Data from the 2023 report released by The World Poverty Clock shows that 71 million Nigerians live in poverty. This underscores the need for concerted efforts to combat poverty and improve the economic prospects of millions in Nigeria, JOSEPHINE OGUNDEJI writes
Emily Bassey’s background was marked by a heartbreaking story of enduring hardship and financial struggles. She was a single mother, who raised her child alone.
Born into a world of scarce opportunities, Emily’s family understands what it means to be poor. Her childhood was marred by the constant struggles to make ends meet. The limited resources and lack of financial security often left Emily and her child in a state of uncertainty and despair.
As a single mother who was raped, Emily faced the daunting task of providing for her child. She knew the pain of stretching every dollar, of making difficult choices between essentials, and the heartbreaking feeling of not being able to provide all the things her child deserved. The burden of financial hardship weighed heavily on her shoulders, and it was a constant reminder of the uphill battle she faced.
To accumulate wealth, Emily embarked on a deliberate journey. Her unyielding determination led her to actively seek opportunities for financial growth. Emily took proactive steps including enhancing her career prospects through education and skill development, making shrewd investments and practicing disciplined savings habits. She leveraged her resilience and commitment to secure a brighter future for herself and her child, steadily progressing toward her goal of wealth accumulation.
According to a Financial Literacy and Investment Company, Money Africa, building wealth involves making challenging choices about how to allocate your money and time.
“If you are truly committed to building wealth or achieving your personal finance objectives, you’ve likely encountered the dilemma of whether to satisfy immediate needs or defer them for the future. Each time we confront this decision, we are essentially practising what economists call the ‘scale of preference.’
“When wealth-building ranks as your top priority, every decision you make becomes intertwined with it, even the choice of purchasing a new car because you can afford it, or you’re saving for it, particularly when it’s a necessity.”
Money Africa outlined three core principles that are essential for individuals deeply committed to both building wealth and enhancing their overall quality of life.
Consistently save and invest a portion of your income: It is crucial to establish a steadfast practice of saving and investing, whether it’s 10 per cent, 20 per cent, or a percentage that aligns with your financial situation. Saving serves multiple purposes, including achieving emergency fund goals and fulfilling other short-term objectives like taking a short vacation, purchasing a car, or buying a laptop. On the other hand, investing allows you to build resources for your child’s education, secure your retirement, and work towards other long-term financial goals. Both saving and investing are indispensable, so it’s essential to prioritise and commit to both.
Allocate funds for your happiness: Regardless of how much we emphasize the need to cut back on non-essential expenses, some individuals may find it challenging to do so. We often criticize others for spending excessively on items like bags, wigs, electronics, and more. But take a closer look, and you’ll likely discover something you genuinely enjoy spending money on. These expenditures aren’t always about luxury; they provide happiness. For instance, some people prioritise skincare over supplements or wellness. While some people would like to spend on gadgets, others would rather spend on designer clothes.
If you fall into this category and it’s causing financial strain, it’s time to set aside a specific budget for what brings you joy. Of course, this should come after you’ve allocated money for your essential needs. The key discipline here is to limit your spending to what you’ve allocated for your happiness. By doing so, you can enjoy these things guilt-free without resorting to borrowing or dipping into other financial resources, If it is within your means, go ahead and set money aside for it.
Nurture healthy financial relationships: This isn’t just limited to marital relationships; it extends to your friendships as well. Surrounding yourself with people who don’t prioritise discussions about money may not motivate you to take your financial matters seriously. Your choice of a life partner is also important. If you plan to get married, understand that marriage represents one of the most significant financial decisions you’ll ever make. It’s crucial to grasp your partner’s money personality and strive for a harmonious balance. Both of you might be inclined toward spending or giving, but there should also be someone who emphasizes saving and investing, to say the least. This equilibrium ensures that you don’t solely focus on spending or giving without a solid financial plan for your future.
Additionally, it is vital to align your money values. Consider whether your potential partner leans towards borrowing for purchases or saving up for them. Marrying someone who frequently borrows may lead to a substantial portion of your income being dedicated to debt repayment, the Money Africa report advised.
According to Forbes, building wealth starts with making a financial plan which means taking the time to identify your goals and game out how you can accomplish them.
It said, “Hiring a financial advisor is a great way to begin making your plan for building wealth. It’s a more expensive option, particularly for those who are just starting, but choosing an advisor who’s a certified financial planner means you’re paying for planning experience.
“When the furnace goes out or the refrigerator quits working, where does the money come from if you don’t have emergency savings? By building an emergency fund, you can protect your credit as well as reap the benefits of earning interest on an online savings account all the while enjoying the peace of mind of knowing you have money in the bank to cover life’s surprises.
“In addition, staying diversified is essential. Having a diversified portfolio with different types of investments can both protect the wealth you’ve accumulated and position you to reap rewards even in market downturns.”
Forbes further advised that building wealth from nothing required taking a deep look at one’s current situation.
It advised, “Evaluate your spending and income for the last several years. Where can you ruthlessly cut your spending? How can you increase your income? Depending on where you’re starting from, this may seem impossible and require out-of-the-box thinking.
“It is easier to cut luxuries when you’re already spending on luxuries to begin with. If you lead a bare-bones existence, you may have to make radical decisions. Find where you can create room in your budget and invest the difference between what you spend and what you earn. Sensible investing over time is one of the easiest ways to grow wealth.”
In an exclusive interview with The PUNCH, a finance expert, Habeeb Olaosebikan, said wealth could be said to be a financial status marked by an abundance of financial resources accumulated over time.
He said, “There is a popular adage that says that ‘Rome was not built in a day,’ similarly, building wealth is long-term oriented. Building wealth from scratch is a goal that many individuals aspire to achieve, and several key recommendations can pave the way to financial success. The first crucial step in this journey is to invest in your financial education. Without a solid understanding of financial principles, it becomes challenging to make informed decisions about investments, savings, budgeting, and risk management.
“To bridge this knowledge gap, one can explore a multitude of resources, such as reading books on finance, attending financial seminars, tuning in to financial podcasts, or seeking guidance from a financial professional. By equipping yourself with financial literacy, you lay the foundation for informed financial decision-making.
“In addition to financial education, learning from the success stories of wealthy individuals can provide valuable insights and motivation. Understanding how others have achieved their financial goals can help you identify strategies and pathways to wealth accumulation. These stories can offer guidance on how to get started and maintain the momentum needed to build wealth over time.”
According to him, sustainability was another critical aspect of wealth building, while knowledge and inspiration were essential, a sustainable business is the backbone of long-term financial success.
Olaosebikan added, “Identifying a business or income-generating venture that has the potential to thrive and endure in the market is key. Sustainability ensures that the efforts you invest in your business will continue to yield returns over the years, ultimately contributing to your wealth accumulation. Investment is at the heart of wealth creation. Once you have accumulated a certain level of financial knowledge and identified a sustainable business, the next step is to invest wisely. Investing involves putting your available resources to work to generate additional income or appreciation over time. Many wealthy individuals, regardless of their backgrounds, have a common thread, they are savvy investors. Wealth and investments are inextricably linked, as the process of growing your wealth often involves allocating capital strategically to achieve financial growth.
“In conclusion, building wealth from scratch is a journey that necessitates a solid foundation of financial education, drawing inspiration from successful individuals, identifying a sustainable business, and making astute investment decisions. By combining these elements, you can work toward accumulating wealth over time and securing a more prosperous financial future. Remember that building wealth is a long-term endeavour that requires patience, discipline, and continuous learning to adapt to changing financial landscapes and opportunities.”