It is when the rabbit has escaped that one begins to see clearly the strategic ways in which it could have been caught.
If I knew earlier what I know now, I would have been a big girl in this Lagos honestly. I, like many other Nigerians, grew up financially illiterate. There was no course in our secondary school curriculum that taught us how to be wealthy. We were taught to aim for plum jobs, and then to save our money. Everything else my spouse and I now know about finances, we had to learn by ourselves from books, articles, videos and the occasional seminar.
Have you ever wondered how come you and your partner earn good incomes and yet are not really rich? I’ve realized that it is not enough to make money; it must be managed properly and made to grow. All the land being bought and vacations being taken are not entirely funded by salaries. Here are 5 things ordinary couples like you and me, who attain financial freedom, do differently:
1. They track their spending and live within their means: Couples that really understand how honest wealth is built don’t spend money anyhow. Oga isn’t stuffing his back pocket with one bundle every evening as he heads to the golf club, and Madam isn’t buying bundle after bundle of human hair either. Financially savvy couples budget, and take note of everywhere their money goes. You don’t find them giving their kids everything they ask for. In fact, they are so prudent it’s almost as if they’re stingy to themselves, but in reality they know that spending more than you earn will ensure that you never amount to anything financially.
2. They pay themselves first: That’s basically what saving is; paying yourself first before all of your money goes to telcos, store owners, school proprietors and landlords. Most rich couples did not become rich in a day. Some of them started off even in debt (no thanks to our expensive Naija weddings), but by putting aside some of their income monthly, they were able to save enough to pay off their debts, stabilize their finances, and move on to the next step…
3. They don’t rely on savings only: This is how come two families can earn about the same amount annually, and yet one is doing far better than the other. Most of us have the saving part down. It’s the investment part we didn’t wake up to early enough. And yet, it’s the way to wealth! Think about it, how much can your employers really pay you? And how much can you both save? Rich couples know that N500k in an investment account that yields even as little as 10% per annum is still better than 500k in a regular savings account. Whether they’re buying shares and treasury bills, or investing in mutual funds, they make sure that their money works for them. Even the ones who aren’t risk takers still take advantage of the many forms of low risk investment opportunities, including investing in side hustles to generate more streams of income.
4. They don’t pay too much in rent: Who no like better thing? Me sef I for like live for some kind places like that. It’s good to aspire to the comfort and opportunities that living in highbrow areas provide, but we also need to be honest about what we can currently afford. If as a couple you’re spending more than a third of your income on house rent, experts say you’re living in a place you can’t afford.
5. They are givers: Nearly all holy books emphasise the importance of giving, but even wealthy people who aren’t particularly religious or spiritual still believe in charity as an important part of life. Whether you can see it or not, some of the wealthiest couples we know are also some of the most charitable, and even philanthropic. There’s definitely something there!
My partner and I have decided to make real changes this year. Even though this economy isn’t exactly the most favourable one to start in, another rabbit might show up any time and by the grace of God it must not be allowed to escape.