17th September, 2012
I have enjoyed tremendous cooperation from my Mentor since he formally signed me on as his protégé. He has given me free access to his house, his office, and surprisingly, to virtually all his contacts. On my own part, I have resolved that I would not under any circumstance abuse the privileges. One of the rules we mutually agreed on is that I would act promptly on any assignment he gives to me.
I, therefore, was obviously nervous that Saturday morning when I considered the number of outstanding assignments I needed to sort out before my next meeting with him. Two lessons back, he had given me a document he called The Millionaire’s Guide to Financial Freedom and asked me to use it as a guide to prepare my personal financial statement. The steps are quite detailed and self-explanatory with worked examples along with his personal commentaries. The one he had given to me before contained nine steps, but he had upgraded it to 12 steps. And he wanted me to provide all the information before our next meeting.
So there I was in my study that Saturday morning, still trying to figure out how to fill in the missing links in the document. I was having difficulties grasping the import of some of the steps, and was particularly worried about the theme of step 10: Write Your Will. Questions started flowing through my mind. Did my Mentor mean what he was saying? Which property do I have to bequeath to anyone now? Would it not make sense if I waited till the time I achieved my financial freedom so that I would have tangible assets to will out, if need be? The questions just kept coming but I couldn’t reason them out.
It was at this point that I placed a telephone call to him. We exchanged pleasantries and, amazingly, the first question he asked me was: “So how far have you gone with the steps?” I told him what I had done and also explained my problem with the section on Wills. “Ten other individuals have gone through my mentorship programme and they all felt the same way with that section,” he said. I convinced each of them on the importance and they all came back to thank me for encouraging them to write their Will. Let me give you a simple assignment: go to any customary court around you and pay attention to all the cases treated. You would discover that most of them revolve around violent disagreements over estates of deceased husbands, brothers, wives, uncles, etc. You certainly don’t want to leave sorrow behind for your loved ones, do you?” The message sank and I promised him that I was going to do it.
At about 12 p.m. on Saturday, I was at his house as agreed, armed with my personal financial statement, though I had earlier sent an advance copy to him. I met him outside trimming his flowers while one of his maids was assisting to water them. Once he sighted me, he smiled broadly and beckoned that I follow him. He moved in the direction of a water tank placed on top of a platform about four feet above the floor.
There were a medium-sized bucket and a hand-woven basket similar to those that are used to pack Christmas gifts. He asked me to hold the plastic bucket and place it under the tap and asked me to open the tap to the maximum limit. I did and in no time, the bucket was overflowing. He asked me to do the same thing with the basket, but I protested. I told him I did not see any sense in the action since it was obvious that the basket would not be able to hold any water. He advised that I carry out the action anyway. I did and the result was obvious. He did not say anything after the exercise neither did I understand what he was driving at.
Thereafter, he asked me to go to his study and wait for him while he changed his attire. He joined me some minutes later and the lesson was about to start.
“My friend, I have studied your personal financial statement and I must first commend the enthusiasm you have shown thus far in this assignment. But before I offer you my observations, I need to probe more about your personal financial history. Let me know what your personal financial habits were before you joined my class. Of course, you know you can’t hide anything, if you really want me to help you. You have to vividly explain the symptoms to me so that I can administer the right capsules,” he said.
Honestly, I did not expect that line of discussion from him, but I had no choice than to do as he had requested.
“Well,” I started, “this is a story I would have liked to keep to myself. This is because after receiving some lessons from you, I felt so embarrassed about some of the decisions I took in the past.”
“Go ahead and tell me,” he urged, “you don’t need to be embarrassed by anything. Without those mistakes, how would you know what you now know? So, let me hear your story.”
I began my story. “Since 1996, I started writing for two foreign magazines and my contributions fetched me some good money. As of July 1997, I had saved a sizable amount of money in pound sterling in my foreign bank accounts. I was also doing quite well in Nigeria. In one year, after successfully executing some special projects for the newspaper I was working for, I bought two Mercedes Benz cars and was still left with some substantial savings in my local bank accounts. My employer, then, was equally good to me. I was given an official car plus a driver. To show a measure of appreciation to my wife, I also decided to buy a small car for her. I can recollect that I was in London for a vacation when we had our first daughter and when I returned I needed to show that money was not the problem. I threw a very big party and painted the entire compound red. I withdrew a substantial amount of money from the bank which I used to give the house I was staying a facelift. I changed virtually everything in the house to suit my taste. The landlord was excited and he commended me repeatedly.
“Shortly after I had left my former job in 1999, somebody came to me to sell a business idea. It had to do with the importation of books for sale in schools. I was fascinated by his presentation and the expected returns from the investment. I was impressed that the guy had done it before with good results. I discussed this with my wife but she was not excited and expressed her concerns. In any case, I instructed my bank in London to wire a substantial amount of money to Singapore. Two months after the money had been wired, the guy started giving all sorts of excuses. To cut the story short, the principal, the interest and the guy all disappeared.
“In 2001, another chap came to me with another business proposal and wanted me to put in about N500,000. I considered the proposal very good. So, I instructed my bank in England to wire about 2,500 Pounds to me in Nigeria. It was about N500, 000 when I converted it and I handed it over to him. The business went bad few months later and I lost the entire money. Of course, I refused to invest in shares like our mutual friend. “As at April when I came to you”, I concluded, “other than my monthly salary and the cars, I had virtually nothing to my name. It was then I understood the meaning of financial insecurity. I became emotionally unstable and was always sick. I would go to my doctor and he would always tell me there was nothing wrong with me medically and that I only needed to rest.”
“That is quite interesting,” my Mentor said as he added: “You know I am always fascinated by your stories. What I have deduced from your story are manifestations of acute financial illiteracy and we have to deal with them straight on. I will start to take you through some of these symptoms from next week. But let me just share these few words with you. Going by your story, you have violated many rules of informed millionaires. Let me ask you, assuming you knew then what you now know, would you have acted in the same way? Would you have spent your money to refurbish the house that is not your own?”
“I would have acted differently of course,” I replied.
“I know you wouldn’t have spent your money acquiring what I call basket investment if you knew then a little of what you now know. That was what I was trying to demonstrate to you outside with the experiment with the basket and the bucket. Was it not obvious to you that no matter how much energy you used to pour water into the basket, it would not retain anything? Yet that is what most people do when they invest. They invest in items that look like assets but in the real sense, they are serious liabilities. What were you doing with three cars? What exactly did you intend to achieve by taking over from the landlord the refurbishing of the house where you were staying?”
•Assemble your life coaches now. These should include a financial planner, an insurance expert, a spiritual mentor, a lawyer, a real estate expert and a business coach.
•Identify those who can fit those roles and do everything possible to sign them on.
•Identify friends who are not adding value to your life and cut off from them
PPS: Did you miss the welcome FREE bonus I gave some time ago? To receive yours, text the following information in the format below
PMMONEY*Your Name*Email*Status*Location 07054638883
E.g: PMMONEY*Dele Taiwo*[email protected]*biz owner* Abuja to 07054638883
PPPS: Do you have any money questions bothering you? Send it to the money doctor at [email protected]