Foluso Adeyemi, Head Finance Helium Health

It is not news that the on-going pandemic has changed and impacted a lot of things. For one, it is unprecedented how often we use the word unprecedented nowadays. Easter and Sallah Breaks were spent in solitude, parties are now held over Zoom, and face masks are essential accessories. No holiday plans or summer bod plans. The main plan is to survive this pandemic.

This disruption has created a need to rethink our financial goals for the year, at the very least. We need to make wise money decisions during this period. Here are some tips to help with this:

  • Understand the Flow and Timing of your Income: For those of us still privileged to get a salary (thank you Helium Health), payments are made at the end of the month. You may also earn an income from investment opportunities / other businesses at different points in time. Understanding the flow and timing of income is essential in financial planning, as certain expenditure can be planned around the inflow of income.
  • Essentials Only, and Save the Rest: Well, essentials first. Make a detailed list of all expenses – every single expense. Then classify these expenses into wants, needs and essentials (Yes, there is a difference between ‘necessary’ and ‘essential’. Every essential is a need, but not every need is essential. Deep stuff right?) If you can survive without it, it is not essential. There have been a lot of sales and offers for every and anything during this lockdown and being at home allows for a lot of ‘window shopping’. Prioritize essentials and avoid unnecessary expenses – we don’t know when this pandemic will end. So please, that tab that is open, the one with the 50% discount, or ‘BOGO’ for non-essentials or items you most likely would not use in the next six months, just close it. Close it and save the money. This is a good time to develop a savings habit. If needed, there are companies / apps such as PiggyVest that help create / encourage savings habits.
  • Seek Advice on Investment Opportunities and Make Your Money Work for You: Put your money to work. While saving is great, current Nigerian bank interest rates on savings accounts are abysmal. There are investment opportunities that will give better returns than a savings bank account, no matter your risk appetite. There are low-risk investment opportunities such as government bills and bonds that can be accessed through banks or money market funds. There are also insured investment opportunities that ensure no loss of principal (the amount invested). There are platforms you can follow for financial advice, such as The Green Investment Club, Thrive Invest, Bamboo, Money Africa etc, to name a few.
  • Take Care of Yourself: Health is wealth. Exercise, eat healthy, read books, listen to music, reach out to loved ones, wash your hands, wear facemasks (in public) and rest. We will get through this.