“Gold flees a man who would force it to impossible earnings or who followeth the alluring advice of tricksters and schemers or who trusts it to his own inexperience and romantic desires in investment”. - The Fifth Law of Gold – George S. Clarson.
The first time I read this law, I was wondering how gold (money) could flee. However, I immediately discovered that gold flees when we lose it. A good mix of the ingredients in this law, cause us to lose money. They are: “impossible earnings”, “schemers”, “inexperience” and “romantic desires”. Anytime people lose money in Ponzi schemes, these are the forces at play.
I have been privileged enough to facilitate a few workshops organized by the Institute of Management and Entrepreneurs. In one such occasion in Wa last October, I was nearly attacked by one of the participants. Indeed, but for the fact that people knew I was the facilitator, they would have thought I did something bad to this guy.
What was his beef? I had admonished the participants (who were mainly government workers) to make investments, so they could improve their incomes. I made the case that it was suicidal, as an individual, to rely on one source of income. I made other statements relating to entrepreneurship, investment and general financial literacy. When we went for lunch break, this guy followed me up and said; “Sir, in fact you started very well, but your conclusion was not good at all”. I asked him why! He said; “Many people admonished us to invest and when we did, we lost our money”.
His conversation was very confrontational that if you didn’t know, you would have thought we were fighting. He wouldn’t even allow me to talk. I therefore, allowed him to vent his anger and frustrations on me, as though I told him to invest his money wherever he did.
At lunch, I sat on the same table with him so I could listen to him and understand his problem much better. He opened up and told me he had taken a loan and invested it in DKM and lost the money. As if that was not enough, he took another loan and invested it in Future leaders Microfinance and lost that one too. So when he heard me talk about investing, he thought I was one of those “Misleading” people to invest and lose their money. As of the time we were conversing, he said he was still paying the loans he took for those investments. Indeed, he concluded that he will never make an investment at all.
Unfortunately, many people in Ghana are like this guy who confronted me. They go to school, obtain multiple degrees, get themselves good jobs or businesses and make money. But they don’t understand anything about money. Having ‘tasted’ money, they feel how good it ‘tastes’, so they want to earn more of it. However, because they don’t learn anything about money and investment, anything goes. And like this guy they get frustrated never wanting to hear anything about investment; some even commit suicide.
Menzgold is but one of the bad investment schemes that happened to us. If you remember quite well, there was PYRAM, then ONWARD investment, DKM, God is love US Tilapia and so on. Menzgold is certainly not going to be the last of them. They will always come with little smiles on our faces and leave us with frustrations, hypertension and sometimes death. They have left with us indelible psychological scars, which can never be erased from our minds. I promise you we will soon brood over the Menzgold losses and jump into other ones. So how do we handle the current issue and ensure that we don’t get burnt the next time? Following are my humble suggestions:
(1). Take Responsibility for your decisions. I want to be blunt with the customers of Menzgold that they should take responsibility for what happened and STOP BLAMING EVERYONE, but themselves. I hear people blame the BOG. They blame government, friends, relations and many other persons. Blaming people will not solve the problem! The solution is to accept that YOU caused the blunder! Did I hear you say the president should intervene? When you were earning your returns, did you ever think there was a president in Ghana? You probably thought you were smart when you were enjoying your returns. Taking responsibility, especially in midst of loss and pain, is the highest level of maturity. You need this level of maturity to leave behind Menzgold and move ahead to the riches that await you. Never allow Menzgold to ‘finish’ you financially. Be matured!
Your friends and relatives who referred you to Mensgold did it because they wanted you to make money. Not because they wanted you to lose money. So they did it out of love and concern for your good. So if things go bad, through no fault of theirs, you should not blame them. Thank them and move on. There is a saying in my area that, “when rain beats you, you don’t beat one another.” Therefore, you were all beaten by rain (the Menzgold rain). Don’t try to beat yourselves!
2. Read. Thomas Carlyle said; “What we become depends on what we read after all the professors have finished with us. The greatest University is a collection of books”. The Second thing to do is to seek financial literacy. I have always argued that Money is about the next important thing after air! From birth to death, everyone requires the use of money. Yet, many are those who think that money is evil. They forget of the mosques and Churches it builds, the orphans it cares for, the Bibles and Qur’ans it prints and so on.
Money lubricates our relationships. In its absence, families have fallen apart, patients have died, children have dropped out of school and many more. Therefore, there is the need for us to learn; “What money is, How to acquire it, and How to handle it”.
One way to do this is to read books on personal finance. Books such as “Master Your Personal Finance” By Paul Kofi Mante; “12 Keys to financial Success” by Stephen Adei; “How To secure Your Financial Freedom” by Joseph Kyei Ankrah and my own book; “The Gospel of Wealth creation” will be of tremendous help to anyone who is seriously interested in knowing about and improving his/her financial literacy. In the foreign front, you could read: “The Wealthy Barber” by David Chilton; “The Richest Man in Bibylon” by George S. Clarson and “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert T. Kiyosaki.
But there is a problem! Many Ghanaians don’t like reading. Many of us like anything but reading. Once we secure one degree or another, we tend to suffer from the vaccination theory of education. I thought I was also “vaccinated” until I was inspired by Uncle Ebo Whyle to read. Then I realized that I had cheated myself for quite so long.
The reason I admonish you to read these books is that nothing about money is thought in school. If you are a law student, you are taught how to practice law and possibly earn big money. But not what to do with the money – how to handle and multiply it, no one teaches you. Even the one teaching you doesn’t know, so how does he teach you? I have discovered the importance of reading in wealth creation so much such that I have included “Reading” as one of the nine principles of wealth creation in my book; “The Gospel of Wealth creation”. When you read you know. And when you know, you benefits from two (2) things: the knowledge acquired prevents you from being hurt and you use the knowledge to acquire wealth the right way. Take reading seriously and (to be in the words of some pastors) ‘your life will never be the same’.
(3). Discover, use and benefit from the magic of compound interest. Albert Einstein describes compound interest as the 8th Wonder of the world. You would not believe how fast compound interest can make you rich until you discover and use it to your benefit. Did you know that if you were 35 years old and you invested GH₵367.02 monthly, compounded at the rate of 15 per cent, you would hit GH₵1,000,000.00 by age 60? Now GH₵367.02 multiplied by 12 (months in a year) multiplied by 25 (years to age 60) equals GH₵110,106.00. The difference of GH₵889,894.00 (i.e. 1,000,000.00-110,106.00) was accumulated by the magic of compound interest! If this is not wonderful, tell me what else is! What is even more interesting is that the GH₵1,000,000.00 doubles to GH₵2,000,000.00 at age 65 (assuming you stop contributing) and quadruples to GH₵4,000,000.00 at age 70. This is what is called ‘making your money work for you’. Some of these illustrations have been highlighted in my book, “The Gospel of Wealth Creation”.
4. Be patient. Everything worth having is worth building. You are not going to invest today and become a millionaire today. So if you decide to benefit from the magic of compound interest, you need to be patient. There are going to be obstacles and temptations. The temptation to withdraw the money and gratify yourself; the temptation of another ‘MenzGold’ promising heaven and delivering hell; or the temptation of feeling you have arrived, when you have not even started in effect. But if you know where you are going and why you are going there, ‘no weapon fashioned against you shall prosper’.
In conclusion, Gurdip Hari said; “The majority of mankind is looking for quick money; they lack the patience to follow the right path in life and are taking shortcuts in a blind race that leads nowhere, a race that no one will ever win.” I do hope you would desist from searching for quick money because you will never win anyway. And ensure you use the right path, especially by using compound interest to accumulate real wealth. Remember that fear kills more people than death. So don’t allow fear to stop you from investing again like the guy in Wa. You only need to invest wisely and ‘knowledgeably’.
If you have leant something from this article and you want ‘further and better particulars’ or if you need a copy of ‘The Gospel of Wealth Creation’, you can contact me via 0268363341 or [email protected] Wish you all the best. Thank you for reading this article.
Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."