Nigeria Business & Finance Updates

Are you ready for the next decade?

The decade 2010 – 2019 makes its way into the history books, ushering in the year 2020,which marks the beginning of a new decade that will come to be known as the Twenties. Ten years have come and gone, almost in the twinkling of an eye. The year 2020 once seemed to be so far away in the future. Many medium and long term plans had the year 2020 as the year those plans will come into manifestation. There was the famous Vision 2020 whereby Nigeria will achieve some ambitious goals in the area of education, health, infrastructure etc. Lack of focused and consistent action has made the goal seem to turn to a mirage. My focus is what happened to our Vision 2020, our plans for the coming decade and the price we are willing to pay to make it a reality. It is very easy to point fingers. Most of us have not fared any better financially. We may have earned more money and raised our standard of living, but this may be based on salary income with future hopes anchored on pensions. We still have one source of income, and if anything happens to it, we become beggars overnight. It is not much different from relying on oil as your sole income source. Where do you see yourself in ten years? We are often asked to visualise where we want to be in 5, 10 years. Ten years is enough to move from a vision to plan, execution and fulfilment. That includes financial goals. Where do you want to be financially by December 2029? What are you doing now that will help move you in the direction you want to be financially in ten years? Do you have a vision of your future? Many live on a pay as you go basis – earning to spend. It is a place I am very familiar with. Your colleague or neighbour buys the latest TV set, and then yours is due for a change. She buys a car, and you start shopping for one too. He buys a plot of land and you start looking for one, even in the middle of nowhere so far as it is land. You compare yourselves among yourselves. You don’t want to fall below an unwritten group imposed standard. You keep going, and you have no clue where. The future becomes an unknown bridge you hope to cross the bridge when they get to it.
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You have no plan for the next ten years, and even when you put something on paper, you do it out of routine rather than a deep-seated desire. Your focus more on things that are temporary and bring instant gratification. That means that you leave the future to chance. The future does not just happen; you create it (or prepare for it) by what you do today. Gone with the wind If you are to fast-forward to ten years, what yousee will be quite sobering, aside from the additional weight you may have piled up and maybe a few grey hairs. Let’s entertain the thought for a moment. In ten years; Your car may be history Your phone will be long gone Almost all the items in your wardrobe will be gone Your furniture may be gone Most of your appliances will be gone Most of what you see today will be gone in ten years. The money you spent acquiring them is not coming back either. Both are gone with the wind without a trace, except memories and maybe some pictures. Unfortunately, this is where most of our money goes for most of us. It comes and leaves without a trace. Rather than create wealth that lasts, our focus seems to be on consumption. There is nothing wrong with consumption if you can afford it, afford meaning spending your profit rather than your capital. If your capital funds your lifestyle, you are like the young boy running his father’s car air conditioner with the engine off. It will run for a while based on the strength of your battery. After a while, the battery runs down. Focusing on what matters most What is the impact of your financial decisions in the medium to long term? There is one question we need to ask ourselves regarding what we are spending our money on or anything for that matter;
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Will it matter in 5 years? Will it matter in 10 years? Asking myself this question often makes me laugh. I see that most of the issues we face are inconsequential. Someone cuts me off in traffic, and I start to get angry. I ask myself ‘Will it matter in 5 years?’ and I begin to laugh. Often the offending driver sees me laughing and apologises. A couple of times, a yellow bus driver paused and waited for me to pass first. Why dissipate so much energy on what matters least and have no energy left to handle issues that matter most? Why are we so worked up over things that don’t matter in the long run? Why do we spend so much of our hard-earned money on things that don’t last? Do we stop to ponder where our money went? As we pause to take stock of the passing year, let us also take stock of the passing decade. The passing decade was a defining one for me. If I am to name it in one word, without thinking twice, that word would be FREEDOM. It was the decade I achieved financial independence, quit my job and did what I wanted to do with my life. Looking back, I feel very grateful. It did not happen overnight. It took years of taking small steps, rising and falling until everything finally fell into place. I look around and see what I dreamed about years ago. Dreams do come true if you wake up and do the work necessary. The fulfilment of the dream is not the end, but the beginning of bigger dreams and higher heights. I attended Christmas service in a magnificent edifice that made me aware more than ever before that possibilities are limitless. Our future is waiting for us to get our acts together. As we usher in the 20s, I pray you catch a bigger vision, focus and do what needs to be done so that you experience a new reality and live the life you were born to live. Good speed and Happy New Year 2020.

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