Saving money is a struggle for most people. With a steady flow of monthly income, it is easy to spend with reckless abandon (especially in the first week of your salary payment). By the second week when you are no longer in that salary bubble, you chastise yourself for not saving. Then, you remember that the major difference between those who retire wealthy and those who retire poor is how well they were able to manage their finances during their earning years.
In a bid to help you better manage your money through savings and proper budgeting of all monthly expenses, we researched some of the apps that could help you do just that.
1: Money Dashboard
Money Dashboard helps you to keep tabs on your monthly budget. As its name implies, it is a dashboard for your money which categorises all of your expenses and lets you see them all at a glance. By so doing, you can see what you are spending on most, and where you need to cut back on expenses. To use the app, you will have to download it for free either from www.moneydashboard.com or from the iOS store.
To be financially free, you do not necessarily need to have all the money in the world. What you need, however, is the ability to properly manage the little (or big) money that you have. This is the vision behind Mvelopes, which enables users to set up their monthly financial plans based on their levels of income. This app is free, and you can get it on the iOS store, Google Play, or www.mvelopes.com.
3: Good Budget
Good Budget is an app which helps you to plan out your monthly expenses. With this app, you “will never be caught off-guard by a bill or sudden expense.” This is because as you receive your salary, you can set aside how much you need to run your expenses for the month. It also helps you spend money only on what is important to you instead of frivolities.
The app is particularly good for married couples who both work and contribute to the monthly upkeep of their homes. This is because you and your spouse can sync your accounts so that you can both follow the monthly budget you have set for your home. In other words, it helps both of you know who is spending money when, how and on what.
Get the app on www.goodbudget.com, iOS store and Google Play.
The Mint app will help you budget your monthly expenses based on your financial data, and also periodically avail you of the opportunity to see your financial score in order to keep abreast with your financial status at all times. The app will also use its investment tracking feature to compare your portfolio with market benchmarks and track your asset allocations across various platforms.
It is indeed a money manager which you can trust and use with ease. To read more about the app or get it for free, visit the Mint store at www.mint.com or get it on the iOS store.
Sometimes, it happens that you really need to purchase a product but your budget cannot accommodate the extra expense. The Unsplurge App provides a solution to that by making it possible for you to save and look forward to buying the item you want. As its name may suggest, the app helps you save so that your delayed gratification can be met later. You can get the app on the iOS store.
6: Level Money
You can all agree with the fact that while it is one thing to have a monthly financial budget, it is another thing to actually follow through and be faithful to it. One reason why most people fail to stick to their budgets is that they forget. This is probably your story too. But do worry, because Level Money is here to the rescue.
The Level Money app will remind you when you are spending more than you budgeted. Look at it like an alarm that reminds you that you are oversleeping. Not only does the app help you plan your budget, it also helps you to stick to it. It works in such a way that you link the app to your bank account and let it detect your financial capacity, analyse how much you can afford to spend in a month and then stick to it. Get the app for free on both the iOS store and Google Play Store.
Wally is a virtual budget journal with which you can manually log your expenses and store pictures of your receipts. The app can also store details about points of purchases just in case you later need such details for whatever reason. And just like Level Money, the app will remind you when you exceed your set budget.
It is free of charge and can be gotten from both the iOS store and Google Play Store.
Pennies could be the easiest-to-use budgeting/saving app out there. The app tracks your payday and updates your budget as soon as your salary is paid. It can also avail you the opportunity to transfer money when you need it between budgets.
Pennies is blunt, in that it can tell you exactly how your spending habits today can affect your financial standing tomorrow. So it is probably what you need to keep you in check just in case you are one of those who struggle to stick to your financial goals.
You can get the app on iOS store and Google Play Store.
While Pennies is blunt, Qapital can be said to be a strict budgeting app which “charges” your guilty pleasures and returns the money you do not need in your budget back to your savings. The app can also help you identify the triggers as per expenses, and help you avoid them.
You can get the app today on the iOS and Google Play Stores.
Just in case you are one of those who have too much money and don’t know what else to do with it other than subscribe to different services you barely use, Truebill will help you unsubscribe from such services. The app is like the budget police, tracking and cancelling all paid subscriptions that are wasting away. If you need it, get it now on the iOS and Google Play Stores.
Like most of the apps above, the Reach app helps give you a breakdown of where your money is going by-
- Automatically tracking your income and expenses
- Managing your cash transactions by recategorising your ATM withdrawals
- Sending you daily reminders about your budget so that you can keep following it through, and
- Sorting out how much you can spend without jeopardising your financial future.
You can download the app for free from Google Play Store.
In conclusion, managing money is on its own, a difficult task. When you combine that with the many “commercial temptations” that come in the form of digital ads sliding through your screen daily, it becomes really difficult not to overspend. This is why you need to get one of the above-mentioned apps and let it be your financial guide.
How SMEs can access capital in Nigeria
Despite the global consensus that SMEs are crucial to economic development, access to funds remains a militating factor against the sector’s growth.
The significance of SMEs for any country, especially Nigeria, cannot be overemphasized. It is, therefore, not surprising that SMEs constitute one of the bedrocks of economic development in the country. This makes it a sector that should be given utmost priority by the government.
To get started, the government needs to make funding more accessible to small and medium enterprises at low interest rate. Reason being that they need capital to thrive and nurture their businesses. Despite the global consensus that SMEs are crucial to economic development, access to funds remains a militating factor against the growth of SMEs in both developed and developing nations of the world.
The federal government of Nigeria with the support of the World Bank and the African Development Bank have tried in the past to assist SMEs through various credit schemes and loans structured to fund Small and Medium Enterprises, some of which are World Bank SME loan scheme, African Development Bank Export Stimulation Loan scheme; CBN Rediscounting and Re-financing Facility, National Economic Reconstruction Fund, Bank of Industry and the Graduate Employment Loan Scheme initiated by the National Directorate of Employment. Moreso, there are other ways that SMEs can be funded which are through Bootstrapping, loans from banks, moneylenders and grants from government institutions and non-governmental institutions.
Source: Nigerian Institute for Social & Economic Research
According to NISER findings, about 73% of SMEs raised their funds through Boostrapping (personal savings), about 2% obtained their funds from financial institutions, while 0.21% obtained their funds from other sources.
Here are some ways that SMEs are can access funds in Nigeria.
Accessing loans from banks
Banks (Commercial, Merchant & Development banks) offer credits to Small & Medium Enterprise in Nigeria. Before giving you a loan, they need to ascertain that you are creditworthy, and your business would have gotten to a particular stage. Also, you need to know that before applying for a loan, your small-scale business must conform with the goals and interest of the financial institution you want to apply to. Other things banks put into consideration before disbursing a loan are a well-written business plan, a financial record, collateral, and a guarantor. Nevertheless, many financial institutions are sceptical about giving SMEs loans because of the associated risks. Some prefer to pay the fine imposed for not meeting the target of giving SMEs loans than run the risk of being exposed to them.
Funding from Small and Medium Industries Equity Investment Scheme (SMIEIS)
Another source of funding for SMEs in Nigeria is the Small and Medium Industries Equity Investment Scheme (SMIEIS) Fund. This type of funding is designed to finance SMEs through venture capital. This initiative is from the government and its aim is to advance SMEs to drive industrialisation, poverty mitigation, sustainable economic development, and creation of employment. Venture Capital financing provides funds as a loan to SMEs with the idea of converting the debt capital into equity in future. Venture capital may be regarded as an equity investment where investors expect significant capital gains in return for accepting the risk that they may lose all their equity. To be eligible for equity funding under the scheme, a prospective beneficiary shall have the following:
- Be registered as a limited liability company with the Corporate Affairs Commission and comply with all relevant regulations of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (2020) such as filing of annual returns, including audited financial statements.
- Be in compliance with all applicable tax laws and regulations and render regular returns to the appropriate authorities.
Grants from non-governmental organisations/foundations
Business grants are another source of funding and they are mostly given by NGOs and foundations. These grants can be accessed by individuals, firms/company, business, or corporations to develop their businesses or scale up operations. One of the best ways to get finance for business or ideas is getting a grant. While a loan is a good alternative, a grant is far better than a loan. It gives you the peace of mind to build and grow your business or idea. It is like getting “free money.” There are many organizations that offer grants in Nigeria, Africa and worldwide. Some of these organizations are the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Bank of Industry, YouWIN, AYEEN financial grant, etc.
This is a situation where business owners resort to funding their businesses with their savings and revenue without the support of venture capitalists or bank loans. Apart from personal savings, financial support for businesses, especially at the startup stage, can also be sourced from relatives and friends.
Getting loans from microfinance schemes/moneylenders
Due to the rigorous processes and high interest rates demanded by commercial banks, Microfinance banks were established to assist small businesses in securing loans. SMEs are eligible for Microfinance loans if they meet the requirements stipulated by the bank.
In conclusion, SMEs constitute the driving force of industrial growth and development in the country. The government should focus on and nurture the sector by making funds at low-interest rates more accessible to players in it to help them thrive.
How to invest for retirement
Planning for retirement means planning to reduce obligation in the future by investing today.
“If you plan to retire in five years what should you be doing today?” That’s a question I got last week, and talking with the client, a lot came up which I have decided to share.
First off, What is retirement?
Nigeria’s public service has an official retirement age of 60 or thirty-five years of unbroken active working service, but in financial planning, retirement is a financial, not a chronological event. Retirement can occur when your passive income can meet your non-discretionary expenses.
You start to plan for retirement the day you start to earn an income. Your retirement plan will centre on how to generate passive income and reduce expenses. In Financial Planning, Four distinct stages are usually described in a so-called Lifecycle Chart. These are the Accumulation, Consolidation, Spending, and Gifting stages. Chart 1. Financial LifeCycle seeks to segment investing priorities, recommended asset allocation, and risk profile in a chronological timeline as the person gets older. I will take each of these stages and explain how they are linked to your retirement plan.
Chart: Financial Life Cycle
Early years: Use Your Time and Make Money, (Accumulate)
The first stage is called the Accumulation stage. Imagine a 22-year-old who has just graduated and is a management trainee. He typically has a low credit score and assets and income are also substantially lower. What he has in abundance is time. So it’s important to deploy his time in the best way to make money. Hence in the accumulate stage, the goal is to generate cash flow either from a job, multiple jobs, working longer hours, saving, cutting unnecessary expenses, etc.
The key measure in the accumulation stage is the Savings Rate which is essentially how much of income earned or generated has not been spent. On average, the participants in the accumulation stage have fewer dependents and maintenance needs which should theoretically make it easier to save.
Mid Years Use Your Money To Buy Assets (Consolidation)
In the consolidation stage the focus shifts from saving to investing. At this stage, the income earned and credit scores have improved. This is when the talk of buying a home or starting a business takes concrete shape because, at this stage, those dreams can be funded. Hence capacity to take on debt is improved, and debt is used to invest in assets like a home. Remember debt is simply front-loaded consumption, which means we are taking our future income to invest today, intending to repay with future income generated from today investment.
The key measure in the consolidation stage is the Rate of Return which is essentially how much has been generated from the investments made.
Spending & Gifting Phase; Use Your Assets To Generate Cash Flow and Time (Spending and Gifting)
Why is it called the spending phase? Because that’s what the individual is doing, spending down accumulated investments. The spending will include buying annuities or perhaps relocating to another city, your dependant’s college needs, etc. At this stage, typically very few are still earning “new” income but are rather spending from the return of prior investments.
The key measure in the spending stage is the Withdrawal Rate which is essentially how much of investment can be withdrawn as cash annually to ensure we do not outlive our investments.
Retirement is All About Passive Income
Passive income, which is the income we are making from investing from the accumulation and consolidation stage is now sufficient to generate income and reduce expenses to meet our expenses in the spending/gifting stage.
To give an example, assume we took a mortgage to buy a house in the Consolidation Stage, in the Spending stage, we pay no rent, thus we save cash, which reduces our Non-Discretionary Expenses. In essence, retirement is planning to eliminate your future expenses to the point where you need less income when you retire.
What Should You Invest In Before Retirement Or In Retirement?
Our objective is simple, Income. In retirement, we invest solely to make income to meet our spending needs, Risk profile is also very low because there are fewer recovery options if your investments sink.
The retirement portfolio is an income-generating portfolio that will be overweight in fixed income products. First, determine what the risk-free rate is. In Nigeria, we can take the yield on a ten-year FGN bond as a guide, this means we can have a target of 10% as our huddle rate for the long term. Thus I will recommend an 80/20 portfolio with 80% going to Fixed Income consisting of long term bonds, REITs, and other top-grade commercial paper.
However what happens if we lock in our funds for 10 years at 10% and rates jump to 20%, meaning a loss to our portfolio. To avoid this risk we can create a bond ladder, where we break down the bulk sum and duration of our total bond investment outlay. Let us assume we have N10m in cash to invest, instead of one single lot investment of N10m, we split into 5 equal investments of N2m and place for 6, 7, 8, 9, and ten-year maturities. This means by the 5th year the first N2m will mature, if rates are higher, reinvest, if rates have fallen then reevaluate.
What about Equities
Yes, equities also pay a dividend. In buying equities, we must ensure we are only buying stocks that pay a dividend above our huddle rate of 10% which is the 10-year FGN bond rate. Which Nigerian stock meet that huddle rate?
- GT bank
- United cap
In closing, let us summarize. Retirement is not chronological age. The event occurs when our passive income pays our bills. Planning for retirement means planning to reduce obligation in the future by investing today. Investing in retirement is income-based with a huddle.
Nairametrics | Company Earnings
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- Nigerian Breweries publishes names of over 100,000 shareholders who are yet to claim their dividends.
- 2020 FY Results: Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc records a 37% increase in profit after tax.
- CSCS Plc posts profit after tax of N6.93 billion in FY 2020
- BUA Cement Plc announces Board Meeting
- Infinity Trust Mortgage Bank Plc records a 60% increase in profit after tax in Q1 2021.