Why do we keep looking for more money? Will salary increase make us have all our needs met? How much will you be earning to stop looking for more money?
She’s been my friend for a while. I know she loves what she does. Banking has been a dream for her since secondary school. Finally, she graduated and started working in a bank in Lagos.
As we had our normal chat that morning, her face was glummy. So I asked her, “What’s the matter?” She looked at me and said we had to sit down to discuss this.
So we got into Kilimanjaro – the restaurant that’s teaching Africans how to be at home with foreign dishes and other local spices.
Bimbo was earning about ₦90,000. Yet, for a while, she’s not been promoted but Deji, who came in with her just got promoted few weeks ago and the babe is looking for a way to earn more.
Although, she told me, “Chuks, I don’t want to leave this job. I love banking. But I want more money.”
So, we conversed over a meal. First, I told her:
1. Learn to manage the money you have now.
See what Erik Wecks said in his book How to Manage Your Money When You Don’t Have Any
Financial stability is much more about doing the best with what you have and not about achieving a certain level of income.
She looked at me and was like, “I don’t get. I said I need more and you’re….” So I continued.
I told her that when I got my first job, I was earning about ₦15,000 or so. In my mind I thought if I had an increase I’d stop borrowing money before the month runs out. (And this is the mindset of many folks.) After few months, I had another job paying me ₦30,000.
Guess what happened?
Exactly what my economics teacher told me in class – Parkinson’s law of increase income = increase expenses.
Same thing happened when it rose to ₦45,000. As I progressed, I learnt the bitter lesson.
At this point, Bimbo was like, she never knew this was happening to others. That is – increase salary brings about increase in expenses. So, she asked me a more critical question, “Where do I start from?”
2. Create a budget for your salary. As I explained, she sat down and took a sip of Coke drink at the restaurant where we were having lunch together as paddies on a Saturday morning. “So what next”, she asked. I answered, “Do you have a budget for your salary currently?”
Most employees don’t think having a budget for their salary is important. Yet, there’s this “DEVIL” that comes on the 27th of April and every other month, when that credit alert beeps on your Samsung phone. Suddenly, your mind is just on Jumia, Konga, SPAR, Game and Kilimanjaro.
When I asked the question, she bowed her head down and I felt the pain of regret from her because I’m also there. I’m not out yet but on the journey to be out. So I asked her to see these 6 reasons why you need a budget and how to budget money.
Bimbo looked at me and was like, “Is it possible to budget 90k?” I just laughed. (90k is like someone’s 6 months salary.)
At that point I knew that she would need to decide to do it and not just someone advising her to. And the same with you, if you don’t have a budget.
(Budgets are not meant to control you but to bring about a consciousness of how and why you spend your money.)
3. Save to invest not to spend. I learnt this from Robert Kiyosaki. In fact, he proposes that savers are losers. Although I agree to this from one perspective and disagree from another perspective. Yet, I told my friend to try it. (She turned her phone and showed me the new shoes she was about ordering from Jumia… the money? From her last savings!)
The normal culture we have is that of saving to buy a new car or borrowing to get a new bag. Why? It feels easier. Maybe, you might need to listen to Kiyosaki himself.
4. Start a side business. “What if you sell female bags to your colleagues in the bank?”, I asked her, “What about female suits or female corporate shirts?” Her eyes glowed immediately!
For me, I’d always advice, sell things you have special care for but make sure it’s needed where you are. Check businesses you can start as an employee in Nigeria.
5. Monetize your skill. At this time, I had to remind her that she plaited my fiancee’s hair and made her up the other day and it was nice.
“So, what if you plait hair of two ladies only or do make up for four ladies only every weekend?”, I proposed to her again.
If you have a skill that you’re not using effectively, that could be a source of income for you now. What about freelance writing and all the other freelancing? Check these sites for freelancing options.
6. Ask for a pay rise if you think you deserve it. “What?”, Bimbo yelled and laughed at the same time. At this point, we had spent close to thirty minutes talking. “Yes”, I answered.
However, you need to be cautious here. Each organization has a rule for pay rise. If there is, check it and see if you’re qualified. If there is none, check yourself by yourself. You know what you’ve been doing. If you’re not, then, give yourself a target of three months, do some extra work and demand for it.
(I’ll advise you also talk with a senior colleague, who has you at heart, to direct you.)
7. Keep developing yourself. There’s a special energy the average Nigerian employee has but the focus is usually work and get paid and spend, and little place for personal development.
I’m sorry, but how many people set aside money for personal training or buy a book or do a course online?
Jim Rohn, before he died, talked about the importance of personal development more than anyone I know. See his quote:
Learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job. If you work hard on your job, you can make a living, but if you work hard on yourself, you’ll make a fortune.
You can read more on personal development here.