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Personal Finance

How to get out of debt: A step-by-step guide

Follow these few simple practices and you may well be on your way to living a debt-free life.

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The crowding out effects of rising States' debt: Why Nigerians should worry, How to Get Out Of Debt: A Step-by-Step Guide

Having to run or hide from someone just because you owe them some money is not a very fun exercise. But what if you didn’t have to do it, what if you lived debt free? Hold your gasps; it’s not so shocking. It is very attainable, and if you can follow the few simple practices we’re about to examine, you can be well on your way to FREEDOM.

Here, we’ve outlined necessary steps to help you live debt-free;

READ: How to make more money solving problems

Gather your data: These include records and information that contain your bills and expenses, income and source(s) of income, credit score etc. the goal here is to get you acquainted with yourself. You have to know yourself well enough to understand your spending pattern and identify critical areas to adjust or habits to do away with.

Understand your debt: Make a list of all your debts, all that you currently owe, and how much interest rates are charged on them. Remember to include the minimum required payment for each debt. This would help you understand the type of debt(s) you owe. Understanding your debt will help you know how it happened and give you a clearer perspective on how to clear it. If you have more than one type of debt, it can be challenging to keep track, and you may find yourself always paying money and not even knowing if you are a step closer to clearing your debts. But you cannot begin to pay off your debt until you understand what the figures in your records represent.

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READ: Football: Manchester United net debt rises by 133% to £474.1million

Create a budget and debt pay-off plan: Creating a budget should have come as a first step. However, that would be more effective in the situation that debt doesn’t exist, because one of the reasons for budgeting is to make sure that you DON’T fall into debt. Having gathered your data and coming to terms with what the records are; the next thing to do is to create a plan. There are different tools you can utilize to help you. A simple keyword search would give you an idea of what to do. The budget plan doesn’t have to be complicated, create a list that you would be able to understand and stick to the program.

(READ MORE: How declining interest rates, others drive a shift in Nigeria’s investment sector)

Lower your interest rates: The reason why people fall into debt and find it challenging to pay is due to the interest rate charged on their actual amount borrowed. You see; because you are required to pay interest rates on that money, it drags out the length of time you could payback. Negotiate your interest rates lower. Even when you may have already borrowed and started paying it off, if you find it challenging to complete payment, you should consider asking for lower interest rates. Depending on who your lender is, and how persuasive you are, you may find yourself having less to worry about.

READ: Afreximbank posts $217m net income in 9M 2020

Pay more than you have to pay: Another reason you could remain indebted to someone is when you stick to just paying the monthly required amount. Because of the interest charged on most loans, you only concentrate on paying that specific amount for that particular month. That keeps you in debt because instead of bringing you closer to clearing your debt, you are only dragging it out. Regardless of the interest rate, if you can pay more than the expected amount, you should go on to do so. It is something that you can discuss with your lender. It serves both of you because the faster you clear your debt, the quicker he gets his money back.

Earn More Money: To settle your debt, you have to go out of your way to ensure that your income supersedes your expenses. One way you could earn more money is by starting a ‘side hustle’ or taking a part-time job. In this modern age, there are more opportunities than ever, for anyone to diversify their streams of income. And most of these gigs are conveniently remote; you can run them from the comfort of your home. Of course, any human would be elated at the prospect of earning money, and when you are in debt, you just have to go out of your way to do everything possible to clear.

Curb Your Excesses: If you are in debt and you are finding it difficult to clear, evaluating your lifestyle habits could help put things into perspective. You have to be honest with yourself. If you want to pay off your debt faster, you’ll need to cut your expenses as much as possible. One tool you can create and use is a bare-bones budget. This is a strategy you can use to make your expenses as low as it can go and live a minimalist lifestyle. Live only on bare necessities and do away with frugality.

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No matter the type of debt, you can always clear it. Never believe that it is impossible. Always remember to have a plan. You really cannot afford to leave your life to chance. Be intentional about every aspect of your life, especially with your finances.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Daniel

    November 29, 2020 at 6:31 pm

    Do I need to thank you for this write up? No…I don’t think so, you are simply doing your job or business. But I want to thank you for being very practical and ending the piece with a word of hope and encouragement.”You really cannot afford to leave your life to chance. Be intentional about every aspect of your life, especially with your finances”… there is no better way to end such a wonderful piece. Thank you

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Personal Finance

How to fund your business without a debt sentence

The lack of funding is a great excuse for people who are not really ready to start a business. 

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5 things you can do to attract equity funding for your business

According to Mark Cuban, one of American’s entrepreneurs, owner of Dallas Mavericks, and TV Personality, the biggest mistake most people make is to think that they have to raise money to start a business.

As a financial advisor, I totally agree with Mark. There is no such thing as a successful business that became successful because of funding. Yet every week I receive tons of emails asking for advice on how to raise money or if I would invest in their businesses.

The answer always is “No” and you will discover the reason at the end of this article.

While I understand that certain businesses genuinely do need funding, and while funding is necessary at certain stages in a business, I do not think that every business needs funding to get started. And in fact, the majority of funding needs are not real funding needs, but the lack of ability to create money from thin air.

Most Funding requests are disguised gap in creativity and sales skills. Because with the right sales and creative skills, you can create the amount of money that you want. And you can also break down your business into the version that you can fund with your own money.

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Thus funding problem is majorly disguised creativity and sales problems. And quite frankly the lack of funding is a great excuse for people who are not really ready to start a business.

I know this because great entrepreneurs are not stopped by funding challenges. And the greatest entrepreneurs in the world all started in spite of funding challenges.

Amazon started out from the garage of Bezos’ in Bellevue, Washington. He started out with funding of almost $250,000 from his parents.

Facemash now Facebook started in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg and a group of friends. They started out with sweat equity, technical skills, and the ability to sell their idea and build a solid community.

Apple started out in Jobs’ garage on April 1, 1976, by college dropouts Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. They started their business with sweat equity, technical skills, and the ability to sell a not so perfect Apple 1 product without a monitor, keyboard, or casing.

Bill Gates and his business partner Paul Allen built the world’s largest software business, Microsoft, from technological innovation, keen business strategy, and aggressive business tactics.

You will find a similar story for Elon Musk, Mark Cuban, Richard Branson, Dangote, and so on.

These men built their businesses from the ground up with sweat equity, the right attitude, personal savings, or support from families. Funding did not stop them and funding will not stop you if you are serious about entrepreneurship. Quite frankly funding at the early stage of a business increases business stress, dilutes control, and expands leadership complexity.

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So while you may fantasize about some strange investor sent by God coming along. To lift your business off the ground. In reality, this rarely happens. You must find ways to fund your way to a proven business model. Investors rarely fund ordinary ideas or struggling businesses. They fund businesses that are already succeeding but need funding to expand that success. This is why banks rarely lend to SMEs but do so easily to successful businesses. And why the majority of successful business owners started off on their own

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So why do people still waste time looking for funding?

People gravitate towards funding for three reasons. The first is the Fantasy of overnight success. The second is the desire to use another person’s money to fix fundamental problems. That can only be solved through discipline and hard work. And the third is to make an already successful business even more successful.

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Among these three reasons, only one is of interest to the investor.  Investors are not on a mission to rescue your business or make you rich. They are on a mission to increase their wealth and achieve more financial success. They will only invest in businesses that can help them achieve their goals. And until your business develops this capacity you are not yet funding worthy.

Thus the only purpose for funding is to transfer investor’s idle funds or funds that are less optimized to a profitable business vehicle. That has the capacity to generate higher profits. This means that your business must have the capacity to turnaround investors’ money very quickly. If your business is not yet at this stage. You should focus on bringing it up to this stage and then attracting investor’s funding can become easy for you.

The key to successful funding is to answer the three funding questions. First, is my business fundable? Second, do I need funding for wealth-creating purposes? And third is my business at the stage where it can turn around investors’ money without losing it? Answering these questions is key to funding your business.

A business is ready for funding when it has certain key attributes. There are seven key attributes that attract investors and make a business funding worthy.

 

Watch out for the next part of this interesting series


About author

Grace Agada is The Senior Financial Happiness Director @ Create Solid Wealth. She is an Author and Column Contributor in Six National Newspaper. She is a contributor at BellaNaija, Nairametrics and Proshare and she is on a mission to help working-class professionals and CEOs become more financially successful. To learn more about Grace and how she can help you send an email to [email protected]

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Personal Finance

How to reduce your electricity bill in Lagos

Find out a few tips on how you can reduce your electricity bill.

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With the recent hike in electricity tariff, everyone is looking for ways to cut costs, especially if you already have a prepaid meter installed at home. Currently, the new tariff increase since October 2020 is over 100%, meaning everyone would start paying twice what they previously paid.

Things are hard enough as it is especially in a place like Lagos, and if you don’t plan to pay double, you have to adjust accordingly. Although you would certainly pay more, but knowing how to reduce your electricity usage in Lagos would do you a lot of good. Read on to find out a few tips on how you can reduce your electricity bill.

READ: How to own your home in 5 years without a mortgage

How to Reduce Your Electricity Bill in Lagos

To start with, you should know that for these tips to work for you; you need a prepaid meter installed. Without a prepaid meter, your bill pretty much runs on estimates and leaves you with little room to contest its accuracy. If you want to save power, start by getting a prepaid meter installed at home.

After that, here are a few tips on how to reduce your electricity bill in Lagos:

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READ: Buhari moves against DISCOs that collect money for prepaid meters

1. Sniff out background power consumption:

Many don’t know this, but turning off a device while leaving it plugged in does not cut off the power supply. The device still consumes residue energy called vampire or stand by power. To avoid this, cut off power to a device by turning off the socket and the device’s power switch.

2. Replace all your bulbs at home with energy-efficient models:

Although non-energy-efficient bulbs are cheaper to purchase, they become more expensive in the long run to use. This is because they consume far more power than energy-saving bulbs. For example, the average wattage of an ordinary bulb is around 60 to 200. However, energy-saving bulbs are as low as 7 to 11 watts. This means that one would consume more than ten times the other’s power; the choice is yours. Also, it would help if you become more cautious with how long you leave your bulb on. Turn them off during the day, and when you want to sleep at night; especially your kitchen, toilet and bathroom lights. Only leave security lights on.

READ: Eden Life set out to automate domestic chores for busy people – CEO

3. Limit your fan and Air conditioner’s runtime:

The ceiling fan is one of the home’s highest passive power consumers. You might not know it, but your fan practically runs all day and night, which significantly impacts your power bills. One thing you can do is replace all your fans with energy-efficient models if you have the means. However, if you don’t have the energy-efficient model, simply regulate how long the fan runs. The energy-consuming capacity of an air conditioner is well known. Keep it running for a day, and it would make a telling impact on your bills. A 1.5hp (1119watts) Ac running for 10 hours at a rate of N60 per kilowatt would cost you well over N30,000 alone. You can shuffle run time between your fan and air conditioner, depending on how many units you purchase per month. Limiting your fan to running only about 8 hours a day can save you hundreds of naira.

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READ: FG to revive 3 power projects in Abia by first quarter 2021

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4. Revisit your refrigerator:

This is another appliance that consumes the most power at home. The average watt consumption of a refrigerator is 1200 watts per day (depending on the model), which means they consume one of, if not the highest power at home. You can reduce consumption by purchasing a smaller freezer, which is the more expensive approach or doing the following:

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  • Move the refrigerator to an area with adequate air circulation, as it helps it become more power-efficient.
  • Your fridge should also be at least 2 inches away from the wall and not stand directly exposed to sunlight.
  • Another thing you should do is not stuff up your refrigerator. This reduces the overall efficiency of the unit because of the lesser space available for air circulation. It also means that the unit would draw more power to meet the demand. Ensure you defrost the fridge regularly too

READ: Strategies to Reduce Expenses and Save Money

Asides from the tips mentioned in this article, you should also sit down to study your home. If possible, create a list of all your appliances and their watt rating. Start trimming down consumption by replacing the device with a more energy-efficient model, or reducing its use.

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Personal Finance

How to fund capital projects debt-free with high interest yielding investments

These are the four things you need to fund your capital projects debt-free.

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The one thing that will reveal to you the gaps in your current financial situation is capital projects. A capital project is any project that is beyond your current and future financial capacity to execute. For most people, capital projects lead them into debt. Debt and Capital projects go hand in hand because the income of most people is still struggling to meet basic bills. And in instances where income is high, expenses overwhelm income. So whether you are a high-income earner or a low-income earner, the chances are high that you will struggle to fund certain capital projects in your life.

To fund capital projects, you need four things to be working simultaneously in your life. The First thing is your ability to earn high incomes. The second thing is your ability to keep a major part of that income. The third thing is your ability to grow that income without losing it. And the fourth thing is your ability to build solid Passive Income that exceeds your current Active Income. These are the four things you need to fund capital projects debt-free. Unfortunately, only a few people know how to do all four things correctly. Certain people hardly thrive in one area. But, if funding capital projects debt free is important to you. You must know how to do all four things well or surround yourself with people who can help you.

Funding a capital project debt-free is a difficult task to achieve if all you have is a modest income and meager savings. The lower your income the more things become capital projects to you. This means that what is a capital project for you may not be capital projects for another person. To help us unify our definition of capital projects. Let us use an example of capital projects that we all agree is the most difficult to fund debt-free. This example is Homeownership.

Read Also: If you experience these signs then know your salary is not enough

Homeownership is a type of capital project and one of the most popular capital projects because many people want to achieve it. By the time you are an independent adult, the desire for homeownership is already burning inside of you. This desire comes from parent influences, external pressure, and the frustration of paying rent to a homeowner. Owning a home is thus one of the most universally accepted capital projects with a global desire. It is also the most expensive capital project to fund. Yet despite its expansiveness, most people want to achieve it. Every year millions of people attempt to climb the homeownership ladder. A few of them make it. Many of them are buried in debt. And many more fail to achieve it. This is because the desire for homeownership does not automatically translate to owning a home. And here is why.

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Many people are trying to own a home on the fragile back of a low income and low savings. The truth is one income, and low savings cannot fund the homeownership project. To fund your dream home you need multiple streams of income and big portion savings. Second, you need to overcome the temptation of owning a home too soon. Many people rush to own a remote and low budget home. A home where people struggle to come to due to its distance and neighborhood. Owning a home is not about being the first to own a crappy home. It is about being the first to own the dream home in a dream location and to do it debt-free. Attempting to own a home too soon is the reason most people end up with crappy homes that are way below their league. Homeownership is best achieved at a time when you are most financially capable to fund it. This is not to say you just sit and do nothing before then. But to say that you use that time to build the solid cash reserves you need to fund your dream home.

So how then do you fund your dream home?

To fund your dream home there are three paths you can take.

Read Also: Still on the FG’s $22 billion loan

The first path is the Loan path. This is where you borrow money and end up in debt. The second path is the bootstrap savings path. This is where you painstakingly save your way to homeownership. Only a few people ever achieve this. The third and most effective path is to create your own interest-free solid cash reserves and then use them to fund your dream home. This is the Path we will be dwelling on in this article.

So how then do you create your own interest-free cash reserves?

To create your own interest-free cash reserves there are four things you must do.

The First is to develop Income security skills. The second thing is to leverage a complementary Side Hustle. The third thing is to establish a Financial defense System. And the fourth thing is to use a multipurpose, high interest yielding investment vehicle to build your cash reserves. Below I explain each of these points in detail.

Develop Income Security Skills

There is only one way to secure your income in the world. This way is not to secure your job. But to develop high-income skills that preserve your ability to earn high incomes. The truth is there is no job security out there and since homeownership is a long-term process. You need certain skills to guarantee a continuous flow of cash. There are three income security skills that can help you achieve this. The first is problem-solving or creativity skill. The second is Relationship building or Networking skills. And the third is marketing and sales skills. These are the three skills you need to secure your homeownership income. And ensure you are never recycled back into the pool of broke people. Developing income security skills is thus critical for funding your dream home. The key to success here is to invest in developing and refining these skills. And to put them to practice and perfect them. If you need help developing these skills or practicing and perfecting them send an email to [email protected]

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Get a Complimentary High Income Side Hustles

No homeownership project can be funded debt-free from a single meager source of income. Thus to fund your dream home you have to grow your main income and add another source of income to it. To grow your main income you need to rise to positions that have a direct impact on profit and revenue. Then you need to find a side hustle that complements your main income.

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The problem is most people do not know the side hustles that complements their main income. They are also concerned about whether or not they will like this side hustle or make the desired income out of it.

The key to identifying the side hustle that is right for you is to consider these three things. The first is your interest. Can you do and promote this side hustle easily? The second is the income speed. How soon before this side hustle produces the kind of income that you desire. And the third is the workload and time requirement. How much time do you have to invest to generate the kind of income that you desire? Adding a side hustle that increases workload. Consumes time. Reduces job efficiency and drains current income is a mistake. The key here is to identify side hustles that complements your main income. And ensure that your side hustle has the high-income capacity and is aligned with your area of interests

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Read Also: How PR can transform the future and profitability of a business – CEO, Mosron Communications

To find this kind of side hustle you need to identify your current area of interest. So if you are reading this article right now. Chances are high that you are interested in making more money and funding capital projects debt-free. If you can find other people within your circle who are also interested in making more money. And funding capital projects. And if you and these people are willing to invest in products and services that can help you. You can make a high-income side hustle from it. Granted that the product or service you promote solves a high-income problem. Thus to earn high incomes you need to choose side hustles that can pay you high income. Getting rich through a side hustle is thus about first solving your own problems. And then showing other people how you can help them solve the same problem. This is the fastest way to get on the High-income side hustle ladder. Every other way takes time, produce low income, and increases your workload. To fund your dream home debt-free. You must choose side hustles that require you to work less earn more and produce income in less time. This is the fastest way to fund your dream home.

Build Your Own Personal Financial Defense System

The worse way to try and fund a capital project such as homeownership is to do it without a financial defense system in place. A financial defense system is a system that can provide you income in the presence or absence of a Job. This is important because homeownership is a long-term project. And you need the continuous flow of income to survive.

So how do you build a solid financial defense system that protects you throughout the homeownership process?

To build a solid financial defense system there are four things you must do. The first is to hit a big portion savings target. The second is to make your savings failure-proof. The third thing is to shield your savings from financial distractions. And the fourth is to spend in the direction of Freedom.

Read Also: What SMEs must do to survive the Coronavirus outbreak

  1. Achieve a Big Portion Savings Target
    Saving is a critical part of every investing activity. So if funding your dream home is important to you. You must save a significant part of your income. To save 50% of your income for example there are two things you can do. The first is to increase your income, to the point where it overwhelms your expenses. To do this you need high-income skills and high-income side hustles. The second thing is to reduce your expenses to the point it becomes lower than your savings. The fastest and most effective way to do this is to focus on increasing savings and not reducing expenses. And there are two ways to increase savings. The first is to increase savings by 1% every month until you hit a big portion savings target. Your expenses will adjust accordingly. The second way is to deduct a big portion of your income as savings from the source. And figure out how to live on what is left. If you survive after a month it means you can live on what is left. These are the two smart ways to increase your savings and invariably adjust your expenses.
  2. Make savings Failure Proof
    One of the abilities you must have if you want to fund your dream home debt-free is the ability to consistently save without skipping it. Skipping savings is postponing your financial freedom and homeownership dream. Thus if you want to save without fail, you must make your savings failure-proof. To make savings failure proof you need to deduct savings from the source. Use compulsory savings vehicles such as group contributions or standing orders. And be accountable to someone you trust and respect.
  3. Shield savings from Financial Distractions
    The biggest killer of all the savings in the world is financial distractions. The inability to stop unplanned events and people from stealing your savings. Financial distraction derails your saving from its original purpose. And this elongates your ability to own your own home. To own your own home you must shield your savings from financial distractions. To shield savings from distractions you need certain protective investment vehicles. You also need to assign a purpose to every idle fund. And to work with a mentor to keep idle funds tied up for the right purpose. This is the only way to fund your dream home in record time and without delays.
  4. Spend in the direction of Freedom
    There are two ways to spend money. The first is to spend in the direction of freedom and the second is to spend in the direction of poverty. To Fund a dream home debt-free you must spend in the direction of freedom. When you spend in ways that use up big portions of your income. You are facing the direction of poverty. And when you spend in ways that save up bigger portions of your income You are facing the direction of freedom. The key here is to save more than you spend and spend in the direction of where you want to go.

These are the four things to do. To build a solid Financial defense system that supports you throughout the homeownership process.

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Choose a Multi-Purpose High-Interest Yielding Investment Vehicle

There are many investment vehicles in the world. But the most suited and effective investment vehicle. For funding capital projects is the multi-purpose high-interest yielding long-term investment vehicle. This is a special purpose vehicle that has been designed to fund capital projects. It is a multi-purpose vehicle because it can fund many capital projects within the same time frame. It is also safe and high interest yielding because it is a long-term investment vehicle. So if you are considering owning a home debt-free at some time in the future. This is the best investment vehicle for you. The key to investing is to never lose money, especially when building towards a capital project.. Once you choose the right investment vehicles that preserve your investment. You will fund your dream home in no time.

Read Also: FG to inject over N198 billion on capital projects in power sector in 2021

The truth is you will remain the same person year after year except for your ability to make more money. Your ability to keep more money. And your ability to grow that money without losing it. The more you master these three abilities the richer you become. And the easier it will be to fund your dream home. There is nothing as powerful as having zero cash worries when you want to fund your dream home.

If you want to own your own home, make extra income, or fund capital projects debt free we can help you. Send an email to [email protected]


About author

Grace Agada is The Senior Financial Happiness Director @ Create Solid Wealth. She is an author, and column contributor in six national newspapers. She is a contributor at BellaNaija, Nairametrics and Proshare and she is on a mission to help working-class professionals and CEOs become more financially successful. To learn more about Grace and how she can help you send an email to [email protected]

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