Speaking to Members of A Cooperative Society.
Lessons of Life
1. Start planning for old age when you are young because the future starts now.
I decided how I would live in old age while I was still in medical school. I decided that I would stop medical practice when I got to age 40. So I did not need to be a specialist. At 40 I retired from medical practice and went on to do other things.
2. From very early in life I decided not to work for anybody for more than 2 years after my NYSC year.
I knew that gaining financial independence and becoming a financial giant, especially from the background I came from, was not possible if I spent my whole life working for people without independent plans of my own. This made me start my first private practice at 29 and built my first building at 32 when cement was at 50 Naira a bag.
3. I also wanted a wife that I would build a future with.
That’s what I told my wife when she was 19 and I was 21. I married early at 26 during my NYSC year. It was not easy. My wife would sleep on the six-spring bed, while I slept on the floor.
I also wanted to grow up with my children so they can plan with me as if they are my younger siblings because I knew I would be alone later in life.
4. We deprived ourselves the basic luxuries earlier on in life while acquiring real estate.
They have turned out to be very wise investments as I get older.
5. I invested in the school because I wanted something that could be self-sustaining.
It grows from both within and outside.
6. We saved as if we were wicked to ourselves very early.
When we were building the school, we ate mostly iced fish and egusi (melon) soup. Occasionally, we bought half kilogram of chicken wings and half kilogram of chicken necks. Such days were special like when Bishop Johnnie Mensah Abraham came visiting. At one time I suspected that egusi was flowing through our veins.
7. We invested regularly.
Once we found out anything that could multiply our money we reinvested regularly. After turning it over several times, we then lived on the profit. There was nothing too small to sell. At one point we were selling off-cuts from rims of printing paper. One day we paid school fees from some we collected from a printing press.
The coconut candy sold in my school (the week of writing this) were from my coconut trees. I also sell plantain suckers up till date. I added N6,000 from a sucker deal to N5,000 someone gave me and printed some pamphlets that I sold at the time of speaking, and still subsequently sell. We cultivated a culture in our household of not throwing little seeds away.
Maybe when I become a big man I will stop selling such ‘foolish’ things.
8. We never compared ourselves with people or competed with anyone.
We shut the door against ourselves. We dared to walk alone on the paths we set for ourselves. Thank God for having an understanding wife.
If you use your youthful life playfully, get ready to spend old age painfully.
If you focus your life on short-term pleasures, get ready for long-term pressures later in life.
I met a retired old man with a big SUV, recently, where I went to give a lecture. He was in financial distress. I saw, in him, a man who did not prioritize his life and plan for the period of lean cows. What are you doing with SUV in retirement without a thriving business?
May you not squander your future today acquiring liabilities for your future.
My prayer is that your latter life will be greater than what you have now and may your pains turn to gains in future.
God Bless You.