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Financial Literacy

Financial skills everyone should master (1)

How much do you really know about money management? Would you say that you have mastered the financial skills that will help you manage your wealth?

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Financial skills everyone should master (1), Financial decisions for 2020, Between saving, investing, speculating, trading & gambling

How much do you really know about money management? Would you say that you have mastered the financial skills that will help you manage your wealth?

Learning the basic financial skills may just be what you need to give your net worth a big boost. A lot of millionaires did not start with a lot of money. They had to learn how to make do with what they had. Instead of waiting until they earned enough money, they acted on their dreams. What made them successful is not the amount that they started with. It was their habits and skills that eventually led them to financial success.

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Budgeting plays a very important role in personal finance and it does not require any formal education to understand the basics of budgeting. Just come up with a detailed budget to start deciding where you want your money to go. Here are some financial skills that will help you navigate the complex world of money management.

Financial skills everyone should master (1)

Commit to saving money

Speaking of sticking to something, commitment is everything. You can’t do anything half-way. You can’t “sometimes do” something and “sometimes not.” You have to be consistent!

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It’s kind of like losing weight. If you only occasionally eat less and exercise more, you might lose some weight. But chances are, you’ll probably just go back to your old habits. In the same way, you need to commit to saving money and building your future. Otherwise, you might as well not even bother!

[READ MORE: Financial Risk Management Tips for Individuals and SMEs]

Give every money you earn a purpose

Budgeting helps you decide when and how to spend your money. It’s okay to splurge sometimes, as long as you have a plan and you can afford it. Your budget gives you that power. Start creating and following your budget now so that you can stop stressing about money.

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Have regular budget meetings with yourself

Take five minutes each night to go over your budget. This will help you stay in line with your spending and give yourself a clear picture of how you are doing for the month. If you do it each night, it should only take about five minutes.

Set regular financial goals

Setting clear financial goals can help you stick to your budget. You should have long-term, mid-term and short-term financial goals to work on each year. You do not want to overcomplicate this, but you should check in on your progress toward these goals on a regular basis, such as during your monthly financial check-in session.

Set up a financial plan

This plan will take you through all of your major financial steps—from buying a car to buying a home, and paying for your kids’ tuition fees. It can feel overwhelming to sit down and plan it out all at once, but it can help you prioritize your goals and know when and how to spend your time.

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Perfect the art of finding a deal

There are a lot of ways you can save money on things you’d normally buy, like clothing or groceries. This may mean learning the best time of year to make purchases. You can find ways to save on everything from your groceries to your furniture. If you make looking for a deal a habit, you will be able to save significantly over the course of your life.

Become a smart shopper and stop impulse purchases

A smart shopper is a bit different from a deal hunter. Once you have perfected the art of finding a good deal, you need to become a smart shopper and determine if you need the item before you buy it.

That does not mean you should not buy things you want, but you should be able to classify them as wants and make sure that you have the money available to cover them without dipping into savings. A good idea is to wait at least 24 hours before making a major purchase.

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Shop with a list

One of the biggest ways you can save money while shopping is to shop with a list and stick to it. This is a simple habit to start and only takes a few minutes before each trip.

If you have a clear list in mind, it can help you rein in your impulse spending, which can save you time and money. Plus, a list can help eliminate a second trip to the store because you forgot something, which saves you money on gas and additional impulse purchases. Take the time to make a list before each of your shopping trips and the savings will start adding up.

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Financial skills everyone should master (1)

Continue to network

It is important to keep your resume updated so that when you hear of a good job opportunity you can take it. It is also important to continue to build your professional network, even if you like your job. A strong professional network makes it much easier to find a new job when you are ready, or may even present you with a great professional opportunity, even when you’re not looking.

[READ ALSO: How to apply for a micro-finance loan in Nigeria]

Plan for seasonal expenses

These expenses may be things like holiday shopping, vacation spending, taxes, and home repairs.

If you know that expenses come once a year, set aside money to cover them each month. This will make it much easier to pay for these major expenses without having to dip into your savings. Taking the time to identify these expenses and planning for them will help you build more net worth and a solid financial future.

Once you have learned the basic financial skills and implemented them in your life through these tasks, you can expect a certain level of improvement. If you keep at it, you will surely find yourself moving towards a successful and secure financial future.

Patricia
1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous

    February 25, 2020 at 6:23 pm

    Educating

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MSME

What SME’s need other than Intervention loans

Since access to finance is a key constraint to SME growth, funding it has become paramount.

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SME's, Here’s why your business needs a solid value proposition (PART 1)

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play a major role in most economies, particularly in developing countries. According to the World Bank, they represent about 90% of businesses and more than 50% of employment worldwide. Formal SMEs contribute up to 40% of national income (GDP) in emerging economies and these numbers are significantly higher when informal SMEs are included. The World Bank predicts that “600 million jobs will be needed by 2030 to absorb the growing global workforce, which makes SME development a high priority for many governments around the world.  

Since access to finance is a key constraint to SME growth, funding it has become paramount. This has birthed a myriad of programs ranging from incubators to accelerators both locally and internationally giving out loans, grants, and other resources to ensure that the sector is equipped to create jobs and stimulate the overall economy. There have also been federal grants and other forms of support given to SMEs. Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, SMEs have been prioritized as recipients to loans and other stimulus packages. The CBN’s N50 billion Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) geared towards supporting SMEs and households whose economic activities have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, is just one of the different packages that have been put in place to cater specifically to it.  

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While there is data to back the impact SMEs have on our economy, it is true that even though small businesses help the economy, not all small businesses will contribute to the dream – or even survive past its early years.  According to The Better Africa report, by Weetracker, an African digital media company, the top 5 countries that experienced the highest shutdown rates among start-ups between 2010 and 2018 were Ethiopia at 75%, Rwanda at 75%, Ghana at 73.91%, Zimbabwe at 66.7%, and The Democratic Republic of the Congo (66.7%). Failure rate for start-ups in Nigeria averaged 61% over the same period. What this means is that if small business loans are being given to businesses at random in Nigeria, 61% of those businesses are bound to fail and the monies given, completely lost.  

The small business loans being offered by the CBN is a good step in the right direction. However, determining whether it ends up in the hands of the startups that are viable enough to scale and create the jobs or the larger percentage that will fail, depends to a large extent on how they are selectedIn disbursing the loans, there must be clear methods of choosing the recipients. CBN’s N50 billion Covid-19 intervention fund for SMEs in conjunction with NIRSAL Microfinance Bank, simply noted that it would appraise and conduct due diligence applications before sending them to the applications to the CBN for final approval, to CBN for review. The results will tell their story. 

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Why the economy needs more than loans 

The CBN giving out intervention loans is just one part of finding the solution – and this too does not say much about the amount in loans being given and their effect on the economy at large. If it’s too little to make any real difference, then it might only buy many of these businesses a few more months of dogged survival, after which all will be lost.  

The overall operating environment must be able to stimulate growth either through favourable tax incentives for specific industries, moratorium on other forms of loans, or just the provision of basic infrastructures like electricity and speedy internet services.  

READ ALSO: What Nigerian MSMEs must do to thrive in the new normal

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Another important thing is to ensure there is a ready market for businesses within the country. Even with the right federal loans, a business having no ready market will sink its funds into inefficient marketing. This ready market, however, has a lot to do with the ease of local production to ensure competitive pricing, further curtailing the proliferation of imported items, and more. 

In other words, economy will benefit even more from its overall development. The loans might help but, overall, there is unlikely to be sustainable exponential growth until the things that should be in place to expedite the development process exists. 

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Patricia
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MSME

How Nigerian SMEs can survive high mortality rate

SMEs are a very important economic catalyst in developing and industrialized countries.

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More than 40 SMEs in Lagos shut down due to economic crisis

In Nigeria where unemployment is a serious issue, the local businesses have a special position in the industrial sector because it has created employment and has been able to utilise labour. The local businesses, otherwise known as SMEs which means, Small And Medium Enterprise are everywhere, found on every street and corner as they surround us.

There is however no universal definition of SMEs that is widely accepted as it differs and varies from countries, but this is usually based on employment, assets or combination of the two. Institutions and organizations define SMEs in different ways depending on the purpose and the objective. Take for example, according to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD (2005) SMEs are considered to be independent firms that employ less than a given number of employees. However, SMEs were classified in terms of size, and financial assets.

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The Small and Medium Industries and Equity Investment Scheme (SMIEIs), defined SME as an enterprise with a 200 million naira maximum asset base, with the exclusion of land and working capital and with a workforce of not less than 10 employees and not more than 300 employees. Akabueze,(2002).

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The Third National Development plan of Nigeria (1975 – 1980) defined a small scale business as a manufacturing firm that employs less than ten people, or whose machinery and cost of equipment does not exceed N600,000
The Federal Government Small Scale Industry Development Plan of 1980 defined a small scale business in Nigeria as any manufacturing process or service industry, with a capital not exceeding N150, 000 in manufacturing and equipment alone.

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These definitions give a clearer explanation as to how the meaning of SMEs differs and varies. However, just to give you a clearer understanding of what local businesses or SMEs mean, they are independently owned organisations that require less capital and less workforce and less or no machinery. They are ideally suited to operate on a small scale to serve a local community and to provide profits to the business owners.

READ MORE: FG to disburse N97.3 billion to tech innovators, agric enterprises

Most enterprises in Nigeria, most of which are in the commercial sector are categorized as small businesses. The role of the small and medium enterprises towards the development of Nigeria is of great importance as it has contributed greatly to the country in terms of growth and development and also in providing employment opportunities.

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From seminars to workshop initiatives for SMEs both locally and internationally, a lot is being said about SMEs all over the World.

According to the Central Bank of Nigeria report (2003), SMEs are a very important economic catalyst in developing and industrialized countries.

According to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), developing countries can conquer poverty and inequality by democratizing, deregulating, and liberalizing the integration of the global economy. Recent studies have shown that SMEs contribute to over 55% of GDP and over 65% of total employment in high-income countries also that SMEs and informal enterprises account for over 60% of GDP and over 70%of total employment in middle-income countries (OECD, 2004).

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READ ALSO: These Nigerian businesses are being affected by COVID-19

However, considering the term “small”, there’s a whole lot of enormous challenges that come with it. In Nigeria, the factors working against the development and growth of local businesses are quite numerous, some of which include:

1. The issue of funding is a major problem with SMEs in Nigeria. However, the problem is not how to source it but the accessibility to either short or long term loans.

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2. Lack of infrastructural facilities is a serious impediment to the performance of SMEs. The problem of inadequate infrastructural facilities includes electricity, good road network, availability of potable water, and solid waste management. These infrastructures are left to the business owners to provide themselves.

  1. Poor Management and Low Entrepreneurial Skill Base is a serious clog in the survival of small businesses as there is a lack of essential and required expertise in business which leads to wrong and costly decisions and mismanagement.
  2. Entrepreneurs often blame their failures on inadequate sales. However, the problem lies with poor marketing skills that could help promote their sales.
  3. Most entrepreneurs go into business without proper planning by taking a realistic view of what their strengths and weaknesses are, let alone giving careful consideration and analyzing the economic trends or business conditions in that particular sector of activity, which sometimes leads to mishandling when the business starts to expand.
  4. The root of most employee problems in Nigeria is poor personnel management. They put aside personnel matters till crises set in. Such crises usually pose serious threats to the firm’s survival if they are not promptly looked into.
  5. The harsh deteriorating macroeconomic environment in Nigeria has adversely affected the performance of small business enterprises and has posed as a major challenge to their survival and growth. Most small business enterprises are struggling with the problem of uncertainty caused by the unstabilized macroeconomic environment and policy shifts.

With all of this ongoings, some of the solutions preferred to ease these challenges include:

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1. The need for government, and non-governmental organizations to create Seminars and workshops initiatives and other forums, to establish a platform for the interaction of SMEs owners/managers with others which can help to improve on their management capabilities.

2. Government should also provide the necessary infrastructures in order to ease the burdens and thereby encourage and promote rural industrialization.

3. The SME owners/managers should strive to develop effective marketing strategies in order to boost business operations which will become profitable.

4. It is important for SMEs to develop good personnel management policies to avoid crises that could affect their business.

5. Local business owners should take to proper planning, realizing his strengths and weaknesses before diverting into any business to avoid mishandling.

6. Goverments should help create a macroeconomic environment that is stable as it will enable these local businesses to make reasonable forecasts on costs, turnover, and return on investment.

7. The government should help in making funds easily accessible to SME owners/managers, be it short or long term loans that could help to encourage them to execute their business plan.

8. SMEs operators should also develop their competences in managing and sustaining their businesses by constantly engaging in training, research and development.

 

Patricia
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Personal Finance

Emergency Fund: Can you raise N50,000 cash tomorrow?

Focus on building up your emergency funds before building a portfolio of assets.

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Emergency Fund

Can you raise N50,000 cash tomorrow? Yes cash, without selling any asset of yours; Can you? This is a very important question you need to ask yourself. One generally accepted lesson from the 2020 economic downturn for both corporations and individuals is to always have an emergency fund (EF). So, what is an Emergency Fund? How is it set up? How is it used? Let us explore.

What is Emergency Fund

An EF is a savings account set up to pool and hold a minimum of three months of calculated Non-Discretionary Income (NDI). The EF is advised as the first activity any investors should undertake. Specifically, before even investing a cent, set up and maintain an EF because this fund acts as an “insurance” or stop-gap for your income or investment portfolio.

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How is an Emergency Fund set up?

An EF captures a minimum of three months of Non-Discretionary Income (NDI). What is NDI? These are expenses incurred that must be settled irrespective of income. For instance, rent must be paid, groceries must be paid, we cannot simply stop paying utility bills because we lost our job and thus income.

Once we decide on an investment plan, the first thing to do is to list out all expenses we will incur and attach a cost to them per month or annual basis but corresponding to the period of payment. We do this to identify the necessary expenses which we refer to as the NDE.

List of expenses

  • Rent N1,500
  • School fees N500
  • Camping/Holiday N300
  • Go to Movies N100
  • Groceries N400
  • Cable TV N200
  • Gas for cars N200
  • Phone Bill N300
  • Eating out Dinner N200

Total expenses for the month are 3,500

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Next, decide which of the expenses listed above are Non-Discretionary. In other words, which of these expenses must be settled irrespective of income? Let us assume our client chooses the following as NDE:

  • Rent N1,500
  • School fees N500
  • Groceries N400
  • Gas for car N200
  • Phone bills N300

These expenses above come to a monthly NDE of 2,900, with a three months minimum of 8,700. This minimum sum means that should the client lose his job or suffer any other income interruption, these necessary expenses will be paid from the emergency fund, without the need to sell down investment assets at fire-sale prices just to raise income.

How is it used?

The Emergency Fund is simply a piggy bank. Once it is set up, you can increase the minimum saving from 3 to 4 and as high as you want to go. What is does is insulate your investment portfolio from losing any compounding or dissipation in principal because you must sell.  So, if there is income interruption due to job loss or you simply want to take a long holiday and write a book, you can do so and still meet your expenses from these savings.

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An EF is not only for downturns, as it is also good for opportunities. A friend of mine bought an almost brand new car from a work colleague that was emigrating abroad because he could pay cash immediately in short notice. Cash is always king when you are in a tight negotiation with a seller.

Your Emergency Fund should be kept in cash or near cash investments. Return on investment for the EF is secondary to access to those savings. Also, you want your EF in an investment class with fixed income with no variation in returns. this means in practical terms do not invest your EF portfolio in equities that pay a variable return or even any asset which may need documentation and visits before you can access your funds. I am also wary of a commodity like gold, which does hold value, but cannot easily be converted to cash. The recommended asset classes to invest your EF are:

  1. Call or Fixed Deposit in Banks
  2. Sovereign Treasury bills, they are easily discounted and converted to cash
  3. Certificates of Deposit with bank

If the asset call cannot be converted to cash in one activity should be avoided. Also, ask the institution if they charge fees for early withdrawal and what those fees are.

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What can I do tomorrow?

  1. Start an emergency fund immediately. Do the expense exercise, determine your Non-Distortionary Expenses, start to build up a savings pot.
  2. Focus on building up your emergency funds before building a portfolio of assets.

Patricia
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