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  1. Helping Nigerians stay out of debt and gain financial independence is fast becoming a passion for many application developers who seek out better ways to help people save and motivate them to spend less. Here are two savings applications that have been designed to lead Nigerians out of financial slavery. ALAT Well, it is a digital banking service powered by Wema Bank Nigeria, which allows you to do all your banking transactions without being physically present at a bank. Alat digital bank allows you to open fully functional savings account using just your BVN and phone number in exactly 5mins. No paperwork required! At it’s core, ALAT by Wema bank is selling simplicity, reliability and convenience. ALAT digital banking will save you time with a simple account opening process that takes less than five minutes, help you put money away easily by automating your saving, make sure your bills are paid on time with its scheduled payments feature and deliver a free debit card (ALAT ATM card) you can activate, lock and unlock from your phone to use anywhere in Nigeria. You can open an ALAT account easily on from your phone. Install ALAT from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store, open the app and sign up with your Bank Verification Number and a valid phone number. Thereafter, you will need to upload a photo of a valid means of identification (a government-approved ID card), a photo of a utility bill (not older than 3 months) and your passport photograph. Your account will be activated as soon as the ALAT team verifies your documents and address, usually in 24 hours. In the meantime, you can put money in your ALAT account but you can’t spend from it. Your ALAT account number will be emailed to you. It will also be displayed on your dashboard each time you log in to ALAT. Piggybank Piggybank is a Nigerian Financial Technology startup and they run a simple online savings scheme where they make periodic deductions for customers to save towards targets. Piggybank.ng securely makes saving possible by combining discipline plus flexibility to make you grow your savings & better manage your finances. Their mission is to make savings & investments more transparent and clear so that anyone can manage their finances. They promise that their clients can also earn interest income on the savings made. All that is required is to link a debit card to their platform online only. I was at first intrigued by the name. It is catchy and straight to the point. Try these apps today and leave your comments below.
  2. onomewrites

    investment

    INVESTMENT Investing is actually pretty simple; you're basically putting your money to work for you so that you don't have to take a second job, or work overtime hours to increase your earning potential. There are many different ways to make an investment, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds or real estate, and they don't always require a large sum of money to start. STEPS TO TAKE TO INVEST · Get your finances in order Jumping into investing without first examining your finances is like jumping into the deep end of the pool without knowing how to swim. On top of the cost of living, payments to outstanding credit card balances and loans can eat into the amount of money left to invest. Luckily, investing doesn't require a significant sum to start. · Learn the Basics You don't need to be a financial expert to invest, but you do need to learn some basic terminology so that you are better equipped to make informed decisions. Learn the differences between stocks, bonds, mutual funds and certificate of deposits. You should also learn financial theories such as portfolio optimization, diversification and marketing efficiency. Reading books written by popular investors is also a good thing. · Set Goals Once you have established your investing budget and have learned the basics, it's time to set your investing goal. Even though all investors are trying to make money, each one comes from a diverse background and has different needs. Safety of capital, income and capital appreciation are some factors to consider; what is best for you will depend on your age, position in life and personal circumstances. A 35-year-old business executive and a 75-year-old widow will have very different needs. · Determine Your Risk Tolerance Would a small drop in your overall investment value make you weak in the knees? Before deciding on which investments are right for you, you need to know how much risk you are willing to assume. Your risk tolerance will vary according to your age, income requirements and financial goals. · Find Your Investing Style Now that you know your risk tolerance and goals, what is your investing style? Many first-time investors will find that their goals and risk tolerance will often not match up. For example, if you love fast cars but are looking for safety of capital, you're better off taking a more conservative approach to investing. Conservative investors will generally invest 70-75% of their money in low-risk, fixed-income securities such as Treasury bills, with 15-20% dedicated to blue chip equities. On the other hand, very aggressive investors will generally invest 80-100% of their money in equities. · Learn the Cost It is equally important to learn the costs of investing, as certain costs can cut into your investment returns. As a whole, passive investing strategies tend to have lower fees than active investing strategies such as trading stocks. Stock brokers charge commissions. For investors starting out with a smaller investment, a discount broker is probably a better choice because they charge a reduced commission. On the other hand, if you are purchasing mutual funds, keep in mind that funds charge various management fees, which is the cost of operating the fund, and some funds charge load fees. · Find a broker or Advisor The type of advisor that is right for you depends on the amount of time you are willing to spend on your investments and your risk tolerance. Choosing a financial advisor is a big decision. Factors to consider include their reputation and performance, how much they charge, how much they plan on communicating with you and what additional services they can offer. · Choose Investment Now comes the fun part: choosing the investments that will become a part of your investment portfolio. If you have a conservative investment style, your portfolio should consist mainly of low-risk, income-producing securities such as federal bonds and money market funds. Key concepts here are asset allocation and diversification. In asset allocation, you are balancing risk and reward by dividing your money between the three asset classes: equities, fixed-income and cash. By diversifying among different asset classes, you avoid the issues associated with putting all of your eggs in one basket. · Keep Emotions at Bay Don't let fear or greed limit your returns or inflate your losses. Expect short-term fluctuations in your overall portfolio value. As a long-term investor, these short-term movements should not cause panic. Greed can lead an investor to hold on to a position too long in the hope of an even higher price – even if it falls. Fear can cause an investor to sell an investment too early, or prevent an investor from selling a loser. If your portfolio is keeping you awake at night, it might be best to reconsider your risk tolerance and adopt a more conservative approach. · Review and Adjust The final step in your investing journey is reviewing your portfolio. Once you've established an asset-allocation strategy, you may find that your asset weightings have changed over the course of the year. Why? The market value of the various securities within your portfolio has changed. This can be modified easily through rebalancing.
  3. onomewrites

    FINANCIAL PLAN

    FINANCIAL PLAN A financial plan is a broad strategy for handling your finances, It should include both short and long-term goals. A financial plan helps you make the most of your money, regardless of your economic circumstances ESTABLISH YOUR FINANCIAL GOALS 1. Decide what you want your money to do for you 2. Determine what style of living you wish to achieve 3. List savings objectives ANALYSE YOUR CURRENT INCOME AND SPENDING · Carefully examine the amounts you estimated for both income and expenses · Overestimating income and understanding expenses is very easy to do and can cause big problems for your budget · Subtract your expenses from your income for each plan period. If you come out even or need extra money, consider ways to increase your income or cut your expenses · If you have extra money, decide how you want to apply it towards your saving goal PREPARE A TRIAL FINANCIAL PLAN A written plan listing your goals, your income, and your expenses reduces the temptation to overspend or spend carelessly Put your financial plan into writing Revise your plan and update it on regular basis Put your plan into action and keep organized records Keep track of your spending and savings Managing Personal Finance § Prevention § Preparation § Coping with challenges PREVENTION · Develop good saving habits · Practice sound money management · Use credit/loan wisely · Purchase enough insurance policy · Use reasonable caution in financial matters PREPARATION · Get a good education to better able find a job or get a business to start, sustain and make successful · Learn marketable job skills to advance on job or business · Stay current in your field or earn promotion or pay rise · Establish emergency fund equal to three or six months’ pay to give you time to assess the crisis and take action · Regulate your life style to live below your income level in case you need to meet unexpected expenses or must live on a lower income COPING WITH CHALLENGES · Accept that your financial crisis is real – it will not go away on its own · Avoid making any new credit purchases · Find free or inexpensive financial counselling · Adjust your spending habits and cut your expenses
  4. Esther.Dumbiri

    When Saving Seems Difficult

    Most people believe that it is not possible to save with a low income. This is not true. For you to actually save at all, it starts with you making the decision to save. Any decision you want to take starts with the mind. It is the mind that controls you and tells you what to do. When you want something done, it all starts with you thinking and believing that it can be done. If you think you can do it; you will do it. If you think you can’t do it, then you can’t. So when you avoid saving with the little you make, it’s because you think it’s not possible. Saving is very important and it will help you a lot in the future. Your ability to save helps you become financially secure. Therefore, whatever money you receive, save from it. Your savings should be the first thing you put aside. Yes, your income may be meager but you can still save little out of it. You might think your monthly savings is too small; but it’s okay to start small. As long as you are saving something, it’s better than saving nothing. What you think is small today, in the next three to five years, it could amount to a lot of money. Saving is for everybody, irrespective of how much you earn. It is your decision to make. So, once you set your mind to do it, you can do it. For you to be able to save, you should assess your financial health. Know how much you get daily or monthly and how much you spend on a monthly or daily basis. You should monitor your income and expenditure. You need to know where your money is going. Do you know how much you spend on recharge cards, food, transport, fuel etc.? When you do this, you may realize you spend a lot on things that are not very important. It doesn’t mean you won’t spend money on these things, but you can cut down on the amount you spend on them. You can have it on records which could be on your phone or a note pad that you can easily access. This will help you save better. When you are able to assess your financial health, then you can re-examine your budget. You need to have a budget. A budget will show you the important things you need to spend money on and the things that are less important. You need to be ruthless in managing your spending. Get ready to make sacrifices. You can decide to spend less money by cooking at home rather than eating out. Have a budget on how much you want to spend every day; how much you spend on recharge cards, shopping, internet, health, beauty products, visiting friends etc. Write out all existing expenses, including the small ones, then list out each monthly expense. Also, set goals for yourself. This will make saving easier. When you have a goal; you have a plan. It could be a short-term or long- term goal. This will help you save towards it; you become conscious of what you want to achieve at that period and with that, you are mindful of your spending. It is also important to save for the unexpected. An emergency may occur in the future; planning for it will help you be prepared. A set-aside emergency fund could cover for an unexpected job loss, or a difficult health situation. Money should be set aside for emergencies to avoid going into debt. Remember that an emergency can actually be more than your income, so it’s best to start saving for it on a daily or monthly basis. One may need to retire in the future; the money you have saved will take the place of the income you will no longer receive from your job. The sooner you start saving for retirement, the less you will have to save in the future. In all, saving is very important. It doesn’t matter how much you are earning, you can do it and you should do it. It helps you avoid going into debt and you can secure a better life for yourself.
  5. image: rd.com In 2011, I became very serious about being financially prudent. I had just gotten a new job after being laid off from one. The pay was split into a monthly fixed salary and a quarterly performance pay, the total broken down monthly was slightly more than that of my previous job and the guaranteed monthly portion was slightly less than that of my previous job. But the major difference was that in the previous job I was getting a handsome N12,000/day when sent for projects outside Lagos. Somehow, in 2011, that extra N12,000 per day ballooned my lifestyle. So when I lost the job an got another, despite having similar base pay, I was spending more than my monthly salary and having to dip into my savings from the previous job. I felt extremely bad about it and decided to fix it. I got a expense tracking and budgeting phone app. I began tracking all my expenses daily for a couple of months. The visibility into how I spent money instantly helped me cut out obvious frivolous expenses and with deliberate planning I began cutting down my monthly living expense. In a few months, I was able to bring down my living expense below my salary and now have something to put away monthly. In 2012, I opened a High Interest Deposit Account with Diamond Bank and put in it, over time, my four months living expense. Luckily, in 2011 I had opened an investment mutual fund with ARM and set up a direct debit mandate to automatically invest monthly. During my financial crisis period I was not able to keep enough in the account to execute the direct debit but from 2012 forward I was able to conveniently save monthly into that investment account and even have something left to put into my stocks brokerage account for directly buying stocks. I used to get my salary within the last three working days of the month and the first two working days of the new month. Once the direct debit executes, I take out whatever I need to pay for any professional training I am undergoing. And the rest, I take out any amount above my budgeted living expense and put it away into my investment account. So having just what I need for the month (gotten from tracking my monthly expenses for over six months) forced me into being very financially prudent. And that was how I developed a savings habit. Today, it is a lot difficult to budget monthly as my business expenses are unpredictable and often affect my personal expenses. However, that financial prudence I gained then is still with me and helps me to avoid frivolous spending. It practically turned me into a miser. Whenever I get a large amount of money, I immediately put a large chunk of it away in my investment account. Just that now I have to increase my emergency fund with Diamond bank from four times monthly living expense to six times monthly expense as I get bigger emergency expense spilling from my business into my private life. This year, on three occasions I had to draw from my emergency account -- one was to settle my company account auditing expense, the second was to secure the new rented house and the third was to settle the tax advisory expense. I am still yet to replenish the emergency fund and technically broke. If I have my savings/investments in a savings account I would be rich and not broke. Having them in not easy to access investment accounts forces me to be more hardworking and never having too much money to squander. My strategy in one sentence is: I put away upfront the money that is in excess of my living expense into a savings/investment account. In the investing world, it is called paying yourself first.
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