and negotiate better rates. With AutoSave you can automatically grow your savings to the desired amount.
7. Financial Calculator: This app is handy for calculating the future value and present value of your financial assets. Some of its features help you to; perform financial calculations with ease and on the go, compare interest rates, compare lease and auto loans, determine how much time is needed for you to pay off debts, and to calculate the exact tip you should give for services rendered.
8. Unsplurge: We’ve all been there at one point or another, where we felt the need to splurge sometimes on impulse and give in to personal cravings. But then when the utility has declined you start regretting your impulsive spending and berate yourself for not being disciplined enough. Well, with Unsplurge, you have an opportunity to discipline yourself. It is built to encourage you to save money by working on your goals. There is no limit to the number of goals you can decide to save money for. You just log savings and monitor your progress. You can also get inspiration and encouragement from family and friends as they cheer you on and share their success stories as well. This app is built only for iPhones.
Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic and Financial Data
9. Personal capital: This self-help tool basically offers two primary functionalities; a free personal money manager and a paid investment management service. The free function allows you to monitor your income, assets, expenses, and investments from a single portal, get investment advice on how to optimise and make more money, whereas the paid version which is also known as the Wealth Management program offers a more personalised portfolio management.
10. Mint: This is one of the most popular personal finance apps of all time. This app has been hailed for its easy-to-use programs and friendly user interface. With a sort of colour-coded system, it gives a more graphical display which helps users navigate the app seamlessly.
Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic and Financial Data
Also known as intuit mint and formerly mint.com. This personal finance management app allows users to track bank, credit card, investment, loan balances, and a number of other transactions through a single user interface. One of the pros of this app is that it automatically syncs with your financial institutions to track user bills and gives constant alerts to ensure you keep up with payments. Based on financial data and transactions, its features allow users to create categories, track budgets, and set financial goals. It promotes savings by recommending credit card deals and insurance. The software is said to be securely protected, using a number of financial institution level security and high-level encryption. It was originally designed for iOS but an android version has been made available in recent years.