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Financial Literacy

Financial decisions you must take now

A new year comes with it a sense of renewal, with goals and plans to make changes required in addressing financial issues in the coming year and beyond.

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

2019 was a challenging year for most families, with financial issues being the major cause of the strain. A new year comes with a sense of renewal, with goals and financial decisions to make changes required in addressing financial issues in the coming year and beyond. Taking a bold step by making solid financial resolutions that can help you get closer to your financial goal is essential for starting a new year.

Have a financial goal

Having a financial goal gives you clarity and focus on what you want to achieve and how you intend to achieve them. It also gives you direction on how to spend your money. Whether long term or short term, financial goals help in budgeting and making good financial decisions.

Money mistakes, How much are you worth in naira per hour?

Avoid misplaced priorities

Everyone has priorities but most people have misplaced priorities. Misplaced priorities take you down the path to debt and unfulfilled financial goals. They also divert money to the wrong things, thereby leaving you in huge debt. In drawing a scale of preference, it is expedient to ask yourself, “What is the important thing?” “Which of these is more pressing?” and “What can I do without?” As urgent as priorities might seem, some are more demanding than others, while some “priorities” are things you can do without.

Pay down your debt

Being in debt is a situation that people find themselves in occasionally. Most times, it is not a conscious decision. Some unforeseen contingencies could drive you into taking a loan from someone or a financial institution in order to settle that need. Such unforeseen contingencies could be tuition fee, medical bills, business transactions, house rent, or any other thing that arises as a form of urgency that has to be met.

[READ MORE: The worst financial decision you can make)

The best way to pay up your debt is to make a list of who you owe and how much, then look for ways to pay up, wholly or partly. Don’t wait for the money to be complete. If you owe a debt of N1000,000, you can start by paying N20,000 if you don’t have the complete money.

By so doing, you are reducing the pressure on yourself and on your creditor. If you are finding it very difficult to pay up your debt because of some underlying circumstances, then, do well to reach out to your creditors and explain to them why you are finding it difficult to repay, stating that you will pay up partly or fully when things get better. This will help to create an understanding between you and your creditors, thereby helping to reduce the pressure on everyone involved.

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Develop a good savings culture

The richest man is not the man who earns more, but the man who saves more; hence, saving deprives you of something good today in order to give you something better tomorrow. Cultivate the habit of saving by spending less. Have a goal and save towards actualizing that goal. Savings can always come through for you in an emergency situation.

Fortunately, we have some good apps that are developed solely for the purpose of savings. Such apps include Piggybank, Cowrywise, and a lot more. You can save directly from your bank. You can also save by having a standing order on your various accounts. You can also encourage your children to save by giving them piggybanks to save in, and reward them for their savings.

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Invest in yourself

Self-development is one of the best decisions you can ever make for yourself. Read books and articles, and attend conferences on business and finance. Network with people who are more knowledgeable than you are in finance and learn from them. The extent of the financial decisions you take for yourself is a product of how much knowledge you have about finance. By investing in yourself, you’ll be guided when making financial decisions.

 

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Article written by: Hukeuma Aguma

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    Financial Literacy

    How to invest for retirement

    Planning for retirement means planning to reduce obligation in the future by investing today.

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    How not to worry about money in retirement

    “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.

    READ: How to choose the right Pension Fund Administrator (PFA)

    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.

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    READ: This thread exposed everything that’s wrong with Nigeria’s VAT

    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.

    READ: How to choose the right Pension Fund Administrator (PFA)

    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.

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    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.

    READ: How interest rates impact your wallet

    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.

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    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.

    READ: 10 Side gigs to venture into while working a full-time job

    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?

    • Lasaco
    • Zenith
    • 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.

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    Financial Literacy

    Steps to take to bag international scholarships

    Here are the steps you should take if interested in pursuing international scholarships.

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    United Kingdom opens window of job opportunities for international students

    Studying abroad gives you exposure among many other things, and that is precisely why many Nigerians have been looking for ways to study abroad. However, not everybody is privileged with the resources to study overseas and this is where the international scholarship option comes in.

    If you are interested in studying abroad and don’t have enough funds, you should consider applying for international scholarships. This article lists the steps you can take to bag international scholarships but before delving into that, here are some types of scholarships available to you as an international student:

    • Location-based scholarships
    • Course or program-based scholarships
    • Sports-related scholarships
    • Research-based scholarships
    • University-funded scholarships
    • Organization-funded scholarships
    • Government-funded scholarships

    Having discovered the types of international scholarships available to you, here are the steps you should take to bag any of these international scholarships.

    Research: Research is vital if you don’t want to miss out on good opportunities or make mistakes during your application. Research scholarship opportunities available in your prospective college or location and be on the lookout for hidden scholarships.

    Check your eligibility: Having done thorough research and discovered the available scholarship opportunities, check to see if you are eligible for them. Many international scholarships have their criteria and requirement, so you should confirm that you are the right fit first.

    Get the required documents: After confirming your eligibility, you should get the necessary documents. If the scholarship requires you to write an exam, prepare for the exam, write a good statement of purpose and prepare all other documents.

    Start your admission process: Some international scholarships require that you start your admission process and probably get the admission before starting your scholarship application.

    Contact past scholarship winners: You might want to contact the previous scholarship winners to know what they did right and how you can learn from them.

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    Apply for the available scholarships: The last step is to apply to every available scholarship.

    The best way to get funds for your undergraduate, postgraduate, or PhD pursuits abroad is by applying for international scholarships. If you do thorough research, you can find fully funded scholarships that won’t require you to pay any amount. One of the essential steps to getting an international scholarship as a Nigerian is staying abreast of current information and this will require you to network with others.

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