Money Management is a skill everyone should have.
Everyone has some money at his/her disposal at some point in time. Whether it was enough for what was required is a completely different issue. For most people, the heart of the matter is how to handle money.
Mismanagement is the bane of a majority of folks and it is the reason they remain poor. Making money is not enough. It is better when it is well-managed. Finance Management skills are a must today as we run our finances against the tide of persistent inflation and economic depression.
The following are steps to managing your money and increasing it:
Get active and productive. You must have a means of income.
INCREASE YOUR EARNING POWER
Move beyond where you are. Get innovative, develop skills, take a course, do anything that will give you a competitive edge and cause you to be paid much more than you currently earn.
SPEND LESS THAN YOU EARN
You cannot build wealth by spending all (or more than you spend – which is deadly). Choose to defy Parkinson’s Second Law, “Expenditures rise to meet income.”
HAVE A BUDGET
Allocate income to meet needs. Spend on the basis of importance, not urgency. Take the time to prepare a budget (of income and expenditure) – and stick to it.
SAVE PART OF YOUR INCOME
Put aside at least 10% of your income (20% is suggested) in a savings or fixed deposit account. You make the money, let this be yours – the rest can be spent settling issues.
Keeping your money in the bank is the least you can do. Why? You actually lose money as the inflation rate is usually higher than the interest rate. Consult an expert and get advice on the best instruments (stocks, bonds, real state etc) and businesses (start-up companies, expanding companies, network marketing) to invest in.
START A BUSINESS
Better than an investor is an entrepreneur. You have truly arrived when you begin to provide employment for others. Starting, and growing, a business is a good way of leveraging resources and taking advantage of a wide range of fiscal and tax incentives.
It is never too late to start.
Start today! Start managing your money right.
John Chidi is a Motivational Speaker, a Life coach, and a Pastor.
nice, like the tips but attimes they are hard to follow. Started practising some of them but the discipline required seems far fetched. Please i wld like indepth analysis to the points ( especially fictional or real life cases)
You are right, Nkem. Following the tips require a whole lot of discipline. Many times, we apply them for a few days and then, we run out of steam and go back to our old unproductive habits. I will analyze some of the points listed above –
1) Spend less than you earn – one sure way to achieve this is by paying yourself first when you receive your income/salary. what do I mean? You pay yourself first by putting away a percentage of your salary, say 10%, 15%, 20% etc into a savings/investment account. If you may not be disciplined to this, you can place a standing instruction with your Bank to transfer a certain sum of money from your main account to you investment account at an agreed date every month. (of course, you will pay the Bank for helping you to be disciplined)
2) Invest wisely – You can only invest when you have some funds set aside via savings. it is savings that you convert into investments. Now, as stated in the article, some investments opportunities include real estate, shares, bonds, investing in start-ups etc. However, your investments can only be wise if you understand your chosen investment vehicle and appreciate how it works. This can be achieved by consulting with experts in that particular field, reading books etc. It is a foolish man that puts his money in a business He does not understand.
3) Start a Business – This is also a type of investment. To become an entrepreneur, you have to be passionate about that business, you need to understand its workings and the entire value chain. You need to carry out a feasibility study about the workability of that business in your chosen market and come up with a good business plan. Many businesses fail because they miss the basics. It is not enough to have passion or skill. You need to know how to build structures for your business.
4) Having a Budget – This requires discipline. Every big business you know works with a detailed budget. Nigeria has an annual budget. So do other countries of the world. States have budget. why don’t you have one for yourself or for your business? Yes, it may be difficult. Yes, you may say that am not being realistic, but believe me, it is possible. set aside a day every month to draw up the budget for the next month. at the end of every week, take out 10 to 15 minutes to review how you are doing. This review session will only make sense if you have been recording your expenses (particularly the major ones). Serious businesses account for every penny they spend. You have to be accountable.
Talking about about accountable, your discipline level can go up to amazing levels if you can find someone you can be ACCOUNTABLE to. It could be your friend, your loving wife, your mentor, one of your loved ones. Give them the liberty to follow up with you and ask you how you are doing on the things you have purposed to do.
You can even elect to pay fines when you default. The more material these fines are, the more likely you will be on your toes.
Nkem, I could go on and on. Maybe I should write a book….wink wink.
Thanks Ogonna, really liked points 1&4 and I am sure I can relate with them and hope it would help me significantly. On the book thing, sure why not! I would love to purchase a copy.
Sorry it took me this long to get back to you (I took a vacation) and thanks Ogonna for helping out. Those were really helpful.
The following are practical steps that you can take in conjunction with the keys set out in the second part of Money Management that you should find useful.
1. Pay yourself (preferably a fixed percentage) first; not after everything has been sorted out. After all you did the work.
2. Save this pay. Maybe, open an account you cannot easily access (without ATM card and keep the withdrawal booklet with someone who would keep you accountable.
1. Have a budget (for income and out-go) and religiously follow it.
2. Avoid impulse spending and credit purchases. Whatever you want that you made no provision for in the current budget should be carried forward – delayed gratification is a sign of maturity.
1. Nothing pays better than having more than one stream of income. Find ideas you can convert to cash. They do not have to be original, improvements on existing products and services will do.
2. Empower your worth/earning ability–take a (professional) course, get a/another degree, get involved in projects (even community service schemes) that can go on your CV. Before anyone will be willing to pay you more, they have to be convinced that you deserve it.
Now for the example/case study you requested:
“The tale that I am about to tell,” began Dabasir, pausing to bite a goodly chunk from the goat
leg, “relates to my early life and how I came to be a camel trader. Didst anyone know that I once was a slave in Syria?”
A murmur of surprise ran through the audience to which Dabasir listened with satisfaction.
“When I was a young man,” continued Dabasir after another vicious onslaught on the goat leg,
“I learned the trade of my father, the making of saddles. I worked with him in his shop and took to myself a wife.
Being young and not greatly skilled, I could earn but little, just enough to support my excellent
wife in a modest way. I craved good things which I could not afford. Soon I found that the shop keepers would trust me to pay later even though I could not pay at the time. “Being young and without experience I did not know that he who spends more than he earns is sowing the winds of needless self-indulgence from which he is sure to reap the whirlwinds of trouble and humiliation. So I indulged my whims for fine raiment and bought luxuries for my good wife and our home, beyond our means. “I paid as I could and for a while all went well. But in time I discovered I could not use my earnings both to live upon and to pay my debts. Creditors began to pursue me to pay for my extravagant purchases and my life became miserable. I borrowed from my friends, but could not repay them either. Things went from bad to worse. My wife returned to her father and I decided to leave Babylon and seek another city where a young man might have better chances.
“For two years I had a restless and unsuccessful life working for caravan traders. From this I
fell in with a set of likeable robbers who scoured the desert for unarmed caravans. Such deeds were unworthy of the son of my father, but I was seeing the world through a colored stone and did not realize to what degradation I had fallen.
“We met with success on our first trip, capturing a rich haul of gold and silks and valuable
merchandise. This loot we took to Ginir and squandered.
“The second time we were not so fortunate. Just after we had made our capture, we were
attacked by the spearsmen of a native chief to whom the caravans paid for protection. Our two leaders were killed, and the rest of us were taken to Damascus where we were stripped of our clothing and sold as slaves.
“I was purchased for two pieces of silver by a Syrian desert chief. With my hair shorn and but a
loin cloth to wear, I was not so different from the other slaves. Being a reckless youth, I thought it merely an adventure until my master took me before his four wives and told them they could have me for a eunuch. Then, indeed, did I realize the hopelessness of my situation. These men of the desert were fierce and warlike. I was subject to their will without weapons or means of escape.
“Fearful I stood, as those four women looked me over. I wondered if I could expect pity from
them. Sira, the first wife, was older than the others. Her face was impassive as she looked upon me. I turned from her with little consolation. The next was a contemptuous beauty who gazed at me as indifferently as if I had been a worm of the earth. The two younger ones tittered as though it were all an exciting joke.
“It seemed an age that I stood waiting sentence. Each woman appeared willing for the others to
decide. Finally Sira spoke up in a cold voice.
” ‘Of eunuchs we have plenty, but of camel tenders we have few and they are a worthless lot.
Even this day I would visit my mother who is sick with the fever and there is no slave I would trust to lead my camel. Ask this slave if he can lead a camel.’
“My master thereupon questioned me, ‘What know you of camels?’
“Striving to conceal my eagerness, I replied, I can make them kneel, I can load them, I can lead
them on long trips without tiring. If need be, I can repair their trappings.”
” ‘The slave speaks forward enough, observed my master. If thou so desire, Sira, take this man
for thy camel tender.’
“So I was turned over to Sira and that day I led her camel upon a long journey to her sick
mother. I took the occasion to thank her for her intercession and also to tell her that I was not a slave by birth, but the son of a freeman, an honorable saddle maker of Babylon. I also told her much of my story. Her comments were disconcerting to me and I pondered much afterwards on what she said.
” ‘How can you call yourself a free man when your weakness has brought you to this? If a man
has in himself the soul of a slave will he not become one no matter what his birth, even as water seeks its level? If a man has within him the soul of a free man, will he not become respected and honored in his own city in spite of his misfortune?’
“For over a year I was a slave and lived with the slaves, but I could not become as one of them.
One day Sira asked me, ‘In the eventime when the other slaves can mingle and enjoy the society of each other, why dost thou sit in thy tent alone?’
“To which I responded, ‘I am pondering what you have said to me. I wonder if I have the soul
of a slave. I cannot join them, so I must sit apart.’
” ‘I, too, must sit apart,’ she confided. ‘My dowry was large and my lord married me because of
it. Yet he does not desire me. What every woman longs for is to be desired. Because of this and because
I am barren and have neither son nor daughter, must I sit apart. Were I a man I would rather die than be
such a slave, but the conventions of our tribe make slaves of women.’
” ‘What think thou of me by this time?’ I asked her suddenly, ‘Have I the soul of a man or have I
the soul of a slave?’
” ‘Have you a desire to repay the just debts you owe in Babylon?’ she parried.
” ‘Yes, I have the desire, but I see no way.’
” ‘If thou contentedly let the years slip by and make no effort to repay, then thou hast but the
contemptible soul of a slave. No man is otherwise who cannot respect himself and no man can respect himself who does not repay honest debts.’
” ‘But what can I do who am a slave in Syria?’
” ‘Stay a slave in Syria, thou weakling.’
” ‘I am not a weakling,’ I denied hotly.
” ‘Then prove it.’
” ‘Does not thy great king fight his enemies in every way he can and with every force he has?
Thy debts are thy enemies. They ran thee out of Babylon. You left them alone and they grew too strong for thee. Hadst fought them as a man, thou couldst have conquered them and been one honored among the townspeople. But thou had not the soul to fight them and behold thy pride hast gone down until thou art a slave in Syria.’
“Much I thought over her unkind accusations and many defensive phrases I worded to prove
myself not a slave at heart, but I was not to have the chance to use them. Three days later the maid of
Sira took me to her mistress.
” ‘My mother is again very sick,’ she said. ‘Saddle the two best camels in my husband’s herd. Tie
on water skins and saddle bags for a long journey. The maid will give thee food at the kitchen tent.’ I packed the camels wondering much at the quantity of provisions the maid provided, for the mother dwelt less than a day’s journey away. The maid rode the rear camel which followed and I led the camel of my mistress. When we reached her mother’s house it was just dark. Sira dismissed the maid and said to me:
” ‘Dabasir, hast thou the soul of a free man or the soul of a slave?’
” ‘The soul of a free man,’ I insisted.
” ‘Now is thy chance to prove it. Thy master hath imbibed deeply and his chiefs are in a stupor.
Take then these camels and make thy escape. Here in this bag is raiment of thy master’s to disguise
thee. I will say thou stole the camels and ran away while I visited my sick mother.’
” ‘Thou hast the soul of a queen,’ I told her. ‘Much do I wish that I might lead thee to happiness.’
” ‘Happiness,’ she responded, ‘awaits not the runaway wife who seeks it in far lands among
strange people. Go thy own way and may the gods of the desert protect thee for the way is far and barren of food or water.’
“I needed no further urging, but thanked her warmly and was away into the night. I knew not
this strange country and had only a dim idea of the direction in which lay Babylon, but struck out
bravely across the desert toward the hills. One camel I rode and the other I led. All that night I traveled and all the nest day, urged on by the knowledge of the terrible fate that was meted out to slaves who stole their master’s property and tried to escape.
“Late that afternoon, I reached a rough country as uninhabitable as the desert. The sharp rocks
bruised the feet of my faithful camels and soon they were picking their way slowly and painfully along. I met neither man nor beast and could well understand why they shunned this inhospitable land.
“It was such a journey from then on as few men live to tell of. Day after day we plodded along.
Food and water gave out. The heat of the sun was merciless. At the end of the ninth day, I slid from the back of my mount with the feeling that I was too weak to ever remount and I would surely die, lost in this abandoned country.
“I stretched out upon the ground and slept, not waking until the first gleam of daylight.
“I sat up and looked about me. There was a coolness in the morning air. My camels lay dejected
not far away. About me was a vast waste of broken country covered with rock and sand and thorny things, no sign of water, naught to eat for man or camel.
“Could it be that in this peaceful quiet I faced my end? My mind was clearer than it had ever
been before. My body now seemed of little importance. My parched and bleeding lips, my dry and swollen tongue, my empty stomach, all had lost their supreme agonies of the day before.
“I looked across into the uninviting distance and once again came to me the question, ‘Have I
the soul of a slave or the soul of a free man?’ Then with clearness I realized that if I had the soul of a slave, I should give up, lie down in the desert and die, a fitting end for a runaway slave.
“But if I had the soul of a free man, what then? Surely I would force my way back to Babylon,
repay the people who had trusted me, bring happiness to my wife who truly loved me and bring peace and contentment to my parents.
” ‘Thy debts are thine enemies who have run thee out of Babylon,’ Sira had said. Yes it was so.
Why had I refused to stand my ground like a man? Why had I permitted my wife to go back to her father?
“Then a strange thing happened. All the world seemed to be of a different color as though I had
been looking at it through a colored stone which had suddenly been removed. At last I saw the true values in life.
“Die in the desert! Not I! With a new vision, I saw the things that I must do. First I would go
back to Babylon and face every man to whom I owed an unpaid debt. I should tell them that after years of wandering and misfortune, I had come back to pay my debts as fast as the gods would permit. Next I should make a home for my wife and become a citizen of whom my parents should be proud.
“My debts were my enemies, but the men I owed were my friends for they had trusted me and
believed in me.
“I staggered weakly to my feet. What mattered hunger? What mattered thirst? They were but
incidents on the road to Babylon. Within me surged the soul of a free man going back to conquer his enemies and reward his friends. I thrilled with the great resolve.
“The glazed eyes of my camels brightened at the new note in my husky voice. With great effort,
after many attempts, they gained their feet. With pitiful perseverance, they pushed on toward the north where something within me said we would find Babylon.
“We found water. We passed into a more fertile country where were grass and fruit. We found
the trail to Babylon because the soul of a free man looks at life as a series of problems to be solved and solves them, while the soul of a slave whines,
‘What can I do who am but a slave?’
(culled from The Richest Man in Babylon)