The Successful Lawyer: ‘Save for The Rainy Day’ – Tosin Ajose Popoola

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“All days are not same. Save for a rainy day. When you don’t work, savings will work for you[1].”

Dear Colleagues,

 Not too long ago, the rain began, the rain was in form of the Pandemic, Covid-19 and just like the real rain is known to alter a lot of activities, with children going late to school, offices opening late, high buildup of traffic, roofs detaching and sometimes leaving farms and houses in ruins. This rain which was in form of the pandemic grounded all activities at least for the legal industry, we witnessed a drastic cut in pay of Associates in firms, even some partners were not spared, there was indeed an heavy rain, in the midst of this rain, some set of people remained untouched and literally dry; they are the lawyers who have either fully leveraged on technology (click on the link: please insert link for: Tips for the Rookie Lawyer: Leveraging Technology) and those who had long ago cultivated the habit of saving.

My concern today is with the  set of lawyers who are yet to cultivate the habit of saving. Saving is an habit, an habit that can be cultivated…it’s a tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up[2]. So, when savings becomes an habit, it is difficult to give up, the act becomes unconscious, automatic and because it has been cultivated, imbibed and repeatedly done over time, it gets easier.

 You may begin to wonder, have I not deviated from the aim of this column which as the name implies is the successful lawyer; sharing tips on how to be a successful lawyer, not to worry I am still on track. In the words of my dear friend, Abimo Olayiwola “…a successful lawyer is one who has made a name as an expert in his niche and is comfortable financially, able to meet up to the yardstick he has set for himself.”

So, apparently success means among others, that you’re comfortable financially, you’re able to live a comfortable life and discharge all monetary obligations as at when due. As lawyers we are trained to know the statute, advice and solve problems we are generally speaking not business inclined people and because of this we tend to just ‘live by the law.’ Our conventional training as lawyers is devoid of financial literacy or accounting principles and as such lawyers tend to struggle financially, not necessarily because (sometimes) law might not be financially rewarding neither is it due to the plight of young lawyers who struggle daily with ridiculous pay by firms and indeed, the little percentage who are fortunate to get their own briefs equally have to deal with the ‘underpriced’ legal services due majorly to our Regulatory Body’s failure  to make stringent rules on billing.

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Of course, we all know that a penny saved is a penny earned[3], life itself is full of uncertainties and insecurities, savings guarantees a financial coverage when these uncertainties and insecurities happens. And just like the pandemic, life will not give anyone notice before it strikes with her uncertainties. Saving is a good habit which everyone and more importantly every young lawyer must embrace, it teaches us to take responsibility and prepares us to react to emergencies.  Saving is like taking out an insurance, it gives an assurance which leads to a happier and healthier self. More importantly, is the fact that we spend ample and quality time seeking out better opportunities rather than spending same time thinking out how to pay debt. For if one fails to save, the most likely thing is debt.

Generally speaking, savings answers 3 (three) basic demands of life they are; Emergency, Purchases and Wealth Building[4].

Emergency: There will always be one form of emergency or the other. The pandemic was one emergency. It is advised that a certain percentage of monthly income be set aside vide savings for emergencies. We have heard stories of lawyers losing their jobs without any form of notice, in instances such as this, the savings set aside for emergency can be utilized while scouting for a new job. Also, ill health is an emergency, there are situations where earning capacity or prowess is lost due to ill health or a failing health, in instances such as this, the Emergency fund can be utilized.

Purchases: As humans, we will always have wants, we want to acquire cars, build and/or purchase homes, set up a library, go for a vacation among others. With savings we can conveniently do all of these without falling into the debt trap.

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Wealth Building: There is no rule that stops or prevents lawyers from building wealth, an easy way of doing this is to save and invest the savings. There are a lot of opportunities for investors, there is e-commerce, Agro-Farming, Real Estate and so on and so forth. The good thing about wealth building is that when a certain percentage  of earned income is set aside for wealth building, it creates another channel of income such that when the main stream of income ceases, there is something to fall back on.

In concluding, please bear in mind that no one and I mean practically no one, was born with a saving habit, we have to build and develop it. I am aware that sometimes the earned income is not even enough to satisfy immediate needs and wants, hence the difficulty in setting aside a part of it. Now, regardless of how insufficient the earned income is, we MUST save, there will always be wants, and if we’re not disciplined enough to save, then the rainy day will come without shelter to shield us.

Have you been saving? Would you like to develop a saving habit? Please share your thoughts with me.

Thank you.

Oluwatosin Ajose Popoola, ‘Tosin is a lawyer, content creator and blogger, she is passionate about law and its numerous instruments. She can be contacted at: tosinajose22@gmail.com.

Footnotes

[1] M.K Soni

[2] www.floridabankrupcy.com>why-is-saving-money

[3] Benjamin Franklin

[4] Quizlet.com>three-reasons-to-save-money-flash-cards

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