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Millennials are becoming parents and school fees are getting more expensive 

Across Nigeria, children are heading back to school this week, after nearly two months of school break. While this is a good thing, it can also be a source of financial concern for parents.

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Across Nigeria, children are heading back to school this week, after nearly two months of school break. While this is a good thing, it can also be a source of financial concern for parents. This is especially so for young parents, many of whom were just students a few years ago. Some of these millennials-turned-parents have only begun to pay school fees for the first time in their lives, and they are not finding the expenses funny.   

Imagine this scenario

Segun and Ifeoma (aged 29 and 27 respectively), got married in 2013 shortly after their university days. They welcomed a set of twins a year later and have since birthed one more child. Fast forward to 2019, the twins are aged five years old and already in primary school. What this means, is that the young parents must cough out thousands of naira in school fees for the twins every school term. 

Due to such factors as a bad economy, lack of high-paying jobs, and the high unemployment rate in Nigeria, these young parents earn average salaries that can barely take care of their needs. For instance, while Segun’s monthly take-home as a medical doctor is N250,000, his wife earns about N150,000 as an Executive Trainee in a bank. Together, they manage their joint monthly income to take care of a range of expenses such as rent, food, clothing, medical bills, extended families’ needs, and most importantly, their children’s school fees.  

[READ MORE: These 3 habits are startup killers]

Why school fees are burdensome to millennials-turned parents 

The truth is that most public schools in Nigeria offer low-quality services at affordable rates. Therefore, to get quality education for their kids, parents must be willing to spend more. The situation, however, becomes problematic when young parents such as Segun and Ifeoma must squeeze from their earnings to pay these high school fees, bearing in mind that they have a long list of other expenses. 

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In the early to mid-2000s, Segun attended the Federal Government College at Ijanikin, Lagos. There, the tuition was relatively affordable even as the quality of education was manageable. Now that he is a parent; he knows better than to send his children to public schools, except for a select few anyway. Consequently, he and his wife must bear the cost of sending their kids to private schools where the fees per term are often as high (if not more) than his salary. 

How can millennials cope with the high cost of educating their kids? 

In a 2018 LinkedIn article which remains relevant till date, financial expert, Damilola Alonge, explained in detail how millennials can best manage the cost of training their children in school. According to him, the answer is simple – young parents should “start building an Education Fund today!” He advocated that every millennial should do this, whether or not they currently have kids.  

[READ ALSO: Perennially broke friends have these 6 habits]

Why you need an education fund for your kids 

The answer is simple it is a very smart thing to do. Simply defined, an education fund is money set aside for the purpose of investing in your children’s education. Once again, this is a very wise thing to do because as you may well know, availing a child the right to proper education is one of the best investments any parent can ever make, especially in this part of the world. 

It is best to start building an education fund early because the older your children become, the costlier it is to educate them. Starting an education fund for them means that as they grow older, you can easily be able to pay their school fees without becoming overwhelmed.

Let’s get back to Segun and Ifeoma for a second. Their twins’ education will become much more expensive as they graduate to secondary school and then to the university. If the young couple starts now to have an education fund for their children’s future education needs, they’d have a lot of burdens lifted off their shoulders some ten to fifteen years from now. 

How the education fund works 

Just to be clear, establishing an education fund for your children’s education has nothing to do with opening an account and dumping money in it. Far from it. Instead, it is all about investing. Alonge recommends defining a fixed timeframe between now and when you’d need the money to start paying school fees.

[READ FURTHER: Here’s what Warren Buffet thinks parents should teach their kids about money]

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You will also need to factor in the kind of university you’d like your child to attend, as well as how much it currently costs to send a child to such a school. Doing all this will help you know how much of your monthly salary you will need for “investing in a mix of asset classes like equities, fixed income, USD assets, real estate, mutual funds, etc.” 

For instance, if Segun and Ifeoma want to start an education fund to take care of their twin’s tertiary education, they can come up with a 12-year investment plan – 12 years representing the timeframe between when the kids will finish with their primary and secondary education before proceeding to the university.

Upon starting the education fund, professional investment/financial planners can then help the couple to monitor the growth of their investments towards the purpose for which they have been made. 

Emmanuel is a professional writer and business journalist, with interests covering Banking & Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate Profiles, Brand Communication, Fintech, and MSMEs. He initially joined Nairametrics as an all-round Business Analyst, but later began focusing on and covering the financial services sector. He has also held various leadership roles, including Senior Editor, QAQC Lead, and Deputy Managing Editor. Emmanuel holds an M.Sc in International Relations from the University of Ibadan, graduating with Distinction. He also graduated with a Second Class Honours (Upper Division) from the Department of Philosophy & Logic, University of Ibadan. If you have a scoop for him, you may contact him via his email- [email protected] You may also contact him through various social media platforms, preferably LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Personal Finance

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.

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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.

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(READ MORE:Banks push customers towards self service in the “new normal”)

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.

(READ MORE: Nigerians will now pay N50 stamp duty on electronic receipts – FIRS)

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.

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Personal Finance

Personal Finance Culture: The 4 Cs of Financial Success 

To achieve financial success, the 4Cs will be of great help.

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Borrowing money, Personal Finance Culture: The 4 C’s of Financial Success 

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 pandemicSome 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, 2020With 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 financeon your journey to financial freedom.  

READ: Emirates Airlines banned from operating in Nigeria

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 4Cs. To achieve financial success, you must be; 

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  1. 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.
  2. 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 yourselfand enjoy the finer things of life. But that should also be on budget. 
  3. Consistent – Form the habit of saving and investing 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. 
  4. 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. 

READ: Effective financial planning after taking a pay cut in Nigeria

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. 

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Personal Finance

Budgeting apps that help you manage your personal finance

In today’s world, these apps make it easy to effortlessly manage your finances.

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Money apps for professionals

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.

READ: How hackers break into your WhatsApp account, and how to avoid them

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.

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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.

READ: What Nigerian banks consider before granting personal loans

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.

READ: Zoom reports a surge in profit of 3,300%

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.

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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.

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