Tomie Balogun’s investment journey and how you can benefit from it
The Millennial Investor, Tomie Balogun is a Certified Financial Education Instructor, and CEO of the Green Investment Club. Balogun, in this interaction with Modestus Anaesoronye, gives insight into her investment journey, career tips, and key lessons on how to find a business, and also succeed in it.
Work with people who share your vision
When I got accepted for my MBA, I realised I wasn’t going to be earning steady income for 2 years and I had been working for 4 years and earning a good salary yet I had no significant savings to show for it. It was clear my personal finance habits had to change if I didn’t want to keep repeating the same cycle all my life.
Thankfully, I found like-minded friends who were my MBA class mates at the time who shared the same sentiments. We decided to start an investment club for 4 key reasons; to pool our individual funds together so we could have a lot more cash to invest, to get access to bigger investment opportunities, to share the rewards and risks of investing together and to hold ourselves accountable to our financial goals.
Your story will always be an inspiration to someone
I started my personal blog where I shared about various themes in 2014. In one of my blog posts, I shared about starting an investment club and I got so many questions; that was when I knew there were others in the same boat as I was when I started who really needed information on how to get their finances in order and make investment decisions in Nigeria. One blog post led to another and I received requests for a workshop. This led to me holding multiple workshops where I shared my practical investment experience and invited experts to share as well.
We are in the Millennial Age
Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are the demographic cohort following Generation X and preceding Generation Z. Researchers and popular media use the early 1980s as starting birth years and the mid-1990s to early 2000s as ending birth years, with 1981 to 1996 a widely accepted definition. It is an identity given to a specific set of people with similar core values and needs. Based on research, millennials are well-educated and much better connected. They are less religious and are getting married later and having less children when they do. They are just as optimistic as any previous generation. They don’t look up to brands or institutions or figureheads as much. The future, they know, they must build for themselves with their friends and peers. They also know they must take control of their own careers, think independently and for them lifelong employment is a fairy tale. It’s all about lifelong learning, being on the move, being in control.
Financial illiteracy is still on the rise
While we may be educated, we do not have adequate access to information on how to make investment decisions and avoid scrupulous scams who promise too-good-to-be-true returns.
We need to ask more questions on the credibility of these investment platforms or opportunities. What are they doing to earn the promised returns? Is it a legitimate business or simply a Ponzi scheme? Do they have clear operational activities? Corporate governance? These questions need to be asked more often.
Have a clear investment goal
When we have clear goals and a good understanding of the factors that influence investment decisions, we can make better investment decisions based on our personal philosophy.
Someone else who has a personal goal to travel the world, as most millennials plan to these days, might decide to take advantage of safe liquid investment options or high-risk passive income investment options to earn more income. If he/she decides to stay safe, the person is most likely a conservative investor or already has a high risk portfolio, if he/she decides to invest in high risk options, it might mean that he/she’s current income cannot meet the travel goal or he/she already has an investment portfolio that consists of safe investment options and can afford to take the risk.
Never stop learning from experts
I started out sharing my knowledge as a certified financial educator and personal investment experience with the members but over time, we have invited other experts and thought leaders who have practical investment experience to share these experiences with members of the club.
Consistency yields results
Starting the Green Investment Club was an experiment. I blogged weekly on my personal website, www.tomiebalogun.com, about my investment club and received so many requests to start one for those who thought they didn’t have the right friends to start an investment club with. I took up the challenge and started the Green Investment Club in October 2017. 35 people signed up for the initial run of the club and by the 3rd month, we had over 100 people on a wait list waiting to join due to the results they saw members of the club achieve. Today, we have about 1,000 members who live in 13 countries.
Learn from your failure
When I and 4 other friends started our financial investment club in 2013, we were excited about the prospects of what we could achieve. We had read so many Silicon Valley investment success stories and I guess we were a bit naïve about what we could achieve in Nigeria.
We set out to invest in small businesses with great impact potential and the ability to scale. One of our very first investments was in a carpool service business for young working professionals. This was before the advent of Uber in Lagos.
This service was in demand and we saw the opportunity to help the owner scale up his operations. We invested and as MBA graduates, we thought we had mitigated all the risks that come with investing in a small business. Apparently we didn’t mitigate the risk of multiple bounced cheques.
It was a great lesson for us to always make an investment decision based on the integrity of the person or small business owner first before we consider the growth potential of a business. The lessons from this transaction have stayed with us, helped me make some more critical investment decisions after wards and teach others how to avoid these mistakes too.
Change is constant, so be dynamic
Back then, we didn’t have as many investment options or platforms like we do now. We had only the traditional investment options; stock market, money market, small businesses to work with when we started our investment club. Today, there are so many fintech platforms that help you save, invest and earn passive income. There are mobile apps that give you access to invest in treasury bills, the stock market, alternative investment opportunities like agriculture and real estate, transportation etc. and we haven’t even scratched the surface of the full potential of these innovative changes.
I do not invest based on trends anymore. I only invest in what is right for me at a certain point in time based on budget and specific goals. I believe this frees from the pressure to catch on to any trends. I reach out to experts to learn as much as I can about the trend and based on the information shared, I decide if it is right for me at that particular moment or not.
To cap it all, she made a prediction on the future of investment in Nigeria. According to her,“There will always be investment opportunities in Nigeria. In fact, the current economic landscape is a perfect opportunity for investment. There are micro and small businesses in different sectors that need capital to grow and employ more people. These micro and small businesses account for over 80 percent of businesses in Nigeria. They offer a savvy investor a great opportunity to invest and contribute to growth in the economy.