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Financial Literacy

7 Ways to pay for your higher education

Hoping to gain more knowledge and certifications for career advancement and personal developments, these are ways to get funds.

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Obtaining higher learning has been an ambition for so many people. Higher education can lead to many benefits, including a prosperous career and financial security. In the 21st century, education plays an even more significant role in other aspects of our life. Attaining a higher education can increase your opportunities and improve your overall quality of life.

There are several reasons that can hinder you from attaining higher education. One of them is a lack of financial support. Lack of financial support has been an impediment for some people in acquiring higher learning. The unavailability of finance is considered one of the biggest hurdles in education as some of the courses and the schools are quite expensive.

However, for anyone determined to gain more knowledge and certifications for career advancement and personal developments, there are ways to get funded. Here are ways to go about it.

Be on the sentinel for scholarship openings

There is still a way to make your dream come through, especially for anyone that has no financial means to further their education. Getting a scholarship is the best way to go about it. Studies show that there are over 500 Nigeria scholarship opportunities for undergraduates, Masters, and PhD for students in Nigeria to study at home or abroad. Though scholarship as a form of financial aid is awarded to only eligible students and applicants. There are various types of scholarships and ways in which they are awarded by various organizations and individuals. Some of the common types of scholarships are merited-based scholarships, sports scholarships, and specific scholarships.

Go for Student Loan

Going for a student loan is another way to pay for your tuition. it is designed to aid students to pay for their education. This loan differs from other kinds of loans in the sense that the interest rate is relatively lower, and the repayment schedule is much more flexible. Funding education should not be a colossal task and students should have a range of options available for accessing quick loans in Nigeria. The first thing to do is to be on the lookout for platforms granting loans for school fees and ensure that you meet all their requirements. Some of the banks are Access Bank student loan, GTbank student loan, Firstbank Firstedu loan, and Federal Government Education loan,

Set up a Crowdfunding Account

Crowdfunding is another way to seek financial support. You set a crowdfunding account up, then seek help from your family and friends to support you. You can also start a campaign to raise donations on your account. In Nigeria education is the easiest way for someone within the middle and lower class to have a better life and although the cost of education is high, especially for someone that wants to move to abroad to study.

With crowdfunding, friends, family members, church members, and strangers could support with donations to go to school. The common crowdfunding platforms include GoFundMe, IndieGoGo, Donate ng, MicroVentures, CircleUp, and NaijaFund.

Make use of Employer Training Opportunities

The success of any business, whether in the private or public sectors, lies mainly in the quality of its human resources. research confirmed that training of manpower is a major prerequisite for any organization that wants to achieve maximum productivity through the efficient and effective performance of the employee. In some organizations, there are some opportunities open to staff who wish to further their studies either at masters or postgraduate level but do not have money to do that. Organizations see this as the best way of upskilling their workers.

They invest in their education too, after which they come and work for them again. However, if you are opportune to be in such an organization it is imperative that you make use of the opportunity.

Combining your Work and Education

While you study, you can also work by taking up part-time jobs and internships to save up funds for your education. Studying while you work is one of the most encouraging sources of financial aid, as you do not have to struggle to get scholarships or grants and do not have to pay back student loans. When looking for a job in school, you should try to find a job that is flexible and does not require you to work late hours, and above all offers a decent wage.

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Also, It is an added advantage if your job allows you to learn about a field you are interested in or studying in school. Some of the jobs you can do while in school include Appling for a paid internship in your field, drive for Uber or bolt, Tutor in a subject you excel in, and apply for a Freelancing job.

Start a Business

You can start a business while you study, this can be done online to enable you to study will or physically. You can start small and be very economical about the business. Remember that the aim is to make money as fast as possible to finance your studies. So, therefore, try to start a business that will bring in quick cash for you in the short term. some of the business to go into are Web Designer, Graphic Designer, Freelance Writer, and Online Advertising, Specialist

Save Towards Paying for your Tuition

If you have a steady 8 -5 job that pays you every month, you can plan to save for your higher education. A budget is another way to enable you to stick to your savings goal. You can decide to save a specific amount of money every month for a particular period.

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In conclusion, gaining higher learning is very important especially for anyone that is aiming for a higher position, self-development, and career advancement. Though funding can be a major barrier to actualizing that goal, with the funding options listed above that aim can be achievable.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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