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Managing Your Personal Finances as an African – Part 1

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Money does have power. Money influences what we buy, what we eat, where we go to, even our friends. A poor person may say a car is too expensive and dissuade other people too from buying it because of his poverty. Poor people rarely go for the best because of insufficiency of money.

A wealthy person will get a more courteous reception than a poor man. Money enhances confidence. Money makes us worry less, and increases our life span. When there is no money, we easily get destabilized. Money stabilizes us. Although money doesn’t guarantee happiness, we can’t be truly happy without money. Money makes life easier. Money is not negative, it is not evil. It does not corrupt man; it reveals the true nature of man.

However, we must watch ourselves else we may become ensnared in our bid to get more, the same snare with African leaders. There must be a balance in our legitimate pursuit to acquire wealth.

Planning Your Financial Future

Here are two challenges we face in our future. One is health, the second is money, and both are interwoven. The right time to start financial planning is now. When we fail to plan, we have planned to fail. You have to plan your financial future from the very first day you start earning, either from active business or employment. One reason is to provide health, the other is to provide some measure of security for today’s wealth in the unstable African societies.

Saving is core to planning for the future. It is a foolish man that spends up everything. In Planning, we must live below our income. If you don’t live below your income, you can’t save anything.  We are not advised to spend after saving, but to save before spending. Our expenditures will always grow to match our income. You must prioritize your spending. (You can read more on the spending culture in African countries of Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana here)

Ground rules for Savings

  1. We must cut down on our consumption. You don’t become wealthy by wastage. Focus on needs, not wants.
  2. Join a contributory pension scheme during your working life. This is called ‘osusu’ in some traditional African societies, it is a contributory scheme with few members through which members set aside a particular amount of their income; the pooled resources can then be lent to each other. You’d be amazed at how much you have saved at the end. Also, it compels you to save.
  3. Join a health insurance scheme. When you are young, and healthy, join a Health scheme. It also forces you to save and it is for your benefit in the future.
  4. Constantly think investment: Always have a project at hand. Never come to a point where you have a project drought. Projects direct the use of your time and your money better. Learn to send your money on an errand; don’t let your money send itself on an errand.

How much should we save?

It is advisable to save at least 10 percent of your income. It may be more, it all depends you on living below your income.

In the second part of this writing, I’ll be writing on dealing with bad money habits and various investment streams you can put your money in.

I’ll appreciate your own inputs on managing personal finances… Have a great day

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