Though so many things are wrong with the educational system in Nigeria, with how important money and finances are to most of us, I wonder how come we don’t have a great deal of financial education in the curriculum.
Quite alright, we covered some topics in business studies class in junior secondary, but really though, it would be good if we were taught how to invest, handle our pensions etc.
And the result of this deficiency is quite evident.
Even I as a person, in spite of my economics degree, graduate degree in finance is still made some big blunders. When I got my first job back in Nigeria, I did not open a pension account, so I missed out on employer contribution to my pension, that was me literally throwing free money away covering my eyes. One reason why I didn’t open a retirement savings account was, I didn’t think I was going to be in the organisation for a long time, so why waste my time filling some forms (oh! I hate forms) and in my mind retirement wasn’t something for me to be bothered with at that stage of my life.
Don’t get wrong, my certification wasn’t purchased, I actually passed my qualification exams.
So I knew about investments and was saving about a third of my salary every month. I also expected the Naira to weaken, so I started buying into a USD funds more than 3-years before the depreciation eventually happened.
But I could have done way more as I was living with my parents. Though I wasn’t giving to partying and clubbing, I loved fine dining, so I spent quite a bit doing restaurant crawls.
I also made some interesting choices when I wanted to buy a car. I loved German cars, so I went and bought a Passat. In hind sight I probably shouldn’t have. No doubt, the car was German engineering in its purest form but the cost of servicing the car is about 3/4-times what it would have been if had just respected myself and bought a Japanese car.
Anyway, I have since gotten my act together as much as I can. I have my emergency fund sorted out, I started an investment club with some old school mates, still hold my USD funds and have grown those, and gradually growing my stock portfolio as well as continuously investing in a mutual fund (I actually started this during NYSC). And most importantly, I have my Retirement Savings account sorted now (by the way, my Pension Fund Administrator had the second best return in 2017).
Though things are on the right path now, I wonder how different things would be without the false start and the wrong moves.
I am a second generation stockbroker (i.e. my dad is also a stockbroker) and all through my life encounters with friends have mostly ended up with discussions about investments. Often, they are not asking questions that indicate they want to move their portfolio to the next level, the questions often give them up as complete novices with regards to investments and personal financial management. Also, what I have found is that just a very small percentage of young people own shares or mutual funds, most of their funds are in savings accounts and in government treasury bills, at best (i.e. those that have some savings).
This couple with the unemployment problem, means most young people are basically ‘ninjas’ i.e. no income, no job and no assets. For the most part, this is due to no fault of theirs. They just don’t know better.
Tying this all up, financial literacy is of enormous importance to society and this failing of the educational system hurts us all.
If I knew better, I would have done better and I believe same applies to every young person out there. Hence, I started this blog to help you people discover the art and science of investing. And it’s not just about growing your bank balance or swelling your investment account but about freedom – ability to do/buy whatever you want, go wherever you want and whenever you want, without the fear of going broke or not having enough money to sustain you in retirement.