BASIC FINANCIAL RULES EVERY INDIVIDUAL SHOULD KNOW
In your everyday activity, you find that money is used for almost all transactions. Whichever form it may be in; electronic or hard cash, you make payments for the various services and products you want. For breakfast, if it is Auntie Munni’s waakye with egg and wele, or Hajia’s hausa koko and koose, you will spend some coins.
Sometimes, because we often think about the products and services we are getting, we do not realize we are even spending money. If you think about it more closely, you would realize that, if you did not have money, you could not have enrolled for that degree or pursued that professional program. You probably needed money for your medical bills, unless your organization caters for that. Even if that is the case, your organization still pays for it.
It is almost as if we cannot get results or solutions to our everyday needs unless we exchange money. It is possible this is the reason the Bible highlights, ‘money answers all things.’ The function of money suggests that we all need to understand not only how to have enough, but also how to guard what we have.
Can we call these the basic financial rules every individual should know?
In 2014, a Joy (FM) News correspondent engaged the general public on the general assessment of the Ghanaian economy. In one of the videos which became viral, the interviewee explained that the nature of the economy is so unpredictable that one has to engage in ‘kpakpakpa’. The term, which lends itself to many definitions, will for the purpose of this material be rendered as ‘side gig’.
In whatever you do, having an extra source of income has a way to cushion you to ensure you do not get to the level where you are overburdened financially. It is prudent not to depend on a single source of income. Having increased channels to make money should be a preferred approach.
If you are a student, engage in a paid internship. What can you sell? What else can you do, aside from your main job to make money? If you are a worker, learn an extra skill and trade with it. By all means, do kpakpakpa; have a side gig.
- How much do you have to your name?
Financial advisor to King Pharoah, Joseph the dreamer, in presenting his financial forecast, informed by his interpretation of the dream, instructed that 20% of all their food is saved within a 7-year period. By ensuring this was well done, the country could fall on the one-fifth that was saved during the time of crisis. Saving 20% during a time of enough or plenty was what was used to remedy a time of famine.
Unforeseen circumstances do happen. You do not have to wish for them. In the event of an emergency, do you have money in your account to cater for it? Oftentimes, if you do not save out of the income you make, you will have nothing to fall on in times of need.
When I was in Legon Hall at the University of Ghana, the hall management body made us pay a certain amount to cater for damages that may occur in our rooms. This amount, often referred to as ‘refundable’ by the students, was to be refunded in the case of no damage. At the end of the semester, we were filled with glee when this amount was refunded to us.
It is hard to do, but the pain of discipline weighs in grams, the pain of regret, weighs in kilograms. You may not save 20%, but decide to save a certain percentage of all your income.
- Zero-Based Budget
During our orientation in the boarding house in senior high school, our hall executives assigned us to various roles in the house. In Achimota School, I was in Lugard House. There were times I scrubbed the balcony. Other times, I cleaned the washrooms popularly referred to then as ‘the tubes’. By all means, our executives ensured that every fresher was playing a role in the house. Every part of the house was made clean and tidy because it was allocated to a student.
That is how you have to relate with your finances; every money that comes into your hands and enters into your account is assigned to a task. This way, you can account for every cedi of your income. The concept of zero-budget suggests that when you deduct all you have from the expenses, you get a zero.
The term ‘Joe-Impre’ is a locally acclaimed one that is used to describe persons who make impressions to show off. They act and do things in a certain way to let people have a more flamboyant impression of them. If you are called Joe, please do not be offended.
A Joe-Impre creates false impressions about him or herself; they buy things they cannot afford and travel to places they do not have a budget for. Don’t be lured to keep up with false impressions. Don’t let people spending their harvest intimidate you to spend your seed or investment.
- Social Security
In Ghana, the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) is a statutory public Trust charged under the National Pensions Act, 2008 Act 766 with the administration of Ghana’s Basic National Social Security Scheme. There is a Three-Tier Pension Scheme of which SSNIT is the first tier.
If you work in a typical corporate institution, you are likely to hear the terms Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3. Please do not act as if these things do not concern you. A social security package can serve many purposes for you, including serving as collateral for a loan and a welfare package for you during your retirement.
There are some contributions you make and others that your company makes on your behalf in these trusts. It is your responsibility to discuss with your employer to be sure of the commitments that you are making and what is being made on your behalf, the benefits, and how and when you can access the fund.
Samuel Agyeman-Prempeh is a corporate trainer and professional ghostwriter assisting busy executives to write and publish their books, articles, and speeches. He has served as Head of Protocol at a diplomatic mission, Corporate Affairs Officer at a French multinational agribusiness, and as Events and Media Correspondent for a digital ad agency.
You may contact the author via; Meprempsa@gmail.com