Building Wealth to Promote Good Health

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Published: June 23, 2015

Health + Wellness

These days we seem to be working harder than ever, yet there seems to be no end to the daily grind. Despite reminders to take a moment to focus on our health lest we succumb to hypertension and stress, we are still overworking ourselves – to the detriment of our own health.

Even our downtime can bring us stress: Owanbe parties are all the rage (and admittedly a lot fun) but there is great pressure to keep up and to compete to give the most expensive party and party favors. And let’s not even get started on social media and the stress that comes with trying to keep up with our peers, even when it’s bleeding us dry. “

I’m not about to tell you to boycott Owanbe parties or give up social media, but I want you to imagine for a moment two very different ways of getting that hard-earned cash: from your daily work grind after being stuck in horrendous Lagos traffic, or from your investments that keep multiplying even while you sleep.

Is that image of your money multiplying while you sleep firmly planted in your head? Good, because there is no doubt that it is the preferable option! Instead of overworking yourself, you can make your money work harder for you, leading to a happier and healthier you!

So, how can you make your money work for you instead of you working for your money? One way is by learning about and investing in the stock market. Getting started is not as daunting as you might think. The first step is understanding exactly what investing in the stock market entails.

Investing in the stock market

green-white-green-piggybank-stock

What exactly is the stock market? A stock market is a place or environment where securities (stocks) are bought and sold using a stock exchange. The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) was established in 1977 and is fully automated, so that stockbrokers are able to trade online from offices all over the country. The NSE operates from 9.30 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. Nigerian Time every business day.

How to invest

Now that you are hooked on the idea of letting your money work for you, how do you invest? By using the services of brokerage firms. They are the storefront where investors go to trade securities. Investors do not trade securities directly with stock exchanges; instead, they use brokers to trade their securities.

There are traditional brokerage firms where you go to an office and speak directly to a stockbroker, and there are online brokerage firms where you can take control of your investment portfolio and only speak with a stockbroker if you need assistance. You can find a comprehensive list of brokerage firms and stockbrokers at www.nairametrics.com.

What investments to buy and sell

The most common types of investments are stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. This article will focus on stocks. The other investments will be discussed in future articles, so be sure to stay tuned.

Stocks (also called “equities”) represent the equity in a company. Investors who own shares of a company’s stock are part owners of the company and are entitled to enjoy in its success. Stocks are traded under a stock symbol/ticker with a stock price listed. The stock price is the price for one share of the stock, and it changes throughout the day based on many factors. For example, news of the economy performing well could send stock prices up, while news of an upcoming oil shortage could send the price of some stocks down.

How do you make money from stocks?

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You make money when the stock price goes up and/or when you collect dividend payments. As the company does well financially, the price of the stock goes up. You, the investor, can make money by selling your shares at the higher price and/or by collecting dividend payments (a share of the company’s profit). Note that not all companies pay dividends.

Here are some well-known, publicly traded Nigerian companies and their stock symbols:

  • Dangote Cement Plc. (DANGCEM)
  • First Bank of Nigeria Plc. (FBNH)
  • Julius Berger Nigeria Plc. (JBERGER)
  • Total Nigeria Plc. (TOTAL)

What you can do TODAY

Letting your money work for you will go a long way toward ensuring your good health. Here are a few key things to start doing today:

  • Learn more about the stock market by reading books, newspaper articles and websites like nairametrics.com. Read my book Fifty Shades of Green: A Stock Market Guide for the Financially Independent-Minded Woman to gain basic investing knowledge.
  • Pay attention to successful companies in your area, or companies that seem to be growing. They may represent a good investment.
  • Start to track the Nigerian stock market performance online. InfoWARE Finance is a phone app (available for Android and Apple devices) that gives real-time news and prices of Nigerian stocks. Begin to notice which companies perform well and which ones do not.
  • Finally, save up some money and visit a brokerage firm (either traditional or online) to start investing.

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About Ramat Oyetunji

Ramat Oyetunji is a certified personal finance counselor in Pennsylvania. She is passionate about promoting financial knowledge and is the author of Fifty Shades of Green: A Stock Market Guide for the Financially Independent-Minded Woman. Email her at Ramat@thefiwoman.com.

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