Financial Intelligence: How to Be Smart with Your Money (2)

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As I was saying last week, I didn’t suspect anything, much less think I was standing in front of a smooth operating conman.  As courtesy demands, we exchanged glances and he reached out for handshake. After the exchange of pleasantries, in the moderately packed train that afternoon, this chap went straight to business, starting with the question: “Are you a believer ?” Almost as soon as I answered in the    affirmative, I became suspicious of what he was up to. Thinking he could be recruiting disciples for a terror group, I quickly asked him, “believer in what?”
He then began to narrate how he had come from Leeds to London on a day trip and that, having recently declared his Christian faith openly to his big brother, the latter had stopped supporting him and had actually sent him packing. To cut a long story short, he said he needed £10  from me to complete the fare for his return journey to Leeds.
Though I didn’t tell him I didn’t believe his narrative,   I just made it clear I couldn’t help. He went a step further and gave me the option of paying the money directly to National Express,   the bus company. I shook my head to indicate ‘ no’ again, just before we both got off two stops later.  Did I judge him wrongly, I doubt it. Reason being that his behaviour and plan B after my refusal indicated that he was an experienced con artiste.
Assuming  I may have judged him wrongly, we’ll all do that at some point. The key thing is knowing when not to part with  your money is but one aspect of being smart with it. Let me make it clear that being smart with your money doesn’t mean you’re always suspicious or don’t trust people – far from it. Rather, it just means you’ll develop the ability to read between the lines when people tell you all manner of stories.. In fact, asking just one question may even make their story fall flat before they finish telling it. But don’t get me wrong, majority of those who are smart with their money are the most generous, but they can still discern when stories don’t add up. 
 I’ve heard people say the reason they have nothing or don’t have much in life is because they are so generous and just can’t refuse anyone. While being stingy has nothing to do with being smart with your money, please wake up to reality if your alibi for having no clues as to how to fund your kids’ university education is because of your -lousy – generosity.  You can’t claim to be smart with your money without keeping some back to look after your own immediate family. Yeah! Never forget that charity actually  begins from home. Just last week, this paper reported that Anambra State governor, Dr Willie  Obiano has decided to henceforth  give his monthly salaries to the needy with immediate effect. Really inspiring. One of the reasons he gave was that what he earned while still in the private sector is  enough to look after his   family.   
Now that we’ve  laid the foundation,  so  firstly,  to be smart with your money, you must  go through your bank statements every month  end or the first day of a new month.  Thankfully, the month is just a few days old, so pull out your bank statements and go through your transactions for April and see if you’re happy with all your outgoings.  Just as some will make you glad, you may feel like pinching yourself with how you spent some.  Before explaining why this is key to being smart with your money, have you come across anyone who’s always complaining that  “I don’t know how my salary just goes away.”  Well, before you moan about what’s been happening to your salary, go through your last three months bank statements. You should know why afterwards. Remember last week’s  opening quote  by Nobel winning physicist , Albert  Einstein?
 In other words, if you want to know where your salary goes each month,  then you have to do something different – go through those  statements again, from your bank.  If, according to them,  you’ve been  spending your salaries paying bank charges,  then you  know you can’t continue doing that. Never let any month go by without creating the time to go through your bank statements.  Sir Richard Branson wrote of a  time – or  habit –  when he decided to sign every single cheque leaving his business. Wonder why he’s a billionaire?
  
To be continued.

Yours truly

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