Success they say is shy, it won’t come by you folding your arms, doing nothing; In other words, success only comes after the right action but rather unfortunately, in this part of the world, we do watch too much and too long for which reason, success most times eludes; I’ve seen someone going round town with a live hyena dressed like human, Lagosians thronged to watch but what value do they get at such, one may ask? Some even went as far as throwing money at the man and his hyena on display. It’s funny that we watch all sorts of things but less of the essentials. Most of us do watch premier league with passion just for discussion purposes; to some, it is home movies. It is good to relax to calm nerves but the earlier you realise the fact that ‘watchers’ have never been rewarded in life except in lotteries which is often won by only one out of millions and you move from being just a watcher to becoming an Actor in the game of life, the better. Even in statistics where observation is recommended as a form of experimentation, it is often immediately followed by analytical actions on the observations to make it meaningful.
The bible does enjoin to watch but the same verse and in fact the very next comments say ‘and pray’. You have perhaps watched and cared less about your finances enough, isn’t it time to act? When Drogba or Ronaldo plays soccer as Actors they are compensated, ditto Baba Suwe in his formal dressing and funny acts. No one will ever pay you for being at stand-by to watch, no, not the nature, definitely not life. My friend, don’t watch your future slide off without repairs; don’t wait till the future catches you unawares; take action for the next phase of your life by the commencement of your retirement plans today.
Hello, do you know that your future and your retirement is nearer than you thought? Just calculate how long you’ve worked and see how long more you are left to work. But most painfully, we live without giving this deep thinking. I was lost in thoughts where I sat at an event recently; I was invited by an organisation to an event to celebrate and compensate their long and deserving staffers. While virtually everyone, including the awardees were merry, busy sharing and in jubilations, I kept thinking. I was a little concerned by the kind of gifts so presented to these individuals- wall clock with a plague, LCD television with a plague and such whether they’re actually valuable but then I remembered that the essence of a gift is not really the value but the act however, these individuals that are being awarded were very happy as reflected in their dresses just then, a popular Yoruba saying came to my mind ‘when the head of yam is being shown to a stranger, it is a sign that it is time to go’. How I wished these awardees could just read my mind, how I wished I’ve got the opportunity to tell them that their days are numbered in the organisation. I took time to observe and can see an irony; many of these people who started with the company back then are still largely low financially while the company keeps growing in leaps and bound. This might not be your exact story but I guess you can learn a salient lesson here that no organisation is structured to accommodate an employee for life; it is always a case of ‘soldier go soldier come while the barrack remains’ so the question is, where do you go when the company or that office is no longer fit for you? This category of worries had often propelled a number of employees to think of starting a form of business enterprise to retire to; this they attempt to operate while still in active service through a third party but sadly enough from experience, this had being their undoing. This and other reasons why retirees are poor is where I desire we dwell this week.
BUSINESS IN RETIREMENT: This piece is predicated on the fact that there are many poor retirees out there not for mere ineptitude but for being circumstances of the environment by attempting to start one form of business shortly before their retirement and failed. Many also sincerely went into a venture or the other with their entire gratuity only to come out empty because the businesses folded up within three years or even below; only few lucky ones had seen success in business at retirement. In the real sense of it, there wouldn’t have been anything wrong with planning to start a venture after active years but for the fact that Nigerians are difficult to work or do business with. This had been the undoing of so many in retirements. This I intend to correct with this piece.
Technically, if you have planned well enough, the period after which you have put in years of hard work for one organisation or government isn’t the time for you to again start any form of rigorous venture such that will over task your brain or that should involve your active presence any more, it should rather be the period to engage passively in yet money yielding ventures; if you get this passive venture right, you are bound to remain wealthy, healthy and happy at retirement and for the rest of life on mother earth, let me share this story with you.
My uncle retired from the services of Nigeria’s customs and excise as a comptroller with so much cash. Apparently because he still felt strong, he felt he could still engage himself in a business activity so he got lots of proposals from church people, old associates and such. Of all these, uncle preferred the one from brother Kingsley which was about going around the country to buy palm kernel, timber and cashew nuts as the case may be for exportation. The business proposal was so attractive such that anyone will pick interest so the business took off but note that this was never an area my uncle had prior knowledge or experiences so he depended solely on everything that is called Kingsley to survive. The business sure started well with about three exports with lots of profits after which series of complains and excuses began to pour in with huge loses in the process until the relationship got soured and the partnership dissolved with Uncle’s gratuity with it. He was ten years in retirement few weeks ago with thanks to God for the gift of life. Kingsley now resides in Ghana living the good life we were told.
What were the errors in uncle’s attempt? Firstly, he attempted to start a fresh business with his gratuity. From experience, a retiree doesn’t have the energy, temerity and concentration to birth a totally new business owing to old age. Businesses are better birthed when the strength is there; in other words, you can be working somewhere and yet run a parallel business to later resign to pursue if you are young enough but the probability that you will survive well starting a business at age sixty is slim as you would have no choice than to leave others with major decisions which may ruin the business owing to insincerity on the part of Nigerian workers. A retiree also doesn’t have the time required to nurture a business to maturity for every business no matter how much you are starting with would naturally take its curve to stabilise at which period the retiree might be closer to the grave besides, new businesses would require a measure of hunger and deferred gratification from the founder, the period of retirement is meant to reap deferred gratification and not to further defer it hence, it is not advisable to start a fresh business when you are retired except with and for your kids.
Secondly, my uncle started a business he knew nothing about thus depending absolutely on the knowledge of others. Please note that the man on whose knowledge you are depending can only use you as a stepping stone as he will soon quit to start his with your money. If you must start a business at all, it must be such that you know so well such that you would not need to rely solely on the ideas of a third party.
Thirdly, uncle injected his entire gratuity in this business because he was convinced and believed in it. Please learn not to keep all your eggs in only one basket no matter how potentially profitable the venture looks. From my years in business, I can tell that every venture is risky. Ask our business people in this country and what you will find is that the numbers of businesses they embarked on and failed are more than the ones where they succeeded which are the ones we see.
Lastly, please note that running businesses in Nigeria requires a special skill. Our country isn’t a place where you can just wake up one morning to start a business thinking of quick survival besides, from what I know of government workers, the simplicity of life that they have exhibited in working for the government before retirement can’t just work in Nigeria’s business environment.
THE WAY OUT:
I would recommend that you think well ahead on what to do, the how and actually start on a low scale like five years before retirement. Though I would still have to touch on this at a later date but let me quickly state here that some professions might not require so much of your gratuity to start for example, if you were in the police, at retirement, you might think of becoming a Lawyer, set up a chamber and run with ease. You might also set up a Security outfit. Are you currently an Accountant in government? Establishing an audit firm or other forms of consultancy services even in your garage retirement will not be a bad idea.
In conclusion, all these go to tell us that if you are still in active service, you might have to think of additional and/or professional certificates to help keep you busy at retirement besides, ensure that you consciously build, high level of an exceptional professional network while in active service for all these would help find clientele when you eventually set up on your own.
Good luck. Meanwhile, be free to express your views at firstname.lastname@example.org.