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Financial independence starts with careful planning. If you want to be a millionaire in the future, you have to do the work today.

We’re excited to kick off our brand new column called Ask A Financial Advisor. Financial experts from United Capital are taking questions from our community and providing real advice. Read on for our first series of answers covering topics such as investing as a fresh graduate, real estate as an investment property and how to start investing even when you feel like you don’t have any money to spare.

Hello. I would like to ask about the best place and way to invest my money in Nigeria presently, some say federal government bond buying, but am not so clear nor sure. I mean am not so super rich and just 3yrs out of college but I think the little money I make part if it invested would go a long way. Pls kindly help a sister out. Gracias! – Abimbola

Investments when being done on a relatively small scale, are safer when carried out under the umbrella of a professional Fund Manager/ Trust Company. That way, the minimum requirements for say an FGN Bond or any other instrument will be met through the pool of funds being managed by the company. Also, the risks involved will be shouldered by the company and you will be privy to professional wealth advisory services suited to your investment objectives.

What can one invest in that requires minimum money? I’m a single mum and I feel I’m living hand to mouth, I’d like ideas on what I could invest in and how that will require minimum money that could potentially accumulate or grow. – Nikita 

You can invest in a contributory scheme with a minimum annual contribution of N60,000.00, which will come to N5,000.00 per month. If you were to set up a Private Investment Trust, your contributions will be pooled with other contributors’ funds and invested in profitable investments which the N5,000.00 would ordinarily be insufficient to partake in. The result of this is a healthy mix of stable returns as well as minimum -risk  investments which will be affordable to you and simultaneously accumulate in the long term.

Every month I seem to just break even and in some cases I am over budget. How can I save money whilst breaking even on my budget? – Sharon

You need to decide on a percentage of your income to save every month, we would advise 10%-15% for a start. Once that decision is made, you can invest in a contributory scheme which requires you to make contributions per month. A Standing Payment Order (SPO) given to your banker to automatically credit your contributions to the Fund Manager/Trust Company will ensure you do not begin to overspend before the contributions are made. This will improve your financial discipline and at the same time ensure you have accumulated a tidy sum which would have yielded a stable return in the medium to long term.

With the rising cost of living, buying property is virtually impossible. Although I qualify for a small amount, should I rather buy an investment property (property that I will rent out and never live in) or wait until I can afford a place of my own and buy one for myself? – Kendi

Buying property is a highly capital intensive venture and may not be advisable if you do not have the liquidity. It would rather be advisable to invest your funds in REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) through a professional at a minimal fee, so that you can accumulate the funds until you can afford the property of your choice, whilst still enjoying some benefits of real estate investments through the underlying assets of the REIT.

If you’d like to get your questions answered by a financial advisor from United Capital, submit your questions by clicking here

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