I hadn’t planned to write this article you’re now reading, but I decided to share this experience with you based on the feedback I got from “Why Many Young Nigerians Will Never Become Wealthy”.
This note is in actual sense a sequel to the afore-mentioned piece though not necessarily a continuation. If you missed reading that piece, you can please do so here
Do you still remember the lesson I learnt from the guest speaker who came to talk to the youth of my local Church? After he had made us realize that to become billionaires, we MUST go beyond merely “wishing” but to “think” and “act” like billionaires. The speaker had gone further to share with us why poverty holds sway in Nigeria. He had stated categorically that while most Nigerians are focused on “spending”, only a few ever consider “investing”. He explained that the “have-nots” first spend their money before thinking of what to do with the leftover whereas the “haves” first invest before thinking of what to spend on. At that juncture, someone from the audience spoke up “sir, what you said maybe true, but most people don’t have enough” the person actually took the words out of our mouth!
The speaker quickly responded “I used to believe the problem was not having enough, but later figured out that the problem is that most people classified as “have-nots” don’t actually have the wealth creation mentality”. He said “it’s not about how much money you’ve got, it’s about how much financial education and discipline you’ve got”. He urged us to reflect on how people with little or no income are so crazed with buying the latest ipads, iphones, blackberrys, luxuries, people living in self-contain apartments desiring to buy jeeps, people not working buying suits and shoes of over fifty thousand naira (NGN50000) per pair; generally spending a lot on luxury goods they can’t afford to maintain – his words sank in and echoed in my head as my mind drifted into reminisce.
I remember being awarded a scholarship from ELF (a large upstream oil and gas firm) while I was still in the university. I got the scholarship in my first year; it was valued at NGN325000 and stretched to cover my fees and upkeep through-out the five-year program at NGN65000 Per annum. However, the grant money usually came in after my parents had paid my school fees. And luckily they never demanded for the money and I was left to use all of it at my discretion. You don’t need to be told that I gained the status of “big boy” on campus. Being ‘young and reckless’ I spent all that money on luxury goods and a frivolous lifestyle. Sponsoring parties and buying things I didn’t need and never got any value from. Wasted all of it.
Some years ago, my mum who is a nurse working under the state government used to complain of “not having enough”, today she earns over two hundred and fifty thousand naira (NGN250000) per month and cannot give account of how she spends this money. She doesn’t pay school fees for any child since I graduated and my only sibling is yet to gain admission into the university. We live in a one bedroom flat that her one month salary alone is more than enough to pay for.
So, looking at these two scenarios, I totally I agree with what Mr. George (the speaker) postulates; being a “have-not” is largely a mindset problem and not an amount of money problem.
I remember that day while listening to Mr. George, something troubled my mind so much that I didn’t hesitate to raise my hand when it was time for questions and answers. I had shared my desire for a good (tush actually) life with the speaker and asked “if it was improper”, his words were “there’s nothing wrong in spending and it’s not also about the amount of money involved, it’s first and foremost about your mindset towards wealth”. He had concluded his talk by saying that “you will be on your way to wealth if you begin to take the development of an investment mentality more seriously than an enjoyment mentality” and the bombshell was “you can’t afford to live the lifestyle of a millionaire simply because you made a million bucks today, not at all. Only those who earn in millions are millionaires and can afford their kind of lifestyle”. Another lesson learnt and I see myself going beyond wishing to be rich and actually navigating my way to wealth; well, that’s if only I will apply these lessons to my life! And lest I forget, I just might not lose my girlfriend after all (referring to another piece titled Me & My Girlfriend: Picturing the Future…), hmmm; I really need to apply these lessons to my life!