When asked whether they had started investing, most young couples in a recently held personal finance forum said they were deferring to a later date, due to lack of ‘extra money’.
Some lamented that they could hardly meet their financial obligations comfortably.
That’s where the problem was! Waiting to get cash-rich to start investing was the excuse. Yet, these couples were not financially disadvantaged. As a matter of fact, I would classify them in the middle income (B, 1-2) bracket. But they were oblivious of the investment resources and opportunities around them.
Where do you get money to invest? Most of us lead relatively comfortable (and sometimes affluent) lives while postponing ‘investment’.
If you are a middle-income earner who cannot figure out where to get money to invest, look no further than your lifestyle.
Psychologically, the fact that the lower bracket is just ‘a step away’ impels most people in the middle income to strive to become rich. As a result, majority live beyond their means and become enslaved by bills and consumerism.
They may look like they are doing well from the outside, but they live in perpetual fear and prayer that nothing befalls their family, or their jobs.
Instead of living precariously, you can adjust your lifestyle downwards and invest the difference. By moving to a less expensive house or estate, curbing non-critical expenses and not being too image-conscious, you will not be sliding back but wizening up.
You should not spend more than 25 per cent of your income on rent. School fees, premiums, shopping and other miscellaneous expenses should constitute 50 per cent, leaving you with 25 per cent to invest.
On any given day, regardless of how much you earn, investing a quarter of your income every month, compounded for a period of say 20 years, is pure wisdom. Moonlighting is another source of ‘investment money’, you keep your day job and make some money on the side.
Do not adjust your lifestyle upwards just because you got a spare job. Similarly, if you get promoted at work, or your business improves, which means you will have more disposable income, don’t start spending aimlessly.
Retain your current lifestyle and invest the extra income. Over time, the proceeds from those investments will enable you to move up the economic ladder comfortably and justifiably.
Investing in personal development, especially for young couples is crucial.
Gone are the days one would get a job and work in the same company until retirement. The job market is now competitive and people are paid on results. The more you enhance your skills, the better chances of getting a higher-paying job.
To get money to invest, you would also implement cost-cutting measures in everything and question the validity of non-mandatory expenditures. With sustained ceding of your income to investments, you will gradually become financially independent. Your money will start working for you and bring in regular returns.
If your investments are medium-term, they will most likely mature at around the time you want to take your children to high school, college, build a home or start a business. At that time, you should not be reliant on a salary.