NUDGED by the increasing socio-economic inequalities in Nigeria, a Financial Expert and Premier Life Coach, Mr. Lanre Olusola in this interview, explains how both low and high income Nigerians can survive the current financial crisis. He also explains why he recently wrote a book, titled: The Money Book
BY CHARLES KUMOLU
The financial crisis is actually hitting hard at the economy of most Nigerians, as an expert and someone who recently authored a financial book titled: The Money Book, how do you think Nigerians can cope with the situation particularly given that the purchasing power of many has been affected?
Crash in oil prices is not new. Life is cyclical. Everything is cyclical. The financial market is also cyclical. We have booms and crashes. The oil business is also cyclical. The coming of the shale oil which caused the drop in oil prices is also affecting the whole world. It is not just Nigeria alone. There will always be one thing or the other that will affect people positively or negatively. What is most important is for an individual to identify the cycle and plan towards it. It is also important for every nation to identify it and plan towards it.
So, you adjust and adapt your own financial dynamics in line with this. It is by beginning to project the solution that you were born to be and package it in such a way that you are providing such solution with immense value. Whether there is financial crash, shale oil or not, Nigerians need not to fear. Life will go on but what needs to be done is to make the requisite adjustment and project that life unfolds in cycles.
That is why we recommend a long medium and short term financial plans for Nigerians. Having done that, people should stick to the reason why they are planning it and refuse to be swayed by anything. Adjustment when there is need for it is very important. Diversifying of portfolio and always converting money to stable instruments, is important to survive at this time. If people put their money in foreign exchange, whether there is financial crisis or not would not matter. Nigerians should have a financial plan by refusing to live for today through proper financial planning. This is also the time to balance outflows and inflows in a way that people spend less than they earn.
What inspired the writing of the book, Money Book?
Looking in retrospect, I realised that many things contributed to bring out the book. I was in a place in Germany where I had gone for vacation. I was alone while I had deep thinking about the different classes of people in the world and things that militate against actualisation of most dreams in the world. At that point, I started thinking about the varying mindset of the poor and rich people. Looking back, I realised that with my interaction with people as a serial entrepreneur and salesman, I discovered that a lot of people had dreams, needs and wants but they could not realise that because of money. As a life coach also, I realised that many people had different goals, but the absence of money stops people from living their dreams. A classical example is the habit of focusing on money without always exploring other options, which has continued to hinder people from realising their dreams. Frequent examples like this make us realise how money stop people. So, it nudged at me to help set people free from the stronghold of money. Interestingly, I found out that money is the only thing that God compares himself with in the Bible. He said that you can not serve two masters. Which means that there is God and there is mammon. Wanting to acquire everything and chasing after money is the service to mamoon. And that is not advisable. The practice now is that people are using God to serve mammon like the practice of sowing a certain amount of money because the person expects to get more in return. I thought that if God took that as a serious matter, then that will the first topic that I will ever write about. Another thing is to debunk the philosophy that money is evil. Money is neutral. It is neither good nor bad. It is what you want to use money for that colours how people see your relationship with money. Money is supposed to be a servant but a lot of people are regrettably servants of money. So, it is to help people to be where they desire to be or designed to be.
On financial independence
This book is a first step towards financial independent and empowerment programme. People don’t have to live in abject poverty in Nigeria. The poor man and the rich man have different mindsets and I want to correct that with this book. The poor man sells his time for money, while the rich men spend money to buy more time. The poor man is giving his own time to the rich man, thereby making the rich man have so much time to produce a lot more. The book also touched on getting to know that 95 percent of employees own five percent of the world’s wealth. And 95 percent of the world’s wealth is owned by five percent employers and entrepreneurs. It means that critically, for one to be wealthy, you must be doing your thing by solving problems and living your passion. Every rich man has same gifts like the poor man but the rich man understands the principles and laws of money better. That translates passion into profit but the poor man does not know it. So the book helps in understanding the principles of translation of gifts and talents into wealth. The money book is really an exposé and revelation that every one was born with same potential to be a millionaire.
Looking at the Nigerian context, how practicable do you think these nuggets are, particularly when most Nigerians live on less than two dollars a day?
The responses we are getting so far from people show that Nigerians are ready to embrace a positive attitude towards becoming financially independent. On the day of the book signing, the General Manager of Radio Continental was around. And his driver walked in. When his boss asked what he had come to do inside the venue, his reply was amazing. He replied thus: ‘’Oga this thing make sense o, I hear about this book on radio and that is why I come here come buy my own because me sef want dey free.’’ About 30 minutes later his mechanic also came in to purchase the book. He said he was moved by the review which he heard on radio. His reason was that the massage in the book will liberate him from financial bondage. I used the two examples to tell you that it appeals to every one. The book speaks to the ordinary man. It deals with behavioural, habitual and relationship issues. One of the fundamentals principles in the book is to learn how to spend less then you earn to be able to have a positive cash flow. We want to encourage the life style of financial independence in the country, whereby people will have the habit of making financial plans early enough in life from whatever they earn. This will centre on education, empowerment and investment. The money book is the first step in line with the financial empowerment movement that we want to create. The second step is for us to release the financial intelligence quotient online and get people to respond to it online for free and identify where they are within the ranking of financial intelligent quotient. After that we get them to embrace our interventionist programmes in line with where they desire to be. We are doing a lot to help people improve their financial intelligence quotient.
Are there extra measures in place to ensure that the nuggets encapsulated in this book get across to the target audience given the existence of a poor reading culture in Nigeria?
The poor are not the only target market. We have three categories of target. The first is the people that live on less than what they need to survive; those that live on just enough while the third category are people that live on more than enough. We are using digital media to further spread the message because there are different kinds of people on the digital media. We anchor our nuggets on how Nigerians can imbide the content of the book in their financial habit so as to survive the current financial realities. We are doing these so that people take charge of their financial situation and live the kind of life they want to live. Inthe book, we made it obvious that no matter what, rich men invest their money so they can leave an inheritance for their children, while poor men don’t invest because they rely on their children to take care of them when they are old. One of the things that we recommend is the need for Nigerians to plan their financial future ahead of retirement. It is important because Nigerians have poor attitude to that.
On social inequality in the country
I did consider the socio-economic gap and I also considered that all men are equal and all men has same 24 hours a day. Yes there is inequality in the country, but both the rich and the poor have same potentials. That is why this book teaches to learn the fundamental principle and mindset that engender wealth. The most critical is to put processes in place where your money will begin to work for you and that would make people to be able to leave money for their children’s children. It is good to aspire to be the richest but not everyone will be like Dangote because every one was born to get to a certain place. Focusing on your own path is one of the things that this book teaches. But what is most important is to learn the fundamental principles and mindset that engender wealthy people. All we are asking people is to do all that they are supposed to do to realise their goals.