Category Archives: Wealth Creation

How To objectively plan your finances in a time of the pandemic

While it is difficult to know what’s ahead, steps to good financial planning will minimise advert effect on your finances. 

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

These are very difficult and uncertain time ahead for everyone due to the pandemic. Most people have already lost their jobs, or means of living and many more in employment are not certain whether they will keep it. Worst still is not being sure how long this will continue.

The predicted second wave of the pandemic is now happening throughout Europe, and most countries are in partial lockdown. Businesses are closed, and the hospitality industry is the worst hit of all. Honestly, I am not the one to comment much on Politics (I have limited interest in Politics), but I believe Boris Johnson and his team are trying with all the relief packages available to UK, citizens.

As long as we are not stargazer who can predict what the future holds, we can help ourselves by planning ahead to minimise the impact on our finances. These are the principal ones to consider.

Draw Out A Budget

A budget can mean different things to different people, but what is key in a budget is to analyse our priorities in spending our money, in a time like this when our income is in jeopardy. The key reason for a budget is to ensure we do not spend more than we earn. We have to deal with our bills and differentiate our wants from our needs. For those of us who do not know the difference, here it is:

Want — something nice to have, yet I could do without.

Need — something I must have to live and thrive.

We must realise that wants and needs can sometimes overlap, and it is here that we need to be realistic. 

Everyone wants a big house for instance, with a swimming pool, and a large patio and garden. But do we need that additional expenses at this time of uncertainty of our income? Examine where you are at the moment, can you still continue to live there without much ado? Only you and your family can realistically examine this to come to the conclusion that it is right for the family.

‘’A budget is telling your money where to go, instead of wondering where it went.’’ John Maxwell

And to further prove that wants and needs can overlap is eating out and having a family vacation. Yes, we cherish our weekly eat out as a little family pleasure, but do we need to go to a five star Michelin restaurant now? What about meeting in a middle way, and go to a three-star family buffet? Our vacations too can be scaled down, perhaps not now, as most are not vacating because of the pandemic, but we can always scale down our expenses to accommodate future emergencies.

What About Your Expenses

Expenses that are essential must be paid for. Top on this is our gas, heat and light. Winter is coming, and it is not the time for the electricity company to trade insults with us for not fulfilling our obligations. I don’t know about other countries, but here in the UK, essential bills can be paid by direct debits. This is where you instruct your bank to pay these bills for you on a certain date of the month. In appreciation, some utility companies give you a discount on your bills, so you save a little bit of money there.

‘’Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.’’ Benjamin Franklin

Expenses are what you should be very careful about, and try to minimise if you cannot eliminate entirely. Most of the things we spend money on are not really essential like cosmetics, tobacco, alcohol, bottled water, and clothing items (we have large numbers) at home that are not used.

Paying your bills on time, and managing your expenses will definitely give you a good credit score. Having a good credit score simply means you can access cheaper borrowing, should you need it.

Get The Whole Family Involved

I am sorry to say this, most men believe they are better managers than their respective wives and children. Get each member of the family involved in your money management, so their demand is curbed, not because they do not want that item, but because they understand that we have to save a little.

For instance, tell your kids, if we can save up a little by eating out every other week, we can all to Disney next summer. You will notice how every one of them will be reminding you that they are eating at home this week. Explain why mum and dad need extra savings, they will happily go along with you.

Teach them also about savings and planning for their own little expenses. For instance, teaching them to save from their weekly pocket money is one good habit to impact on them. Anyone with the biggest savings at the end of say, a month, or every quarter, or six-monthly will get a special gift from dad and mum. By this habit, your children will start the act of money management early.

Get your children piggy banks, and if they are a bit older to manage a bank account, encourage them to open one, and pay in their pocket money (or allowances) there on a regular basis. This will serve as a sort of salary for them when they start to earn.

Let The Family Uphold Money-Saving Value

I have one money-saving value, that each member of my family is aware of, and this was passed down to me by my grandmother, who brought me up. It is: ‘’Waste not, want not.’’ I personally detest waste of any kind and get mad about serving yourself from a table, and you end up not finishing it, and chucking it into the bin. I don’t dish out foods to members of my family. I put foods on the table, and they serve themselves. And I make them understand you can always go back to have more if you particularly enjoy it. This is better than taking a lot, and you end up not able to finish it.

‘’I don’t want to be an apologist for poverty, but I can’t stand waste, useless spending, wasted energy, and having to live squandering stuff.’’ Jose Mujica

This is part of a greedy nature as well, which should be discouraged. I am happy some restaurants that serve buffet have now started charging customers extra in the UK, (£5 in the UK) if you have a leftover on your plate. This is communicated to you at the beginning before you serve yourself. And they always have a plaque that says, ‘’EAT AS MUCH AS YOU WANT, BUT DON’T WASTE FOOD, IF YOU HAVE A LEFT-OVER ON YOUR PLATE, WE WILL ADD EXTRA £5.00 TO YOUR BILL,’’ No food should be wasted, as there are some hungry people who will just be grateful for what you are throwing away.

Also, clothing items can always be passed down, or at best given to a charity. There are some charities that deal with pre-loved items, sell them, and unsold stocks are sent to developing countries as donations. Some of the unsold stocks are also given to some to start up a trade. I know that pre-loved items retail trade is a big business in Nigeria, and it is still thriving up until today. 

Gifting what you no longer need, is also a blessing to others. It prevents ending up in the landfill, apart from making others happy. It is a way of teaching generosity too, to members of the family.

Charity, Savings And Investments

The three key areas that surprisingly build your wealth in the long run.

Photo by Kat Yukawa on Unsplash

I am not sure whether you are one of those who believe in lady luck or not. All I know is that wealth building is real work like all other things of value. And moreover, it must be something you do consistently too. I am not speaking of lottery now, or a kind of spread betting or gambling casino. Those, I will say are a distraction from the real wealth-building. And what’s more, people who usually come across such wealth (Gambling, lottery etc) are not prepared for it, and as such, they spend it carelessly. So don’t be surprised to read big lottery winners going burst a few years after.

The Real Wealth Building Hacks

You have to decide whether you are working to build-up a wealth, or you are working to survive. Your decision about this will spearhead how you want to go about spending your money. If you are working to survive, then it would not really matter to have anything left at the end of the month, as long as you have met your month’s expenses. Then you should be happy.

However, this kind of attitude will make you poor in the long run. Imagine if your paycheck is not coming in at a particular month, then you have a problem of feeding and meeting your expenses for the particular month.

However, if you are building wealth, you will still able to meet your expenses for the near future. (Science of money management says at least for the next six months) after your pay ceases. That is why it is good to learn the hacks of wealth building to become rich and financially stable, simply by following simple wealth building hacks.

Charity

Charity is the number one wealth-building hack. At least, ten per cent of your net pay should go to help other less privileged members of the society. I am not going to dictate a particular charity. It doesn’t have to be a big kind of registered charitable organisation. I understand that most of the donations for such big organisations go into administrative work and the fat salaries of their top executives, leaving little for the actual charity work.

‘’No one has ever become poor by giving’’ Anne Frank

You can look towards helping out and spending this money purposefully, helping those with genuine need in your area of walk in life. This can take different measures like buying groceries for the elderly in your street, donating toys and books to children home, donating food, clothing items to the homeless, etc. There are genuine needs all around us, your club, church, mosque, playgroup, cooking classes, gym etc. These needs will change from time to time but look out for them and recognise them.

Savings

Then the next ten per cent of your net paycheque should be on savings. Set up a direct debit of your ten per cent of the net pay, and let it go the savings account. This should be done consistently. Believe me, it will soon add up substantially, ready for the out of the world emergencies, should they arise.

‘’Let me give you the definition of “rich” and “poor”: Poor people spend their money and save what’s left. Rich people save their money and spend what’s left.’’ Jim Rohn

Look out for a stable bank, and good interest rate. It can be either fixed or not, the choice is yours, and according to what you perceive to be a low-risk saving account.

Investments

This is the third area that takes your next ten per cent is an investment. This is where you use the money to create wealth. Look out for what you can invest in to give you additional income regularly. There are many of them, ranging from the joint venture to investment clubs, stocks and shares, commodity and foreign exchange trading, buying and trading in gold bullions, properties, etc.

There is a caveat to this, ONLY PARTICIPATE IN AN INVESTMENT THAT YOU ARE SURE OF. Here is where you need to trust your instinct. Remember, if it is too good to be true, it is probably is. There are many scammers that will offer you gargantuan investment profit, do not believe them.

Also if you are using a broker for trading in stocks, share, forex and commodities, read reviews about the companies before you invest your hard-earned money. Online reviews companies like Trustpilot, Power review, Feefo, etc are useful here. Spend time in knowing what experiences the others have with them before you invest with them.

You can as well look for other forms of investments like retail trading. A company like Alibaba.com makes it easier to retail these days. There are also retailing platforms like Amazon, eBay, Not-on-the-high-street, Etsy etc. Online retail is increasing due to the pandemic, and the fact that people not able to go out for shopping. Educate yourself with what is going on, to direct your customer focus on. No matter what you want or need, you will always find the information online.

‘’When it comes to investing, nothing pays more than educating yourself.’’ Benjamin Franklin

For those who are writers, there is an opportunity to get your work published. I know that John Ross, Gurpreet Dhariwal, Simran Kankas and Denise Larkin have all published their poems on Amazon. Read more about getting your poems published into a book here. Even all your writings here on Medium can be published, as long as they are authentic, and exclusively yours, then you can get them published, either into an e-book or physical books. The opportunities are endless.

You might think you have no business acumen but look at those hobbies that you are passionate about. You can turn your hobbies into a business. What is important here is to know what you are doing, and don’t waste your money by looking for unrealistic profit margin.

So what are you going to decide upon? Are you going to build wealth, or live to survive? Whatever you decide will make a difference between you being wealthy, poor, or just getting by. Best wishes in your endeavour.