- Keeping up with the Joneses. Oh, the Kardashians! This money mistake involves trying to impress the people you think are in your class. Most times those people are not even looking neither do they know that you exist. Back at the university, I knew some girls who were competing with another girl. What they got by keeping multiple ungodly alliances (you can interpret that), the other girl got directly from her dad. They were always plotting to outdo her, and she was living her life oblivious of their scheme. This is competing in an arms race with those not racing. In life, some people will have more than you and some will have less than you. It does not mean anything. It is what it is. Just like some people are taller than you and some are not. The Joneses don’t exist except you invent them and invite them over. When you invite them, then you have to give them life.
- Borrowing to Fund Normal Life Expenses. There is time to take danfo, there is a time for UBER. Don’t borrow to fund your UBER rides. Jump into the yellow bus. Yeah, let them yab you. Who cares? I still enjoy my keke rides. It will not be forever. Enjoy every phase of life. That is what makes life nice.
- Under Pressure to Perform. Never put yourself under undue financial pressure. It leads to stealing, worry, anxiety, high BP. If you cannot afford the AsoEbi, please say so. You cannot take the boys to the club, say so. You will be laughed at, but you will be fine. The rich are so because they do not do crazy things with hard earned money.
- Owing with the Hope of Not Paying Back: This is called wickedness. There is no better word for it. Many people borrow with the hope that they will not pay back. If you ask them, they will behave like Okonkwo’s father in Things Fall Apart, by showing you that you are the least on their repayment list since they owe bigger sums to others. Life is about “give and take.” If you keep taking, you will steal in the nearest future. Mark my words.
- Not Being in Charge of Your Money: It is your money and as such, you should be in control. Most stars (footballers, musician etc) that are broke today have two issues that made them go broke. The first one was buying things they do not need and with almost no resale value. The second was that other people managed their funds. They had no control. Ensure that you are the one that approves and dispenses every dime of yours. If not, stories that touch might just happen. The brokers/fund managers/bankers I work with know this. I follow up with deposits, investments, withdrawal etc that I make. And sometimes I follow up hard. I know they don’t like me that much because some of them might see me as a wahalaman. Not a problem. It is my money and when I give instructions it must be followed. If that does not happen, then I change whatsoever I need to change. It is for this reason that friends and family cannot be my brokers. Yes, I can charge hard at times. I don’t need a family meeting to be held when I dismiss you for not following instructions.
- Take Care of Your Relationships: You might think this is a given, but it is not. Please plan to take care of yourself and those you love. Have you noticed that we hardly give anything to our closest friends? They are always there for us – play, happy, empathize, love, grief, etc with us. For some reasons we always overlook them and give gifts to others. Please ensure that you do not make this mistake. Invest in your relationships. Take care of your friends. Surprise them with gifts even when nothing is happening. Keep the friendship warm. Register for those exams for them.
- Take Care of Yourself: Invest in yourself. I mean plan to take yourself out — go somewhere you have always wanted to; Yankari, Kainji, Ghana, Road Trip. You think Disneyland will be better, then plan for it. Ensure that your plan has something for you. In your budget, taking care of yourself must be a priority. I don’t mean just buying clothes or shoes but rather planning for something that you think is meaningful to you. It might be buying yourself an expensive perfume. Yeah…go for it but it must be planned. Seriously. Let me tell you about something I did. I always wanted to do an MBA in a top US school. I planned for it for a long time and then did it. I went to Duke. It did not make sense to many but, hey, I always wanted to do this since I was a teenager. Guess what … I did it.
The thing is that you will make these mistakes. Some of them you may not understand the rationale, but it is when you experience the issues discussed here that you will understand. But I can tell you right from the start, it is better to learn from instructions than from experience.