Money Hack is a weekly series that asks real Nigerians to share a money hack — for saving, investing or spending — that they swear by.
For this week’s episode of Money Hack, Fola Olatunji-David, a 33-year-old father of four involved in the startup space, talks to us about how his money hack allows him to spend more time with his family.
What’s your money hack?
My biggest financial hack is probably a cliche: make more money. I’m talking about investments that make your money work for you, a side hustle or switching to a new role that pays more.
I tell people that saving for a rainy day is good but making more money is better. The tricky part is sustaining those earnings. That’s where investment comes in. There are steps to consider when looking to invest. You can increase your income pool, maintain some stability, prune your lifestyle to cut out excesses, and group your investments into short-term and long-term. If you don’t, you risk selling long-term investments for cheap.
Long-term investments only work when you’ve cared for your short-term needs. So the only way to make more money available for yourself is to consider ways of increasing the amount you have for the short-term.
How did you discover this hack?
I was privileged to start work early in life. I was about 19 when I got my first job; the pay was ₦20,000. It was comfortable until I started getting more responsibilities, which meant less money to keep for myself. My bills were sorted, but I didn’t have savings. When I started experimenting with savings, I realised that it didn’t do as much for me. Yes, you have this chunk of money, but it’s finite. Your needs, on the other hand, aren’t.
Imagine earning ₦500,000 and saving 20% of that. That’s about ₦100,000. If all goes well, you can have ₦1.2 million at the end of a year. Things like rent, family emergencies, inflation etc, can cut through the ₦1.2 million easily. If you needed to increase your savings (at that 20%), you’d have to earn more.
So, I applied that logic to my life and by the time I was turning 21, I had already started earning ₦150,000.
That’s a 750% increase.
It happened after a series of promotions within the company. I started out as a contract staff and later became full-timer. This was 2007. Since then, my earnings have only increased.
What is the quickest way to make more money?
I’d say invest but a lot of times, people don’t know what to invest in. By the time investment opportunities make it to the news, you’re already getting the short end of the stick.
There are amazing platforms like PiggyVest that offer legitimate investment options, but you cannot invest what you don’t have. Investments should be made on the surplus. If you earn a certain amount that barely pulls you through the month, just focus on staying alive and increasing your income if you can.
The surest way to do this is by getting a new job. Now, I’m not saying jump from job to job because I have people who work with me that I don’t want to leave, but the truth is, the fastest and surest way to earn more is to change jobs.
Employment is strange. You could be in a place where you feel your growth is stunted and your employers hire someone less qualified than you for more pay. It becomes a trap when people remain in this situation because they feel indebted to a job that no longer serves their needs.
How does one avoid this all together?
Instead of thinking of your career as a long continuous series, think of it in terms of smaller projects: “This is what I want to accomplish on this job, this is how I’m going to measure my performance.” When you do this, it helps you know when your watch has ended and it’s time for you to leave.
Can you think of a time when your money hack saved you?
When the responsibilities of being a husband and a father came, I knew I had to increase my earnings and I did. Fast forward to the present and my money hack is currently saving me. I took a work break in May so I could spend the rest of the year with my family.
Check back every Tuesday by 10 AM for new Money Hack episodes. Catch up on old episodes here.