Popular financial expert, Kalu Aja, recently took to his Twitter page to explain why investing in mutual funds are beneficial. He explained that mutual funds offer good investment plans for a whole lot of reasons, including the opportunity to diversify one’s investments.
Below are his words, culled from his Twitter page with illustrations and analysis of how mutual funds work.
A Mutual Fund is a Trust or Company that pools money from many investors and invests in a specified class of securities such as stocks, bonds, real estate or a balanced mix of asset classes.
The Mutual Fund is managed by a professional management company who formulates and implements investment management services to the Mutual Fund on behalf of the investors to the Mutual Fund. That’s the theory part done.
Why mutual funds? Because of diversification. Want to buy a good share, which will you buy? Nestle has great brands, Zenith makes great profits. A mutual fund allows you own Zenith and Nestle at the same time with one investment.
A mutual fund also allows you handover your Nestle and Zenith shares to a professional fund manager to look after on your behalf, collect dividends and attend Annual General Meetings on your behalf. Mutual funds are “outsourced” investing.
My favorite Mutual Funds are index funds. Index funds are set up to track (and buy an index) So instead of buying just Zenith and Nestle, you buy the whole Nigerian Stock Exchange, with just one investment Why? Again diversification
[READ FURTHER: A guide to how Mutual Funds work in Nigeria]
Diversification? Spreading your bets: If Nestle and Zenith both fall in price, you still own Dangote Cement and Presco… So you are buying and owning lots of shares when you buy a mutual fund but also an index fund. Any other reason? yes.
Cost: When you buy shares your broker charges you a brokerage fee plus Nigerian Stock Exchange fees. So if you buy individual stocks, you pay fees per individual trade… However, buying a mutual fund or index means you are “averaging” your costs
So the question is not really ” Which Mutual Fund do you want to buy?” but “What is your investment objective, risk profile, and duration of the investment?”. Answering that question tells where you should invest.
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.
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.
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.
FG to provide financial support for 1.7 million businesses, individuals in next 3 months
FG had announced specific programmes aimed at cushioning the impact of COVID-19 on MSME businesses.
The Federal Government has announced plans to provide financial support for 1.7 million businesses and individuals across the country within the next 3 months.
This disclosure was made by the Minister of State for industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Katagum, at the virtual commissioning of the Fashion Cluster Shared Facility for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) tagged, Eko Fashion Hub, in Lagos.
Katagum disclosed that the initiative is borne out of the Federal Government’s continued commitment to helping cushion the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy by saving existing jobs and creating new job opportunities.
The minister said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, through the Economic Sustainability Committee, had announced specific programmes aimed at cushioning the impact of COVID-19 on MSME businesses.
She said, “The Federal Government is fully committed to empowering Nigerians; more so in the face of the COVID-19 Pandemic. In this regard, the government, through the Economic Sustainability Committee had announced specific programmes aimed at cushioning the impact of COVID-19 on MSME businesses.
“These programmes include among others, the N75 billion MSME Survival Fund and Guaranteed Off-take Schemes of which I have the honour to chair the Steering Committee for the effective implementation of the projects.
“The project, which will run for an initial period of three months, is targeting 1.7million entities and individuals and has provisions for 45 per cent female-owned businesses and five per cent for those with special needs. The registration portal for the schemes is set to open on Monday 21st September 2020 and I urge you all to take full advantage of the schemes.’’
The Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan which was produced by a committee headed by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, is a response to the health and economic challenges which foisted on the country by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Aside from developing robust monetary policies and fiscal measures to enhance oil and non-oil government revenues and reduce non-essential spending, the plan also includes a N2.3 trillion stimulus package for the economy.
Katagum said that the schemes were at the core of the N2.3 trillion stimulus package being implemented by the Federal Government. She said that the commissioning of shared facilities was also expected to provide succour and relief to the teeming micro-businesses in need of space and infrastructural support
8 Ways to set yourself up for financial freedom in your 20s
These simple tips might just be what you need to set yourself up for financial freedom.
Your 20s is one of the most important stages of your life, especially in determining your financial trajectory. One certain thing about financial freedom is that no one ever stumbles on it, you have to plan, and be intentional about it.
Mismanaging your 20s could see you spiral into a rat race that you may never recover from, especially after setting up a family.
Although it might be very difficult to become financially free in your 20s, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are on the right track. How do you do that? Simply go through our list of 8 ways to set yourself up for financial freedom in your 20s, below.
Also, remember that it is a process. Unless you hit a jackpot and invent a product that goes viral worldwide in your 20s, you have to follow the process. And even if you hit a jackpot, financial prudence is still necessary for growth and sustenance. Look around you, numerous examples of individuals exist, who were once millionaires or billionaires, but now declared bankrupt. This should tell you something.
8 Ways to Set Yourself Up for Financial Freedom in your 20s
1. Draw a blueprint for the future: Financial freedom is a goal. Just like other achievements that you planned to accomplish at a set time, you have to perceive it as something that you need to attain. The first step to drawing a blueprint is having an idea of what it would look like. Likewise, the same concept applies here; set your mind to your plan, and draw it out. Set milestones that you plan to hit, and set dates when you plan to achieve them. The path to financial freedom entails these key factors; identify them, and you’re well on your way to becoming a financially independent 20-year-old. Remember, nothing perfect was created without an initial plan in place. Faraday didn’t just wake up one morning and create electricity with a snap of his finger, it took countless hours of planning to invent the greatest element used by man.
2. Understand investment and leverage your knowledge of it: Sure, this could have simply said; “Invest more often” or “Start investing” but people tend to read these articles and act based on the words of the article solely, rather than what the words also imply. Investment is good, and even better, do it more often but it is important to note that it is not something to jump into out of the blue. It takes reading and studying to understand how to play your cards right when investing.
After studying the art of investing, then you can proceed to the next phase; leveraging your newly gained knowledge. Invest wisely in places where you are sure to get a high return. Do these in different places, and in a matter of time you can puff your chest and do “yanga” to those friends that said; “You’re young, spend your money and chop life”. We’ve all had those kinds of friends. Be wise, make smart investments, and work your way to gaining financial freedom in your twenties.
3. Find a financial planner: The importance of this step cannot be undermined. While some try to gain financial freedom on their own, many get financial planners to help them attain this feat. A financial planner would help you create detailed and useful financial forecasts that will let you know what you have done financially, and how it affects your financial forecast. In some cases, they could also advise you on the best financial oriented actions to take to get the best results in your financial forecast. Your goal is to be financially independent in your twenties, great! Set a forecast that dates to your set time, and you can have a rough idea on what your financial status would look like in that year.
If you’re curious to know what the heavily reiterated “Financial forecast” would address, they portray, financial risk management, investment planning, cash flow management, insurance planning, tax planning, business succession planning and more.
4. Filter needs from wants: If you’re planning to gain financial freedom in your twenties, you need to learn how to identify what you “need” and what you “want” out of mere interest. This is not only a key step towards financial freedom but also to adulthood. Needs in this context, don’t necessarily mean the “essential human needs” like food or shelter. A need is what is exclusively crucial to you at the moment, which is worth spending money on. From that definition, you can most likely conclude on what “wants” would be. When trying to make a purchase, always ask yourself if you are in dire need of it or consider the benefits of getting it; do they outweigh the cons of not having it?
No matter how convincing that salesman is, don’t let him talk you into buying what you do not need. Spending on the necessary things gets you financial freedom, and it’s a long-term ideology in adulthood.
5. Don’t rush, patience is key: “Click here to earn millions like this sharp guy from Lagos.” or “Invest 20k to get 100k in a week.” Here is a tip; work towards achieving your goal of financial freedom, but know that it will not be easy – nothing worthwhile is easy. Be patient, don’t jump into schemes and scams, thinking they are smart investments. Point number 2: Understand investment, and leverage your knowledge of it. There is no “get rich” quick path or “double your investment in 24 hours”. Most of these schemes bank on paying you with other people’s money, and eventually many lose and only a few benefits. Keep in mind that wealth grows and accumulates over a long period, therefore be patient and disciplined enough to see it through.
6. Don’t secure loans you are not sure to repay: Look to secure loans when it is necessary, and when doing so, ensure that you can pay it back. For example, the debt you acquire to finance a higher education should not exceed your expected income. Do not borrow a sum that you cannot repay, and always consider the interest rate of the debt. The last thing you want to do is be the person who wants to gain financial freedom but has a lot of debts to clear. For you to move forward, you have to be free of debt. Mark Cuban once said; “The best investment is paying off your debt”.
7. Be a businessman, negotiate: Don’t be the person that always agrees to the price called by the seller, neither should you be the kind of person that says “I don’t like negotiating, it makes me seem cheap” – that’s absurd. If you’re going to be financially independent, you have to understand that negotiation is one of the most crucial aspects of a business. It allows you to get what you want at a rate that is in your favour, as opposed to its initial price. By negotiating, you could save thousands annually. Imagine if you always had to pay the exact amount in all the purchases you have made? That is a lot of money that you could have saved up to invest with.
8. Always make a budget and stick to it: It is not enough to have a budget, it is just as important to follow it. This allows you to record your planned expenses, and it gives you a certain poise and discipline when spending, as you would be conscious of the fact that a certain amount is meant to be spent on something important, that you have planned. Having a monthly budget that you can commit to is a great way to set yourself up for financial freedom, one that we highly recommend.
Your 20s are not going to be around for long. It’s a time where you can make key decisions with minimal consequences and still have time to recover. However, we urge you to learn from these eight tips and accompanied by hard work and perseverance, you can be sure of gaining financial freedom in your 20s.