Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Seminar: "How To Grow Your Personal Wealth And Become Rich In Papua New Guinea"

I presented the above weekend seminar at the university of Goroka from 13 to 15 March. The seminar was organised by the Tertiary Students' Christian Fellowship.

On the first night I presented a resource map and highlighted how blessed Papua New Guinea is with natural resources. The made reference to Acts 17:26 which says, "From one blood God made every nation of men, and He has determined the times and boundaries of their habitation." What this means is that we who we are and where we are is by divine appointment. God in His wisdom made us Papua New Guineans to be alive in such a time as this.

I spoke of more than 20 gold and copper mines which stretch from the border with indonesia to the furtherest islands of Milne Bay, to Bougainville and the New Guinea Islands. We even have the world's first under sea gold mine! I also spoke of the oil and gas projects, as well as tree crops, forestry and marine products, potential for tourism and carbon trade. I concluded with this statement from a geologist: "Papua New Guinea is a mountain of gold floating on a sea of oil."

In the context of the subject of the seminar, I proposed to the students that there was enough for every able-bodied Papua New Guinean to become rich and wealthy. But to have a piece of the action and become rich, people must have money. So financial management was the next topic.

On financial management, I gave 12 tips which combined can help people to manage money well, save and invest. I quoted several Bible verses which say that we are only stewards who will give an account of how we conduct our lives as well as how we manage the finances God has placed in our hands.

The tips were:

1. Set financial goals (if you do not know where you are going, any wind is the right wind).
2. Have a plan for achieving your goals (if you fail to plan, you plan to fail, and if you don't have a plan, you will fall into other peoples' plans).
3. Be different (don't copy other peoples' spending habits).
4. Distinguish between needs and wants (for you personally).
5. Avoid spending money on unneccessary items (alcohol, betel nuts, cigarettes and gambling - these items add neither to your health nor your wealth).
6. Control giving to wantoks (note I didn't say "don't give to wantoks").
7. Give joyfully to the work of God and others in need (when you give, you simultaneously position yourself to receive.
8. Live below your means, not within or above your means. (Living within means is risky; living above means is artificial; living below means is ideal).
9. Always pay yourself first (your money management order should be earn-save-spend, not earn-spend-save; also save for investment, not consumption).
10. Distinguish between assets and liabilities (assets: things that "feed" you financially; liabilities: things that "eat" you financially).
11. Distinguish between good debt and bad debt (good debt: debt you take but other repay for you; bad debt: debt you take and you pay with your own sweat and blood).
12. Delay getting married until you are financially secure.

In the final session I discussed investment, which I defined as "Making your money work for you". I quoted Matthew 6:24, which essentially says that we cannot sevre both God and mammon (wealth, riches and possessions). We are not to serve money, but learn how to make it serve us, so that we can serve God without money interefering with and competing with our devotion to Him.

I discussed saving, government bonds and treasury bills, a business, real estate and stock market investing, as the ways in which people can make money work for them. I stated that saving is good but the problem is that saved money works slowly. Money that is invested has a higher velocity.

I concluded that PNG is very rich, but most Papua New Guineans are in danger of being left behind because they mismanage their money and so watch opportunities go by. Only those who manage well and save will take advantage of the many investment opportunities that are likely to arise, and hence go on to becoming wealthy and rich. Also, foreigners, many of whom do not bring any money into the country but have the right mindset, will become active players while Papua New Guineans become spectators.

I intend to present this seminar to students in as many educational institutions as possible, to prepare the young generation to become actively involved in various economic activities and becoming financially free and rich instead of being busy working for money (and thereby making other people rich at their own expense).