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Smart Money with Arese: If I Won a N100m Lottery….




There are two kinds of money problems, not enough money and too much money. When you are broke all you think about is how to make more money but when you have too much money and don’t have a solid plan on how to spend it, you’ll most likely end up broke again. (Ask Michael Carroll, the dustbin guy who won the lottery for £9m in 2002, then ended up a working in a biscuit factory for £6 an hour a few years later).

It’s important to start thinking about a spending plan for unexpected funds, before you get it, because naturally when money hits our accounts there’s this ‘I have money’ now feeling that overcomes us. When the funds are larger than we are used to, it’s easy to get carried away with spending mindlessly because you are subconsciously thinking I have more than I’ve ever had before so I can afford anything I want. So to come up with my spending plan for unexpected funds I like to play a game called if I won the lottery for N100, 000,000 I would?  It helps me articulate what I want my money to do in the larger sense.

3 things I would Invest In

A stock portfolio (N40m)
If we are friends, then you know how passionate I am about the growth prospects of the Nigerian stock market. I believe it’s a solid platform to build long- term wealth. In the words of Warren Buffet when it comes to investing in stocks ‘ be fearful when others are greedy and greedy only when others are fearful’. Basically, since people are weary of the Nigerian stock market, it’s a good time to research and invest in good companies that are undervalued.

I do not believe in borrowing money to buy stock, I do not believe that the stock market is a money doubling scheme (which was the motivation for many people’s investments in 2007, when the market was at its peak. That is an easy way to get burnt) but I believe in systematically using money you can afford to forget about to build long-term wealth. i.e money you would have used to go shopping or buy credit for the month, not your money for rent or school fees.

In that spirit I would invest N40m of my virtual money in building a stock portfolio. Reason being, this is a windfall I did not expect and has nothing to do with my day to day living expenses or other investments, so if it lost all its value tomorrow (which is highly unlikely), ‘e no go pain’!

My stock portfolio would look like this. (NB this is a stock portfolio for Arese o, I didn’t send you message, I didn’t say buy this or buy that…this one na example)

GTB, Dangote cement and Nigerian Breweries because I love those bad boys and they never fall my hand! Great liquidity, meaning I can buy and sell at any point no story and they pay regular dividends every year (some years are better than others) Okomu oil because I love the fundamentals behind the business, in this economy where the dollar seems to be king, they earn foreign exchange because they export. In my opinion, their growth prospects are awesome and the agricultural business is the next big thing. Transcorp used to be in my bad books but I think the change in management and the different sectors they are investing in make it a stock to hold long term.

The dividends stated in the table are based on what those companies declared last year and truth be told 2014 was pretty slow, Ebola, political uncertainty and all the negative predictions were bad for business. So N1.5m may not be a phenomenal return but this reflect dividends in a sketchy year and does not take into consideration capital appreciation.

For example, Gtbank had been trading at N18/N19 in December 2014, in April 2015 the day after Buhari was announced the President elect, it soared to N31 because of the positive sentiments that Nigeria was not in fact going to break up as a country. Almost a month later, profit takers have sold their stock to enjoy their profits it has stabilized at N28. Which means if you owned 100,000 units of GTB stock in December it was worth N1.9m today it is worth about N2.8m.

Real estate (N25m)
I would invest in land, in a growth area along Lekki/Epe expressway. A plot facing the road, so it can be used for commercial purposes. (Commercial properties facing a major road tend to appreciate faster than residential properties. For example, if you wanted to buy land in Lekki phase 1. A property on Admiralty road would probably cost around N200m, while residential properties further into the estate cost around N115m. In addition, the rental incomes differ).

I would choose an area like Sangotedo or Ibeju Lekki that is not fully developed in anticipation of the capital appreciation that will ensue when the developments in the surrounding areas are complete i.e Shoprite, the Lekki free trade zone, Dangote refineries, the airport. In 5-10 years those areas will be fully developed and the value would be substantially higher.

Let me put it in perspective, 15 years ago there was no electricity in Lekki phase 1. The people who lived there ran their households solely on generators, people were generally skeptical of the fact that the area was sand filled, ‘Lekki is too far’ they said and if someone owed you money and promised to give you their land in Lekki phase 1, you would probably look at them cross eyed and tell them to get serious. However, 15 years down the line the story has changed property prices in the area are now in the hundreds of millions.

Back to what I would do with this land I’ve bought for N15m. (hopefully it’s so expensive because, the papers have already been perfected and I can ensure minimal dealings with Omonile ) While I’m waiting for the land to appreciate in value, by which time I hope that banks, filling stations, Dominos and the like can come and offer me 100s of millions for it, I will spend N10m ( using local contractors) building a shopping complex. Nothing fancy just 10 shops. Each with an estimated rental income of N600k per annum x 10 units = N6million per annum, which means a 24% return on my N25m investment per annum. Hopefully in 5 years, I would have recouped my capital.

A small business (N20m)
I would invest N20m in a small business under the following conditions.

  1. A business model I believe in (profitable), in an industry I understand.
  2. Management/ founders I can trust to execute better than they have planned.
  3. An exit strategy. My capital can be termed a convertible debt. I will offer lower interest rates than the banks i.e. 17%. The interest must be paid every 90 days. We can rollover the principal for 5 years, if the founders have been able to repay interest consistently (this could be an indication that the business is profitable and the owners are honest) the debt can be converted to Equity, at which point we can negotiate a percentage of the profits as my return.

3 Things I Would Splurge On
If you ask 10 Naija people to name ten things they would spend their money on outside of investing, the lists would probably look similar. However, if you asked each person to prioritize their top 3 things, not the things they felt made them ‘look financially successful’ but the things that would make them truly happy, I guarantee you their lists will be different. In short, what I like and what my BFF Nnenna likes are different.
These are the 3 things that’ll make my heart sing!

A Holiday

I’m obsessed with holidays. They are my escape from the hassles of day-to-day life and in my experience they last forever. Once a holiday is booked and paid for. I’m automatically in beast mode; it will ginger me to work harder than ever, just so I can feel like I deserve it.

I would book a package deal with @africholidays on a girls holiday to Spain with my sisters, my best friends and their children. This is what it would look like. (me, Zikora, Isoken, Ivie, Nnenna, Zara, Zida +Zach, Nadine +Omari, Mariah,Toke, Wonu+Konam+Zane, Amaka+Micah, Isedua+Adesuwa, Nini, Eniola,Yvonne,Lilian+Ada).  This would be such an Epic holiday with some of the best people in my life…. Obviously I had the best time planning this fictitious holiday. It involved 15 adults and 9 children.


A Chanel Bag

Yes I LOVE Chanel…it is my guilty pleasure! Chanel classics are the truth! They last forever and they never go out of style…it is an investment piece (I do not believe in expensive seasonal accessories unless they are a gift)

I could be a hypocrite and say if I won the lottery I would *insert some goody too shoes purchase* but being smart with my money is not about extreme frugality but about using money as a tool to build the life I desire which means finding a balance between my guilty pleasures and building assets.

Redecorate My Daughter’s Room – Complete with a New Wardrobe
Her room would look like this:

And her wardrobe would be filled with pieces from African children’s wear designers.


See what I did there. I improved my net worth by N85m by purchasing assets that would provide me with an income and most likely appreciate over time. I still spent on ‘seemingly’ extravagant things. I had fun with my money but secured my financial future. Being smart with your money is not about extreme frugality but about building wealth that buys you options.

Back to reality!

The whole point of this exercise is to encourage a wealthy mindset, invest first, and spend later. Even though the odds of winning the lottery are low, start adopting this with all the bonuses and any extras you get. Invest towards improving your net worth FIRST then spend on the things you love.

The truth is no matter how abundant your resources seem, you have to spend money in a way that makes sure that your money is making more money. For example, If Emeka makes a N100 million Naira and spends N100 million Naira, on non- assets  (i.e rent in Ikoyi, (N20m, Range rover N40m, shopping spree N10m, luxury holiday (20m) miscellaneous N10m) what he has left is zero. Therefore he was a millionaire for a minute but he is no longer a millionaire. He is ‘hood rich’ not wealthy.

Lets continue the conversation… if you won the lottery for N100m… how would you spend it? #spendN100m

Photo CreditMr and Mrs Smith | Chanel | | BeauBelleAfrica.comRaguke

Arese is the author of the bestselling financial chick lit The Smart Money Woman. She is also the founder of a personal finance blog tailored to the African millennial. Arese serves on the boards of House of Tara International Ltd and The Nigeria Higher Education Foundation as a non-executive director and is an associate member of WIMBIZ (Women in Management Business & Public Service). Arese Ugwu has an M.Sc. in Economic Development from University College London (UCL) and a B.Sc. in Business and Management from Aston Business School, Birmingham. She is also an alumna of the of the Lagos Business School, INSEAD Abu Dhabi and The London School of Business executive education programs. . Follow on Twitter: @smartmoneyarese and Instagram - @smartmoneyarese


  1. Teawine Penner

    May 20, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    Wow, Arese! That’s great insight!

    My own preferences of investment would be more real estate! I’m slowly learning more about the Stocks, and Money Market, so would likely go there also, till i gain more confidence in that.
    And def, holiday!…Aahhh….holiday!!!!!

  2. Ba

    May 20, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    That’s a wealthy idea. Convert money to wealth.

  3. Scared Homosapien

    May 20, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Before i get to your question, i have a big problem. I have a job with an above average salary and i’ve always dreamt of spoiling myself silly. Now the problem is, i feel so guilty spending my salary for me. I can’t even treat myself to a good life. Where is this guilt coming from biko? I don’t like it.
    Rather, i spend the money on family. My younger brother uses a samsung galaxy 5, which i bought for him, and i’m using an infinix phone. That’s how it is with the rest.
    Back to your question, i’ll probably spend the money on my family and keep a little for me, that’s how hopeless my situation has been.

    • Funmi

      May 20, 2015 at 2:16 pm

      You need to realise that you work hard for yourself and not for Anybody else. You can help out family members but not to your own detriment. Please dont feel guilty. If you feel like you dont know what to get for yourself then save the money. Put it a fixed deposit account and let it yield interest for you. One day you will need that money to do something for yourself.

    • ShineShineShine

      May 20, 2015 at 5:58 pm

      Let me tell you a story. So, this guy worked with one of the multinational Oil coys. He trained everybody, meanwhile, he and his wife struggled financially, they lived below average, His kids went to govt’ school as against going to private schools. The man and his immediate family never once took a holiday he was looking out for everybody. The only time he ever travelled was when the coy sent him on courses. Long story short, one of his brodas made it big after he had retired. At a family gathering where money was being discussed, he got up to talk only to be told by this younger broda to Pls. Seat down as they were not talking about “that kind of money…” This is not hear say. The mans wife who was a nurse told me this story when l was on admission.

      I hope you have ears. Do good but be wise.

  4. Kela

    May 20, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Great article. I enjoyed reading (and dreaming along…lol). That said, I would invest mine same way you said but the difference would be
    1. A larger chunk of money for real estate than stock market because I don’t really understand how stock market works and I believe more in real estate investments (I mean, what could go wrong?)
    2. The business venture(s) I’d invest in would have to be agriculture based. Agric is indeed the next big thing, I agree with that.

    On splurging, a holiday is number 1 too. But I’ll travel all by myself (am I selfish? ?) I’d ensure to bungee jump and skydive while at it!
    Back to reality!!!!

  5. Profound

    May 20, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    I haven’t won N100,000,000, but I’ve worked hard over the years and saved about 120,000,000. Any advice on the best means of investing this? I’d rather avoid Equity Investments. .

    • cindy

      May 20, 2015 at 2:15 pm

      Pls let’s share

    • Unspoken Truth

      May 20, 2015 at 11:56 pm

      Build a block of flats and rent out, the money will leave your accounts immediately, but you would reap the rewards yearly.

      put it in a fixed deposit account in one of the solid banks and forget about it. The last time i was in Nigeria they told me GTB offers 0.08% interest, you will get like N9.6 million interest, not exactly sure how it works now.

  6. ChYsPaRkZ

    May 20, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Mine will look almost like yours.. Difference is, I’ll invest more in real estate(both bare lands and already developed homes) for rental puposes as well as selling.. Stocks and Bonds can then come after real estate..
    I’ll spend some towards the building of my ‘proposed’ library and meditation centre for mind expansion .. My way of giving back..
    I’ll definitely buy a Ford escape in honour of henry ford for being such an inspiration.
    A holiday is a Must.. #SpendN100m

  7. cindy

    May 20, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    I’ll invest 30% in flour mills, Nigeria beweries, MRS oil, Zenith, Ecobank and Nestle (maybe dangote cement too). Use 30% to buy land, build and furnish a proper house in a high brow area of Ibadan preferably Old Airport – Samonda, Old Bodija, Jericho or Oluyole Industrial Estate (cost of living in Lagos is too high. My parents built a standard bungalow for N6 million in Ado-Ekiti). Buy 2 cars with 10%. Set up my cake and fashion business with 5% (this should feed myself and my family). Buy land and bulid a shopping complex in either Dugbe, Mokola, Ring Road, Challenge, Jericho or New Bodija with 15%. Rent of at least 15,000 monthly for each outlet. If I’m lucky and I get a business Foodco to rent, 70,000-100,000 per month for an outlet is not bad. 1.5% to set up a mini supermarket or provision store in my area. 6% should take me to South Korea for a week’s vacation with le boo (It should also pay for concert tickets to see my favourite bands – SHINee, Big Bang & CN Blue. I just my jam some of my favourite celebs at the airport – Kim Soo Hyun, Yong Jung Hwa, Yeo Jin Gu, Jun Ji Hyun, Yong Bae???). Another 1.5% will help me set up a poultry farm and own a street shop in my house. The remaining 1% should do for miscellaneous e.g. buying fuel for a year (this is Nigeria). I could also visit Mr Price and pick some cheap stuff. Oh I forgot! I’ve not removed tithe!? Eh….let’s just say I won 111, 0000 in a lottery??

    • cindy

      May 20, 2015 at 2:17 pm


    • Stella Otuore

      May 20, 2015 at 5:08 pm

      @Cindy I love you my fellow south Korean lover. I will definitely do same things you wrote and a compulsory visit to south Korea ???????

    • Shopperoflife

      May 20, 2015 at 6:12 pm

      You cracked me up. I was like all dis on top 100m? Until you changed the goal post!

  8. Truth

    May 20, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Why use “Emeka” instead of just saying “someone” Igbo boiz saves and invest better than any other tribe in Nigeria. I am a proper Lagosian., and thats the truth.

    • Thatgidigirl

      May 20, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      really though? That’s all you could take from this awesome piece? Smh!

    • oj

      May 20, 2015 at 3:40 pm

      pls don’t bring tribal sentiments here. i personally know yorubas, igbos, edos, deltans, and akwa iboms who are good investors and i know some from all these tribes who are bad with money.

      and no, I’m not yoruba

  9. Thatgidigirl

    May 20, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Arese if I won the lottery, I would put 10m into my farm, invest 20m in a tech start up as an angel investor and call you up to tell me what to do with the rest.

  10. Teawine Penner

    May 20, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Hi BellaN, my comments seem to be disappearing for some reason?! Kilodem! Could you check this pls?

  11. Meah

    May 20, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    oh, wow! Thanks Arese! I started reading your column a couple weeks ago and i have to say you make finance matters easy to relate to. Articles like this used to make my eyes roll backward but your presentation style is really great. I nominate you as employee of the month with pay raise!
    Now, back to the subject. I think i”ll invest half my win in real estate, use 5% for treasury bills, 10% for NB & Guiness shares (those stocks never seem to nose dive cos Nigerians like to drink) 20% for my folks and travel with the rest. The “old’ me would have said 50% will go on travels but i’ve repented. Was in Thailand last year and I’m yet to recover from the fantastic experience….

  12. Ocean Beauty

    May 20, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    All this money you people are calling sha. I will buy some Treasury Bills, some in agriculture rest will go to real estate.

  13. Ocean Beauty

    May 20, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    By the way, I have a lot of free time every evening and it’s making me so bad bad things. Please I am looking for a night job. Preferably 7pm to about 11pm/midnight.
    I want to be able to make a comment like Profound.

  14. molarah

    May 20, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    Moot point. Please remove your focus from the petty stuff and answer the question on ground if you will, or just waka pass. People use fictitious names all the time in their articles, without any necessary tribal leanings.

  15. oj

    May 20, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    Arese! Love this article. You are an inspiration to women like me. Would have loved to be your client for financial advice purposes but I don’t think I can afford u yet (but I will be able to someday). For now, i’ll happily read your articles and try to apply it. Thank you!

  16. adebimpe

    May 20, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    Hey people. Can anyone guide me on what i can do with #200,0000 (naira). Investing in particular as i am not in the country to do business. Looking forward to favorable response. God bless our hustle?

  17. aj

    May 20, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Gosh this article has got me dreaming…Let me keep my comment to my self on this.

  18. Mz Socially Awkward...

    May 20, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    Your daughter is a cutie. 🙂

    And I’ve played this daydream in my head a few times, when I consider just joining the masses and buying lottery tickets every week but then I just “fogerrabourrit” and focus on wetin really dey on ground. 😀

    If I won N100million and the money was tax-free (because the Euro Millions sure as heck aren’t… inheritance tax kicks in where income tax doesn’t), I’d –
    -pay tithes of N10m (very anonymously)
    -invest N40m in promising real estate prospects, spread across different areas of the country… although, I suspect the entirety of that money may only buy me a half-acre of land in parts of Abuja…
    -invest N20m in equity
    -put N10m in a fixed deposit account to yield interest
    -Gift immediate family with N3m to dad, N3m to mum and N2m each between both siblings.
    -Gift my 2 godsons with N1m each in stock portfolios (no point in giving toddlers real cash) and 2 particularly dear friends with cash gifts of N250K each.. just because. Although, it doesn’t end up seeming like a lot of money when you convert that to GBP at the current exchange rates…
    -spend N3m on organizing a family holiday. I’m calculating that as something close to £12K so I think that’s even more than enough to arrange flight tickets and 4 star hotel bookings for 4 people to spend 10 days somewhere nice. However, I no dey pay for firstclass and you better bring your own shopping money from the cash gifts I’ve given you all…
    -Keep N2m in my own spending account for having some “spare change” handy in the coming year and look around to see what charitable projects I can distribute the remaining N2.5m into.

    When you actually drill down to the very last kobo, N100m isn’t that much money to splurge on your dreams. I like what you did there, Arese – it’s a good lesson to show that there’s no monetary amount which is too small to start a financial plan with. 🙂

    • Shineshineshine

      May 20, 2015 at 6:21 pm

      I hv played the lottery forever o. At first, l only wanted Millions now all l want is 700k for a house in Surrey.

    • Diuto

      September 19, 2015 at 5:00 pm

      Stop wasting money on lottery and look for another investment

    • Taxman

      May 21, 2015 at 2:25 pm

      Inhertitance tax does not kick in except death estate is in excess of £325k …. you know can gift to family and that too will be potentially exempt from IHT on the proviso that the person lives within 7yrs of the gift…. there’s also taper relief… so the idea is too live long and get someone to help with effective tax planning 🙂 that way the tax man won’t get all your winnings 🙂

  19. nwa nna

    May 20, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    Great write up as usual! I like your investment ideology but the biggest thing to determine how my investment portfolio would be hedged would be based on my age as a lottery winner.
    Am I going with a growth, income or balanced portfolio? Real estate holding would definitely make up most of my portfolio because it provides both growth & income potential with somewhat of a better stability & hands off approach when compared to investing in stocks ( land or property appreciation & income generation via rental income). As for investing in individual stocks, I would seek out comes with a long history of paying dividend especially in Nigeria, if investing overseas in the West like USA, Canada, UK etc I would put my money in mature tech names like, Google, Apple, Microsoft & then invest some in some mutual funds…
    My idea of splurging would be picking up a vacay property in the carribeans where I can chill out whenever & then rent out the property when I’m away for a few months using the rental money to pay & maintain the vacay spot. #smartmoney

  20. S!

    May 20, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    I would keep/invest 50m.
    Enroll in Le Cordon Bleu Paris or Italy to become a Chef De Pâtisserie.
    Take a one year holiday & see the world.
    Come back & grow my business.
    The end.

  21. bukola

    May 20, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    well said arese.

  22. SarahAmosa

    May 21, 2015 at 12:33 am

    *eyes rolling*
    Arese, awesome writeup! I love BN!

  23. JJc

    May 21, 2015 at 1:48 am

    Madame you’re are Good, even if i know most of the things u said, You have got this habit of breaking it down that amazes me and i realize am not as knowledgeable as i think. Please more of this i don tire to read relationship talk and celebrity grooving

  24. Tosin

    May 21, 2015 at 6:15 am

    why love Chanel when you can love minku, is all i gat to say 😀

  25. Thatshychic

    May 22, 2015 at 11:13 am

    Well said, Arese! I’ve learnt so much and the ‘back to reality’ part really cracked me up.
    Such a breath of fresh air from all the relationship and ‘how to be a virteous woman’ articles in BN.

  26. chee

    May 22, 2015 at 11:42 am

    Ever since I stumbled on arese,i realized my brain needed a reset as per money,thanks for all the wonderful contributions,pls arese can u throw more light on investing in agric and how one can buy shares aor invest in stock,many thanks!

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