After reading lots of books on Personal finance and Investment, I decided to put my vast knowledge to work. 

I currently work at a job I love but which leaves me with little money at month-end. I daily take a record of all my expenses; I know where every single kobo of my salary goes. I know exactly how much I spend in a month.

The following are the Personal Finance measures I implemented –

1.       Pay myself first

In 2011, I set up a direct debit order in my salary account to transfer a certain amount of money every month to a Mutual fund account.

Now I plan setting up two others to transfer some cash monthly to my Brokerage account and quarterly to my Fixed Income fund account.

2.       Have an Emergency fund

I currently have the cash equivalent of my three months living expenses stashed away in a High Yield savings account. I have lost my job once and resigned from another too. In both situations, I encountered numerous unplanned expenses and ended up spending a lot. Having an emergency fund can greatly help to tackle unforeseen emergencies. I never touch it unless there is an emergency, and I replenish it as soon as I can.

3.       NSD, LSD and HSD

Increase your No Spending Days, never reduce your Low Spending Days and reduce your High Spending Days in a month. I try to achieve this by staying home on most holidays to increase my NSD, cut-back on unnecessary daily expenses like chewing gums and in between meal snacks to increase my LSD, and I only buy necessities to reduce my HSD.

Recently, my Sony VAIO laptop motherboard went bad and I couldn’t find a replacement. Rather than buy a new laptop, I bought a similar but dead Sony VAIO laptop and replaced the bad parts with the ones in mine that fitted and bought the other parts that needed fixing. I ended up with another Sony VAIO that cost a fraction of the new one.

Anything I can do without for a month, doesn’t make it to my list. For instance, a new suit, an iPad, another wrist watch and movies.

4.       70 – 30 investment rule

Since, I’m investing for the long term (over 30 years horizon), I put 70% of my investment cash in stocks and 30% in Fixed Income and bonds. As a small investor, I rely on fixed income fund. But I follow the stock market like a true Chelsea FC fan follows his club, I know nearly all the important figures and trends. I research stocks, burrow through financial statements from 7 years back and make some crazy financial calculations. I manage my own brokerage account without any professional help, I buy stocks of companies I’m convinced (after my calculations) will grow at over 15% year-on-year and sell the ones I believe have derailed (regardless of their stock price movement).

Result: Though, at first, I lost money after money, I have recouped all my loses and have found an investment style that works great (so far).

5.       Delay my big expenses

I don’t plan buying a car anytime soon.

6.       Create multiple income streams

Though I make money from my investments, I run 3 monetized blogs and have a part-time consultancy biz. Currently, my blog is yet to generate a profit and my consultancy biz is still in its infancy, but I know that with time and efforts invested I will be able to cover my living expenses from their earnings.

7.       I’m my biggest asset

The premium on skills (hard and soft) is huge. That is why our parents make us start school as early as possible, knowing that one day someone will be willing to give us a fat pay slip just to have us around him.

Though I consider MSc and MBA luxuries, I have been reading several MBA course materials. I spend a lot on books, very expensive books too, on everything that interests me – swimming, business analysis, java programming, php and sql programming, MS Excel and VBA, French, Linux, Personal finance, Investment, Self development, Spanish, German, novels…

Last year, I took an online diploma course in Stress Management by a UK school. And this year, I have already enrolled for a Finance course, Data Analysis course and History course via Coursera. I just recently concluded my video classes on History of the world since 1300AD, and learned that there was a time when skilled workers were kidnapped. This reinforced my decision to become skilled in as many things as I can.

While at the university doing my degree in Electrical Electronics Engineering, I spent most of my library time reading books on Psychology. I discovered that the brain doesn’t function like a bag, in which you’ll have to push some things out to make space for new things. The brain simply doesn’t get filled, the more you use it the logically bigger and more intelligent it becomes. That was why Leonardo da Vinci could become an expert in nearly all the known human disciplines of his days. He used his brain. Since I discovered this, I stopped trying to focus on only just one field of knowledge.

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French is the hardest thing I’m learning.
In September 2009, I embarked on the arduous journey of learning French language. I got a pocket sized French-English dictionary, then a very big French-English dictionary, then a complete secondary school textbook series on French and a handbook on conjugation. I started buying French novels and taking formal French classes. Out of frustration, I dug into my life savings and went for an immersion course in a French speaking country.
Now, I daily listen to French radio and music. Yet, I’m still very far from being fluent. In fact, I can barely carry on a French conversation beyond “Comment ca va?”
Have you tried learning a new language? Please share your experience, you might be helping a frustrated bloke.
Chapter 2, Part 1 here

The Beginning here

Today is Monday.

For me, school days are good days. The schools here are not the regular ones, and are referred to as Jelosimi. The primary schools have only 7 teachers, one to each class. Due to the extra resources Kindergarten classes require, most primary schools only run Nursery 1 – 2 and Primary 1 – 5. The curriculum is also not the regular one. The schools can’t afford a Music teacher and a French Language teacher, you get to learn only what the teacher assigned to your class teaches you. But as long as the teacher is not a Primary school dropout, you’ll get to learn everything in the Government approved textbooks for the subjects he takes you. Nevertheless, Primary school is fun. Every morning, we sing like it’s the end of the world.
Though, I am now in my third year in Secondary school (JSS 3), I still miss my Primary school days. How, together with the other students, we sing at the top of our voices the best songs in the world, annoying the quack doctor in the two room hospital beside the school building. I remember the day he threatened to get our headmistress arrested, the following day, we didn’t sing any song. Then it dawned on the headmistress that she, too, can get him arrested for being a quack. The next day, the hospital shook as the teachers joined us en masse in singing from the top of their voices.
In the Secondary school, we only sing the National anthem and the school anthem. The only time we sing loudly is when singing our own version of the school anthem, driving our Principal insane. But Secondary school is also fun. We’ve got a teacher for each subject. We get our fun from making fun of the teachers, doing crazy hairstyles/haircuts and having crushes. For me, only making fun of the teachers has been fun. My mum won’t let me do any crazy haircut and I always end up having a crush on the wrong girl. My best days at school are the exam days. I play the hardest then, I always make it to every team, football or basketball, as players are scarce then. I don’t study hard and still come out top of the class. And I get to sit beside any girl I want during exams.
Today is not an exam day. We are just past the middle of the school term. But today, I have made up my mind to sing that new Celine Dion song to Lola. I have already memorized the song for about a week now, it’s having to sit facing her, holding her hands tightly and looking her into her eyes while singing the song that has been my insurmountable mountain. I find it hard to look into any girl’s eyes, especially the ones I find very attractive. Even Mary, my self-proclaimed girlfriend, I hardly look her in the eyes. But some boys find this very easy, easier than looking at the pages of their school books. And Tunde is a genius at this. He does it perfectly well and nearly every week too, until he had sung to every girl besides big Bose. Now he waits till a new girl joins our class.
Unfortunately, Lola didn’t come to school today. At first, I was very sad but as the day progressed I felt relieved. Maybe, she isn’t the right person for me. I’ll teach Sadiq the song, he’s own mountain is having to sing an English love song. His head is saturated with Fuji, Apala and Alujo, none of which is in English.