Personal Finance Discipline for Developers

Twitter is a crazy neighbourhood and being there every day seeing what a lot of Nigerian youths tweet (probably a reflection of how the think), is heartbreaking. I can't help but wonder... Are those really the leaders of tomorrow.

But, amidst all the noise, there are some solid gems on that space, I saw a tweet which had a lot of meaning, it reads (paraphrased): "having money and telling yourself you're broke, is another level of discipline", and that is what I want to write about today.

I'm not here to tell you the whole mantra on how you should quit your job and start a company, or join a network marketing company that would shoot your finances to the stars. I'm a Nigerian developer and this is what I have to offer to other developers, mostly younger ones. Three things you probably want to take more seriously are

1. Savings

No matter how much you earn, "Put aside a fixed part of your earnings". I'm not asking you to save so that you can buy your dream computer or a new phone. Neither am I asking you to save so that you can become filthy rich, which is impossible. If you save 100K monthly, it'd take you 10 years to become a millionaire and you can't be a billionaire in your lifetime, except you plan living for 10 millenniums. No matter how little you earn, put a small portion of it aside.

But, sometimes you really don't have a savings problem, you have an earning problem. I've seen payroll of graduates earning less than what it costs them to survive, in that case... you need to change jobs. No amount of money would ever be enough to survive, you must discipline yourself to live a modest life in your prime.

Some 195million jobs have been lost this year alone (Covid-19 being the official cause for most), always have a good answer fo "If I lost my job today, how many months can I survive without a job".

2. Investment

The most important kind of investment is to invest in yourself, I'm not just talking about eating good food and wearing nice clothes (good !== expensive). Invest in expanding your domain knowledge, take courses online in your field, learn about other domains, learn about life and anything that might interest you. The purpose of this is to make sure that every day, you wake up as a better person than you were yesterday.

The most important question here is, "What are you doing to make sure your next job would pay you double of your current salary". Hope isn't a strategy.

3. Retirement

This is the other kind of investment, "Your future". You should have a roadmap for your career and a concise answer to "at what age do you want to retire?". There are several ways to achieve this, including investing in Agriculture, Stocks, Real estate, Valuable metals, Crypto, FX among others. Do your research and pick what works best for you.

You might need to finance your investment and retirement from your savings intermittently, however, every month ensure to put something aside for each of this. How you ration depends on your salary, your monthly burn, dependents, et. al. But whatever you do, always put something aside.