Categories
Technology and Innovation

LEAD Resources Collaborates with Ogun Tech Hub to Conduct SDGs Solutions Convergence

SDGs Solutions Convergence is a programme adopted by Ogun State Bureau of Information Technology, in collaboration with LEAD Resources, to train Civil Servants from various Ministries on how to identify problems, and proffer and implement relevant solutions in their Ministries.

Two editions of the SDGs Solutions Convergence have been facilitated by LEAD Resources at Ogun Tech Hub. The Solutions Convergences covered an introduction to the Sustainable Development Goals, the application of Design Thinking in Problem Solving, and the need to leverage emerging technologies to generate relevant solutions.

Last week, a dry run of the previous Solutions Convergence was facilitated by LEAD Resources at Ogun Tech Hub. This was done to equip the staff of the Bureau of Information Technology (BIT) with the knowledge required to conduct a Solutions Convergence for the Ministry of Finance and the Auditor General’s Office. Simply put, the dry run was aimed at “training the trainers.”

Facilitator (Marcellus Nwankwo) and Participants of the SDGs Solutions Convergence Dry Run at Ogun Tech Hub

The dry run held for two days. On the first day, the participants of the dry run were reminded of what they were taught in the previous Solutions Convergence. They were given extra materials and tips for effective training. They were also taught how to carry participants along when conducting their Solutions Convergence for the Ministry of Finance and the Auditor General’s Office.

On the second day, the participants of the dry run were divided into three teams to conduct a test Solutions Convergence by themselves. By so doing, the areas for improvements were spotted for corrections. At the end of the dry run, the participants saw the need to put more effort into preparing for the Solutions Convergence for maximum output and solutions generation.

Participants of the SDGs Solutions Convergence Dry Run at Ogun Tech Hub

At LEAD Resources, we pride ourselves as solutions architects that seek to contribute to the achievement of the Global Goals by proactively identifying opportunities, stimulating innovations, and generating solutions to problems/challenges in our polity.

Connect with us to get updates on our initiatives and offerings:
Email: info@leadresources.com.ng
Facebook: facebook.com/LeadResourcesNG
Twitter: @LEADResourcesNG
Instagram: @LEADResourcesNG

AUTHOR

Oluwatobiloba Dairo is an Associate Solutions Architect at LEAD Resources, where she is exploring a rapid Knowledge Acquisition path, building digitized competencies relevant for Career Development, and stimulating solutions for individuals, organizations, and the Government. She is a graduate of Mathematics and an advocate of women in Leadership. She is interested in Financial and Data Analysis.

Categories
Character Development

Responsibility

Responsibility is a germane quality in a human’s personality.

Responsibility is simply “doing the right thing.” Doing the right thing means living a life where you bear the consequences of every action you take while keeping others in mind. Responsibility is the moral quality of individuals being ethical, accountable for their actions, and conscious of the impact of their decisions on society.

People are not born with a sense of responsibility. Being responsible does not happen magically by the snap of the fingers. It is a quality that people should cultivate until it becomes part of their personalities.

It encompasses personal and professional development. A successful person must be responsible for his future. He must be a man of his words and a go-getter. When you are responsible, you become a better person and gain the respect of others.

5 QUESTIONS TO DETERMINE HOW RESPONSIBLE YOU ARE

Answer the following questions with a “Yes” or a “No”.

  1. Do you always fulfil your promises to others?
  2. Do others consider you as a reliable person?
  3. Do you have long-term goals for your life?
  4. Do you take practical steps to develop yourself?
  5. Do you help others to solve their problems?

If your correct answers to the questions above were “Yes”, you are a responsible person. If you answered “No” to any of these questions, you have areas to develop to become more responsible.

HOW TO BE A RESPONSIBLE PERSON

  1. Develop yourself.
  2. Constantly work towards your life goals.
  3. Be reliable. Start from simple things like fulfilling little promises to others. You may write your tasks in order not to forget them.
  4. Control yourself in different situations. The ways you respond to situations prove your level of maturity and responsibility.
  5. Help others.

Everyone has different interpretations of responsibility and different kinds of responsibilities. However, resolve to perform your responsibilities in life, and be responsible, as irresponsible people are always liabilities in the long run.

AUTHOR

Folakemi Oyeyemi is an Associate Solutions Architect at Lead Resources, a strategic human capital development social enterprise that helps organizations become the best they can be using world-class tools and practices. She is a Mathematician and is also passionate about entrepreneurship.

Categories
Human Capital Development

Setting Personal Goals

“If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.”

Lawrence J. Peter

Many people feel lost. They work hard but never seem to do anything worthwhile. One reason people feel this way is that they haven’t spent much time thinking about what they want from life and haven’t set themselves formal goals.

The process of goal-setting helps you choose where you want to go in life by identifying what you want to achieve and where you have to concentrate your efforts.

There are three basic steps in the personal goal-setting process:

  1. Understand: Understand yourself by knowing what motivates you and what you want to achieve.
  2. Collect & Create: Compile an extensive list of what you want to achieve.
  3. Prioritize: Is it worth your time, is it relevant and is it sustainable?
Setting Personal Goals

One easy way to ensure you achieve your goals is to set SMART ones.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

REVIEWING YOUR LIFE GOALS

Goal-setting is not enough. Reviewing your goals regularly is quite important to determine whether they are still relevant, and whether you are on track. If not, you need to adjust them in line with your current situation.

By reviewing your goals, you can measure your achievements. If you fail to achieve one step, you can reassess your situation and try new approaches. 

Keeping your goals defined and updated as your situation changes is one of the ways to stay motivated throughout your journey in life.

ACHIEVING GOALS

When you’ve achieved a goal, take your time to enjoy the satisfaction of having done so. If the goal was a significant one, reward yourself appropriately. This helps build your confidence.

Also, absorb the implications of goal achievement, and observe the progress that you’ve made towards other goals.

With the experience of achieving a goal, review the rest of your goals if:

  • You learned something that can lead you to change them.
  • You noticed a deficit in your skills despite achieving your goal. Take deliberate steps to fix this.

When setting your life goals, it is good to base them on your strengths, but ensure they are relevant and ultimately achievable. To achieve more, I repeat, set SMART goals.

For more insights and practical solutions on personal talent management and goal-setting, contact Lead Resources here.

AUTHOR

Adetoyese Oyedunmade is an Associate Solutions Architect at Lead Resources. She is an Agriculturist by profession and is enthusiastic about entrepreneurship.

Categories
Finance and Accounting

Creating a Budget Masterplan for 2021

Budgeting is an aspect of Personal Finance that literally makes people shiver in fear😁 This is because it forces people to face the reality of their finances, and only the courageous can do that. Hence, people usually neglect it altogether. For this reason, I will not go into the “boring” intricacies and technicalities of budgeting – the part that scares people. I will keep this as simple and interesting as possible. My aim is to help you understand your need for a simple budget for your personal finance. 

WHAT IS A BUDGET? 

A budget is an itemized summary of intended expenditure coupled with expected revenue for a length of time. Simply put, it is an estimate of income and expenditure for a period. Cambridge dictionary defines it as “A plan to show how much money a person or organization will earn and how much they will need or be able to spend.”  You may define it as “A list of all planned income and expenses, a plan for saving and spending for the near future.”  From the definitions above, you can see that a budget is not something you create off-hand. It ought to be a written plan (on a piece of paper or PC). 

WHO NEEDS A BUDGET? 

There are different types of budgets for different people and situations. A budget can be created for an individual, a household, a business, an NGO, a State, a Nation, etc. Wherever a person or a group of persons make use of money on a regular basis, there is a need for a budget. 

TYPES OF BUDGET 

A simple Google search will give you many kinds of budget, making you more confused. However, I have classified budgets into 3 types, namely: 

  1. PERSONAL BUDGET – For individuals, families and households. 
  2. BUSINESS BUDGET – For NGOs, SMEs and companies.
  3. ADMINISTRATIVE BUDGET – For schools, churches, LGAs, states, nations and other administrative systems. 

Also, budgets could be classified as SURPLUS, DEFICIT or BALANCED. 

It is a SURPLUS Budget when your income exceeds your expenditure for a set period. This should be everyone’s financial goal. This implies that there is more money for savings, investment and other things you want.

It is a DEFICIT Budget when your expenditure exceeds your income. Unfortunately, this is the situation many people find themselves in. They always run out of money to fund their expenses. This calls for a red alert as radical measures must be taken to remedy this situation. You need not worry though. You will know how to solve this problem by the time you are done reading this article. 

Lastly, a Budget is BALANCED when your income equals your expenses.

WHY YOU NEED A BUDGET FOR 2021 

I could list a thousand and one reasons why you need a budget. You might even know more. You may have learnt them in your Accounting or Economics class in Secondary School and may have attempted questions on them in your final external examinations (WAEC, NECO or JAMB). But what stops you from implementing them? Lol. 

Perhaps, the most important reason you need a budget is that “Human wants are unlimited while the resources to meet them are scarce.” Sounds familiar, right? Yes, this is what you were taught in Economics. In addition, there are a lot of things, people and circumstances competing for your money. They want to take it away from you however they can – legally or illegally (Ask the victims of failed Ponzi schemes😂).

Unless you create a budget, which is basically a PLAN on how you want to spend your money, it is easy for these “human wants” to take your money away and leave you in poverty. If you experience the frustrations of not having enough for the things you need or begging for the necessities of life, you will realize you need a budget. I hope you don’t get to this point. Instead, realize that a budget is critical to financial control. 

In summary, having a budget is important because it ensures that you have enough for the things you need (and things that are important to you) however and whenever you need them.

KEY ELEMENTS OF A BUDGET 

When drafting a budget, there are certain things you must take into consideration, namely: 

  1. INCOME: This is the amount of money that comes in weekly or monthly. This includes all your sources of money – both passive and active income. 
  2. FIXED EXPENSES – These are the expenses that don’t change easily as they are paid regularly (monthly). Examples are rent, insurance premiums, taxes, debt payments, interest payment on a loan, child support, etc.
  3. PERIODIC EXPENSES – These are expenses that are less frequent. They come in periodically or unexpectedly. Examples are car repairs, home maintenance, gifts, appliance repair, loans, etc. 
  4. VARIABLE EXPENSES – These include every other thing that you need for daily living. They are called “Variable” because they vary from time to time. They include food, utilities, phone bills, TV subscription, gas, fuel for car and generator, clothing, education, medical bills, transportation, entertainment, name them. They are usually the most difficult category of expenses to track because they fluctuate a lot. When trying to fix your deficit budget, variable expenses are usually the first place to start trimming. 

HOW TO DRAFT A SIMPLE BUDGET MASTERPLAN 

In other to draft a budget successfully, you will need some basic tools, namely: 

  1. Pen
  2. Notebook or PC
  3. Calculator

STEPS TO CREATE A BUDGET THAT WORKS FOR YOU 

  1. DETERMINE YOUR PRIORITIES: To be frank, even if you were given all the money in the world, you would still wish for a million things. So, since your income is limited, you should arrange your needs and wants in order of importance.
  2. HAVE A GOAL: Once you know your priorities, set financial goals and deadlines for each goal. When you define your goals (What are you saving for?), your amounts (How much do you need to save?), your deadlines (When do you need that money?), you can create a budget – a roadmap – to achieve your goals.
  3. CREATE A LIST: Write down and categorize all your expected income and expenses in vertical order of importance. Don’t forget to divide them into Fixed, Variable and Periodic Expenses. 
  4. HAVE A PLAN: After creating the list, you need to have or create a plan, that is, determine how you intend to meet your needs and what percentage of your income you will allocate to each need. 
  5. CALCULATE: This is the stage where you have to apply basic arithmetic.  Calculate the real figures and determine how much you need to allocate for each expense. Wherever you get stuck, use a calculator. In the end, you should have a lot of figures. 
  6. EXECUTE: Finally, get into action. You aim should be to spend exactly or below what you have budgeted. 

HOW TO STICK TO YOUR BUDGET MASTERPLAN 

The thought of sticking to your 2021 budget from January to December should not give you goosebumps. Simply follow these guidelines: 

  1. Place your budget somewhere you can see every day. 
  2. When you feel like giving up, remind yourself why you created the budget in the first place. 
  3. Most importantly, have an accountability partner – someone to hold you accountable for the way you spend your money. If you’re married, your spouse can be your accountability partner. If you aren’t, your best friend, pastor, parents or anyone you can trust can be your accountability partner. Better still, you may join my SBM Program to have an experienced Financial Intelligence Coach as your accountability partner. 

In summary, taking charge of your finances in 2021 begins with having a Savings and Budget Masterplan. Now that you have learned how to create these plans, it is time to put your knowledge to work so that 2021 will be a remarkable year for you.  

N/B: This article is an excerpt from a webinar which was first published on my Facebook community – Financial Intelligence Forum (FiFo). Join the community to access my past and future publications. 

For an in-depth course on financial literacy and how to manage your personal finance, I recommend that you enroll for LEAD Resources’ Digital Economy Emerging Managers’ (DEEM) programme as more practical measures of attaining financial freedom in the digital economy have been distilled therein.

AUTHOR 

Obot Essiet Jr.
Obot Essiet Jr.

Obot Essiet Jr. is an Associate Solutions Architect at LEAD Resources, a Financial Intelligence (FINTEL) Coach and a Co-founder/COO of Naiyuan Mart, a Chinese-Nigerian procurement and manufacturing company. He runs a blog and a community on Financial Intelligence. He is passionate about helping people journey towards financial freedom through practical financial literacy solutions. Obot Essiet Jr. loves writing, gardening, watching adventurous movies, cycling and playing chess. 

Categories
Human Capital Development

The Need to Work

People say that having nothing to do for a long period is bad for one’s mental health. It is also said that an idle mind is the devil’s abode. I believe that this is true.  Research shows that being idle for a long period can lead to anxiety, depression, poor concentration, poor thinking capacity, forgetfulness, and even decline in memory.

Most times, we think of work as paid employment, that is, the exchange of services for money. Although this definition is technically correct, it does not adequately describe why work is necessary. 

In Physics, work is defined as a force causing the movement or displacement of an object. Every human has the ability to exert some force that changes his or her state or the state of an object.

Therefore, work may be more meaningfully defined as an activity involving mental or physical effort carried out to achieve a goal. It produces something of value for yourself or other people. This definition highlights that work has a purpose. It is productive. Productivity keeps one’s mental health in check. Like a car parked for a long time, the brain deteriorates if left idle.

Work can be created. You should engage in some sort of work every day whether you are being paid or not. It may be as simple as reading, cooking, doing the dishes, nursing a baby, creating a playlist or taking a music class. Work to achieve a goal. Regardless of how meagre it seems, work uses brainpower. You can also practice mindfulness by taking a quiet stroll. This helps to eliminate the anxiety that comes with being idle.

LEAD Resources is a place where idleness is not an option. We pride ourselves as knowledge leaders who are gainfully engaged in thinking through problems till solutions are generated. Using world-class skills and techniques, we incubate ideas till they come alive and develop human capital till they become digitally competent and relevant to society.

Be like LEAD Resources. Idleness is not an option!

AUTHOR

Oluwatobiloba Dairo is an Associate Solutions Architect at LEAD Resources, where she is exploring a rapid Knowledge Acquisition path, building digitized competencies relevant for Career Development and stimulating solutions for Individuals, Organizations and the Government. She is a graduate of Mathematics and an advocate of Women in Leadership. She is interested in Financial and Data Analysis.

Categories
Entrepreneurship

Business Idea Development

Before you start a business, you need to have an idea that can birth the business. Generating a business idea is not an easy task; sometimes, you may experience an “idea block.”

According to Wikipedia, a Business Idea is “A concept that can be used for financial gain that is usually centered on a product or service which can be offered for money.

When thinking of ideas for a business (old or new), it is very important to carry out research, pay attention to details and follow a rigorous development and review process. Follow me…

MARKET NEEDS 

Before an idea is generated, it is wise to carry out research to identify the needs of your target customers. 

CREATION 

Brainstorming is the key to Concept Creation. You must also keep track of all ideas (as no idea is a bad idea), evaluate them and determine which is most valuable and profitable. 

ASSESSMENT 

This involves market research where data about your idea is collected and analyzed. You must assess all aspects of an idea before moving to the next stage. 

PLANNING 

A well-defined business plan will steer your business in the right direction and increase the chances of having a successful product launch. 

DEVELOPMENT 

At this stage, your ideas will be developed. You should create manufacturing and operations processes and market testing plans. 

TESTING 

This stage involves a test market that is as close as practicable to a real market. Here, your prototype will be released to the public. The prototype will be tracked and your test market results will determine whether your idea is valid enough to become a product. 

LAUNCH 

A successful product launch should address whether you have:

  1. A sufficient number of products in existence.
  2. Correct planning and marketing strategies.
  3. Appropriate documentation for your product. 

Business Idea Development can be high-risk, time-consuming and money-consuming, especially if the wrong steps are taken. This is why we go beyond offering courses on Business Enterprise Training at LEAD Resources. We incubate your ideas and give you all the necessary support for a successful product launch. 

Need some help? Contact us for organizational support here.

AUTHOR

Adetoyese Oyedunmade is an Associate Solutions Architect at Lead Resources. She is an Agriculturist by profession and is enthusiastic about entrepreneurship.

Categories
Management Consulting Sports

Leaving a Legacy

The whole world was shocked by the news of the death of Diego Maradona. Condolences and goodwill messages poured in from various parts of the world in solidarity with the family. At this point, the beauty of the world of football was revealed again as factors like nationality, race or religion didn’t matter – everyone mourned the loss of Diego Maradona.

If you read the biography of Diego Maradona, you will get a sense of the many achievements and successes he attained. His achievements are so numerous that you may nearly miss the fact that he struggled with drug and alcohol addictions. Despite the challenges he faced, he was always determined to pick himself up and he continued to strive for excellence. Diego Maradona won’t be forgotten by the people of Argentina and the various clubs he played for because of the countless trophies he won with and for them. His legacy lives on. 

You do not have to be a skilled footballer like Diego Maradona to leave a legacy. Leaving a legacy encompasses positively impacting the people around you, making a difference in their lives and leaving a lasting footprint.  

When I was in Junior Secondary School, I could not conceive the thought of becoming a school prefect. Why? It had never happened before in the history of the school that a school prefect would be chosen from the Junior Classes. However, I was about to be shocked…

I can never forget this day: We were gathered for morning assembly, and this day would be different because the prefects for the new academic session were going to be announced. Suddenly, my name was called, and there I was, shocked to my bones. I couldn’t understand what was going on because I was a Junior Secondary School student, and it was unheard of for a Junior Secondary School student to become a school prefect.

The fact that the school made that decision made me realize that the little things I had been doing since my admission into Secondary School had an impact on both the students and the teachers of the school. My reality helped other students to believe that the “unthinkable” was indeed thinkable and doable. In Senior Secondary School class 3 (SS3), I eventually became the Senior Prefect.  

You too can leave a legacy. According to Joan Moran, here are some tips for leaving a great legacy:

  1. Reflect and decide what’s important in your life. 
  2. Support the people and causes important to you. 
  3. Pursue your passions because they are infectious. 
  4. Share your blessings with others. 
  5. Be a mentor to others. 

At LEAD Resources, we provide mentorship and consultancy through multiple programmes such as Career Pathways, Digital Economy Emerging Manager’s Programme, Mainstream Successor Generation, etc. Regardless of your age band, financial capacity and caste, we have a programme tailored to making you a better person and leaving a lasting legacy. If interested, contact us here.

AUTHOR

Edobor Francis is an Associate Solutions Architect of Lead Resources. He is a graduate of Accounting. He is also a Sports Enthusiast, so when he’s not working, you can find him on a football pitch.

Categories
Technology and Innovation

Three Important Roles of a Product Manager

In the digital world where customer engagement is premium, creating great products matters more than ever. With both digitally transformed tech and non-tech companies striving to deliver digital products, Digital Product Management has emerged as a new function in the digital world.

The job description of Product Managers (PM, for short) is ambiguous – it differs across companies and industries. To know the important roles of a Product Manager, we must know what Product Management is.

WHAT IS PRODUCT MANAGEMENT?

Product Management is the process of managing the lifecycle of a specific product of a business. It cuts across the phases of idea generation, product development and product marketing. It is a function at the heart of an organization as it strives to balance the needs of providing the customers’ wants and creating value for an organization as much as operationally possible.  

Now that we technically know what Product Management is, let us discuss the roles of a Product Manager. 

THREE IMPORTANT ROLES OF A PRODUCT MANAGER 

  1. Product Strategy 
  2. Team/Stakeholder Communication 
  3. Managing the Product Lifecycle 
PRODUCT STRATEGY 

A product strategy is a high-level plan describing what a business hopes to accomplish with its product, and how it plans to do so.  Product Managers develop the product strategy for execution.

TEAM/STAKEHOLDER COMMUNICATION 

Product Managers persuasively communicate the product strategy using a product roadmap to key stakeholders across their organizations: Executives, Investors, Development Team, etc. They sustain ongoing communication across their cross-functional teams throughout the development process and beyond. They also ensure all decisions made concerning development, marketing, etc. reflect and support the product strategy. 

MANAGING THE PRODUCT LIFECYCLE 

Product Managers manage the lifecycle of a product from inception, through engineering design and manufacture, to service and disposal of manufactured products. 

At Lead Resources, assisting businesses and organizations to build sustainable digital products is our forte. We offer consultation and incubation services to technology and non-technology startups. For more information, you can contact us at info@leadresources.com.ng or call 08097777094. 

AUTHOR

Itua Emmanuel is an Associate Solutions Architect at Lead Resources and a Digital Marketer and Product Manager at Lanepact Ecosystems, a tech solutions organization that aids individuals and organizations to build sustainable solutions. Itua Emmanuel is also a business enthusiast and during his free time, he watches anime or reads a book.

Categories
Character Development

Honesty

Almost everyone has been hurt at some point by the discovery of a secret, a distorted truth, a lie, and/or something that should have been talked about openly. Dishonesty hurts because it undermines relationships, breaks trust and destroys intimacy. Instead of feeling secure in the fact that you know the other person and are known by them in turn, you have doubts about them and no longer feel safe in the relationship. 

Honesty is a facet of moral character that connotes positive and virtuous attributes such as integrity, truthfulness, straightforwardness, as well as the absence of lying, cheating, stealing, etc. Honesty also involves being trustworthy, loyal, fair, and sincere. Honesty is a choice; it is an acquired trait.

WHY CHOOSE HONESTY?

Being honest isn’t always easy, otherwise, we would all be honest. However, here are five main reasons why honesty is important: 

  • Honesty is the foundation for lasting relationships in any context whether with family members, friends or romantic interests. Honesty is the voice of love that builds trust. Without it, even “I love you” becomes a lie in itself and there’s no real security in relationships. 
  • People can’t read your mind. Being honest doesn’t just mean telling factual information but also the way you feel. If you were hurt by something someone did, he or she may not realize it until you are honest with him or her about how it affected you. If you hide the way you feel instead, you disempower the other person from doing something about the problem and refuse the relationship the opportunity to grow. He or she may also feel hurt if he or she realizes you were upset with them but said nothing, or if he or she knows you’re not being honest with them about the way you feel. This could fester and damage the relationship. On the other hand, being honest about your feelings can bring healing, solve a problem, renew hope and foster good communication.  
  • When people don’t know the truth, they try to guess the truth. That is, not being honest about something makes people try to figure out what you’re not saying, or what the truth is. This breeds gossip which can foster lies that others mistake as truth. Finally, this causes many more people to feel hurt and betrayed when the truth is revealed, all of which could have been avoided if honesty was shown in the first instance. 
  • People are usually more hurt by the concealment of the truth than the truth itself. Some people lie because they’re afraid that the truth will get them in trouble or cause another pain, but more often than not, while the truth may be painful, it is usually less painful when delivered honestly than when it is wrapped in deception. Holding back or lying to cover up only causes people to feel betrayed and hurt, and to question why you weren’t honest with them in the first place. 
  • Being honest improves relationships and saves us from having to live as liars. A lie rarely stops at one; one is usually needed to cover another, and this continues until it spirals out of control. It becomes complicated for the one who started the lie and confusing for the one(s) being lied to. On the other hand, being honest about difficult situations may be uncomfortable at first, but if worked through, relationships are strengthened, trust is built and love is deepened. 

Although the words, “I’m sorry,” can ameliorate certain ugly situations, they can’t heal rifts or set things back to order before they went to hell. If someone finds out that you have lied to them, they may never fully trust you again, never. Even if you spend the rest of your life being a paragon of honesty and integrity, the person you lied to may always wonder if you’re being dishonest on some level. You may be sincere to your very marrow, but they may never have faith in you again…

Can you live with that? 

AUTHOR

Folakemi Oyeyemi is an Associate Solutions Architect at Lead Resources, a strategic human capital development social enterprise that helps organizations become the best they can be using world-class tools and practices. She is a Mathematician and is also passionate about entrepreneurship.

Categories
Finance and Accounting

Creating a Savings Masterplan for 2021

I have discovered that most of the challenges people face stem from a lack of control of their finances. Apparently, many people have a distorted view of the place and the value of money. While some overestimate money, others underestimate money such that they do not give thought to how much comes in, how much goes out and where it goes to. This nonchalant attitude has run so many households into financial crises. 

In this article, I am going to share with you why savings is important as well as some strategies you can use to save a sizable amount by December 2021.  First, let’s look at some statistics that show that the lack of savings is a major problem in the world today. 

STATISTICS ON SAVINGS 

According to an article by fool.com,

1.     42% of the American workforce live from paycheck to paycheck (including 25% of those earning more than $100,000 per year). 

2.     29% of the American workforce have less than $1,000 in savings. Half have less than one month’s income saved. 

3.     The personal savings rate in 2014 was 4.4%. This means that out of every $1,000 earned, an average American spent all but $44. 

4.     Thanks to factors like high student loans and skyrocketing rent prices, millennials in America have a savings rate of negative 2%.

5.     Approximately 10 million households in America have no bank account whatsoever. 

6.     52% of Americans can’t cover a $400 unforeseen expense without borrowing or selling something. 

7.     Only 17% of the population have an emergency fund that can last three to five months.

8.     Finally, 36% of Americans are not saving at all for retirement.

Although the statistics apply to America, I believe the situation is not different in Nigeria and other developing countries. The statistics give you an idea of the poor level of savings in the world today. Unless we educate ourselves about the need to save and budget, nothing will change. This is why I write this article: To help you understand where you lost it, pick yourself up and get ready to take charge of your finances in 2021. 

WHY YOU LOST CONTROL OF YOUR FINANCES IN 2020 

Before I divulge some strategies to take control of your finances in 2021 and beyond, let’s examine what went wrong in 2020 – why the New Year Resolutions you made on 1st January 2020 fell through after the first 2 months! We are taking stock of your financial life in the past year to ensure you don’t repeat the mistakes made anymore. 

Lack of financial discipline in the way you manage your money is the major reason your finances went haywire. It doesn’t matter that you intended to save a certain amount every month. What really matters is that you have the discipline to “work out your intention” by creating a plan and sticking to it. That said, here are the specific reasons you lost control of your finances in 2020.

1.     You Didn’t Have a Budget: 

In my next article, you will learn in-depth how not creating a “written budget” for your finances literally cost you a lot of money in 2020. To achieve financial discipline, a budget is necessary!

Perhaps, you have negative thoughts about budgeting. You see it as a self-imposed constraint and as such, you detest it. You are not alone; I was there too until I realized what harm I was causing myself! The truth is this: If things must change, you have to DUMP that mindset. You must understand the purpose of a budget. It is created not to prevent you from spending money, but to ensure you have money for what is most important to you. Without it, you will spend money on impulse. So, you need to be convinced to make a budget for yourself as we get into the new year. 

2.     You Failed to Stick to Your Budget: 

The decision to take control of your finances by having a budget is preliminary. Following up on it is where many people give up. Perhaps, you were disciplined enough to sit down and draft a budget for yourself. But, somewhere along the line, you ditched it for your old habit of financial uncertainty. Why so? Here are some reasons: 

·       You Didn’t Have A Concrete Financial Goal for Your Budget: Having a budget without a financial goal is like having a map without a destination in mind. 

·       You Got Distracted from Your Goal: You couldn’t contain the temporary pains of delayed gratification. 

·       You Didn’t Have an Accountability Partner: Many a time, all you need to stick to a new habit is to have someone you are accountable to like a spouse, reliable friend or coach. 

3.     You Spent a Lot on Liabilities: 

According to my Rich Dad mentor, a liability is anything that takes money out of your pocket. Most of the things you were happy and eager to buy actually took money from you. In the long haul, you discovered that you had very little money left for the things that are important to you and financial hardship set in. 

Save

WHAT IS SAVINGS? 

The Business Dictionary defines savings as “The portion of disposable income not spent on consumption of consumer goods but accumulated or invested directly in capital equipment or in paying off a home mortgage.”  

To me, savings is income not spent or deferred consumption. It is not necessarily the absence of spending, rather, it is the intentional act of setting money aside for a particular goal or purpose. Any money that is not used for immediate consumption but preserved in a deposit account for future use can be referred to as savings.

Accumulating money for future use and delaying impulse buying can help you to determine whether what you want to spend on is a need or a waste of money. If you do not save your money and your expenses exceed your income, you can be said to be “living from paycheck to paycheck”. 

WHERE DO YOU SAVE YOUR MONEY? 

There are various ways of saving money. Some people make use of a jar, piggy bank or envelope system when dealing with hard cash. This is okay for short-term saving. However, long-term savers need a safer method of keeping money, which is why it is wiser for them to use a depository institution like a bank or cooperative. 

In banks, there are different kinds of account in which you can save, e.g.: 

1.     Savings Account

2.     Current Account

3.     Certificate of Deposit 

4.     Money Market Deposit Account 

These accounts offer varying interest rates based on certain terms and conditions. You need to educate yourself on their pros and cons to make an informed choice. 

HOW MUCH MONEY SHOULD YOU SAVE? 

How much you should save depends on your financial goals. To be considered “financially secure,” it is recommended that an individual or family should save at least 6 months’ worth of expenses. For example, if your household incurs a monthly expense of N50,000, you are expected to have a balance of at least N300,000 as savings to be considered “financially secure.” To reach this amount, it is recommended that you save between 10 – 20% of your net income until that amount is reached. 

WHY YOU SHOULD SAVE MONEY 

Your savings is money which you set aside for a specific purpose. It takes discipline and sacrifice to save. Now, it is tough to develop a saving habit without understanding why you should put in the effort in the first place. Here are some reasons to save instead of splurging:

1.     Save for Freedom:

If for no other reason, save money because it gives freedom – the state of knowing that you have cash reserves to use whenever and however rather than feeling stuck in financial problems because you await the next paycheck. 

2.     Save for Financial Security:

Financial Security is only possible when you have enough money saved to cover your emergencies and support your future financial goals. 

3.     Save for Annual Expenses:

There are certain (household) expenses that are far beyond your budget. They require that you save for them. 

4.     Save for Retirement:

For government workers, retirement money is automatically deducted from their gross income alongside taxes so that they never waste it. However, for entrepreneurs and workers in the private sector, they must put money aside every other month for their retirement. 

5.     Save for Emergencies:

We don’t pray for them, but unexpected circumstances happen every now and then, ranging from health issues to car and house repairs, etc. It is wise to save for rainy days. 

6.     Save for Education:

Some people save in order to further their education.

7.    Save for cars, homes, electronic appliances and gadgets.

8.    Save to get out of debt.

9.     Save for Investment:

For those who want to grow their wealth, this is the most pertinent reason for saving money.

Saving is important to the economic progress of any country as well as wealth creation for any individual. There is always an increase in productive wealth when people are willing to abstain from consuming their entire income. This is consummated when these savings are invested in productive ventures in order to earn more money.

HOW TO SAVE MONEY 

Usually, people save by subtracting their current expenditures from their income and keeping the remainder. The problem with this method is that many a time, after subtracting expenditures, very little or nothing is left for savings.  

Therefore, the RECOMMENDED method of saving is by Paying Yourself First. What this means is that you decide beforehand what percentage of your income will go into your savings account, deduct that percentage FIRST whenever you receive your paycheck, then live off the remainder. Although it takes greater financial discipline to tow this path, this method works, every time. 

HOW TO DEVELOP A CONSISTENT SAVING HABIT 

Once you have made the decision to save, the first challenge you will face is the struggle to keep the ball rolling. Without a clear goal and a concrete plan, it is easy to give up on your Savings Masterplan. When trying to save, it is important to take on the challenge as you would when trying to develop a new habit. This new, consistent saving habit is called Financial Discipline. To develop this habit, here are the steps to take: 

1.      Be Angry at Your Current Financial Situation:

Until you get mad and express dissatisfaction with where you are today, you will not have the willpower to do anything meaningful. You cannot solve a problem with the same mindset used to create it. Don’t just wish to save. Get your emotions involved by being so mad about your finances that you want to do something about it. 

2.      Increase Your Financial Intelligence: 

After you realize what a financial mess you are in, the next step is to invest in financial education and learn how money really works. Visit blogs, read articles and take courses on Personal Finance. Depending on your situation and schedule, you may employ the services of a financial coach to guide you. 

3.      Make a Budget:

A written budget is a plan that shows where your money comes from and where it goes to. It gives you a sense of direction and makes the habit of saving easier to adopt. Experts recommend that you allocate, at least, 20% of your income to savings in your budget. You may allocate a greater percentage if you want. However, if 20% seems like a hurdle, feel free to start with a smaller percentage and grow from there. Savings is a habit that can be cultivated by taking baby steps. 

4.      Pay Yourself First: 

You may automate your savings (using either a bank standing order or FinTech platform like PiggyVest). Hence, you will save without even thinking about it. Remember, your savings should be your first major expenditure after receiving your paycheck. 

5.      Be Mindful of Your Spending: 

Before you buy anything, ask yourself, “Do I need this? Is there a cheaper alternative? Can I do without it altogether? Am I just buying this to feel good?” 

6.      Reward Yourself Periodically: 

Find creative ways to celebrate when you cross certain milestones in your Savings Masterplan. It trains your brain to remember that good things come with hard work. 

Savings, like every other endeavour or resolution, needs a masterplan, a systematic approach, and focused commitment for it to work for you.

Given the information shared in this article, I believe that you are well-armed with all you need to take your finances seriously in 2021. If you need help creating a customized savings and budget masterplan for the next year, I advise you to enroll for my 2021 Savings and Budget Masterplan Accountability Program which lasts for 30 days. I will guide you through such that you will be confident enough to create a Savings Masterplan for next year. By the time you complete the program in early January, you will have a personal finance blueprint that can guide you throughout the year. Enroll now

If you cannot afford the program, there is a limited offer for a discount on my book, “How to Save Like A PRO: 30 Radical Money Saving Hacks That Can Help You Hit Your Financial Goals.” You can get it here

N/B: This article is an excerpt from a webinar which was first published on my Facebook community – Financial Intelligence Forum (FiFo). Join the community to access my past and future publications. 

AUTHOR

Obot Essiet Jr. is an Associate Solutions Architect at LEAD Resources, a Financial Intelligence (FINTEL) Coach and a Co-founder/COO of Naiyuan Mart, a Chinese-Nigerian procurement and manufacturing company. He runs a blog and a community on Financial Intelligence. He is passionate about helping people journey towards financial freedom through practical financial literacy solutions. Obot Essiet Jr. loves writing, gardening, watching adventurous movies, cycling and playing chess.