Monday, July 4, 2016

POVERTY OF THE MIND – THE ALCATRAZ WITHOUT WALLS

I have tasted poverty of some sort in my life and I have seen people battle with different forms of poverty. People have been denied an education because of poverty. People have died of illnesses and hunger because of poverty. Lives have been ruined because of poverty.
Poverty is therefore terrible. However, the worst form of poverty is not financial lack. 
The toughest form of poverty, one which is extremely hard to surmount is the poverty of financial ignorance. Believe me, it is. 
It is not enough to have money or an income – many people today have an income but are poor. As a matter of fact, they are poorer than those who earn equal or less income than they do, poorer than those who have greater responsibilities. 
Poor! Why? Poverty of the mind…
I will explain this with three categories of people:
  • THE YOUTH/STUDENT – it is a general assumption that students don’t have money. But that is a lie. If we are to believe that TIME is MONEY, then students/youths have a whole lot of money, their time in the schools. Now, instead of investing their time(money), they squander it. So you see a youth living entirely in the moment. Have you wondered how they can afford a 100,000 to 150,000 iPhone and other expensive gadgets? Now, even after spending that much on those gadgets, what do they do? They stay on social media for the entire time. Nothing is gained and they use money (time) to waste money (the gadgets). After graduation, they are unskilled and POOR. A wise youth would have used his money (time) to learn a trade, get skills/knowledge on the web or even run a business (using the time and/or gadgets).
  • THE WORKING CLASS – one thing every worker is always looking forward to is a pay raise. Almost every worker is hoping that a higher paying job comes along or a promotion happens. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. The only question is, what is that worker doing with what is being earned NOW? Yes, what are you doing with your salary? As a person who struggled early in life, I made up my mind to live on no more than half of what I earn every month and save at least 80% of the other half. So if I ride a bicycle, I can afford a motorcycle. If I buy a motorcycle, I can afford a car. If I buy a small car, I can afford a bigger one. What this gives you is security. So, if you suddenly lose your job, you can sustain your current lifestyle for years, or at least months, without anyone knowing. You can live your life comfortably and grow at a pace you define. But the average person lives as the money comes. All your neighbors know when you are paid salary and when you are not because you spend like a goat on pay day and start spending like a church rat a few days later.
  • THE CHEERFUL GIVER – this may be a very controversial point, especially since most of us are familiar with the ‘give and it shall come back to you’ gist. However, permit me to tell you that some givings are absolute foolishness and the cause of poverty to many people. Some of us are fond of creating bad debts for ourselves by giving monies to people who have needs that should not be bankrolled. It is not every cry for help that must be answered, even if you are a matyr. When people approach you for a need, look at the need and the person as one thing. School fees are a reasonable need. But a truant and a diligent student asking for school fees are not the same thing. One should get it and the other should not. An unemployed man asking for wedding loan, an unskilled man asking for money to travel abroad, a known drunkard asking for money to start a business, a spendthrift asking for a soft loan, etc should be turned down. That thing about ‘giving fish’ vs ‘teaching fishing’ is real. You don’t go dumping your fish into their laps. Dangote did not get rich by giving out all his income as charity, not even to family members.

If you seek to escape poverty, you must first start within. Take money and time as assets and treat them as such. Even time spent sleeping is an investment, because your body and mind will be more able to perform its duties when awake.
In conclusion, permit me to offer the following pieces of advice:
  1. Don’t buy what you don’t need. All your things should serve a purpose.
  2. Spend only half of what you earn – make it work. Don’t measure up to peers.
  3. Be a Good Samaritan, but seldom use your saving for charity. Have a budget for kindness
  4. Make your time work for you. Sleep, play, and work. All are important.
  5. Every skill is economically viable if developed. So learn always
  6. Do not invest in a business (and with people) you don’t understand.
  7. Be ready for unforeseen economic developments – it may not rain forever

In the end, it is not how much you earn but what you do with what you earn. This is the reason why some people doing blue collar/menial jobs own property while those in white collar jobs are living in rented buildings, driving mortgaged cars and having no time to relax.


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