The One Thing You Must Consider With Mutual Fund

Let’s start with the basics. What is a Mutual Fund?
A mutual fund is a type of financial vehicle made up of a pool of money collected from many investors to invest in
stocks, bonds, money market instruments, and other assets. These funds are managed by professional money managers, and these organizations abound in the country.

This Veggie Display Accurately Depicts Mutual Fund.

If you are a low income earner, your safest bet in terms of investing is mutual fund. At the end of the month when your salary hits your bank account, it might be the current norm that you are participating in a casual form of ‘Esusu’ or in today’s parlance, ‘Co-operative’ with a group of friends or colleagues. The advantage of participating in a ‘Co-operative’, is the opportunity it affords to raise moderate to large sum of money, if you are investing for the future.

Assuming you have N5,000 – N10,000 monthly to allocate for investment, I will highly recommend you set aside this sum and invest in a mutual fund over a long period of time. You might want to ask ‘When can I withdraw from a mutual fund?’ As soon as your monthly income is doubled or tripled, you can withdraw your invested sum and start allocating it to any money market instruments you select.

Enough OR Not Enough?

What’s Your Financial Shield?

If you are going to live the life you desire, on your own terms, without conforming to societal norms and expectations, ‘Financial Freedom’, is the main key. Now when I speak about financial freedom, its’ not all about having excess money, you’re not sure how to spend it all.

No, this is not the picture I want you to have in mind. Financial freedom will save you from making terrible, hurtful decisions. It will save you from terrible bosses, toxic workplace culture, abusive relationships where its’ mandatory to lose your individuality, so a little of your true self can survive. And in situations where you end up making terrible decisions, financial freedom will step in, to aid you in redeeming the situation. Irrespective of wherever you reside globally, this principle is a universal one.

Seeking Life Adventures

How do you determine when it is enough and you can bow out of the corporate or whichever race you are on? It is relative to each individual. Assuming you want your kids to pursue higher education in a foreign land, you want to explore the world while retired or simply want to live out your days in relative splendor. If your current monthly expense range within N50,000 – N100,000 monthly, and passive income you are currently earning is within this range, will you consider this enough?

Some might while others’ won’t. My personal yardstick is once 20-30% of annual passive income earned, can take care of your daily needs, then you have passed the yardstick. Please pat yourself on the back and take out time to evaluate goals you have set for yourself this year. Financial freedom is around the corner.

Jefe Egoista

How do you deal with a boss who’s egoistical and tends towards narcissism sometimes? NOTHING! You heard me right…absolutely NOTHING. Stop agreeing with every damn stupid word that spouts up from his/her mouth. Rather learn to rein him/her in and if s/he declines, darling step aside, and let him run into the marketplace amok like a raging bull.

Honestly, your days and nights will be much peaceful, since the only thing you will be bothered about is cleaning a bit of the mess he’s left behind. Majority of the mess he’s caused will be cleaned up by none other than ‘El Hombre/La Mujere’.

As part of the lead management team in the SSA region, I report directly to a boss overseeing SSA. While he’s a creative person, sometimes he lets his ego get the best of him and decides to do stuffs that are not aligned internally. Last year, we had developed a creative campaign for a leading brand. When the first cut was presented to the board, there were some elements that were added (talk about too many cooks spoiling the broth). I had raised my objections and given clear cut reasons on why these suggested elements, should not be added to the overall creative.

I am always pissed off when foreigners think they have a secret insight into local life. Disculpe Senor, you know jack shit. When did you arrive and what has been the duration of your stay in the country/continent to think you have an idea of local idioms, cultures and norms in developing a campaign? Suffice to say, the campaign bombed and talk about a major backlash from TG. Consumers were so loud that our North American office had to step in to resolve the ongoing madness.

I cleaned up social media and the next morning, my boss called me in. By this time, he had been chastened and made to see the error of his way. I knew there was a narcissistic storm on the way when he said “Jan, you realize this campaign was developed with a lot of love for the local custom and culture.”

“You know I have always depended on you to set me straight, when i veer off the beaten path”. In my thoughts, I am thinking “hey el hombre, take a dip in the water. I reined you in once or twice and you wouldn’t listen. Be bold enough to face the storm”. Stop this emotional blackmail B.S. It does not work on me. Cut me some slack on the sob story.

I sat in his office pretty as you please, while we evaluated where he went wrong, how we can salvage the situation and come out stronger on the other end of the rainbow. By the end of the day, we had a solution for the national disaster he had created.

Wheew! All in a day’s work.

Glossary:

SSA – Sub Saharan Region

TG – Target Audience

El Hombre – The man

Disculpe – Excuse me/Pardon

La Mujere – The woman

Senor/Senora – Sir/Ma’am

Jefe Egoista – Egoistic Boss

Cliquey

lady boss taking charge at work avoiding cliques.
Don’t You Just Love That Plaque? I OWN This Every Single Day!

Clique

nnoun: clique; plural noun: cliques

  1. a small close-knit group of people who do not readily allow others to join them.”his flat became a haven for a clique of young men of similar tastes”synonyms:coterie, circle, inner circle, crowd, in-crowd, set, group

The one thing I have avoided over the course of my career within the workplace is ‘Cliques’. No matter the form or shape it announces itself in, I stick up my middle finger in its’ face, and own the spot I occupy. This dark form of nepotism, destroys the soul and culture within the workplace. I do not think highly of people who belong to ‘Cliques’ as it tells me you have subjugated your individuality for the common individuality of a group.

How boring and utterly stupid? Thinking from a common point of view gets you nowhere on the career ladder. You must learn to stand alone and own your thoughts, irrespective of whether you’ve got supporters or not. Don’t imagine this exists within Naija alone. No! Its’ a global affliction and I have seen this operate everywhere, while working in Dubai and other places.

Belonging to a clique will dumb you down and take you along a narcissistic path, where you will lose all forms of creativity and wit to aid you in your career. That is, if you eventually end up having a meaningful one without spending your days, licking asses up and down (this is the bane of most Nigerian men in the workplace. So timid and always agreeing with every dumb ideas or words, that comes out of their bosses mouth, without taking a moment to think and reflect). It pisses me off completely. Miss me with the B.S.

Rather, choose to be different. Yeah, you might be hated, called weird names, hey sugar, deal with it. How have i dealt with this negative phenomenon?

In my unit, we ain’t got time for ‘Cliques’. Once I notice there is a cliquey thingy going on, I break it up immediately by assigning each person an onerous, individual task that takes a month to deliver. It works like a charm. Since they are so busy with meeting deadlines, each day is filled with heavy grunts and lots of silent thinking.

I love that especially when your unit has been noticed as the only unit, where employees do not dwadle or gossip, you know you are building the right culture.

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.