FROM THE STREETS AT AGE 11 TO A GLOBALLY RECOGNIZED FINANCIAL EXPERT – MR. ALEX IHEANACHO
Mr. Alex Iheanacho is the Chairman and CEO of MoneySense Africa, a company that aims at educating people on financial intelligence, a kind of knowledge that is not gotten in school. He started from very humble beginnings, having being abandoned by his father at birth, and disowned by his mother, he was adopted by another family.
Despite the emotional abuses and torture, he rose above mediocrity and has become a living example that no excuse is good enough. He shares his story of triumph with us.
DA: What was the major turning point in your life, what changed your thinking generally, and moved you from washing toilets for 500 cedes to a globally compliant CEO?
Alex Iheanacho: The day I almost died in the streets changed my life forever. I was abandoned by my parents and at age 11. I lived in the streets of Accra and hawked anything I could find just to survive. Before this day, nobody important had told me that I was good enough or could amount to anything significant in life. I was always cursed and told that I would end up in prison.
So, on this day, I had been sick for 3 days. No drugs or food. I lived in a motor park where no-one cared if you were dead or alive. On the 3rd day, I couldn’t feel myself any longer. I was turning white and I could hardly see or hear people clearly. At that moment, it hit me that my end was at hand, then I started thinking of my journey here on earth up until that point.
I had been told that I was nobody and seemed I hadn’t proved anyone wrong. I became truly sad that I came into this world through the back door and I was also about to exit through the same back door without anyone knowing that I came.
“How was I even going to be buried? Maybe I was going to make a good meal for the vultures!” I thought. Then at that moment, I whispered a prayer hoping that God would hear me. I said “Dear Lord, if you will help me survive this sickness and make it out alive from the street, I will spend the rest of my life teaching others how I did it and help them do the same”.
Few hours after that prayer, someone found me helplessly lying by the street corner. He bought me food and drugs. By morning I was strong and he took me out of the streets of Accra to Tema, from where someone eventually adopted me into his home.
DA: What inspired you to start up money sense Africa?
Alex Iheanacho: I’m a financial Educationist both by calling and training. Coming from a poor home where I lacked every basic thing that a child should have, I grew up wanting to make and have my own money so that I could get myself the basic things of life when I need them.
So I wanted to know all I could about money and how to make it. That made me to love all the money related subjects like commerce, accounting, and economics. I then went to the polytechnic to study accounting so that I could understand how to make and manage money, but they taught me nothing like that.
I was taught all about how to balance other people’s account, but nobody made mention of my own account. I then went to work in a bank thinking that I will learn how to manage money in the banking hall, but I was more disappointed than ever. I went on to study economics to learn about how to make and manage money, but there was no help.
All I was taught were things that had to do with the economy and other people’s money. At graduation, I started a financial research firm. As I read a lot of these research findings and books, I knew that there was just too much that an average human being should know about money and how to manage and multiply it.
That eventually led me to financial education and coaching. Consolidating all my leanings and street experiences, Money Sense was born as a new thinking that combines personal finance tools and personal development strategies to help people succeed with life and money.
DA: What major challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
Alex Iheanacho: Life is all about challenges. We never get to the end of the tunnel; we only get to the turn of a new tunnel. But this is all part of the game. For me, I see life as an exciting game that I’m privileged to be part of daily.
All I need is to figure out the rules that will help me win each stage I get to. With that said, I guess my greatest obstacle in life was starting out without any advantage and from a family that hated me enough to send me away at age 11.
When I came back at age 15, my mother even threatened to kill me with her bare hands since I had refused to die. So I started out life emotionally bankrupt. Remaking my life from ground negative happens to be one of the greatest things I have done. And I was able to achieve that through the #noexcuseisgoodenough mentality. I believe that nothing can stop a stubborn soul. And when you are stubborn about your greatness, the world will make way for you or you just possibly create some for yourself.
DA: Considering your background and what you survived how were you able to train yourself into becoming a financial expert? Was there any major book or seminar that changed your life?
Alex Iheanacho: Books such as the Bible, Rich Dad poor Dad, the richest man in Babylon, my education, my training as a researcher, the things that the schools never taught me about money, the things I learnt from the streets, my encounter with people who made a lot of money but couldn’t keep a dime and those who worked all their lives only to get to old age broke all inspired me to become a financial educator and coach.
DA: How much did you use to start up/ expand your company, and how were you able to raise funds?
Alex Iheanacho: My Company was started with little or no capital. I used my head, my phone, Facebook groups, my Facebook timeline, and data to start. I have always been a firm believer of starting your dream with your own personal sweat equity and that was how MoneySense Africa started.
DA: Between Labour, land, and capital, which, in your opinion is the most challenging for entrepreneurs to get and how can they overcome the challenge when starting up their company?
Alex Iheanacho: Resourcefulness not resources is the problem. None of those is the major problem especially from the beginning. What we have are excuses of resources. But the real problem is the lack of resourcefulness.
DA: What major mistake in your opinion are Nigerian youths making that keep them stuck in the rat race?
Alex Iheanacho: Not gaining their financial independence early enough. Financial independence is your ability to provide for yourself the basic necessities that you need to survive. It is not the same thing as financial freedom. If young people can assume independence early enough and start exercising their skills and right to earn money without depending or blaming anyone, miracles will happen for many early enough.
DA: Many youths that are starting out in life, earn within the range of 50,000 -100,000 monthly, what strategy can they use to save and what can they invest in for a start?
Alex Iheanacho: The strategy is to get a moneysense makeover first. That will help them get a savings plan, develop good savings culture and habit. As for investing, their first investment should be on themselves.
That’s the investment that yields the highest returns. It is the easiest to start and it’s the one with the least risk per capital invested. In fact, the risk on self investment is zero. So as soon as you start earning income, start with that and the rest will fall into place with time.
DA: What is your advice to entrepreneurs generally?
Alex Iheanacho: Everyone created by God is an entrepreneur. But not every entrepreneur must own a business. Some will have to work in a Business. If you know that you have to own a business, then Dream big, start small, but run fast. Know that nobody can help you or your business more than you are willing to do so yourself. And no business can get bigger or better than the owner. So, grow fast to grow your business.
DA: How can we reach you?
Alex Iheanacho: Join Money Sense Africa here=>
Send me an email here=>
Send me a whatsapp message here=>08091465571