Every year, most of us get either a pay increase at work, a new job with higher pay or maybe finally get that first job right after school. The pay check that comes with any of these moves is what I refer to as ‘New Money’. ‘New money’ is the difference between your former net worth and your new net worth as a direct result of a change in your life circumstances. You maybe saying to yourself, I have not received a pay raise and there is no new job in sight, so this post is not for me. Before you look away, how about breaking an old habit that frees up cash that you can now call ‘new money’. Old habits like buying the latest toys, shoes, bags, clothing, wedding asoebi or going out for drinks with friends. A quick look at your bank statement would throw up some idols that you can easily give up temporarily or maybe forever to enable you do more with your money.
A few months ago, we had a chance to speak with some friends who got hired into a new role with a Fortune 500 company. They all encountered a quantum leap in their finances and their bank accounts were about to encounter an earthquake literally. It was obvious that they were able to live just fine with their old income and even if they encountered a few rough patches, they found a way to make it through just fine. With their new jobs, they now had an overflow of cash in the horizon. So we posed a simple question – What will you do with the extra cash now that you have more than enough wiggle room? Let me guess, most people will likely act out of impulse relying on their default mode which tends in only one direction. A decision to switch things up immediately, play catch up, upgrade our lives, get everything we feel we missed out on and even enter ‘pepper them’ mode (whoever ‘them’ constitutes). Trust me, they all contemplated all of those options before we screamed…..
Stop! There are better ways to handle that money and then we spent some time giving them the money talk and challenging them to think differently about what to do with all that money…
Preparing mentally for growth is the first step. It will help you handle money better when you finally have a financial increase. When you prepare, you are rightly positioned to be one step ahead of yourself in life. Remember, if you don’t have a plan for your money, plans will come up somehow and random plans typically don’t favour the owner of the money. I constantly dream of when I will make the big bucks aka ‘hammer’, my plan is to take a year off and go to my village, sleep and wake up everyday to a nice plate of pounded yam and white soup. In other words, I will not touch the money until I have stared at it long enough, confirmed it is for real and device a plan to grow gradually into my new place of abundance. That is my plan, I am sure the pounded yam part made you giggle… So what is your money plan?
Practise deferred or delayed gratification, I remember while growing up, my mom never allowed us wear new clothes on day one. In her own words, “were you walking naked before I bought you this?” I learned early to wait and I am sure that we can learn a little lesson from her. Let me paint a scenario and encourage you to explore it whenever you have new money. Instead of spending the extra cash immediately, how about putting it aside for a while (12months maybe) in an investment pool? When you do this, you are putting yourself on track to build some savings. Of course, I understand that everyone’s situation is different and not everyone will be able to put aside everything so strike the right balance and choose the saving scenario that works best for you after asking yourself some hard questions to justify your expenditure. When you decide to invest, make sure you invest in something that you understand and in an instrument that is tested and trusted. Run away from quick rich schemes. If you start from now to defer spending new money by a few months, you will have a healthy stash of money saved up without feeling the pinch. Think of it this way, if you survived the last 12 months without the extra, a few more months will not hurt.
Practising contentment will keep you grateful and accountable for everything that you have. You will be confident knowing that no matter how much more you make, your worth is not determined by your net worth but by a self-worth grounded in Christ. You really arrive when you can echo the words of Paul and Timothy in their letter to the Church in Philippi – “for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me”.(Philippians 4:11‐13)
Every time you acquire new money, you get with it an opportunity to handle money differently, to practise the simple money principles that ensure that you take good care of today and wake up tomorrow and next with sufficient for each day. So when next you receive some extra cash, practise the 3S – Save, Spend and Share.
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Have a great day!
*Pepper them* is a Nigerian slang for spitefully showing off aimed at a particular person or group of people