An average African child grew up with the mindset that ‘you must save’ but no conversations on investing in your 20s and life-saving investing tips. Our parents taught us not to eat with ten fingers (to save any money we have, no matter how small). Growing up, we understood better that as fantastic as saving is, it does not help much.
No matter how disciplined you are, necessary expenses arise that may require you to dip into your savings. For instance, if a family member requires expensive treatment, or you lose your source of livelihood. There is no option but to draw substantially from your savings to help yourself.
The average twenties cannot understand money through saving only. No one can be more committed to amassing wealth for you than yourself. An undue focus on saving and playing safe with what you have may move you into a false sense of security that you have some savings somewhere. This mindset could limit your hunger and desire to understand how money works, which is essential if you want to amass more.
Now, saving is a healthy financial discipline to cultivate because it can easily be the difference between being stranded or having just enough to maintain dignity till the next income arrives. But let me reemphasize this truth: savings won’t save you. It adds up in the long run if you’re consistent, but it won’t save you.
Let me use practice in agriculture to drive home this point. There is an irrigation system called drip-feeding. It saves water while giving the plant just what it needs to thrive in the dry season. It’s a preferable mode of irrigation because it increases farm efficiency. The water/money saved is not as important as the plant/investment feeding. The harvest from the plant/investment feeding makes the long-term difference.
Similarly, savings will increase your capacity to endure the dry season that often precedes investment maturity.
9 TIPS TO GET STARTED WITH INVESTING IN YOUR 20S
- Start building an emergency fund – Always try to begin with building an emergency fund. Doing so ensures that you are covered should an unexpected expense arise, like a job loss or natural disaster, but will also help develop the habit of regularly contributing to a fund.
2. Self-Investment is KEY – the best investment you can make without fear of loss is in yourself. Nobody can take it from you. And, the income you make from working with someone else does not far exceed personal development. If you want to be an above-average wealthy person, look for avenues to invest and work harder on yourself than a job or another man’s business. Why is this important? We see the world not as it is but as we are. Your person determines the opportunities you identify and pursue. Similarly, the choices and sacrifices you are willing to make.
3. Set your investment goals – Once you have an emergency fund, and understand the importance of self-investment, start thinking about your investment goals; by looking at all the experiences you want to have over your lifetime and then prioritizing those things. Once you’ve outlined a set of goals and established a plan, you’re ready to look into specific accounts.
4. Digital Leverage – We live in a world where you don’t need a university degree or have serious capital before you start making money. If you’re willing to push your boundary and start small, all you need is a desire, a smartphone, and the internet. When you’re in your 20s, you hardly have the capital to invest big, so start from where you are and with what you have. What is in your hands? What talent or skill do you have that you can digitally monetize? In today’s world, creativity is as much capital as money is.
5. Get financial education – Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, said that ‘Money is one form of power but what is more important is financial education.’ Money comes and goes, but if you know how money works, you gain power over it and can begin building wealth. Investment is hardly ever a sprint as much as it is a marathon. Get rid of the get-rich-overnight mentality and submit to the process. The road to success is always under construction; there would be losses, delays, detours, and restarts. To create the value you’ve imagined, you need focus, patience, and flexibility.
6. Consider leveraging a financial advisor. If you don’t want to go the robo-advisor route, human financial advisors can also be a great resource for young investors. While it is the more expensive option, they’ll work with you to establish goals, assess risk tolerance and find the brokerage accounts that best fit your needs. They can help you choose where to direct the funds in your retirement accounts as well.
7. Keep short-term savings somewhere easily accessible – Like your emergency fund, which you may need to access at a moment’s notice, store your short-term investments somewhere easily accessible and not subject to market fluctuations.
8. Entrepreneurship as an Investment –In the wild storm that is entrepreneurship, your calm mind is your greatest asset. Entrepreneurship is simply the staying power to keep rising above storms because everything that can go wrong goes wrong. And, your character cannot develop without these experiences. Momentum in the right direction is vital despite the turbulence around you. Never grind to a halt, and don’t be paralyzed by fear. You won’t always make the right decisions, but you should quickly learn to make your decisions right. Never let the emotions and hostility of a present situation, painful as they come, rob you of decision-making.
9. The days are long, but the Decades are short- Often in your 20s, the feeling is that you have time and therefore fill up your day with non-productive distractions on social media. All of a sudden, you’re few months from turning 30, and you have little to show for it. The moment you cross 20, it’s like time develops some supercharged wings and flies so quick before you get a chance to catch your breath. Some opportunities you can chase in your 20s, but can’t consider in your 30s because of ‘new’ responsibilities.
The days might feel long, and you think you have time, but you have to be intentional about how you spend your time. In your 20s, you have the most room to fail and learn lessons without a detrimental impact on your quality of living. You want to arrive at the end of your 20s mentally and financially prepared for the next decade, which will be more demanding in all respects than your 20s.
WHAT TO INVEST IN IN YOUR 20S
There is something to be said about investing your money, even if it’s a tiny bit of it. Because the earlier you start investing, the more it grows long-term. Ultimately, your personal finance is critical to long-term well-being, so you have the means to live comfortably in the future! In addition to credit cards (to build up your credit to buy a house or car one day), you can start investing your finances in small amounts that will build up over time.
- WHATEVER YOU DO, MAKE SURE TO MAKE DIGITAL MONEY
Any investment of time or resources that helps you earn disposable income without leaving your house is fantastic. We live in a time of extraordinary change that has reshaped the way we live and work. What you learned in school will help you earn a wage if you find a job. But the digital skills you pick up will help you live comfortably with or without a job. Use social media, don’t let social media use you. Train yourselves in digital content creation and marketing, and you will be smiling to the bank in your 20s.
Here are some high paying digital skills to consider
- Digital Marketing
- Blogging. (SARMLife’s blogging course 3.0 starts in May)
- Search Engine Optimization
- UI/UX design
- Web design/development
- Digital business Analysis
- Digital Product management
- Digital project management
- Data science/analytics
- Mobile application development
- LANDED PROPERTIES
This is one investment that NEVER depreciates. Buying a land in remote areas aren’t expensive and the current price range is NGN200,000 – NGN600,000 or more. To buy a landed property, you can begin saving up NOW, cut off on unnecessary expenses and secure your future. If you are lucky to have more money on your hands, buy that land, build that house/those houses NOW. You will be glad you did.
You should invest in your education in your 20s to enhance your skills and potential work experience! When a lot of people think about education investment, they immediately think of an expensive school. But you can choose to invest in a degree at community colleges or public schools, which are generally cheaper.
- CRYPTOCURRENCIES, FOREX, STOCKS
If you live in Nigeria, where inflation is always on the increase without a corresponding rise in wages, having access to disposable income for substantial investments in stocks and bonds might be more challenging than youths abroad. Ensure you’re investing 20-30% of your income in Dollars. Yes, buy dollars and keep it. That’s one way to protect your income from relentless inflation. Eurobonds is another smart financial asset to invest in.
Don’t worry about the lot size you can afford. If you commit to investing no matter how little every other month in your 20s, you will be in good standing at the decade’s end.
Instead of chasing the next new phone, put that money away in forex asset. Learn how to trade forex as a side hustle to augment your disposable income. Investments always come with the risk of losing money, but if you’re skeptical of every opportunity that comes, you’d still end up losing. I could have jumped on the bitcoin bandwagon many years ago, but today, I’d have to explain to my kids in the future why I don’t own one. Study any asset you intend to invest in well, and then do it once you’re convinced by it.
Here are some cryptocurrencies to consider (tap on each to read more on it’s growth potential)
- MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH
This point is a long-term way to ensure you are going to be your happiest in the future. Whether it’s therapy, self-help books, a meditation app, finding a way to work through any hard times that happened to you is vital.
- HEALTHY EATING
Along with the above point, eating healthy goes a long way! You are what we eat, so if you are eating way too much sugar, for example, you could push yourself into mood swings or a poor sleep cycle.
Also, there’s a massive misconception that you have to pay a ton of money to eat healthy in your 20s. If you are smart about what you are buying, plan and cook ahead, you can eat healthily without breaking the bank!
Remember, healthy eating is a substantial long-term investment!
- INVEST IN FOOD, TRANSPORT-RELATED BUSINESSES
You can buy a motorcycle and trust it with someone you know for easy monitoring if you have the appetite for investing by proxy in people and can manage the accompanying headache. Alternatively, you could fund a food restaurant with agreed weekly returns. The advantage of this kind of business is that it addresses two (2) of the three (3) headed dragons Nigerians spend most of their income on while giving you access to disposable income that you can put to other use.
Ensure to protect your position well if you choose this option because people in the informal sector come with a unique set of behaviors and attitudes that you might find appalling and frustrating. Although very rewarding if you find the right partner.
- FUTURE PLANS
Sometimes it feels silly planning for the future! You could hire someone to mentor you on life planning, like financial planning or emotional life planning. This preparedness will help you be happier for the rest of your life, and that is fulfilling!
Honestly, don’t put the pressure and expectations on yourself to figure finances or a career without help. It’s okay to ask a friend or pay someone to help you out.
- AGGROTECH INVESTMENT PLATFORMS
There’s been an uprising of tech-powered platforms that allow people to fund a farm without actually being present on the farm, and they offer reasonable returns on investment. Choose a product that offers at least 20-25% ROI. You will make ZERO profit on any investment with less than 17% ROI and inflation. So do your homework and get your money working for you on a reputable platform.
- START A BUSINESS
This option is not for everyone. However, the potential reward is far greater than most investments return you can make in other people’s business. If you’ve found your passion, in-demand service or production of any Fast-moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) are great examples of low capital/high return businesses. If you don’t mind starting small and throwing in a bit of excellence in your offering, there’s no limit to what you can achieve.
RULES OF INVESTMENT
Warren Buffet advised never to lose money, but I disagree because you can’t grow if you don’t lose money initially. If every investment turned to gold, everyone would be an entrepreneur today!
- ‘Never invest money you can’t afford to lose’ is a rule of thumb.
- Start small and learn from it.
- Always track your investment(s).
- Discipline – If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Know yourself and have a set rule you work with to guide your investment decisions.
- Invest based on your goals and not what others do.
- Be prepared for the worse and also the opportunities.
- Set-aside emotions.
- Eliminate greed and think long term. Jeff Bezos said billionaires think in ten-year cycles, not one year. This analogy is sensible because the average person overestimates what can be achieved in a year and underestimate ten (10) years of achievement.
- Be flexible, and learn from your mistakes.
- Take calculated risks, not reckless gambles, do your homework.
- Diversify your investment portfolio as you grow, don’t leave all your eggs in one basket.
- Keep calm and don’t panic, things going wrong is part of the process, and one win is enough to pay off many bad bets.
- If you have the money to do a Man City in your industry, go ahead! Just make sure you give the market what it wants, not what you think it wants. Do your market research, put in the work, and go in big to achieve success in a shorter timeframe like Man City.
Note that: Though savings won’t save you, neither will investing if you eat with all ten fingers, if you have a bad spending habit. It’s better to start your investment journey early when family responsibilities are minimal than waiting for a later time. Finally, don’t broadcast your investment plans to avoid unnecessary attention. LAY LOW, WHILE DOING BIG THINGS!