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Personal Finance

How to move from middle class to upper class (Part 2)

To join the upper class there are several paths to follow.

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Hello friends, to catch up on this topic, you can read up on the first part by clicking here. Now let’s continue…

How To Join the Upper Class

To join the upper class there are several paths to follow. The path you choose will determine whether you get there and how long you stay there. There are about 9 paths that people take to get to the top and I have categorized them into two sections. The first is the “Maybe Section.” That is, you may make it and you may not make it. The second is the “Sure Section.” That is, you are most likely to make it there. Let’s look at each of these two sections.

The Maybe Path Section

The Maybe Path to wealth comprises seven different paths. People try to take these paths when they want to speed up the process. I will explain the pros and cons of each of them and you can then decide which one works for you.

1.The hereditary path

The hereditary path is the path where you are born into the upper class. That is, you got into the upper class, not by your direct effort. This path may seem unfair to most people but someone paid the price for all family members. Every wealthy family that you know today was created by someone who took the blows, endured the hard knocks and created businesses that lifted their families above poverty. Creating a business is so powerful that it can have a generational effect. So rather than focus on how unfair this path is, decide to become the wealthy hero in your family. Until someone in your family is willing to pay the price for other family members and equip other family members to respect, grow and preserve the wealth, poverty will continue in the family.

2.The marriage path

The marriage path is another path that looks unfair because it involves a person marrying up into the upper class. But marrying up does not just happen and it does not happen for everybody. So, I want to believe that this path also takes deliberate planning and decision-making to position oneself for the upper class. It can be done through a person’s deliberate effort and it can also be through the effort of parents or certain special situations. Yet, marrying into the upper-class does not work for everybody. It works better for women than men. If a middle-class woman marries into the upper class she is pulled up into wealth. But if a middle-class man marries an upper-class woman she is demoted to the middle class. So often, this path favours women over men. This may seem unfair to men but as someone who is looking to be successful, you must be willing to accept unfairness as part of life. The key is not to focus on the unfair situation and waste your time. But to discover how you can win regardless of the situation.

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3.The friendship path

The Friendship path is the path that pulls people up to the upper class through friendships. A friend can do a lot of things for another friend that can make the climbing process easier and faster. Again, this requires deliberate work, the right positioning, the right personality, and the ability to build rapport with people. It can also happen as a result of interacting with the upper class in the same school environment, work environment, or social events. Gaining proximity to the upper class is one way to begin the process. But you have to do more than gain proximity to succeed. You have to develop the ability to initiate conversations. Be engaging in conversations and be able to nurture and extract value from relationships. If you don’t have these skills you will squander the opportunity. It is thus one thing to gain proximity to the upper class. And it is another thing to sustain their attention and interest to the level that it can promote you to wealth. To sustain your relationship with the upper-class you must become a person of value. You must also develop an interesting personality and you must be willing to serve. The currency of exchange in the world of the upper class is value. If you bring value, you get value. If you bring no value you get no value.

4.The lottery path

The lottery path is another path to wealth but it is the most short-lived path of all. People who win the lottery get what I call sudden wealth and this can pose a huge problem for them. Mostly because they don’t know what to do with it. It is better to know what to do to keep, grow and preserve money before it comes. If money comes before the sense to preserve it, you will squander the money. Thus, people who follow this path lack the mental capacity to preserve wealth. They got the money as a gift but did not get the sense that created it; therefore, they lose it no sooner than they got it.

5.Relocating abroad to a Job

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One of the ways that people try to change their financial status and climb to the upper class is by relocating to another country. Especially countries that have better work opportunities and conditions. This may seem like a sensible path but it rarely works as a means of climbing to the top. And there are three reasons for this. First, changing your physical location does not change your mental location or quality. And since wealth is created through the exertion of mental energy changing environments have little effect on it. A good environment may make the process easier or faster but you must ensure you are following the right path and using the right tools. For example, most people that relocate abroad relocate to another job. They move from working in a job here to working in another job abroad. A job regardless of the location has the same limitation and disadvantages. At best your income will increase but so will your bills. Second, there is a cost for living in advanced countries that most people fail to consider. It took money to make the country work and this money must be gotten back from the people. So, while you may savour the idea of relocation know that there is a cost. And for most people, this cost cancels all the benefits. Even abroad the majority of people still leave from paycheck-to-paycheck. Only a few people are able to become members of the upper class through relocation. And these people do a Job-to-Business Transition. A job to a business transition offers a better opportunity for foreigners because there are no real barriers like in a job. This is why a Lebanese can come to Nigeria and create enormous wealth. And why most of American’s wealthiest men are not from America. Anyone can really start from nothing and succeed to become something anywhere in the world. It is only a business that gives you this kind of advantage. Business owners are nation builders and there are welcome in any economy.

The third reason why relocation abroad to a job may not work is that every country is designed to protect and favour its own citizens. So, moving to another man’s country puts you at a great disadvantage. You will work twice as hard to achieve the same level of success as a citizen. And oftentimes, there is an imaginary ceiling that foreigners cannot go through. The only way to break this ceiling is to go through the business route.

Whether you choose to relocate or remain, know that a lot of the people abroad still live middle-class lives. And that your mental capacity to create and produce value is still the most important thing.

6.Politics

Politics is another way people try to ascend to the upper class. This is common especially in developing countries like Nigeria. People try to use politics to gain wealth. The problem is, politics by its true nature is not supposed to be a source of wealth. It is a source of power, and here is why.

Being a politician is a job just like any other job. Politicians are employees of the federal government and not business owners. This means that given its nature and based on their salary politicians are not supposed to be rich. They only become rich when they abuse power. Power gives you the ability to make decisions, make changes and amend rules to favour you. Politicians use their power to divert and amass existing wealth for themselves. This means that politicians hardly create wealth. What they do best is divert or amass wealth. If politicians could create wealth from scratch, African countries will be rich in high-value refined products and not low-value raw materials. Politicians thus gain their wealth, not from wealth-creating activities but from siphoning public funds. The truth is if you cannot create wealth the only other option is to steal it from other people.

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Until we begin to elect leaders that can create value from scratch. And convert our natural resources into refined products, poverty and corruption will keep thriving in our nation. Worst of all is that wealth stolen is not useful to anyone. It is hidden in safe places where it does no good to humanity. This wealth is also short-lived because when political power dies wealth follows suit.

7.Wealth without explanation

Wealth without explanation involves all the immoral paths to wealth. These are the paths you would rather keep a secret. There are about six ways people create this kind of wealth. They Steal, Deceive, Kill, Divert, Oppress and abuse power, and devalue human life. People who take this path are lured in by the promise of getting rich quickly. But they rarely end up in lasting wealth and happiness. The problem with this path is that it is not only immoral, it is focused on self. People here focus on amassing wealth for themselves and family and not creating any value. So it is easy to find this group frustrated because they suffer from too much money and too little sense to use, grow or preserve it. And because they got it through illegal means they are also limited about what they can do with the money. They are in constant fear of being found out. And people that follow this path, sacrifice three things. First, they sacrifice their freedom if they get caught. Second, they sacrifice their peace of mind and live in constant fear. And third, they sacrifice their conscience. They are in constant battle with their true self. People here practically become a slave to money and money controls their life. This path has nothing good to be proud of and ultimately, it leads back to square one.

These are the seven “maybe” paths to wealth. Some are good and some are bad. If you value freedom stay away from bad paths.

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Watch out for the concluding part…


About the author

Grace Agada is a recognized leading Financial Expert on Nigerian Soil. She is a Renowned Speaker, Author, and Column Contributor in Punch Newspaper, This Day Newspaper, Vanguard newspaper, Business Day Newspaper, Leadership Newspaper, The Tribune Newspaper, and Online Platforms like Nairametrics, Proshare, and Bellanaija. Grace is the author of “The Financial Freedom MBA Program, “The Passive Income Retirement Blueprint” and “The Wealthy Business Blueprint” for Advisors, Consultants, and Coaches who want to get off the roller coaster of irregular income. Grace is on a mission to shrink the middle class and populate the upper class. Her ultimate goal is to create a tribe of professionals that are thriving in any economy. Grace has been featured on BBC Africa. Business Day TV. Inspiration FM. and inside Naijatv. She has consulted for Numerous Top Organizations, Company Directors, Senior Executives, and Top performing Professionals.

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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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