Moneywise 11: How to Sharpen your Business Intelligence

Celebrity Blogger, Gbenga Dan Asabe having a Bentley Treat 
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 twelve
steps. And he wanted me to provide all the information before our next meeting.

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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.
“I know you wouldn’t have spent your
money acquiring what I call basket
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”

was at that 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”,
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
12.00noon 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-size 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
The Unknown Deal of Singapore
“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”
Another Bad Deal on me
“In 2001, another chap carne 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 N5OO, 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 of
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”
The Pains of Basket Investment versus the Gains of
Asset Investment
“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
straightaway. 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?”

(Excerpts from
the book: “THE MILLIONAIRES CAPSULES” by AYO AROWOLO. Read “The Art of doing Business with
tomorrow on this blog)

Ayo Arowolo, Publisher The Millionaires’ Capsules


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