Hey! It’s January again – What’s the Deal with being broke or expecting to be broke? There is an interesting commercial in the media in which a lady asked her friend who had just bought some shoes – “its January, ain’t you supposed to save”, to which the friend replied – “I am saving already, every time I buy, I save”! It’s an interesting perspective to savings. Advertisers know how these things work on the mind, and that’s why there is an emphasis on the word “save” when pitching prospective customers to buy whatever the offering is. In reality, when you spend on non-essential consumption, you are not saving, you are spending, it doesn’t matter how much discount, real or imagined, that you may be getting.
January is a very interesting month, especially in Nigeria. Nothing much happens in the first week as people are just arriving from all the various places they went to cool off for the yuletide. They return mostly broke. Activities increase by the second week as traffic returns back to Lagos, even if the business side of things remains slow.
People say it’s the longest month of the year, but certainly not in terms of the number of days, as there are six other 31-day months in the year. What makes January long is the combination of slow business and empty pockets. For most employees, December salaries and Christmas Bonuses have been received before the celebration season in December, and by the time work resumes in January, the money is all gone with the winds of the yuletide! Things get more complicated for a lot of parents as it’s also the beginning of a new term for school children and that means, school fees are due!
Here is the truth, January offers a new page for us to plan our finances for the year. There are some things that you won’t be able to figure out, but then there are quite a number of major expenditures that you can identify for the year. You know when the rent will be due, and children school fees, you want to buy a ram for your father during the next Eid Kabir, or you are planning to get married this year? Any planned surgery? It could also be a vacation during your leave or your equity contribution for a mortgage of auto-acquisition. Are you starting a new business this year or expanding what you are currently doing? January is a good time to list out all these major items and begin to plan how you will fund them.
Planning helps keep your goals in sight, channel your resources appropriately, and think ahead of solutions to financial challenges that may arise in the course of the year. If you have not put pen to paper to take a shot at charting how you will achieve your major expenditures this year, it’s a good time to do it. You will be amazed at how much it helps to keep your eyes on the ball this year. Happy new year!
Gbolahan is a resourceful corporate executive with professional experience spanning over 24years, 9 of which were spent as a C-level executive. He is a consummate Finance and Accounting professional with extensive exposure to Marketing, Operations and Management at various levels. His industry exposure cuts across Professional Services, Investment & Corporate Banking, Print Media, Education, Healthcare, Oil & Gas and Telecoms.