Growing up in Nigeria, you would agree that money is usually not the topic discussed with teenagers becoming young adults. Money is only discussed when it is needed by someone or when it has been misplaced or wrongly spent.
Every other thing in between like budgeting, how to makes wise money decision, long term money goals, short term money goals, savings and most importantly investing, is usually not discussed with young adults in Nigeria except but a small percentage.
As a young Nigerian in your 20s, you would usually fall within one of these four categories; a fresh graduate, a just discharged corp member, an employee at the edge of kicking off your career, or an entrepreneur trying to figure out how to get started.
Regardless of where you belong, you must have accepted and come to terms with the money truths, so it’s time to start getting serious about managing your money and here is how to get started.
By now you’ve probably realized that the education system has done a terrible job at teaching anything related to financial literacy, except of course you studied something relating to finance. But don’t worry, managing your money is simple once you educate yourself. Start by reading a book about personal finance, but be deliberate about it. if you want to be an entrepreneur, read books by successful entrepreneur an how they managed their money, as a career person, read books about successful executives and how they managed money. That way you don’t get confused when you want to apply it to yourself.
Make a realistic budget
This is the starting point for personal finance, yet many people struggle with it. One of the reasons people struggle with justifying their spending is because they do not have a budget or do not set a realistic budget. Also, a lot of young Nigerians get carried away by the salary they earn that they don’t bother to account for it.
Before you can put together a realistic budget, you must be able to track your spending, all of it. Know the needs you spend on and the wants you are likely to spend daily. Prioritize what is important to your survival first before adding your fun and splurge expenses. Though you might be able to afford some splurge, but ensure they are trimmed so you won’t spend more than you earn.
Pay yourself first
This rule was first mentioned in the book ‘The richest Man in Babylon’ by G.S Clason and it is the start of financial freedom. This applies to both short and long term savings. This includes saving for buying of a car, your wedding ceremony, vacation and even retirement savings. By paying yourself first you are paying down for the future so when you need those things, you would be able to pay with ease. It also means your future needs goals would always be met. Money in your 20’s can be difficult to manage so don’t fall into the trap of spending first and then saving if you have something left over.
Build your emergency fund
Building your emergency fund can be tough in your 20’s since your pay is usually not that fantastic, but don’t underestimate the importance of saving for one. Anything can happen, you might need medical attention that your HMO would not cover that’s if your organization has one in place. Yu might need to get an accommodation, in case you are still leaving with your parent or some friends. Therefore, for these unexpected things, make your emergency fund part of your budget.
It is funny how a lot young Nigerians believe investing is something that should be considered when one is approaching their 40s or 50s when they have millions in their account. As a matter of fact investment is the last thing to be spoken about when talking about money. The truth is, investing is now easier and anyone can start an investment plan. Financial institutions have now made it easier for anyone to start an investment, just find the one that is verified and effective and start investing.
Finally, one thing to note is that you can’t compare yourself with your peers and what you do with your money now could have a lasting impact on your financial future.