The 10 Million Naira dream: Steps to Financial Freedom

I once shared this article in a forum and quite a lot of people found it helpful. I thought it would be a good idea if I also share it here. It’s titled The 10 Million Naira dream.  Though I altered names for privacy reasons, the scenario described is actually true. 

As I was preparing for work one morning, I suddenly realised I had run out of sugar for the morning tea. I quickly dashed out to Mama Iyabo’s shop, a small provision store down the street. The shop is a sort of succour in emergency situations such as this, not only to me but to other residents of the street. As dingy as it is, that shop has basic daily needs and is the home of Mama Iyabo, her husband and children. It opens as early as 5.00 am and closes as late as 12.00 midnight.

So on this fateful morning, I met the family outside the shop. After the usual “E karo” greetings, I requested for sugar. While waiting I suddenly overheard Baba Iyabo saying to himself, “I wish I had the sum of10 Million Naira now”. That statement caught me off-guard. Then I probed, “Baba, what would you do with the money?”. He replied “I will simply pack my things and head back to the village. I’m tired”. I felt for him and wished I could tell him that money does not fall from the skies. I wish I could remind him of the popular saying that “He who counts money in his sleep should wake up and work harder to avert imminent hunger”.

Story had it that he once worked in one of those defunct old generation banks in the ’80s and commanded a lot of respect as he was financially buoyant at the time. He lived extravagantly lavishing money on women, throwing needless parties and lending money to people indiscriminately. Now he is in mid-fifties totally broke and living on his wife’s meagre earnings.

That incident drew me into a realm of sober reflection and I believe it should also strike a chord in anyone who is serious about the future. In about 20 years I would be as old as Baba Iyabo. I don’t want to end up like him. Though I do not throw needless parties or dress extravagantly, I believe there are aspects of spending I need to control.

Here’s how you can maximise your resources this year for a secured future.

1. SAVE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN

The importance of saving can not be overemphasised. No matter how meagre your earnings or salary, you must create a savings window. The best way to save is to deduct your savings at source just as your employer deducts your taxes and cooperative dues even before you receive an alert. Your employer is oblivious of the fact that you have pressing needs and would make necessary deductions even without recourse to you. If you do not trust your ability to save as soon as you earn, talk to your bank. You can give your bank a mandate to deduct a certain sum of money each month to be credited into an another account with no withdrawal accessories like the ATM card.

2. CREATE ANOTHER STREAM OF INCOME

Just as it is important to save, it is equally important to create another stream of income. If your regular job is not so time consuming, you can think of other kinds of business you can engage in. However, I must sound a note of warning: NEVER ENGAGE IN ANY BUSINESS YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT, NO MATTER THE PROMISE OF RETURN. If it would involve another person managing the business for you and you’ll only be a financier, do not venture. I’m talking from experience. In the alternative, you can consider investing in treasury bills, stocks, and real estate. The returns may not be huge but your saving is considerably safe. Consult professionals in this field for advice.

3. CUT BACK ON SPENDING

Someone once said “if you buy what you do not need today, you will borrow to buy what you need tomorrow”. We are in an age where money is easily spent. On your computer screen, there are numerous ads from different online stores urging you to buy items you already own. They’ve made it so easy that payment can be made at the click of your mouse. Don’t be carried away by an item’s appeal. The message is this: IF YOU DO NOT NEED IT, DO NOT BUY IT. Also don’t be shy to say no to friends and relations who come for financial aid especially when you strongly believe that the demand is frivolous. Show genuine concern by helping them explore alternative ways of solving their financial problems. Money is not the answer to all man’s problems.

2015 is fast running to an end. You can still make the necessary adjustments for a successful financial year. I strongly recommend these books for more insight: The Richest Man in Babylon; Living the 80/20 way; Multiple Streams of Income.

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