If you’re investing in Nigeria, there are a few things you should know about money. My advice may prevent you from becoming an unfortunate victim of a get-rich-quick scheme. So, here’s what I wish I had known about money, fifteen years ago.
1. Money is seasonal; it comes and goes. I’ve worked for over twenty years and so, I’ve seen at least two major “recessions” in Nigeria. There were times when clients tightened their belts, the prices of basic goods & food skyrocketed, and my standard of living plummeted. But the interesting thing is, before the times of lack came, there were always periods of plenty. It is how well I invested during those times of plenty, that determined how much I suffered during the bleak times that followed.
You should pay attention to your seasons of plenty. Don’t waste them. I am ashamed to say that I wasted a few and I regret doing so.
2. Adopt the 10% rule. Anyone who has read “Rich Dad. Poor Dad” or “The Richest Man in Babylon”, already knows this rule. Whenever money comes; whether salary, income or gift, pay yourself first. This means, devote at least 10% of your money to investing.
Now, the next part is important. Remove the money from your account and transfer it to an investment vehicle, immediately. Even if it’s N5,000, take it out. Never wait until you build up a significant amount, before you invest. Start small and build up.
A few years ago, I was looking for an investment platform for some money I had made. An investment professional advised that instead of using a savings account with an annual return of 4%, I should try a Money Market Fund or Fixed Deposit Account. At the time, the return was 18%. (Now, it’s much lower.) As Money Market Funds were backed by Federal Government securities, my principal was guaranteed. So, anytime I made money, I paid at least 10% into my Money Market Fund account immediately, until I was sure of what to invest in. I never left the funds in my current account, where I could easily spend it.
3. Invest in what you know. Don’t invest in something just because everyone else is doing it, or because someone told you about it. If you don’t understand it, read about it first. Also ask questions and talk to more than one expert to get different perspectives.
I remember when Bitcoin was in the news all the time. Some Nigerian websites advertised that you could buy from them. After conducting my due diligence, I discovered that some of them were not connected to the global blockchain and were scams. Be careful.
When I wanted to invest in land, I discovered that from time to time, State Governments partnered with private companies to develop new estates. I did my due diligence and helped a friend invest directly via a Private-Public-Partnership. Today, that bet has tripled in value. I did my research again, when I invested in agriculture. The lesson is, learn about investment opportunities and if you don’t understand them, don’t invest.
4. When you travel abroad, don’t only go shopping. You should take advantage of being in a foreign country to learn about investment opportunities there. Many countries allow you to open a bank account, even if you don’t live in that country. They will charge a token monthly maintenance fee, if you’re non-resident.
Having a foreign bank account allows you to build up foreign exchange for a time when you need it. You’ll also be able to open a PayPal account to aid your business. It is important to read the terms & conditions of your foreign bank account and adhere to all rules. Be responsible.
5. Stop giving away your time for free. Unless you’re sowing a seed (in which case, God will reward you) or making a charitable contribution, you are responsible for maximising the commercial value of your gifts and talents.
I give a lot of information for free on social media, to help people. However, I get paid for public speaking and social media engagements. I have also written books that I sell commercially. Ask yourself, “What gift, talent or capability can I exchange for commercial value?” If you’re a blogger, have you registered for AdSense, Facebook Audience Network or Medium yet, so you can start earning income from your writing?
6. Be careful about investing with people you can’t trust. Even if an opportunity is being promoted by your friend or family member, do your due diligence. If you do not understand their business model, or are not comfortable with their character, don’t invest.
I operate a simple model. After doing my fact finding, I invest a small amount that I can afford to lose. Then, I watch the company for a while. If I’m impressed with their management of resources, I invest some more. I worked for my money. Therefore, I never part with it irresponsibly.
So, what other lessons have you learned about money over the years? You should take some time to ruminate on them.
PS: If you’re thinking of investing in Nigeria, here’s a guide on different ways to do so. I also run an online Investment Course on Seven Ways to Invest in Nigeria, and connect people to licensed investment managers.Investing in #Nigeria? Here's what you should know about money! Click To Tweet Pay attention to your seasons of plenty. Don’t waste them. Click To Tweet Money is seasonal. It comes and goes. Click To Tweet