Category: Money

13 Ways on How to Spend Less and Save More Money for Investing

Most times, the problem when it comes to money is that lots of people tend to neglect savings and investment and concentrate more on expenses. Although it is more fun and easier to spend all the money you laboured for within a short period but the sad truth is that there are lots of reasons why you need to spend less and save more money to invest for the future.

Stay on this article as we guide you on the ways you can reduce spending and increase savings and investment:

1. Track Your Financial Growth

Calculating your net worth will help you to determine an overview of your financial standing. Net worth is determined as, your assets which include; investment, savings and cash in checking, real estate etc. minus your debts like mortgage, overdue credit card bills, student loans, etc. By doing this each year, you will be able to monitor your progression towards any debt repayment goals and savings.

2. Make a Budget

Another thing you need to do is that you need to have a realistic budget that you stick to. You need to be intentional about your savings goal and not only think about it. This includes you being realistic about your current household financial situation. You then need to set numbers that are attainable and correspond to your spending to enable you to save.

When you know what you are spending money on, you will likely not overspend. Monzo and Starling are two digital banks that can you with this.

There are also free budgeting apps like Money Dashboard that can help you manage all your accounts in one place.

3. Pay Attention To The Cash Flow Concept

Understanding what cash flow is, how it works and what your household financial situation looks like is very essential. Revise your expenses and your income then determine your savings habit.

4. Work With Your Partner

If you have someone you stay with, or you are married, teamwork and communication about your household finances are very important. To save and invest more, you both need to be on the same page with your plan, desire, and resources.

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5. Differentiate Between your “Want” and “Need”

Understanding the differences between your wants and needs. Identifying them will help you to avoid unnecessary expenses and help you say NO when something that does not correspond with your financial goal comes up.

6. Cancel Redundant Subscriptions

The thing with subscriptions is that they tend to pile up. Before you know it, those little subscriptions have become very expensive.

The Covid-19 lockdown and the work from home period gave people a lot of free time and subscriptions could have piled up. Now you have to ask yourself if you really need Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime accounts?

7. Save First, Spend Later

When we make money, it is really important to save first before trying to sort anything else.

The rule of thumb is to use the 50/30/20 flexible approach to budgeting. What this means is simple. 50% goes to your needs like food, bills and debt. 30% goes wants. These are things you want to buy. 20% goes for savings and financial goals.

You can always adjust the ratios to what works best for you.

8. Pay Attention To Your Accounts

Do you know about tax-free ISA allowance? You can take advantage of your £20,000 tax-free ISA allowance. ISA rates aren’t great but it makes sense if you leave the money untouched for a long period.

You can get more information about it here www.gov.uk/individual-savings-accounts. You can find the best cash ISA rates at Moneyfacts.

Secure your accounts by turning on multi-factor authentication on all of your accounts to provide an extra layer of security. To do this, first protect your money and yourself by knowing where all your account is which includes; credit cards, retirements, banking, and student loan

Also, there are several safety precautions you can take which includes; setting up credit report monitoring, etc.

9. Improve Your Financial Credit Score

To increase your credit score, the most important thing you need to do is to keep your credit utilization rate under 30%. You also need to pay off your bills on time as at when due.

Lots of credit companies pay attention to your account on the length of your credit history, the mix of credit accounts you use, and the last time you applied for new credit.

10. Plan For Your Benefits

You probably have employer’s benefits that you are not aware of. Some of these include wellness opportunities, gym reimbursements, or financial planning sessions.

Make sure you pay attention to them by taking a few minutes through your HR portal or reaching out directly to your benefits manager can yield positive results.

You should take time out to find out the benefits your employer offer.

11. Be A Clever Customer, Not Loyal

It is easy to get attached to brands. But are they always the best option for you. The truth is, the emotional connection we have to brands apart, cheaper doesn’t always mean worse.

Sometimes, cheaper could be better and more suited to your needs.

To save more, you really have to be more clever with your brands and vendors. You can use comparison sites to search for better deals.

12. Maximize Your Savings Potential

Your rate of savings is determined by the percentage of income that you keep every month concerning your expenses i.e. Income – Expenses = Savings.

By increasing your savings, you are putting yourself in a better overall financial position. This will give you extra money at hand to save or to accomplish your goal, be it to invest or buy a house.

There are several ways to increase your savings, you can unimportant monthly subscription, get a side hustle, ask for a raise at work and more.

13. Reduce your expenses

This is another way you can save more by making sure that you are spending only what is important.

You can do this by making a list of all of your non-essential expenses for the last month. How do you achieve this? You can keep track of your expenses for a few months.

Rank them from the most important to least important and reduce or cut spending on the least important or unnecessary.

Conclusion

There are several ways you can spend less money than you make. But most of them rely on you either making more money or reducing your expenses.

The methods discussed are proven ways of reducing your spending so you can have more money saved for investing.

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Does Vanguard UK offer REIT funds?

Vanguard UK currently does not offer REIT Funds to UK investors. However, there are other stock brokers in the UK who offer Vanguard REIT ETF. IG in the UK is one of such brokers who offer the US REIT of Vanguard.

Vanguard might consider having it later in the future and you can find out on Vanguard UK’s list of funds.

You can find the Vanguard Real Estate ETF (VNQ) on the IG website which is available for UK investors. Vanguard in the UK generally does not offer exactly the same funds they have in the US to their UK investors. In most cases, they do have similar funds.

For example, Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund is one of the most popular Vanguard Funds in the US. They don’t have it in the UK but there is an equivalent of it in the UK which is available on Trading212 another stock broker.

I wrote a blog post on the UK equivalent of Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)

What is REIT

REIT is a fund that contains stocks issued by real estate investment trusts (REITs), companies that purchase office buildings, hotels, and other real property. These are investments that finance income-generating real estate.

REIT provides the opportunity to invest in real estate without buying real estate. By investing in REIT funds, individual investors can earn dividends from real estate investments—without having to buy, manage, or finance any real estate properties themselves.

UK REIT to consider

Here are some of the REIT you can consider in the UK

iShares UK Property UCITS ETF

iShares REIT is one of the few ones you can consider in the UK. This fund seeks to mainly track the performance of an index of UK-listed real estate companies and REITs which includes popular REIT stocks such as Segro, Land Securities Group, and British Land.

Dividends of this REIT are paid quarterly and have a distribution yield of 1.77%. This fund is focused on established UK REIT shares and listed property companies.

You can also check other brokers in the UK for UK and International REIT you can invest in. Below are some of the top brokers in the UK.

  • IG
  • Trading 212
  • Freetrade
  • Hargreaves Lansdown
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Best Way To Start Saving For Your Child

Best Way To Start Saving For Your Child

Being a parent comes with different responsibilities. Parenthood can be an endless journey of expenses and financial stress. This is why you need financial planning. An important aspect of this is to think about the best way to start saving for your child.

Being an adult isn’t easy and it doesn’t get any easier when you become a parent. Every decision you make is with you and your family in mind.

This means when you think about your retirement savings, for example, you must also be thinking about your child’s college funds and the likes.

The best investment you can give your child’s future isn’t always education, sometimes it is savings. Couple that with teaching them valuable money lessons and you would have done them a world of good.

I have a more comprehensive article on how to teach your child about money here.

When Should You Start Saving For Your Kids

When Should You Start Saving For Your Kids?

Ideally, saving for your kids should start as soon as you start a family. Saving for your children as early as possible saves you future stress and headache. It reduces the burden you have to shoulder in the future. But it is never too late.

Putting money away for children is a great way to teach them about financial literacy, especially when you have them participate actively in the process.

This is a great first step to teaching them about wealth building.

There is no limit to how much money you can save for your child. This decision is entirely up to you.

Here are some best savings options that you can start for your child.

Children’s Savings Accounts

To a layman, saving money for children will probably mean getting a piggybank or keeping the money in their personal or fixed account. But that is wrong. There are better ways to go about this. Financial institutions understand the importance of children’s savings and as such, a lot of them have created packages around this.

There are many savings options children have nowadays. A few examples are Junior ISA, Easy-Access savings accounts, and regular savings account.

I will be going through the advantages and disadvantages of each later in the article.

A children’s savings account is a great way of separating your child’s money from yours. It also helps you know estimate how far you have come or need to go.

You can open these accounts with as little as £1 but they all vary in their functionalities. Some accounts allow your child to withdraw anytime they like while others have limitations.

Find out how to live well on a small income here.

Children’s Regular Savings Account

With a regular savings account, you can save an amount every month for a given period. This is best for parents who want to save for something specific like future tuition fees.

Children’s Easy-Access Savings Account

Depending on the account you choose, the maximum age ranges from 15-20 years old. With this account, your child can withdraw or deposit money as they like.

Pros:

  • You can make withdrawals at any time.
  • Great for teaching kids about money. Some accounts give you passbooks that your kids can use to withdraw money. They can only use it with a parent present.

Cons:

  • Lower interest than regular or fixed-rate accounts.
  • The account is tax inclusive.

You can get more information on children’s savings account on Which? and MoneySavingExpert.

Junior ISA (Individual Savings Account)

Junior ISA (Individual Savings Account)

This is for children under the age of 18. The account is automatically converted into an adult cash Isa once they turn 18. They will then be able to manage the funds themselves.

Pros:

  • Tax-Free: All money held in Isa wrapper is free from tax.
  • Children cannot withdraw the money. This can also be a disadvantage if you want them to learn good money habits.
  • You can choose between Junior cash ISA or Junior stocks & shares ISA. You can also choose to split between both.

Cons:

  • There is an annual deposit limit.
  • Junior ISAs have no government contribution.

 

Piggy Bank

Piggybank is very popular in all parts of the world. In fact, it is probably the first bank many of us knew growing up.

But what many didn’t know is that piggy banks are not just about saving money, it is also a great way to teach kids about money.

It is great for teaching children that money is valuable when kept and it grows over time when kept safe.

You can start by teaching your kids to save their spare money or loose change in a piggy bank. You can then attach a bit of responsibility to it. For example, you can tell them to get weekend treats for themselves from the money they have saved up throughout the week.

This is a very important lesson.

It helps them realize that saving money is towards a specific purpose and when it’s gone it’s gone. That you do not save up for the fun of it. Piggybank can help children develop an understanding of how money works.

Find out how to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor here.

Friendly Society Tax-Exempt Plan

A friendly society is a mutually beneficial association created for the intention of pensions, insurance, cooperative banking, or savings. The purpose is to be advantageous to the members.

Many Friendly Societies have tax-exempt savings plans and many offer the children’s version of this.

You can pay into the plan for 10 to 25 years.

During your chosen duration, the money is invested in a share-based investment fund.

The annual maximum you can pay is £270. You can pay up to £300 if you can commit to £25 each month.

There are a couple of conditions to meet before the maturity date. Your child must be at least sixteen to access the fund. You must have also funded the account for at least ten years.

So far as you continue to service the account for the minimum amount of years, your child won’t be eligible for Capital Gains or Income Tax on any income.

 

NS&I Premium bonds

Premium bond is an investment plan offered by National Savings and Investments (NS&I).

It differs from other savings and investments because you don’t earn interest or dividend income. Instead, they enter £1 from your invested amount into a monthly prize draw.

You can earn between £25 and £1 million from these draws. According to statistics, every year one in every three people win a prize with a £1000 investment.

The winnings are also tax-free.

The minimum amount you can buy is £25 while the maximum amount you can hold is £50,000.

You can buy Premium Bonds for yourself, your child, your grandchild, or your great-grandchild. But you must be at least 16 to be able to buy them.

HM Treasury backs Premium bonds so your money is secure.

A major disadvantage is that you might not win any prizes.

Children’s pensions

Yes, you can think long-term and take a pension for your child. Saving towards your child’s retirement isn’t the most regular thought process but the idea is great.

Surely it won’t be the first savings option you thought of.

Children can access the money only when they reach 55 years of age. Let’s be honest, anyone facing retirement will be grateful for any savings they can get.

Pros:

  • Your child’s latter years are well secured monetarily.
  • Children can take over the account and make pension contributions themselves when they reach 18. This teaches them great financial habits.
  • Your child can’t spend the money lavishly because it’s inaccessible till retirement.

Cons:

  • The money will be inaccessible for a long time.
  • The maximum yearly contributions are small if you want to be eligible for tax-relief funds.
  • The pension income is not tax-free, unlike ISA accounts.

 

Who can open these accounts?

  • The provider and savings account option you choose usually decides this.
  • Instant access and fixed-term bonds can be opened by children over 7 years.
  • Junior ISA, instant access, regular saver, and fixed-term bonds can be opened by parents or guardians.
  • Instant access, regular saver, and fixed-term bonds can be opened by grandparents or other family members.
  • Some fixed-term bonds can be opened by your child from the age of 7.
  • Stock and shares account can only be opened by parents or guardian.

How can you open these accounts?

You can open these accounts in three ways. It can be done online, in a branch, or by post.

You can only apply online if you already have an existing account with the provider. If this is not the case, you may visit their nearest branch to you. You might also need to provide identification for yourself and your child.

A child’s identification is usually a passport, proof of address, or birth certificate.

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BEST WAY TO START SAVING MONEY FOR A HOUSE IN UK

Best way to start saving money for a house in UK

Buying a house is basically a must-do for most of us. One factor that prevents most people from becoming homeowners is money. But you don’t have to be extra rich to become a homeowner in the UK. There are ways you can start saving money to achieve this goal.

A house is ordinarily a structure meant for shelter, but to many of us, it means more than that. It is a milestone and dream come true for many.

In the UK, over 27 million people are homeowners, 24.6% are in the process of acquiring one while 86% want to buy a house.

While house prices in the real estate market keep on rising, getting your dream home may not be as hard as you think. Here are the top six ways to start saving money for a house in the UK.

a lady saving on low income

Start Saving

The mantra for anyone wanting to become a homeowner should be ‘save! Save! Save!’

While the median age of most people acquiring homes in the UK is 34 years, quite a number of people have started embracing the save early buy early mantra. This saves them quite a lot of trouble.

While most prefer to save when they are ‘financially stable enough’, saving early has been proven to be highly effective. Especially, in the acquisition of properties in the real estate market.

It does not matter the age or job, the best time to start saving is now.

 

I have a constructive article on how to start saving here and here.

Plan For It

If you do not plan, then you are writing an invitation to failure. Planning is a very important aspect of our everyday lives. You do not become a house owner by chance.

Buying a house requires even the most intricate of details. Any prospective homeowner should plan a detailed budget around the house he/she has in mind.

Details such as the price of the house should be indicated.

When you do this, you can then detail how this would be achieved.

The prospective homeowner should know what to forgo in his budget to maximize his savings.

Put Your Plan In Action.

Planning does not necessarily guarantee the actualization of your dream. Though it is the first step towards achieving this.

A lot of factors will determine how successful your plans are.

How well you stick to your budget is a necessary factor. After determining the ‘how’ part of your saving plan, putting that plan into action is one of the most important steps to take.

This however requires a high level of discipline. For instance, one could cut on the amount spent on fast food and opt for home cooking, reduce the amount spent on entertainment and subscriptions and more. That extra money should then be put into your house savings.

 

This calculator will help you calculate your monthly expenses.

saving spare money

Save Every Dime (Save Some More)

I am a minimalist. It is a habit that I picked up from my wife. But what I have found out about being a minimalist is that it makes it easier for me to save.

Sometimes being a minimalist mean I constantly overthink before I spend any money that I don’t have to.

A dime goes a long way and so does a shilling. It is crazy how much you can save when put certain money away. One plus one equals two after all. Spare change, loose change could add up over time when you think about it. Even though it is always very tempting to get rid of them.

So keep that loose change it could go a long way. It may look like nothing today, but it might be worth something tomorrow.

Get A Side Job

One plus one equals two and two jobs are sometimes better than one. Especially when they don’t have to clash.

Houses aren’t cheap to acquire and it takes commitment.

House prices are astronomically high at the moment and to save more, you might want to get a side hustle.

There are several side hustles you can choose to embark on. But most times, people tend to choose one they have prior knowledge about.

Your side hustle can either be online or offline.

For instance, one could try the freelancing market by selling services like writing, offering to teach English to non-natives, doing transcription jobs, doing odd jobs like babysitting, being a dog groomer or dog walker and much more.

If you are going for an online side job, you have several options to choose from.

 

Here are 101 side hustle ideas you can choose from.

Put Savings In A Fixed Deposit Account.

Money put in a fixed deposit account tend to earn a higher interest margin when compared to other accounts.

One could decide to lock their saving for a certain period, for instance, lock their house savings for either half a year, a year or more.

This will be highly advantageous as you will not be able to touch those saving at the same time earn huge amounts of interest.

Do A Garage Sale

We all have got stuff that we are not using but still occupy a huge amount of space in our wardrobes and garages.

Believe me when I tell you that you might have gold wasting away in your garage.

What I mean is that those junks that accumulate dust in your garage can be worth some money.

Doing a garage sale can generate some amount of income that could come in handy when wanting to save for that dream house.

There are several ways to sell these items but the two popular options are eBay and Amazon and Facebook marketplace.

get a room mate apartment sharing

Consider sharing an apartment

Rent prices are high and it might be one of the reasons why you can’t adequately save enough.

If you are considering purchasing a house soon, you should consider sharing an apartment to reduce the cost of renting.

Expenses such as food and entertainment can also be cut down by half if your apartment buddy will be sharing the costs.

Buy goods at the charity or thrift stores

Goods at the charity shop are ironically one of the cheapest, unique and high quality.

While you may prefer to do most of your shopping at the supermarket, during this period you might want to start visiting the charity store.

The one pound or two pounds saved at the charity could be a game-changer for you.

In Conclusion

Owning a home is practically everybody’s dream. Be it you are buying it as an asset or to get some privacy, or even to start your own family. Buying a house is definitely not an easy task but with these simple savings tips, you could be a homeowner in no time.

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15 Business ideas for Diasporans moving back to Africa

Many Africans migrate abroad for greener pastures but over time a lot of people start thinking about coming back home. Of course, they can’t go back home to nothing. This is why diasporans look for business ideas when moving back to Africa.

Africa’s population alone makes it a market with huge opportunities. According to a UNICEF prediction, Africa’s population will increase by 1.8 billion people. This means that business opportunities will continue to be on the increase.

People move abroad for opportunities for a better life and standard of living. But most start to feel homesick after years and even decades of staying abroad.

So many plan to move back home to settle down eventually. But what to do after coming back home you ask? What do they do with all the money they have gathered and saved up in the diaspora?

Here are 15 promising business ideas that you as a diasporan moving back to Africa can invest in.

Agric-business

While agriculture is the backbone of most African country’s economy, it, however, has not been fully exploited as a business opportunity. Every year, over 257 million Africans starve while 12 Africans die of hunger every minute.

Everybody knows that with every growing population, so does the demand for their needs increase. And with a population growth like Africa, this definitely sounds like a business opportunity.

The World Bank suggests that by 2030, the food demand in Africa could equal $1 trillion.

One of the factors causing this is the shortage of canned and processed foods. A knock-on effect of this is that food prices are high. This is because, at the moment, most food products can’t be transported to distant locations without expiring.

When this happens, produces increase their prices to make up for their losses.

This is just one problem. There are several agricultural opportunities you can still look at.

Pharmaceutical products, Medical Clinics and Healthy Food

Did you know 80% of African pharmaceutical products are imported? But the African pharmaceutical market is a rapidly growing one.

Covid 19, however, exposed the true situation of the pharmaceutical and medical industry in Africa.

Only a few African countries manufacture their own medicine while the majority of them import from abroad. While it may require billions of dollars to invest in, the profits earned sure are outstanding.

It is also not news that many of our medical facilities are substandard. Most don’t even have a good working environment.

Perhaps, the easiest of the three medical challenges mentioned is the healthy food industry. Yes, it would require a great deal of knowledge on the production side but it is still doable.

There are however several challenges to face. From funds to various government licenses and regulations. Not everyone might be interested in manoeuvring these barriers.

If you are thinking of investing in any of these industries, go for it. It is a good opportunity for anyone willing to invest.

Construction and Real Estate Industry.

The world is changing and so is Africa. Change is inevitable, you could even tell from the tall buildings sprouting from the ground up, from the roads now snaking their ways into villages.

Construction and real estate as industries bring in massive profits.

The African population is ever-increasing and this leads to serious housing deficits. Examples can be seen in Accra, Kampala and even Cape Town.

According to World Bank, the urbanization rate in sub-Sahara Africa is suggested to increase from 36 percent to 50 percent by the year 2030.

Day in day out, it is not uncommon to see roads or buildings being constructed. From cement to sand, beams, and even roofing materials, all these things bring in massive profits to investors.

With the knowledge of when to invest, where to invest and where to get the raw materials, the construction industry is definitely profitable.

Automobile industry

‘Car dealers’ as we like to call it. The number of cars being imported into Africa will definitely shock you.

In Nigeria for example, you simply have to take a drive down to Tin Can in Lagos to see the number of cars being offloaded from shipping containers every day.

Every year, 28.45 billion dollars is spent on importing automobiles while the profits earned will shock you even more.

An advantage you have over people doing car business in Africa is your nearness to resources. By this, I mean depending on the country you are living in, you have a first-hand inspection of cars that are to be sold.

For example, let’s say you live in the US and you see a car for auction near you. You have the opportunity to see those cars live and know the true working condition.

This is different from car dealers from Africa who just buy cars and hope the condition is not worse than what was stated on the auction site.

Invest in Mobile Phone Market

Thanks to the marketing plan of smartphone manufacturers as well as the effort put in by importers, Africa’s smartphone market has experienced a boom over the years.

Companies like Transsion, the manufacturers of Tecno, Itel and Infinix are the leaders in smartphone sales in Africa for a reason. The strategy of offering their low-end devices at prices as low as $100 or less have made smartphones affordable for everyone.

Also, we have an increase in demand for fairly used phones.

The impact of social media on phone demands can’t also be underestimated. Almost everyone now has digital devices. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and WhatsApp have popularized them even further.

The things you can do with mobile devices nowadays are boundless.

Smartphones and other smart gadgets from all over the world have been flooding the African market with astoundingly huge profits gotten from it.

According to reports from the Nigerian Communications Commission, the mobile phone market in Nigeria is worth about N484 billion.

Should you want to invest, then an investment in the smartphone market is worth it.

Information Technology (IT)

The IT sector in Africa is one of the fastest-growing industries. Even the U.S. Department of Commerce identifies it as one of the fastest and most profitable sectors in Africa.

We live in an age where connectivity is a priority. Companies and governments are always looking for ways to make their systems more effective.

If you are currently an IT professional abroad, you will quickly find out that systems and technology there is far superior to those in Africa. Already you have a problem you can solve, you just have to take action.

Commercial Food Services

Clothe, housing, transport and food are three industries that stay evergreen.

Food services like restaurants nowadays have become a sure way of reining in profits. From the young to the old, everyone must eat. It is not uncommon in Africa to see new restaurants spring up one after the other.

All over Africa, you will find few fast-food restaurants dominating the food sector.

The profits made from these restaurants are jaw-dropping.

Delivery or Logistics services

Thanks to the growth of eCommerce platforms and the impact of social media vendors, the demand for delivery or logistics companies have increased enormously.

These days, it is not uncommon to sight delivery vehicles every time you go out. Everyone wants something delivered.

Delivery services are surprisingly making huge profits in Africa.

Nowadays, people opt to buy goods online be it within Africa or abroad then have them delivered to either their homes or workplaces at a certain fee.

Should you want to invest in a business, then delivery or logistics service is worth looking into.

Invest in Education

Did you know that the under 18 demographic represents one-third of the African population?

This means that the education sector is a big potential market.

Also, thanks to the poor state of public schools, most people strive to send their kids to privately owned schools.

Investing in education, more so, in the private sector certainly does bring quite a lot of profits.

With the teacher to student ratio at the public schools being 1:60. Most parents opt to take their children to schools where there is no scramble for resources. Where their children’s needs will be catered for easily.

This opens up a lot of opportunities for new schools to enter the market.

Hair, Beauty and cosmetics products

The growth of the beauty and cosmetics industry over the years is truly phenomenal.

According to Euromonitor International, the beauty industry is worth about $25.4 billion in the Middle East and Africa. They also suggested that the market will grow by 6.4 percent over the next four years.

Reports have also estimated the market for weaves, hair extensions and wigs at over $6 billion a year.

All over Africa, there is a huge demand for hair, cosmetics and beauty product with profits earned being triple the amount invested.

Perhaps even more surprising is that these industries have not peaked in Africa. The global personal care industry is worth about $400 billion with Africa representing only a 3% share of this.

There is still significant room for growth and money to be made here.

Join The Fashion Industry

The fashion industry is huge anywhere in the world and it is no different in Africa.

Did you know that the footwear and apparel market in Africa is estimated to be worth about $31 billion?

The industry is worth about $2.4 trillion globally.

When you look at the African population, you will realize that there is still so much money to be made from this industry. Like many industries in Africa, people are only just starting to understand the true worth.

Imports of used clothes, bags and shoes have been found to make tremendously huge amounts of profits.

Fintech Industry

Perhaps there is no emerging industry that is making as much rave as the fintech industry in Africa right now.

A testament to this is that as of 2018, Africa had only one unicorn startup company, Jumia.

In 2021 alone, the continent has seen 3 unicorn startup companies. Flutterwave, Interswitch and Fawry are the three companies to achieve unicorn status this year.

There is no other industry in Africa that is getting as much international capital and backing as fintech at the moment.

This boom in the industry is however not surprising.

Did you know that more than 60% of Africa’s adult population are unbanked?

Over 350 million African adults own smartphones but a high percentage of them do not have a bank account or access to formal financial services.

The market here is huge.

Apartment Hotels

The growth of apartment hotels in Africa is rather sudden but unsurprising. Africa’s real estate sector itself remains a prime industry and is ever-growing.

Apartment hotels which is a real estate niche is still an emerging market in Africa. The huge demand for it is however easy to understand.

Apartment hotels are fully furnished apartments that offer the comfort and privacy you can get in your very homes.

Serviced apartments can also cost 20-30% less than an equivalent extended stay at conventional hotels.

Apart from comfort and privacy, global business travel is also a driving factor for the rise in serviced apartments. This market is estimated to spend more than $1.2 trillion annually.

Supermarket (Grocery Retail Sales)

The supermarket industry has always been a lucrative one. It is not uncommon to see various minimarts almost everywhere you go.

Food is an essential part of our everyday lives and the demand for it will always be high.

It is also not uncommon to see multi function supermarkets with sectors divided into grocery, fashion, pharmacy and the likes. Supermarkets are popular for bulk and cheaper buys.

In 2017, Nigerians spent $44 billion on food with grocery sales accounting for 75% of it.

In the same 2017, the value of grocery retail sales in South Africa was about $44.9 billion.

Keep in mind that there have been more demand for food since then and the effect of inflation and recession.

The biggest aspect to be considered when opening a supermarket isn’t only capital. Your location probably plays the biggest part in the survival of your business.

You must choose a prime location.

Importing and Exporting

The importing and exporting industry has always been huge. With a little research, you can become an importer or exporter in no time.

Importing business can allow you to do business in your home country without really staying there. All you have to do is find products that you know is in demand in your host country and begin from there.

You have to be careful of greed when you start though. It is best for you to focus on only a few products so you don’t spread yourself too thin.

You can also choose to find products in Africa that you can export abroad.

If you are dealing with farm produce, for example, you can either export raw materials or processed commodities.

Products like coffee, honey, Shea butter and flowers are available at cheaper prices in Africa. You can take advantage of that.

Also, exporting from Africa is cheaper than importing back to Africa.

All you need to do is to source for reliable companies in your home country that you can sell to.

In Conclusion

Go east or go west home is always the best. Home is where our roots are. While most African countries are underdeveloped, it is a continent rich in resources. The population alone makes it one of the fastest-growing consumer markets in the whole world. There is a market for virtually any business you want to do in Africa, all you have to do is decide. Over time it should become a worthy investment.

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Is Vanguard good for beginners stock market investors in UK

Starting a journey in stock and share can be daunting for beginners. Is Vanguard good for you as a beginner who is just starting in investing in stock and shares? Please stay with me as I take you through some very useful points about Vanguard UK.

Less is better

Vanguard mainly has its own products which are not too many. You can easily scan through the Vanguard list of funds without getting confused.

If you compare Vanguard with other major stockbrokers in the UK. You will quickly see the difference.

It can be good to have a lot to choose from. However, for most beginners, that can get you confused.

It is like walking into Tesco and seeing multiple brands of bathroom cleaner spray which gets you confused on which one to buy.

But instead, if you are in Lidl or Aldi, you might just see a couple and it’s easier for you to pick one without getting too confused. By the way, I am not saying Aldi or Lidl is better than Tesco as a brand, this is just an example.

For example, Vanguard UK has about 76 funds to choose from. The other major stockbrokers in the UK have on average 5000 funds, stocks, and shares.

Stock BrokerNumber of Products
VanguardAbout 76 funds
FreetradeOver 5,000 funds, stocks
Hargreaves LansdownOver 8,000 funds, stocks and shares
Trading 212Over 10,000 funds, stocks and shares

Low risk

One of the most important things to be careful of in-stock and shares investing is losing money. All stockbrokers do have a statement that summaries as this,

“The value of your investments can go down as well as up, so you may get back less than you invest.”

In some cases, they will clearly state that ‘your capital is at risk’. It is normal for them to make that clear because that is the nature of investing in anything. Nothing is a guarantee when it comes to investing.

As a beginner, it makes sense to reduce your risk exposure and this is why investing through Vanguard is good for beginners. Vanguard offer low risk investing through their Index Fund and Exchange Traded Funds (ETF).

I will explain more about Index Fund and ETF in another article which you can read after this one. It is a very useful article. The link is below.

Basically, investing in one company (individual stocks and shares) is riskier than investing in a fund that invests in a variety of companies. 

With vanguard, their funds are low risk. They are ETF and index funds which means they invest in a bit of everything and that reduces the risk.

Beginner guide for Vanguard UK

Low fees

If you compare Vanguard fees to other brokers you will quickly notice how low their fee is.

They offer one of the cheapest fees for a UK online brokerage.

All Vanguard accounts have a 0.15% annual account management fee. Fees on funds also average about 0.20%. Vanguard fees are actually very transparent.

It is however important to know that they charge periodic one-off bid-offer spreads on certain trades. The good thing is that the fees are so small they are almost negligible.

As an investor in the stock market, you have to be careful of how much fees you pay because fees can significantly reduce how much money you make in the stock market.

Vanguard is a reputable company with integrity that you can trust.

User-Friendly Platform

Vanguard platform is beginner and user friendly. The simplicity of their platform makes it easy to create an account and start investing without any complications and confusion.

There are brokers out there who make things too complicated for beginners. Vanguard gets this right.

Vanguard UK website’s home page is very informative and easy to navigate.

The website is fully mobile-friendly.

Good Customer Service and Support

Customer support is one of the most important factors that you must put into consideration when investing in the stock market.

You want to deal with a company that is reachable and approachable. Vanguard offers its customers world-class support. 

You can easily reach them via email or phone call. They are swift to deal with any issues or concerns you have.

Vanguard Account Types

One of the factors that make Vanguard beginner-friendly is the fact that they have a variety of account types. The most important one is the Stocks and Shares ISA which is a tax-efficient account in the UK.

As a beginner, this is the account type you should be considering when starting with Vanguard. 

As well, Vanguard has the Junior ISA which is very good for people who have kids and want to teach their children to invest at an early age.

Vanguard Personal Pension account is also an option. And, the last one is the General Account which you might not need as a beginner except if you have already put in the maximum amount in your ISA account.

Vanguard ISAs

Vanguard ISAs are stocks and shares ISAs that allow you to invest on a tax-deferred basis for retirement.

In 2021, ISAs have a £20,000 annual contribution limit.

You must be at least 18 years old to be eligible to make an ISA. But there is a clause which I will talk about.

This Vanguard option has a 0.15% annual account fee. You don’t get charged extra for things like payments, deals and the likes.

The regular ISA and Junior ISA are identical. The difference is that Junior ISA is managed by the beneficiary’s parents or guardian. You must be a legal guardian before you can open this account in their name. Full control of the account will be transferred to them once they turn 18.

Self-Invested Pension Plans (SIPPs)

I like to call this the full package plan. the reason is simple. Vanguard SIPPs gives you every option you can require from a pension plan.

Tax-deferred growth, tax-free inheritance, and tax relief go to your retirement funds.

With this account, holders have a huge amount of flexibility in the makeup of their portfolio.

They also have a low 0.15% account fee capped at £375 per annum.

You can also transfer SIPPs from other providers to Vanguard.

General Investment Account (GIAs)

This account is Vanguard’s flagship product. The account gives you the ability to invest in one of the 75+ funds that Vanguard offers.

With GIAs, you can invest in as many funds as you wish. Though you have to keep in mind that you are eligible for income taxes and capital gain taxes.

GIA  accounts have a low 0.15% annual account fee capped at £375 per annum.

You can start investing in GIA for as little as £100.

Like the SIPPs plan, you can also transfer GIA from other providers to Vanguard.

 

Is Vanguard Legit? Will My Money Be Safe With Them?

Vanguard is very much legit and safe to use. It is one of the popular and well-used wealth management companies in the world.

They are responsible for managing trillions of pounds in wealth. They are also the single largest fund provider in the world.

Vanguard has some of the wealthiest people on its roaster.

Vanguard has various security measures in place to protect its user’s accounts. Some of them are time-out features, additional security codes for transactions, encrypted online withdrawals.

They also protect your personal and financial information with standard bank-level.

Vanguard is also regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

There is also a contingency measure in place for up to £85,000 of your investments to be protected in case the company goes under.

These are just some of the measures in place to ensure your money is secure. There are still several account security features you can explore.

 

Final Thoughts

Vanguard is a tested and trusted investment platform. As such, it is very good for beginner investors.

With over 75+ investment options, it is one of the best options for beginner investors.

There are however a couple of disadvantages to using the vanguard. But they are overall negligible issues.

The first is that you can only invest in funds run with Vanguard. That doesn’t make it a flexible option.

The second issue is that the Vanguard platform doesn’t have a large research library for beginner investors. But Vanguard’s global popularity means a quick search on search engines should fix this for you.

When it comes to passive asset management, Vanguard is probably the best option out there. It’s however not a great choice for interactive investors.

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What Is The Best Way To Improve Your Finances

Money is one of the most important parts of our everyday lives. No matter how much you believe that money isn’t everything, we simply cannot do without money. This is the reason why most people look for the best way to improve their finances.

It’s why a lot of us wake up early in the morning. But most people struggle with money and find it difficult to improve their finances.

When people think about ways to improve their finances, they tend to look to the future. They look at making their better as something that will take years to achieve.

This is because most of us believe that we have no control over money because of obligations. But that isn’t the case.

Why people look to the future when it comes to money management is because they believe they must have more money by then. But the truth is that the money habits you acquire now is what you will carry into the future.

Having more money doesn’t necessarily translate into having positive financial health. There are smaller decisions and activities that we can take on to make our financial goals come true. If you are also looking for ways to improve your finances, here are some points for you to consider.

1. Have A budget and Maintain It

Having savings and creating a budget are probably the most important tips to manage money wisely. To create a budget, you must first know what you’re worth.

This means taking into account your income and spending habits. To create a budget, you do not need to make drastic changes.

This is where most people get it wrong. You have to consider your lifestyle and spending habits as well.

A little adjustment and restraint here and there will do. Having a budget should help you create better habits, not help you stop bad habits like eating out. That is the realistic way you can reach your money management goals.

The reason why I keep emphasizing not making drastic changes to your lifestyle when creating a budget is maintenance. It is one thing to create a budget and it is another to maintain it.

The best way to maintain your budget is to make use of online and offline tools. With the help of these tools, you can better organize your finance. It’s best if you create categories like food, education, transport and savings. This way you can know where you are spending the most and which one needs improvement.

2. You Must Have Savings

There is a popular notion that inflation makes money in the bank worthless over time. But while that is true from an investment point of view, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

You won’t fully understand the power of savings until you need money urgently or get an investment opportunity. You must have money that you can access somewhere for emergencies.

If the best time to start investing is today then the best time to start saving is also today. If nothing, at least start saving up for your retirement. You can consider it an investment. The longer you invest, the larger the earnings.

Have a clear understanding of your spending habit, create a budget and start saving.

You can read more on this here.

3. Understand And Recognize Lifestyle Inflation

Ever heard of Parkinson’s law? Understand how it applies to your finance and savings? There is a misconception among many people that they will save more when they earn more.

But the truth is that if you don’t develop good money habits on a low income, it won’t happen with increased income. The reason for this is simple; the more you earn, the more you spend. This is what we call lifestyle inflation.

The truth is that this might not be a fault of yours but a direct effect of your improved status. Let’s say you were promoted to a manager role, for example, it is only normal that you might want to dress better, look better and even own better things.

You do all these to fit your new social and professional lifestyle.

The problem then is that most people do not know when to stop. It is one thing to try to keep up with the elites and it is another to be extravagantly wasteful.

It should be obvious that lifestyle inflation can be damaging in the long run. Why? The reason is simply that it restricts your ability to build wealth. While trying to keep up with the Joneses, always remember that you will one day retire. Anything can even happen in life.

4. Needs and Wants Are Not The Same

Needs and wants can get very confusing. It is easy to mistake one for the other in a bid to quench our desires. The difference then is in the ‘DESIRE’.

The simple difference between needs and wants is that the former is needed for survival while the latter is needed to quench a desire. For example, you need a car but you want an exotic one. In reality, both will serve the same purpose so getting an economical car makes better sense.

You must understand the difference between needs and wants so you can better improve your personal finance.

I am not telling you to let go of your wants; it is just important to prioritize. Your needs have to come first. Once those have been satisfied then you can look at quenching a few wants so far as it doesn’t stretch your budget.

5. Individual Saving Pots Are Useful

It is one thing to save and it is another to save towards a particular goal. Saving all your money as one can get confusing over time. Yes, you have money saved but to what purpose?

Savings also need planning and the best way to go about it is to create saving pots. This helps you get a better idea of how well you are doing with different savings goals. For example, you can have savings pots for school fees, retirement, new car, emergency, vacation and the likes.

This is good because you must have a clear understanding of your savings progression. There are various banking apps that you can use to achieve saving pots.

6. Building an Emergency Fund is Important

Rainy days are real and you do not want to be unprepared when it comes. Many people do not understand that having savings isn’t necessarily the same as having an emergency fund.

I believe general savings should be created for specific purposes. A healthy savings habit should be done with a clear goal.

An emergency fund is money set aside for emergency purposes. From car repair to health issues or even an increase in your monthly bills, an emergency fund is always handy.

It is also useful for unforeseen events like you losing your job or having to take an extended period away from work. It saves you a lot of stress and headache when the need for it arises.

The general notion is that saving money worth three to six months’ worth of living expenses is enough for an emergency fund. But that is no longer the case.

We live in uncertain certain times and the world economy is only just recovering thanks to the impact of the COVID-19. Three to six months’ worth of emergency funding can be a great starting point but it shouldn’t be the rule.

7. Where Are Your Benefits?

Most people tend to forget that they are entitled to benefits. As such, millions are not receiving their benefits and are losing money as a result. It is important to always stay up to date with your benefits.

To get a clear picture of your benefits, you can go online or contact your local council to know how to access a benefit check. You can also use a free benefit calculator.

If your income has reduced recently, or you recently started claiming benefits, you might be eligible for a Council Tax Reduction. You need to get in touch with your local council to see if you are eligible.

8. Be a Clever Customer, Not Loyal

It is human to develop an attachment to things. From brands to TV, spots, shops and providers, we often develop an emotional connection to these things.

But the truth is that if it isn’t favouring you financially then you should move to a pocket-friendly option. Just because you pay more with them doesn’t make them better.

Most firms and businesses understand the emotional connection they have with customers so they don’t bother with giving incentives.

You might be surprised by just how much money you can save by patronizing other brands or businesses. Comparison sites can help you in your search for better deals.

In Conclusion

Improving your financial health is important. It can save you a lot of headaches and stress in the future. By the time most people decide to embrace this journey, they would have already been in debt.

In some cases, piled up expenses is why they decide to go on the money management journey.

This is why it is great to start working on your finances as soon as you can.

There are various ways to improve your finances and they are not limited to the points shared. Most times, you just have to figure out what works best for you.

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