What Do You Want?

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Cutting my Coat…2

This is the second half of the ‘Cutting my Coat…” post. Enjoy!

So these are the steps I took/ plan to take towards implementing my financial plan and meeting my savings target and other financial goals:

Assessing my financial position: I took the time the take stock of what I have, what my financial obligations are/will be in the near future and based on that determine what I could realistically put away at a minimum every month

Collecting part of my salary upfront and locking it in investment assets – I am allowed to collect a portion of my salary upfront, so I did that. I took the money and split them across various asset classes. The bulk of the money I placed in fixed income products and the rest went into equity. I ensured that the investments were such that I could not get the money without incurring a heavy penalty. So it would take a major emergency to get me to break the investment.

Saving before Consumption – I have a constant amount that goes into the various buckets of savings I highlighted in my Piggybank move post. Once I get paid, I immediately transfer the money into those accounts along with my tithe and other pledges/commitment. Open one or more saving accounts, which are for a specific financial goals and restrict your access to them (do not collect atms for those accounts or activate online access to those accounts if that is what it takes) so it would take a significant level of desperation to make you touch the money. I save first because if I try to save what is left after consuming, nothing would be left. There is always something to buy.  Tip: If you feel you don’t have the willpower to transfer the money, activate a direct debit from your income account.  In addition, if you feel you need stronger restrictions to prevent you from accessing the saved funds, you could always put them in fixed deposit product which penalise you for accessing the funds before the agreed time frame.

Budgeting and prioritizing my spending: Every month, I make a budget, which details exactly what I intend to spend (after deducting my savings) my money on each month, so my hair, transportation, food, recreation etc fall into that list and I allocate amounts to each line item. I even allocate some money to “waste” meaning do as you please.This helps me not to feel caged.  I try to stick to it. I prioritize my spending. Engage in VERY LIMITED impulsive buys, avoid random shopping sprees like a plague. I focus on needs, and prioritise wants, removing what is truly unnecessary. For instance, I would like an Iphone 6s but I do not need one enough to justify spending 250,000 on it given my income and financial goals. So in choosing a phone, I would look for a phone within my budget which would give true value for my money within the context of what I need from a phone. Budgeting does not mean being cheap. It means ensuring that you always get good value for your money.

Learning to tell myself NO: I am slowly learning to tell myself no and stick to it. I have realised that you don’t have to have everything you want and that you will not die if you don’t get everything you want. You will not die if you don’t change your phone every year, or change your car, or travel every holiday, or live on the island, or own a pair of louboutins, or buy Aunty Funmi hair, or buy asoebi for every wedding you attend or have a “fairytale” wedding. My brothers and sisters YOU WILL NOT DIE! Guess what? Life will continue! You know what would be shameful? when a genuine need comes up in your life and you cannot meet that need because you were to busy buying things you didn’t need. 

Planning ahead and saving with purpose : I took the time out to think about the major things I want to do in the next one to three years that would require a significant financial commitment and I have included them in my savings budget. In my opinion, this allows me comfortably finance important projects without resorting to major borrowing or any borrowing.  It is not when you are six months away from getting married that you will start thinking about to finance a wedding, or when your child is ready for school that you start figuring out how the school fees will be paid. If you want to go on vacation next year, you should have started planning for it now or even earlier depending on your income level and other commitments. I know that you cannot foresee everything but for those thing you can forsee, PLAN. I addressed saving with purpose here,

That’s it really. That is my plan, I am sure I will include more steps as I implement the plan and see the loopholes. What is your plan? Are you cutting your coat like me? Let me know in the comment box below.

Share and follow the blog for updates and remember “Don’t spend all your money trying to look rich, that is just hustling backwards”

Till next time.

Signed,

Chocoholiclady

 

Cutting My Coat (1)

You don’t need a prophet to tell you that we are in perilous economic times. I look at exchange rate and just shudder.  My people, before I was using 6 yards to make coats now I have only 3 yards so I in line with my Piggybank move, I must adjust my coat to match my material.  I recommend you do same. This is not the time to be keeping up with Dangotes and Otedolas of this world. See ehn, in these times you just have to borrow yourself sense, tell yourself the truth of your financial situation and jejely face your hustle. Cost of living is on the rise, salaries are taking a plunge, job security is almost non-existent in essence it is a blooming mess out there. So what am I doing? Trusting God (believing that He has my back) and downsizing…. Yes downsizing (you know I believe in taking action).

Downsizing:  Knowing your material has reduced in length and cutting your coat according to your new material.  

That is what all business do when the economy takes a downturn. They streamline every area of the businesses in order to ensure that the company operates as efficiently as possible and survives until the economy picks up again. That is exactly my plan – streamline my life, be financially disciplined and build/maintain my savings as realistically as possible within my circumstance. Don’t get me wrong, I am not planning to be tight fisted or miserly, not at all. The goal is to be financially efficient- making the most of what I have. The implication is simple I am cutting costs where I can, monitoring my expenses, focusing on my needs, prioritizing my wants, knocking off the unnecessary and making sure I get value for my money.

On this journey towards financial efficiency, I have adopted some principles to assist me on my way which I would like share with you. Hopefully they would also prove to be of some help to you:

  • Honesty is the best policy – Be honest with yourself about your finances, income prospects spending and saving habits etc. Don’t try to make yourself bigger or smaller than you are. Know your level.
  • Learn the difference between a want and a need, for this is the beginning of financial wisdom – know what you can and cannot honestly live without and plan your life accordingly, your bank account will thank you.
  • Know that the fact that you have the money to buy something does not mean you can afford it – Imbibing this fact and applying it solves half the problem. Believe me!
  • Borrowing to finance consumption is a no no – short of an emergency, avoid borrowing for the sake of consumption. It encourages you to live above your means. Debt is a black hole that can and most likely will suck you dry. I believe that you should only borrow to invest in something (such as business, education etc.) that would generate a return that can pay back the loan and leave you with something extra. So borrowing to go on a shopping spree is a big NO.
  • Never use somebody else’s pocket to determine how you spend or save there will always be someone who can save more or spend more/less than you. The saving capacity of a someone who earns 150,000 a month and is married cannot be compared to one who earns 500,000 and is single. Face your own finances and make sure you are being as financially responsible as possible within your own circumstance. If you keep looking at other people’s pockets  to determine how you manage your finances, you will  either always have an excuse and never save or fall into the ‘keeping up with the Jones’ death trap.
  • Save with purpose: Do not save for the sake of saving. I don’t think it is a sustainable strategy as you are more likely to give in to the temptation to spend the saved money because it there and idle. Tie the money to something you want to do e.g. finance a trip, pay for a car, reserve fund for emergencies, investment etc. It helps foster discipline.
  • “Live your own life for you will surely die your own death”Latin proverb – Don’t let what other people would say or think make you live a life that you cannot afford or not do what you need to do to make ends meet. If you need to sell off a car, cancel a vacation or move to a smaller house, do so and let people say what they want. They are not living your life with you.
  • “No one has ever become poor by giving”Anne Frank – I have not stopped giving to the causes which I support financially and I do not short change God.  I pay my tithe and redeem my pledges. I still give to those around me in need as I am led (trust me, the Lord won’t let me have a second worth of peace until I do) and I can testify that I have never suffered because I gave. God has always been faithful, somehow what is left after giving ( the unplanned ones) is able to tide me over. It is normal/human to want to close rank and hold on to all you have especially in tough times like this, however it is in these times that we should stretch out a helping hand to those around us. It makes you appreciate how much you have. 

I think this is enough for a post, I will upload the second part tomorrow where I will detail the practical steps I have taken to ‘save and cut my coat’ until I find my oil well sha (please if you have one that you are not using, help a sister out). If have additional advice or principles feel free to let me know what they are in the comment box below.

PS: @naijawife, I have not forgotten your question on fixed asset recommendations of fixed assets classes. I believe it would be more effective to do a separate post on investment assets and my opinion on them.

Share and follow the blog!

Till next time.

Signed,

Chocoholiclady …. (Thinking of changing my handle …. Lady C maybe?)

The Piggy Bank Move

I read somewhere that once a lady hits 25 she becomes more money conscious or develops a stronger level of financial awareness and financial security / freedom becomes a major priority. I am inclined to agree simply because this happened to me ( 25 is a memory now :(, the rate at which I am adding years is not even funny. Time is just flying with no single chill). I am almost completely obsessed with financial security. Maybe age has nothing to do with it, it could simply be my economics and finance background or my career path or my hatred for uncertainty but all I know is that I am not joking with securing to best of my ability my financial future.

piggy bank

I wish my piggy bank had dollars in it 😦

Money is critical in this world. It is not the be all of life but kai! it is important. This financial drive  of mine gained momentum when I took the time to estimate how much it would cost give a child a good education in this country and that was before the great exchange rate move. I was weak. Then I analysed the kind of life I currently lead/would like to lead, the math was not working out. one plus one was giving me three. I had to take action.

I don’t like to leave things up in the air. I like to have a plan no matter how loose. Fail to plan, plan to fail and all that.  So I have decided to earn my financial freedom. I am taking full control of my financial position. For those who sing the ‘God will provide’ song, let me just stand here and burst your bubble. I am a firm believer in faith, God’s grace and His ability to meet all my needs. I trust God to make my ‘five loaves and two fish’ enough to meet my ‘multitude’ of needs at anytime. However, I also believe that faith without works is dead, so I need to get my ‘five loaves and two fish’. Faith does not mean being careless with your finances and expecting God to show to address the resultant mess. This isn’t supposed be a sermon, the point is I will do my best and allow God multiply my effort and handle the rest.

So my game plan – Set a savings goal and develop a well defined spending and saving framework to achieve the goal.  My people, having a well defined plan is critical to having any chance of success. SAVING IS HARD!!!. It’s like once money enters into your account, money eating demons feast on it and gbam you look up and you cannot explain where the money went. That cannot be my story. I work hard for my pay and must have something to show for it. My life as it relates to my income and expenses is currently ruled by an excel sheet. I plan all my expenditures for the month and sort them by importance. In addition I separated my savings into three broad streams – investment, business and personal.

Investments: Savings in this bucket, once they reach a certain threshold amount are moved into various investment assets such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds etc. Although with the current economic situation one needs to be very careful and strategic with what financial investment they undertake. I am currently primarily invested in fixed income assets with relatively smaller investments in the stock market (let me not lie, my equity investments have taken a beating but I am ok because I have a ‘long term’ view and I invested in relatively fundamentally sound companies which provide regular dividend income, so I plan to continue to time the market and buy more).

Business – I plan to invest a real sector project which can serve as an alternate income stream so this bucket is to fund that capital project. I am evaluating different business ideas but I am putting money aside for that purpose so that I am well positioned to take advantage of opportunities that arise.

Personal – this is to address all the major personal expenditures such as gifts, anniversaries, birthday parties, clothes etc essentially all personal expenses which i can foresee in throughout the year. So for example, if had a car that I would normally services for 15,000 twice year, there would be 30,000 provision in my personal saving budget for car servicing.  So essentially I save towards everything.

The remainder of the money goes into normal recurrent expenditures such as hair, transport, credit, data etc. I try to objectively justify every expense item to myself. I make an allocation for miscellaneous expenditures so that I don’t feel like I am in a cage and have also created a cushion fund for unplanned expenses.  Any left over at the end of the month is moved into a separate fixed income account that I cannot withdraw from. In a bid to foster discipline, as I am paid each month, I transfer all the allocated savings to their respective collation accounts before I do anything else with the money.  

Implementing this plan has opened my eyes to just how much frivolous spending I have been engaged in. I can see where I can cut costs and it has helped become more financially responsible. I am still refining my plan and some months are better than others in terms of achieving my monthly saving goal. I will do another post on the practical steps I am taking to enforce this financial discipline in my life.

I like good things and those things cost money. I need to prepare for the future, if I eat all today there will be nothing to eat tomorrow. I cannot live a ‘hand to mouth’ life lai lai! I need consistency and this is the way forward.

What is your plan for financial freedom? Let me know in the comment box below.

Till next time!!

Signed

Chocoholiclady

 

 

The Great Return

Im-back1

Hello people! I know it has been over a year since I showed my face on this platform. There are so many reasons for my disappearance some of which are legit and some of which are not so legit… I beg your forgiveness. I would like to say it will not happen again but alas, I can’t. I can only promise to do my best and post whenever I can ( follow the blog  🙂 so you can get notifications when I do post). I have been tied up with so much both on a professional and personal level it’s a miracle I am still standing.

So  a  ‘little’ update…

2015 sped by so quickly. It almost feels like the year did not happen. I got confirmed at my job in February 2015 and made the jump to full analyst (yaay!) – for those who don’t know, I currently work in investment banking, you can read all about how I landed this job here – I felt really good about that.

I was elected alumni president of my secondary school alumni association. I am currently struggling with the balancing the job with my other pressing responsibilities and I hate that fact.

I took the level one CFA exams in December 2015 (so you can imagine what I spent the year doing) as well as one ACCA paper. I passed both by the grace of God (That CFA exam is murder, I promise you.The entire thing is geared towards putting through such mental torment that you are too freaked out to actually focus on the exam and pass).

I was in my first bridal train in 2015. It was a nice experience, primarily because I cared about the person getting married. I got all dolled up by a professional make-up artist. My lashes were so long I could see them. Most people were was stunned speechless by my looks to say the least, heck even I was stunned myself. Everyone kept taking a second look at me. I am not sure if that is an insult or a complement. I would like lay this reaction at the feet of my powder and lipstick only standard policy. When I really want to go all out I add mascara and eye-liner and on the days I want to go all out AND slay a dab of neutral eye-shadow. Please note that 19 out of 20 times I stick with the standard policy. People simply did not know what to do with this ‘me’ that came not slay but looking to draw blood and take no prisoners. However the experience left me loving my standard policy. The make-up was a pain to remove to say the least. How women cope with applying and removing those layers of make-up on a daily basis is beyond me. I can’t, I just can’t.

Other than the above, I cannot really think of anything that happened in 2015… ohhh yeeahhh everybody around me seemed to be getting married or getting engaged or giving birth… I mean even L got married (I am not sure I even believe he is actually married) and he has a kid now… freaky! I feel all kinds of old.  

I ended 2015 the way I ended 2014 – SICK! Yes I was sick with malaria (again) and this time it brought a friend – TYPHOID. I was so pissed! I was on leave from work and spent the entire leave in bed.

2016 started out tough… I lost some family members, one of whom was my great grandmother. It hurt. Still hurts. People try to comfort you with ‘she was old’ but it does not help. I knew this day would come but it does not make it any easier. I am genuinely grateful to God for her life. She died the way we all pray to go – Old, full of years, lying in your own bed and in good health. She was not sick she was simply old (93). She was someone who was always there in the background of my life. She is my first memory in this world. She is the reason I am crazy about pounded yam. She would make it for me once I arrived in the village. She meant a lot. I didn’t realise how much she meant until she passed on. She was the one person I thought would never die, that would always be there, just ageing with grace. So yes it hurts a lot but life goes on. I could not have asked for more so in the pain, I give thanks, knowing that she a full and rich life.

I fell sick again…it was ridiculous. I do not even want to go into the details of the illness. I am all better – significantly fatter due to all the multivitamins and food I have consumed in the quest for health. Got my wisdom tooth extracted and ended up with some complications. Let me just say it will take the threat of death to get me back in the dentist’s chair.  

That is a summary of my life till date. Next my goals for 2016 (I am fully aware the year is half over):

  • Deeper walk with God
  • Write more – both on the blog and off
  • Write 1 or 2 acca papers
  • Register for level 2 of cfa and commence deep study
  • Become a better investment banking analyst – expand my skill set, increase my efficiency etc
  • Find my life vision and purpose again ( I am floundering a bit … I used to think I knew what I wanted but I am not so sure)
  • Be a better alumni president and drive the vision for the association
  • Find an alternative source of income (I need financial freedom) and develop a stronger level of financial discipline.
  • Lose 10kg…( let’s not even talk about this weight loss struggle)
  • Live and not exist

I think that these are not too ambitious.

A big shout out to @toinlicious and @singlenigerian for checking up on me and making sure I am alive. @naijawife @anafricandiva, @eloxie and all my twitter buddies I have missed you guys.

Till next time (which I plan to be soon)

Signed

Chocoholiclady

 

An Open Note To Toinlicious

Toin this is the response I promised.

So a while back I became more active on twitter and had the blessing (or so I thought at the time) of meeting a bubbly lady called toinlicious. Her blog is wonderful and I have enjoyed getting to know her through her blog. She is truly a bubbly piece sugar, spice and all things rainbowy and her posts, no matter how random have a way of putting a smile on your face ( toin wipe that smile off your face, this post is not going to be complimentary -____- ). She is the kind of person I believe I would enjoy having as  a friend in real life not just on twitter or at least I thought so until THE EVENT.  Yes oh! I have an issue with the beloved toinlicious.

Here is how it went down. I was jejely on my own  oh when I saw a notification on my phone. Toin had tagged me in a tweet with a link to her blog. I was all excited and happy. The ode that I am I clicked on the link and went to read hoping for a shot of some toinlicious sunshine. The post started out great. I was there nodding and smiling  (side note: toin  I am also waiting for the married peeps to answer that question oh. I am with you on the bbm sticker thing. After I have laboured for my salary, I will now throw it away on bbm stickers. Have all the words and emoticons in this world finished ? hian) then I came upon this piece of blasphemy!

“So I got a UK size 6 dress and I’m sad because it fits. I thought I was a size 8 but apparently, the image of myself in my head is somewhat distorted. Help! I don’t want to disappear! I intend to do some damage this Xmas though. Size 12 coming soon (Please don’t rain on my parade, teinks)”Toinlicious 2014

O_____O CAN YOU IMAGINE THAT ?!!! this young woman is sad and complaining because she fits in a size 6 dress. Do you know when last I fit in a size 6 dress?  To my eternal shame I am not sure iI have ever fit in one. Kai some people don’t know what they have. TOIN! you have the precious gift of “inability to be fat” and you are crying.  You are trying to gain weight and be double your current size????  Somebori help me, this world is finished. In fact I am just speechless.  Do I need to educate  this young woman on the massive disadvantages of this path she is treading? On behalf of all card carrying members of the chubilichubchub club I am insulted. Please feel free to throw your gift in my general direction. All I have to do is sniff a burger and I can feel my hips expand.  I enter cold stone and I feel 5 pounds attach themselves before I even place an order. Just one meat pie and gbam I have gained 6 kg. I am very vexed. In fact I am beefing you here.I am here trying, struggling and fighting to be a UK size 10  and this young woman is effortlessly a size 6. See the insult!!!!! Then to add salt to an open wound, she is throwing the gift back in the face of God!. Toin let me assure you, you will not disappear, has beyonce disappeared?  Kate moss nko? even Victoria Beckham has not disappeared (truly, at some point I thought she would). Please wash your eyes well and if need be get glasses and un distort that image you have of yourself sharply.

My dear people this is a classic case of “One man’s meat is another man’s poison” and yes toin darling I haff rain on your parade. 😛

However, in spite of your misguided desire toin… I still think you are a rainbow in the sky that is blogville!

XOXO dearie!

Signed,

Chocoholic lady!

2014 : Learning Points

Side note: I planned to post this last year but I took ill and spent the entire holiday in bed in feverish haze and pool of self-pity. I am still recovering, this malaria is shouting odeshi but it must go!.

2014 was quite a year, I can honestly say it was one of the most exhilarating, confusing, amazing, saddening, liberating, annoying, heart breaking and all-other-contradictory-adjectives you-can-think-of year of my life. It was a challenging and eye-opening year that went by in a flash! Am I the only one who thinks 2014 just sped by? Time truly does fly. 2014 was a year of lessons for me, some big ones, some small ones, some repeat lessons, some reminder lessons, some learnt from my experiences and some from the experiences of others. I want to share some of them with you and just maybe you may learn some lessons from my lessons.

The hustle is real!!!!! : This is my number one lesson point for the year. I started working in earnest this year. I am an investment banker (or trying to be one) and I can authoritatively tell you that it is not easy to earn a living in this world. You literally lay your life down and someone puts a monetary value to your life and pays you at the end of the month. I am luckier than most, My transport and living costs are largely subsidized, irrespective of this fact, i still struggle to make the proverbial ends meet, My needs/wants consistently outstrip my salary not to talk the struggle to save!!!!! I appreciate my parents on a whole different level.

Life is not fair. The sooner you accept this the easier your life will be

The deepest wounds that you will have in this world will be inflicted by those you love the most. Trust me, genuinely loving people and letting them into your heart will definitely cause you pain, the important thing is to determine if they are worth the pain.

Do unto to others as you will have them do unto you … just don’t expect them to extend the same courtesy to you.

Be good to others whether or not they deserve it.

Forgive. You will sleep better.

Let he that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

Most of us do not know what we want. We think we do but more often than not we do not.

Never underestimate the importance of knowing who you are and being confident in that knowledge. The world will consistently challenge that knowledge and try to make you fit into its mold. You are going to have to constantly fight for the right to be you.

“Who you are” should never be an excuse for hurting others.

Different is not a synonym for wrong neither is unique a synonym for useful.

As move into a new phase of life the less it seems you need God, do not be deceived,you have never needed Him more, When God says that you need to be like a child to come to Him, He was not kidding. He knows what he is saying, If you don’t remain like a child before God, you will find that you will “outgrow” God and that my friend is a dangerous place to find yourself.

Guard your relationship with God. (this was learnt the hard way).This world will try to choke your relationship with God. It won’t be with sin or seemingly bad things. It will be with legitimate and in fact good and noteworthy things.

There are million very well justified, understandable etc. reasons why you should do wrong and only one reason to do what is right. That one reason is reason enough.

Most times when we say we love people the way they are, what we often mean is that we love what we think they are or should be- this applies to our love for God too. We are often caught in serving the God we want that we forget to serve the God who is.

The best things in this world will come from the most unexpected places.

Money is not everything but it is something. An important something.

Easier does not always mean better.

Sometimes people will understand your dream, most times they won’t. The important thing is that you understand your dream and believe in it.

There will never be enough time to do all you want to do. You will have to carve out the time to achieve your goals.

There is no living without sacrifice. Just make sure you are sacrificing the right thing for the right purpose or person.

Take care not to burn bridges as you move along this life, you never know when you will need them.

No one owes you anything. You had better be prepared to work for everything you want.

This world is filled with rotten people who will make you lose faith in humanity but it is also filled with good people who will restore your faith in humanity.

Look before you leap.

Being popular or accepted by others is not as important being right especially when it comes to the choosing between doing what God would have you do and what man would have you do.

Godliness with contentment is great gain … very great gain.

Working hard is good but working smart is better, working hard and smart is best.

Potential can either be a stepping stone or stumbling block.

What matters most is being able to look in the mirror at the end of each day and like the person you see staring back at you.

Feel free to share your 2014 lessons or thoughts in the comment section,

PS: Toinlicious your post is coming -____-

Signed
Chocoholic lady!