My name is Eso Akpovwa. Long story short, I knew from a very young age that I was destined to be an engineer.
I had begun working on my Master of Engineering (Oil and Gas) when LIFE decided that the Crossroads would be good for my character. It started out slowly. One day, I felt some tingling sensation in my legs.
I started noticing loss of coordination on my right leg. Pins and Needles being felt every time I made a move .
I went to see a doctor who promptly ordered a MRI and CT. Several weeks later, in the hospital. A doctor (Neurologist) approached me with a concerned but calm expression on his take and told me that he had gone through the MRI films which we had taken and that the images were consistent with “SYRINGOMYELIA”.
He explained to me that Syringomyelia is a generic term referring to a disorder in which a Cyst or cavity forms within the spinal cord. This cyst, called a syrinx, can expand and elongate overtime, destroying the spinal cord. The damage may result in loss of pain, paralysis, weakness and stiffness in the back and extremities. Syringomyelia causes a wide variety of neuropathic symptoms due to damage of the spinal cord and the nerves inside.
Each patient experiences a different combination of symptoms. These symptoms typically vary depending on the extent and, often more critically, to the location of the syrinx within the spinal cord.
Having finished explaining this to me he paused. I was a mess. My mind was buzzing ; not from Syringomyelia, but from sheer overload. I didn’t know exactly what all of this meant. I felt that my life just changed completely and forever.
The initial shock subsided and my health stabilised in a few months, but the turmoil was just the beginning. What do I do? Can I still jump and climb? is it wise to plan on being able to earn a living as an engineer knowing that I could loose control of my limbs at any time? But engineering is all I know. It’s what I am. If not engineering, then what?
Eventually I had to make peace with having to leave a career in Engineering in the past, but I still had no idea what next . I struggled with this for about a year, and then it came to me —— instead of focusing on what I should do, I should focus on WHY. Why do this and not that? How do I need for my life to work and look, and why? What are the important criterions? Thus, I began to ask and answer questions one by one – like peeling an onion.
Question: Can I still be successful in life?
This was no brainer. I was not dead or terminally ill – THANK GOD! I hit a stumbling block, not a brick wall. Though there were now a few limitations and considerations in my life, I was still basically a healthy, smart and capable person. So the question of whether I can still be successful in life could not be answered because it should have never been asked. The pity party was over it was time to take action!
Question: If not engineering, how do I make a living? What kind of job is good for me?
Now these were more “pertinent” questions, answering which I approached very methodically. I knew I needed to be creative since my medical condition made it a very real possibility that I would not always have complete control of my physiology.
I researched the world of money extensively and I came to realise that there are 3 types of income; Earned Income, Passive Income, and Portfolio Income.
Earned income is employment and self-employment income. It is the result of performing labour in exchange for a pay check. It’s the be healthy, and go punch the cloak kind of income since I wasn’t going to do. I could probably do it for a number of years, but long-term I needed to find ways of generating income hat would not be limited by or conditioned on my physiology . Well, since earned income was a non-starter . I continued looking at the other types of income. My research revealed that portfolio income is the income resulting from paper assets, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds , annuities etc.
while passive income is the domain of real estate. Both types belong to the world of investment, and therefore both are a lot more passive in nature than earned income; both require management, but not labour. Conclusion – I needed to learn to generate investment income.
Question: Is real estate the answer?
I quickly realised that portfolio income was not right for me for one reason – what I really was income to pay my monthly bills. Most people’s plan to generate income is to work at a job until 68 years of age, but I couldn’t plan on that. Therefore, my investments had to produce cash flow. I realised, however, that paper assets offer very few possibilities in a way of income .
True, I could buy dividend stocks and annuities, but at 5% annual return, I would have to own 600,000(£, $, N) of such assets in order to generate 30,000 of annual income. Unlike real estate which can be purchased using leverage, paper assets have to be paid for with cash.
Where am I going to get that kind of money? Furthermore, 30,000 per year is the bare minimum. Obviously my family will require more than that. This left real estate, and thus 15 years ago I dedicated myself to the study of the art and science of real estate and acquisition.
Today I am years older. I am blessed to be married to the love of my life: Margaret. We have two gorgeous children: Isaiah and Elijah. My health is good. I watch what I eat and exercise. Over the past 15 years I have managed to assemble a sizeable portfolio of real estate , my portfolio generates great annual rent revenue with annual cash flow.
I have become an expert at creative finance Not because I wanted to, but because I had to – I had no money to invest. In fact, every last penny that I needed to acquire this beautiful real estate was financed ; at times very creatively. Today, I am on my way to financial freedom, but it has nothing to do with money. This journey is about Self Worth! Syringomyelia hasn’t stopped me…..
I am greatful that I get up every morning and can kisss my wife and kids and say “THANK YOU GOD” for a body that still works the way it should. I check it throughout each day because there was a time it didn’t work like it was supposed to – like I was accustomed to – like I took for granted. Some days are easier to be positive than others, but I am at peace.
Folks, I never wanted financial freedom; I had to have it. So my wife and kids will have the life that they are meant to have. I am a husband and a father. Providing for my family is not a want, it is necessity – with syringomyelia or without! This is my WHY !
How about you? What burns inside you? When the going gets tough, what is it that helps you to hang-on? if you are not aware that you have any physical limitations, then you are one step ahead of where I was when I started on this journey. Start today – while you still can!
Maybe you’re wondering if you can trust me. You can! My motives are pure. I want to “Educate You to Plan for and to Take Action to achieve financial freedom!!! I want to teach you what I have learned over the past decade.
If you allow me, I will introduce you to the entrepreneurial perspective that will open doors of opportunities for you as it did for me.