BEST SEASONAL INVESTMENTS TO GROW YOUR WEALTH FASTER! (PART ONE)

Hello there! Have you by any means considered an additional source of income that can add to your primary income source? Do you want to start a business on the side that can increase your funds/cash flow? Then you’re on the right page!

We’re going to be looking at a few investments/businesses that can fit right in, and furnish you with more income. Remember, the rich usually have several sources of income; they never rely on a single source. However, in order to fully cover each one and get you to know all you need to before starting out, we’re going to be doing a series on them; and taking one in each post. Are you ready? Dig in and enjoy.

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There are a whole lot of investments out there, that you can find across several financial institutions. Having worked in several financial institutions, I have a good grasp of most, but we’ll cover all that in subsequent posts. These investments are safe and low risk, however, they provide you at best, average returns on your money. We’re talking 10 – 12%, and very rarely 13 – 15%. The higher interest rates come mostly at the end and beginning of the year when most people are pulling out their funds to spend during the festive periods, or are pulling them out to pay the bills after spending their spare cash during the festive periods. Remember the law of demand and supply? When the number of people putting monies into these investments drops, then the interest rates are driven up to encourage more people to invest.

For those of us that have just started learning finance and investments, this simply means that if you were to invest one million naira in let’s say money markets in December/January (these months usually have the highest rates like I stated earlier), at let’s say 15%, you would earn an interest or a profit of N150,000. However, ALL interest rates are per annum (which means that they’re calculated on a one-year basis), which is something your banker or financial advisor might neglect to tell you if you don’t know any better. This means that the interest of N150,000, earned on a million naira will only be paid to you in full IF you leave the money for a full year. If you’re investing it for six months, then it’ll be prorated, which simply means N150,000 divided by 2; which will give you N75,000 in six months. Investing said amount for three months would mean N150,000 divided by 4; which would give you N37,500 in three months. You get the math? OK, let’s move ahead.

However, when we talk about seasonal investments, we mostly refer to agricultural investments because agriculture in Nigeria is seasonal, unlike what is obtainable in the western world where they have technologically advanced their farming systems to make available most crops all year round, at relatively steady prices.

In Nigeria, most cash crops have their seasons when they are produced/harvested in large quantities, and therefore become very cheap; in short, you get them at their lowest prices during these periods; after which they can skyrocket in pricing. So therefore as a smart investor, you could strategically pull out a part of your funds from financial institutions during these periods to invest in these agricultural produce, which could guarantee you much higher returns on your investments within a particular timeframe.

These type of investments are of course, not for everyone; some people might not be interested, or might not want to put in the effort necessary; or might not want the slightly higher risks that naturally come with such investments. However, this is for those who want to grow their wealth at a faster rate, who really desire to have multiple streams of income, and who are willing to put in the time, effort and work necessary to study and invest in these God-given opportunities.

It’s also important to note that even though we’re looking at these investments like seasonal investments and extra sources of income due to the fact that you make the most profits during their peak seasons, most of these investments can be built upon to become a full-time business for you; just understand that as with all businesses, there are peak periods when you make the highest profits, as well as periods that naturally come with lower profits; however, you can cover up for the lower profit period by simply allocating a portion of your business capital to just buying when the prices are lowest, holding/storing, and then selling when the prices are at their highest. This is actually a very simple but very effective business technique; Buy Low And Sell High.

However, as with all things, before going ahead, there are some precautions you need to take and observe, to avoid running into a loss, and losing a part of your capital;

# Avoid starting these investments with all of your funds; better to start with a part; especially at the beginning when you’re still learning the ropes, but even after you’ve become an expert, it’s still unwise to put all your money into any one investment

# Carefully choose which cash crop you want to invest in; it is not in any way advisable to try to invest in several of them at the same time.

# Take your time to research how the seasonal periods work on the product you choose; best times to buy, to hold, and to sell.

# Observe the product and learn how to source, buy or plant the highest quality of the product to prevent investing in poor quality goods

# Learn the best methods of storage of the produce to avoid deterioration or spoilage

# Ensure you have an adequate and safe space/environment to store the product

#Avoid sending “middle-men” to buy for you; at best, go along with them to ensure you’re buying at the best prices and getting the best quality

All these are lessons I learnt the hard way; I was deceived, and taken advantage of when I first started; of course that was also partially due to the fact that I didn’t take out time to do a thorough research before plunging ahead; I was too eager and anxious to begin, and so I had to learn by trial and error; the hard way. Trust me, not a nice way to learn when your precious money is on the line. Now that we’ve got the above covered, let’s go ahead and look into the first of these investments and how it works. Are you as excited as I am? Let’s go!

PALM OIL

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We all know the story of how Nigeria’s economy was based on exportation of palm oil and other cash crops at the beginning, and how strong the economy was then, and also of how Malaysia, currently one of the world’s largest producers of palm oil came to Nigeria to get the seedlings with which they used to set up their own production.

Palm oil has repeatedly proven itself to be a major cash cow, and a sustainable form of business over the decades. As a plus, Palm oil is one of the best short term investments that can give you one hundred percent return on your investment, and even more.

Palm oil is invaluable due to the diversity and intensity/volume of it’s usage, both locally and internationally. It is used in cooking, noodles & pasta production, cosmetics and soaps, candles, and a host of other essential products that serve important and different needs in human life.

The prices of palm oil are lowest during the dry season; notably in late February, March and April. This is when you should buy; preferably by mid to late March, and you will be guaranteed very low prices. You could buy the oil in 25 litre gallons (not black) for storage. It is preferable to use see-through gallons, either in white or yellow. Although some people use blue and red gallons also; just avoid black. Please ensure your gallons are clean on the inside, and completely dry, as traces of water will cause the oil to foam over the period of storage.

It is very important to know the difference between good, pure palm oil, and bad palm oil before ever setting out to buy any. The first time I ventured out to buy, I bought over 77 gallons of “doctored” palm oil. After importantly storing them up, when it came to the time for selling, I was practically begging people to buy them because by then, the oil had deteriorated because it was never good right from the start. Needless to say, I lost over half of my funds in the process; it was a tough way to learn, but I got the lesson perfectly, and never made such a mistake again. If you buy bad palm oil, or oil that has been mixed with fiber or any other substance, that would practically be a disaster because it will deteriorate in storage, and begin to emit an unpleasant odour. Imagine trying to sell such off. Good luck with that!

Contrary to what some might believe, if oil is of premium quality, you could store it for as long as five years, and even more. But if it’s contaminated with fiber and water, it gets smelly and cakes within a few weeks. So it’s not the duration of storage, but the quality, freshness and purity of the oil that counts.

Also, some precautions to take to ensure you don’t get taken advantage of are; make the seller or producer at the mill or market turns the oil into your gallons in front of you. Never leave the gallons with them to fill up on their own. Also, perceive the oil to ensure it is smelling good and fresh (you could pour out a little quantity into a small container to do this); and make sure you get to taste it on your tongue too; so you’re sure it doesn’t have any funny taste. You should have been doing this for a while, so you would have gotten used to the smell and taste of good, fresh oil.

You could also buy and store your palm oil in plastic barrels; they are found mostly in blue. A barrel of oil can contain between eight to nine 25 litre gallons.

You can source your oil from mills where it is produced; which are mostly found in villages in Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta and Edo states at good prices during the seasonal periods. You could also check out the eastern states like Abia, Imo, Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi. In Benin, the capital of Edo state, oil mills can be found right in the town, without having to go into the interior villages. Palm oil is also produced in the west; Ondo, Ekiti, Oyo and Ogun.

The best way to store the oil is usually in gallons or barrels. Avoid placing them directly on the floor, which will make the bottom parts of the oil solidify. Instead, place them on wooden planks or pallets, or on wooden floors. If you can, also cover the gallons or barrels with cartons or sac bags.

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Now to the most interesting part; the price of oil begins to rise significantly in July, and continues rising till mid-december! So you can decide when you want to sell, anytime during this period and you’ll definitely make profits. If you sell by the end of July, you’ll make profits, but not as much as someone who sells between October to December. Just make sure you sell off completely by the second week of December to avoid the prices dropping when you’ve still got your oil on you.

You could also source your oil from “village” markets across these locations; some of them sell on a particular day of every week; others count market days that is, like every four or three days. You would need to do your research on how the markets around you or around where you want to buy from operate.

With palm oil, you have a huge market to sell to; you can sell to wholesalers and retailers (both of whom are normally found in the open markets). Retailers are also found everywhere in foodstuff stores and shops, even in your neighborhood. You’ve still got the hotels and restaurants too to sell to, as well as traders who come in to buy from the north (that is, if you’re in the south or east). There are also some companies who buy palm oil; with some research, you should be able to find out their names and locations.

Another interesting part; let’s look at your profit margin! Palm oil prices in Nigeria are really volatile; they can shoot up to some crazy amounts during periods of scarcity or they could rise gradually and steadily, but rise they must. You could make anywhere from 50% to 200% profits and above. This is because palm oil prices could double and triple within a year; between March to December. That means if you were to invest N500,000 and sell off when the prices doubled, you can easily realize N1,000,000 which would give you a hundred percent in profits!

Do you know, in early 2016, palm oil was sold at between 4,500 to N6,000 per 25 litre gallon. Guess what? Towards the end of the year, and in December, the same gallons were sold for N30,000! Hey, we’re no longer talking about a meagre 100% profit here! We’re talking like over 500% profit! For those that invested with sufficient capital, they smiled to the bank with their newly acquired millions! A word of caution; it doesn’t happen like this every year, so you know, watch your expectations. I mean, we all love this type of profit, but usually in a year, the prices just get doubled within that year. In some years, the prices could also also get tripled. I’m still praying for another 2016. Aren’t you?

Being the strategic investor, businessman/woman and entrepreneur we talked about earlier, December and January would be a nice time to invest your capital and your sweet profits you’ve just made from your palm oil investment in the different money market funds offered by banks and financial institutions, when the interest rates being offered will be at their peaks. I’ll bring out some posts that will cover these in detail, so stay tuned!

Remember, the aim here is to grow your funds and wealth faster, so this would be a wise move. Leaving your funds in a savings account after making nice profits will simply open you up to the temptations of high spending during the festive periods.

So you see how you can grow your wealth faster with just one type of seasonal produce. We’re doing a series on the different types, so come next Friday, I’ll drop another post on another type of seasonal produce you can invest in to grow your wealth. Give you more options to choose from eh? Remember, Cash flow is king. So let’s go create wealth; see you at the top; where you belong!

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