We continue our money mistakes series and I will go straight to the point. Let’s have a go at these issues.
- Always Reaping; Never Sowing — It is only birds that are entitled to reap where they do not sow. You are not a bird and at some point, you will have to sow in order to reap. That is what humans do. Let me set the scenario. If you are a young person in a household, even when you don’t contribute to the household purse, you have something to bring to the table. You can run errands, mind the children, wash the cars, be the ready handy person etc. If you are not contributing, you will become a liability. And soon, you will find yourself out of that house. In the event that you start working while living there, even when they do not ask you to, bring something to the table. Find something and contribute to. Buy bread for the kids, bring home something on your way back from work. Be useful. Let the people you are living with feel your presence.
- Starting Business with Interest Bearing Borrowed Funds — The emphasised word here is “starting.” This is as good as digging a grave for yourself. Yes, it can go well in some instances but how about if it does not go well. That means you will be running around with interest that compounds. Engaging in business is a risk — things happen; foreseen and unforeseen. If people believe in you or your venture, try to get them to invest or try to get funds without interest from friends and family. ‘Nuf said.
- Managing Access–I have talked about this before, but I want to reiterate it. This is a very big issue. The rich know themselves. They may not necessarily be in an association, but they know things in their sphere. Information gets to them quickly and they use the information to make business decisions. May the information they get about you not be “s/he will start asking for money on your first meeting.” I got this from a friend and it says it all: “When you get an opportunity to meet a very wealthy person, never ask for money. Ask for ideas on how to make money. They may even choose to give you money on their own after seeing that your ideas are great but getting money from them should never be your objective.”
- Bad Timing — There is a time for everything. Know what is important now and get it done. There are short-term plans and long-term plans. Don’t mix them up. School fees money is not for investment. Long-term money is not for short-term plans and vice versa. When I was in school, 7-Up stock was about NGN1. In as much as I felt, it was a good stock to buy, I had no money. All the money I had was for my school fees. And I did what was responsible; pay the fees. By the time I had money to invest, that same stock was NGN23. Do I beat myself up for not investing in what would have become 23 times the initial investment? No. it was not yet time. The same thing happened to me when Zenith and GTB did their IPOs in 2004. I did what I could. There were important things to sort out in my life then — siblings’ fees, parents’ upkeep, spiritual contributions etc. Don’t get so worked up about missed opportunities. Do what you have to do as at when you have to do it. Business opportunities are like buses, the next one will come. “Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are.” — James W. Frick.
- Becoming A Bank — Banking is a business and please do not become a bank to your friends. Avoid holding money for people or being the one-stop shop to loan money to your friends and family. Anybody that needs a loan should approach the bank. Many friendships have been lost via failed financial transactions. If you love your relationships, try to keep money dealings away from it. I had this young friend that I loved. I was very involved in his life. I wanted the best for him. He had it all — God-fearing, intelligent, good looks and likeability. One day he approached me for a loan for a business. He showed me his well mapped out plans. We had a long talk. I told him to start small and then, I can see how I can help. He felt insulted and walked out on me. I called him back after a while and told him that I cherish our relationship more than what is at stake. I gave him many examples. I doubt he listened, but I had done my part. Many years down the line, I reached out to him and he told me what he was up to. It was a small business. I gave him some money and we agreed on the set terms. He started paying back but after a while, he defaulted and then the predictable happened; I lost both him and my money. I knew it was going to happen, but I also wanted to prove that to him. So sometimes that “wicked Uncle/Auntie” is someone who still cherishes that relationship and is doing all that is possible for things not to go bad.
- Lending Out Funds You Cannot Lose — I am sure everyone has advised you on this one. Seems to be common knowledge but I must reiterate this. Try not to lend out funds that might wipe you out, that is if you must lend. One of my senior friends reached out to me because he needed urgent funds. It was big money for me. I sat down and thought about it for a long time. He is a person of integrity, has been in my life for a long time and he had contributed so so much. I told my wife about it and we decided to give him the money. My reason was simple, “if this guy does not pay, I am at peace with it. He has contributed enough to warrant me giving him that money.” Guess what? He paid back. But remember that I was ready to write off the money just in case he did not pay back. Yes, there was no drama involved. I am sure you were expecting one.
- Considering Your Money Little — Your fund will become what you call it. “How much can I save from this little money?” While you are asking that, know that your colleagues with that same salary and with your same issues are still saving from that “little” money. The whole aim of saving is to become a habit and not necessarily about how much you saved. In a whole year, you might be able to save only NGN20,000. That is good. It means you can discipline yourself in the midst of so many issues to keep something aside. Your next task should be, “how do I find something that will make me more income?”, “How do I obtain skills that can make me more marketable?” Focus on what you can bring to the table so that someone can pay you more for the service/product that you sell/produce.
- Using Social Media Only for Laughs — That same YouTube that you use to watch Mark Angel’s latest is the same others are using to learn new skills. I have learnt so much from YouTube, free online courses, Twitter etc. I have become better by consciously looking for things that will add value to moi. I see many only going to YouTube to find the next “Funke!!!”, “Lasisi Elenu” and their likes. Guess what? Those people you are watching are making a living out of it and minding their business. As their viewership increase, so also is their worth. Can you be a specialist in an area that someone will pay top dollars for you? “You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you.” — Dave Ramsey