Readers Q&A

Q&AQ: How often should I use Jamaican Black Castor Oil?

A: To avoid product build up, use JBCO 3 times a week. You should know that this oil is thick and it might weigh your hair down if you use it a lot. Always remember a little goes a long way. You can mix it with a lighter oil like Grapeseed oil. I often use my mix of JBCO & Grapeseed oil as a prepoo and sealant.

Q: How often should I steam my hair with JBCO?

A: Depending on your wash or co-wash routine, steaming your hair with JBCO is the same as a hot oil treatment which you can do once a week. Now I’ve got a heat cap, my prepoo on Friday night usually involves using my heat cap for 15minutes.

Q: How do I take care of my demarcation line?

A: When applying your leave-in conditioners, always divide your hair into small sections and apply the leave-in beyond the line of demarcation. It ensures your new growth stays soft and it becomes more manageable. Taking care of your demarcation line prevents hair breakage. Remember to use water based leave-in conditioners such as Komaza Care Califia Moisturising Spray, S-Curl Activator (only apply to the your roots), or my ever dependable Mane N’ Tail Detangler cos it’s got moisturizing elements as well and it delivers.

Q: How do I grow my hair fast?

A: This is the most frequently asked question I receive from readers every week. Your hair grows continually but bad practices deprive us from length. You need to change the habits you’ve subjected your hair to and start taking better care of your hair if you want to see growth happen. Because your hair grows on a daily basis, it is your responsibility to retain the growth you have by incorporating weekly deep conditioning, moisturizing and sealing, using sulfate free shampoos and adhering to a healthy hair regime. Once you do this consistently, you’ll begin to see length.

Q: Can I leave rosemary oil on my scalp overnight?

A: Rosemary oil can either be used as part of your weekly deep conditioning or prepoo. Due to its potency, you only need 3-4 drops which you can add to your JBCO or any carrier oil you currently use (such as Almond, Grapeseed oil e.t.c). If you’re pregnant, it’s advisable to seek your doctor’s advice as Rosemary oil is known to induce labour.

Q: How long does it take for my African hair to be repaired and grow?

A: Your length goals is dependent on you but due to the bad practices you have subjected your hair to in the past, you need to regain a healthy mane before you can retain length. Like I stated earlier, take responsibility for your hair and stop leaving it to hair stylists and you’ll begin to see healthy growth.

 

 

Investing in FGN Bonds

What are bonds? Bonds are simply a term for loans that you give to the Federal Government, State Government, Companies etc.

Is it a document or what? It’s simply a piece of paper issued by the Borrower (e.g the Government) stating the amount borrowed from you, the tenor (no of years with which to repay), interest rate, and repayment period

Why me? Can’t they go to a bank to borrow money? You because you may have some money that you wish to save. You may say you have just N10k to save a month from your salary and wonder how that helps the government. Imagine that there are 1million people with N10k to save, that transcends to N10b already. Also have in mind that the money the banks actually lend are money deposited by you and I. So you and I are the major source of money for government, banks, corporations etc. That is why they tax us, pursue us to open accounts, and pressure us to buy their goods.

What’s in it for me? Bond issuers (borrowers like the government) typically attach a coupon to the Bonds. Coupon are basically interest rates attached to the Bonds issues. For example, the Government can issue a bond for say N10b, 10year bonds at a coupon of 6%pa. What they mean is that they want to borrow N10b from the public and are willing to pay 6% interest rate for it per annum for a period of 10years. Usually they pay you the principal amount at maturity meaning at the end of 10years and sometimes they can have the option to “call back” which basically means the can pay you the principal before the 10 year period. Bonds with “Call Back” are always clearly stated in the prospectus.So, in a nutshell if you borrow them N10k, you form part of many others who must have lent them as well. They pay you N600 per annum and pay you the N10k a the end of 10 years.

What? Just N600? Yes just N600. Well, you may think of it as low but the if you put that same amount in a Savings Account of bank you’d probably get N200 and stand the risk of loosing it if the bank collapses. Besides if it is N1m you invest then that’s N60k every year, N10m is N600k and N100m is N6m per annum.

Are you saying Government Can’t collapse? Well technically they can but it’s very unlikely. Even if they do, it’s if there is a war but then they must repay after the war is over. Government bonds are mostly secure and are guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the Government.

So I have to wait for 10years to get my money back? Off course not. The beauty of bonds is that you can exchange them just like shares. You can decide to sell your bond on the bond market if you want your money back.

Oh, so I put in N10k and get my N10k back plus interest? Yes if you decide to hold to maturity and wait for 10years. But if you wish to sell before then you can except that it could be worth more or less. Just like shares the value of bonds go up and down depending on economic factors. So, the bond you bought for N10k may be worth N11k or N9k when you are selling it. Just like shares, today it’s up tomorrow it may be low. But at maturity (the repayment day) the government or borrower must pay you the face value. The face value is the N10k you paid them. Movement in the market does not affect what the borrower pays you.

So are bonds really like shares then? Not exactly, whilst both are investment securities they are different in their nature. When you buy shares, you buy right to earn a dividend of a company. Meaning that you only get dividends when the company decided to pay you. For a Bond, the borrower or issuer (that’s is the Government or company) MUST pay you interest (coupon) a the stated date. In other words, owners of shares are equity holders, whilst owners of bonds are debt holders.

I have often heard of yields, what is that too? Well yields are basically interest on traded bonds. In my previous illustration I explained that the government pays you a coupon of 6%pa on your N10k bond. Since we understand that bonds are tradable, supposing the value was 9k at the time you sell the bond. It then means whomever buys it will earn N600 on the N9k he paid out. Thus his actual interest otherwise called yield is 600/9000 = 6.66%. So he gains an extra .66% and still gets to get another N1000 if he decides to wait till the maturity of the bond. They often say the yield of a bond moves in opposite direction to the value. Just as above, as the value dropped to N9k the yield increased to 6.66%.

That’s cheating me isn’t it? Nah not true. Remember, there is an opportunity cost you may incur if you do not sell. Imagine you had a business that will probably get you twice that amount if you sell. So instead of holding on just so it gets to 10k or higher, you sell and use the money for something more tangible. Also remember that you would have collected some interest as well. And then you can simply just hold on till maturity, it all depends on your opportunity cost.

Ok now I get it! How do I then invest? Bonds can be purchased either through the primary or secondary market.

The primary market is were you buy bonds that have just been offered by the seller like the Government (just like buying a public offer). The secondary market is where you buy tradable bonds that is, bonds from the bonds market (just like buying shares in the stock market). Bonds traded in the secondary market are usually done on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange or Over the Counter (OTC) through the PDMM

Bonds sold in the primary or secondary market are bought through a PDMM(Primary Dealer Market Maker). PDMM are operators licensed to buy and sell bonds. Most of them are banks like Zenith, GTB, UBA, Diamond Bank to name a few. They also have discount houses like Kakawa Discount House, FSDH who sell as well. You get the application form from them, fill it, include your cheque in full for the amount you wish to invest. You can invest as much as you can, from N10k to N1b depending on your capabilities financially. But the minimum is N10k and multiple of N1k thereafter.

The bonds purchased are confirmed through issuance of depository or issuance of certificates. The depository is the CSCS (Central Security Clearing System) an online storage for securities such as shares and bonds.

How do I get my interest? Interest on Government Bonds are paid Semi annually.For example in June and December or in January and July. Payment is through issuance of cheques or warrants, similar to the dividend warrants you get for shares.

Also note that interest rates can be fixed or floating. Fixed means when they say they will pay you 6%pa then it is 6%pa you get till the end if the maturity. Floating means they may pay you an amount that is linked to a are that moves with the market. For example they might say Nibor 8% plus 2%. Meaning the rate is benchmarked o. The Nigerian Interbank Official Rate (Nibor) of 8% plus 2%. The Nibor is a rate that banks use to lend money to each other and it always changes in response to market conditions and is thus the floating rate.

Source: Nairaland

Spend less than you earn in 2012

If there is a single rule that underlies everything I’ve written about on Today’s Naira, it’s this simple sentence:

Spend less than you earn.

It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Yet there are many people out there burying themselves in debt (spending more than they earn) or living purely paycheck to paycheck (spending exactly what they earn). Yesterday fuel subsidy was officially removed with a litre of fuel selling within a range of N138 – N200. This is an astronomical increase and it’ll require an effort to save in 2012.

Simply spending less than you earn has a cascade of positive effects.

First, you begin eliminating your debts. Spending less than you earn frees up the money you need to make larger payments on your debts. Over time, they begin to disappear, reducing your monthly bills and giving you even more breathing room.

Second, you begin to save. First, you build up some cash savings in your savings account, enabling you to roll through emergencies (like a car breakdown or a job loss). You’ll also have the breathing room to start saving for retirement, paving yourself a great future for your golden years.

Third, your stress level falls. Knowing that you have fewer debts, your emergencies are covered, and your retirement is being planned for reduces your stress level. You sleep better, your overall health improves, and you feel happier about life.

Finally, you are now able to explore possibilities closed to you before. When your debts are gone and you are spending far less than you’re bringing in, you suddenly have many more career possibilities. You don’t have to stick with your high-stress job – you have the financial freedom to move on and chase your dreams. You can live where – and how – you want to live.

All of that comes back to one basic principle – spend less than you earn.

That statement actually has two parts, though.

Spend less refers to the fact that you do need to cut your spending. The first step doesn’t need to be anything drastic – nor should it be. Many of the more extreme money-saving tips come from people who have already tried out the basic tips and love them, so they seek out more intense strategies to further cut their spending. I do this myself – I’m always trying out new money-saving strategies, discarding the ones that don’t work for me and keeping the ones that do.

Here are five big ways to get started.

First, go through every monthly required bill. Ask yourself if you really need that service at all. Do you really need to take your car to work everyday or could you start a car pooling service with colleagues who live nearby to cover the cost of fuelling the car? With the fuel subsidy issue, I forsee the era of filling up the tank eroding. Also, more people will become circumspect about fuel management. Then, go through each bill and see if there are any optional services you can eliminate. Do you really need a washman or consider the options of purchasing a washing machine and ironing your clothes yourself?

Second, keep diligent track of your spending. Keep a notebook in your pocket and write down every expense you have. The simple process of doing this will make you think twice about unnecessary expenses. When you do have a month’s worth of expenses written down, take a careful look at them. Ask yourself whether or not each of these expenses actually contributed to the value and joy of your life. That process will offer a lot of insight for you as to where your spending is going to waste.

Third, look carefully at your routines. Watch what you do every day (or most days). Are there things you do each day that cost money? Those things are the most powerful ones to adjust, as trimming just N100 from your daily spending saves you N36,500 a year. Do you stop at fast food restaurants each day? Why not cut down your daily order a bit,  or start bringing your breakfast or lunch from home? Do you splurge on Coke every day? Perhaps you can start considering making your own Sobo drink or Chapman twice a week. Look at every regular expense you have.

Half- Year Appraisal

July 1 marked the second half of this year. What were some of the goals you desired to accomplish this year? It’s time to assess your success rates so far. I cannot stress the importance of saving for rainy days. Especially for women who deal with major financial crisis if anything happens to the breadwinner. Ensure the habit of saving 70% of your monthly salary (not lower than 50%) consistently and continously. The power of compound interest works on whatever amount you are stashing away right now. For a minimal sum of N10,000 you can invest in mutual funds managed by ARM Investment (a subsidiary of GTB). Other mutual funds managed by BGL Securities and First Bank Capital require a minimum of N500,000. Whichever way the cookie crumbles, you need to cultivate the habit of regular savings.

I’m a lover of leisure travel, clothes, culinary pleasures and shoes. However, I have not allowed my love for these things to deter me from imbibing a saving culture. I usually have a financial goal for the year which reads thus ‘ In 2011, I will save ……. by year end and invest in the following financial vehicles’. That’s how far I go and once I’ve made this committment, I adhere to my plans and until I achieve this goal, then there’s no travelling or any other pleasurable thing I indulge it. However, once I cross the mark, I whip out my pleasure list to decide what i’m indulging in. Overall, it must also fit within my budget or else I forgo and settle for something affordable.

In appraising your financial situation, you need to take into consideration how much you need to kick your saving gear in the right direction. Once you have a plan, stick to it and accomplish. In subsequent posts, i’ll be giving out information on the financial vehicles you can invest in.

Have a great year (2nd Half) ahead.

Wanna own a house?

Sometime ago, I spoke about investing in properties or the real estate as the sector is better known. I went in search of further information and came across the National Housing Fund. The National Housing Fund was signed into law by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 1992. Basically, the objective of this Act is to provide affordable homes to Nigerians irrespective of the income class. If you earn a minimum of N7,000 monthly, you can subscribe to this fund.

How does it work?

The National Housing Fund is administered by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria. If you are interested, locate the nearest FMBN branch within your state of residence and approach the officials. You’ll be required to remit 2.5% of your monthly income throughout your working life period into the NHF account. Interested applicant can pick up a form (free of charge), fill it and get your employer to sign their own respective parts. If you’re self-employed, you sign for yourself and also sign as the employer. Then you’ll be given a card which will record every payment you lodge into the NHF account.

The requirements of the NHF Act (1992) states that you can only use the fund for the following:

  • Purchase a property
  • Build a house
  • Renovate existing property

Note that if the property you want to purchase is within your present state of residence, then it is advisable to open a mortgage account within that state. Once the loan has been approved, you’ll be responsible for the inspection and evaluation fees. It is also important that you remit 10% of the total value of the property you wish to purchase into the mortgage account you opened with respective primary mortgage institution.

Repayment Terms:

Interest on the loan is fixed at 6% per annum and to determine repayment period, deduct your present age from 60 years to know how long you will pay back.

Upon attaining 60 years, you’ll present your NHF passbook, a letter from your employer attesting that you have retired and a birth cetificate is also required which will be presented at the nearest FMBN branch where you’ll be paid back your NHF contributions over the years you were in paid or self employment. If you still need further clarification, do let me know.

Investing in turbulent times

Hey, don’t go thinking I know all the answers cos I don’t. I am actually trying to discover what everyone is investing in amidst the global financial crisis. I spoke with a friend of mine yesterday and she suggested real estate. My grouse with buying land in Nigeria is the issue of  “Omo o nile” and attendant dubious charges. I would rather buy a detached three bedroom bungalow, within the range of N5mn – N6mn (which is dependent on whether I can access mortgage facilties), located in Lagos. Since I don’t have such huge funds right now, I have to think of something else.

For the past one month, I have been trying to scout for other alternative investment options (long-term), and someone had suggested ARM Investment. Please note that I did not include the link to the website. I’d rather not cos from my own point of view, either they are yet to engage the services of a social media strategist, or someone is simply not doing their job. I filled in the forms a month ago and I am yet to be contacted by a Wealth Advisor. What is the essence of setting up a website if there’s no one capable of attending to visitor’s enquiries. I also tried calling the numbers stated on the websites and unfortunately, none seems to be working.

My question today is: If you have some funds sitting idle in your savings account, where would you invest it?