Growing up, my parents never taught me anything about money (typical of most parents), so I never really bothered about how my fees were paid or how my expenses were picked up. (Parents, please talk to your children about money.) When I was four years old, my father died and my mum had to take over the responsibility of catering for my needs as well as my siblings’. (The usual story of family takeover of property happened.)
She tried her best to provide for our basic needs and never really explained why we could not afford some luxuries. She simply ended any conversation asking why with “Because I said so” and I dared not inquire any further. I guess “because I said so” was a conversation stopper. I didn’t understand the financial struggle she had to endure to cater for five children with little support from family until she died a couple of weeks to my final exams in high school.
Basic living expenses became an issue and I had to make several journeys to the office of the person in charge of my father’s estate to solicit for school fees and money for upkeep. Each meeting was met with an aching head or sour stomach as we negotiated school fees and any money for upkeep like the price of pepper in the market. A typical meeting had a mix of tears, pleas and negotiations.
One day, I got tired of expending my emotions at such meetings and decided to take control of my financial situation. I started doing every ushering job I could get. But instead of collecting my pay, usually between N5000 and N10,000 after every job, I allowed it to accumulate to a lump sum. Whenever I had to go the estate trustee, I accepted whatever was offered because I had a back-up fund.
Sometimes, my ushering friends would discuss how they intended to use their ushering pay to shop, but I knew I could not afford such luxury. My school books and transportation would not pay for themselves. In fact, a friend once asked me why I always wore the same pair of shoes to church. I gave no response, but reminded myself that the goal at the time was to never expend my emotions on my father’s estate. If my father could build wealth, so could I.
So, I started reading books on finance, going to seminars and training, and asking finance-related questions from anyone I saw who was successful (especially those in the investment sector). I studied (still studying) everything I could on personal finance, wealth building and investment, and began forming plans. In the process, I learnt a lot of valuable lessons, some of which I will be chronicling and offering as services.
The first lesson:
It is not about how much you earn but what you do with what you earn.
The best way to know what you are doing with what you earn is to draw up a monthly budget with the goal of spending less than you earn (second lesson). From there you can decipher how to make the best use of your money.
If you want a session to analyse your budget, restructure and plan how to make the best use of what you earn and how to make your money work for you, email us at email@example.com.