When we read Barry’s testimony on the investment group, we just knew we had to reach out to him for more juice. I mean, who doesn’t like a good story?
On this episode of #MoneyRise, Barry talks about the lemon’s life threw at him, and how he’s making lemonade out of them. About being a medical doctor, why he thinks he should never have towed the part of medicine, moving to the UK, his finances and how Rise has helped improve his financial life. Read Barry’s lemons and lemonade story.
Hi, Barry. Can you introduce yourself to us?
My name’s Samuel, but friends these days call me Barry Allen. It’s a nickname that came up sometime during my university days and stuck. It’s affiliated with Barry Allen, the flash character in DC comics, who always runs very fast. It came about because of my academic inclination, which was rated far above average in teaching and learning, so Barry Allen followed up along the way. I’ve had other nicknames, but I seem to enjoy Barry Allen lately. I’ve practised as a medical doctor in hospitals and public healthcare systems, but recently ventured into full-time clinical practice in emergency medicine. I love travelling, and watching TV. I feel television should be a compulsory part of everybody’s life.
What was your childhood like? And did that influence who you are today?
Yes, it did. I grew up in a very lonely environment because my parents had to travel long distances to work, so I’d be home for many days alone. My companion was the television. I’d probably say that television shaped more than half of my life. If I’m not working, you’d probably find me watching something on TV.
Tell us about being a doctor. What inspired that dream?
A sad story, really, but when we were living in Kaduna, I had a friend, M, whose mom was quite ill. She had a terminal illness, and I remember going to M’s house after her mom was discharged from the hospital into what we now call ‘end of life care.’ I felt so sad when I saw her, as she was in so much pain. The first question I asked M was why her dad let the doctors send her mom home despite the pains, and if they ever gave her anything to help ease her suffering. It worried me so much because M was never herself anymore after her mom died. Her final moments were very horrible. It didn’t make any sense to me. I mean, even if there were diseases that could be terminal, it didn’t make sense that somebody in the last moments of their life had to suffer so much. After that, I realised that I wasn’t happy with the idea of pain, and I felt it was something I wanted to address. I think that was how I tilted into medicine.
Oh, wow. You’re definitely God’s favourite. So what was school like?
It was a bit rough. I wouldn’t really say that I enjoyed school. I hated exams; I have always hated the concept of exams. I felt exams do not really test students’ knowledge, so I’ve always hated them. I always loved to study on my own. To study outside the scope of what we were expected to learn entirely. I guess it paid off eventually, as that was how Barry Allen came into the picture.
Nice. Do you regret anything about studying medicine in Nigeria?
Maybe. In retrospect, studying medicine in Nigeria was probably a bad idea. We got to learn so much about books and very little about finances. I didn’t study medicine to be wealthy. Of course, they always told us this. But I became disillusioned at some point in my early career.
Now, I’m not saying there aren’t rich doctors. In the same tax bracket, you’d have people who have connections who will land very good jobs. Some will be privileged to land where they could get good connections to start good businesses and make a lot of money.
I was reading Zikoko magazine about a doctor who got linked to working somewhere offshore. Then he got connected to someone who eventually helped them start a business where they could rent boats for offshore projects and talked about the highlights of that business where they were doing over $5,000 a day on contracts at some point.
$5000 a day? God when?
Yes. Some people will actually get lucky, but not every one of us will get so lucky. And financial education was deficient. You’d have colleagues who want to borrow money from you to meet financial obligations while waiting for their salary. They were literally living off the salary. It was worrying because I felt medical knowledge was good, but financial knowledge should be basic. It should be taught to everybody regardless of the career they choose to pursue. And then many people who are not in medical school have the impression that medical doctors are rich, but that’s not the reality.
Many doctors struggle, except maybe you’re doing so well academically, and you get a scholarship to do something big abroad. The struggle actually continues. You’re earning just marginal money to take care of yourself and maybe your immediate family, but nobody will ever teach you about savings. Nobody will ever teach you about investments. Nobody will ever teach you about the stock market. Nobody will ever teach you about money, and that’s unfortunate.
It absolutely is.
Anyways, I’m telling all these stories because they eventually metamorphosed into ideologies I had to appreciate at an older age. I’m not doing so well and not doing big things financially, but these were hard questions I had to start asking myself. I knew I couldn’t continue the cycle of waiting for the month to end to get paid before I had money and not knowing what happened to the money at the end of the day. I also felt I was growing old. I knew I couldn’t keep doing that forever. Wear and tear will happen, and what happens to my financial resource at the end of the day? So it became more like aggressive financial self-education. Financial education is good for self, but this is something that even the government ought to invest in the lives of people. Financial education is equally as important as academic education because this is something that everyone is supposed to learn – managing money.
What are some of the challenges you face in your career and how do you handle them?
A lot of things have evolved, actually, like residency. I first started a residency program in Nigeria, but I wasn’t enjoying it. Residency is like specialty training, where you undergo training to become a specialist in a particular field. So I started one in Nigeria, but I wasn’t getting the cake. I felt I wasn’t getting enough teaching and wasn’t maximising my learning potential.
Then we started having a lot of NMA and ARD strikes, which often caused conflicts because, as doctors, we were registered under a union like the Association of Resident doctors. So when there’s a strike because of salaries, they expect us not to work.
The union tells you you’re not supposed to work during the strike. Still, the hospital you work for will come to the back-end to say that you’re automatically forfeiting your residency program if you don’t resume work. Nigeria is crazy. Many of these issues kept happening, so I had to drop out of the program for something else. As I speak to you, I have changed specialties. I was doing residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology, but I have moved to something else.
Oh, wow! What did you move to?
I’m now in Emergency Medicine in the UK. I don japa!
Yasss! So did you make the switch to be able to move? Or was it after your relocation?
I think it was a bit of both. I’ve had some good clinical experience, and the specialty wanted someone with this kind of experience, and they were happy to have me. And like Barry Allen, I japaed, probably even faster than the flash himself. This happened a couple of weeks ago, so it’s relatively new.
Well, although I japaed, it’s not something I’m exactly happy to talk about. At some point, with financial knowledge, you begin to come to terms with certain realities. The way my financial reality in Nigeria appeared was not what I felt it was on paper, so I had to leave before I became disillusioned. No love lost, no love found. I have relocated, but only for now. Before you ask, I cannot categorically say I’ll be returning to Nigeria. It could be some other country. It’s a new career trajectory for me now, and I’m trying to make the most of it, at least for the time I have.
How has it been since you left Nigeria for the UK?
There are different facets to this. From a financial standpoint, I’d say it’s the best decision I’ve made in a long time. Interestingly, I pay more bills here but have more money than I probably would’ve ever dreamt of having at the end of every month in Nigeria. It’s the best decision for me. But we must understand that life has strong elements of chance and sheer luck; not every one of us will be privileged to be in a place where we can have the ideal sense of things. For me, it was important to travel. For some other people, it probably won’t be. But financially speaking, I think I made the best decision to travel.
That’s good to hear.
Thank you! From other aspects, like family, I miss Nigeria a lot. I was hoping I’d come this Christmas, but plans changed. I miss my folks, so yeah, you’ll get homesick sometimes.
And the financial system here is like a permanent middle-class parole. Whatever you’re doing, fix a timeline, have a target for what you’re doing, and look ahead. But again, relocating was financially the best decision I made this year.
I won’t say I rode the japa trend because I had the opportunity and should have left earlier, but I kept stalling and dulling.
How did you hear about Rise?
I can’t remember the year precisely. It was probably in 2020, during or after the pandemic. I heard about Rise from a friend who I call Ms. Sunshine. She always posted on her status about another savings app, which made me first question why I was keeping my money in traditional banks where I was always paying for stupid bank charges like card and account maintenance.
I had a high-interest savings account with one of these funny banks at the time, but the profit margin kept dwindling by the day. I was also coming to terms with the fact that the naira was devaluing. So one day, Ms. Sunshine made a post saying it was time to rise with Risevest. Then I messaged her, asking what Risevest was, and she explained that it was also a fintech company. In her words, “It’s a fintech company that helps you hedge your funds against devaluation. At least, I think that’s something important.” After she said that, I told her I would find out more about it, so she sent me her referral link.
I stan a serious and focused woman.
Haha. Interestingly, I didn’t touch the link for many months and just left it there until another friend of mine, Baba Tee, who’s quite popular on Facebook, made a post on naira devaluation. He talked about ways to hedge your money, and in the list of things he said, he mentioned Risevest. And then it hit me that it was the same company Ms. Sunshine talked about. So I quickly went back to our chats and clicked on her referral link, which was how I joined. I cannot remember how much I started with, but I think it was less than $100. The moment I deposited, I guess Ms. Sunshine got notified about her referral bonus, so she reached out to me, saying, “after how many years, you’ve finally joined,” and I told her I just wanted to see how it went.
After joining, I was dormant for some time until I began reading more about Risevest and grasping that naira was losing value. That was when I started becoming active and investing in real estate plans. I started putting in money, and it was something I was just gradually doing. At the end of each month, if I had spare change that I was not using and knew I wouldn’t need soon, I’d keep it there. That was how it started, and here we are today.
What has your journey been like?
The journey has been a shocker for me because I was just putting in money gradually. There are months when you make much more money than you’d expect, and you’d have much more than you’d spend, so I’d just put it in. I just had the transfer account number on my bank app, so I wasn’t visiting the app so much. I’d just do a transfer, and it’d go to my wallet, and maybe at the end of the month, I’d just go to the wallet and transfer into my real estate plan. It wasn’t until sometime this year that I was with a friend who joined Rise because of me, and while he talked about how much he has earned, I decided to check mine. I just opened the app, and when I saw the money there, I was shocked. I was so impressed by the amount staring back at me as it was supposed to be a passive investment. It’s really been a fantastic journey.
I also love the ease with which I invest. As I said, I’m not under any pressure. Most times, it’s money I know that I’m not using. Then I stumbled upon one book I loved so much, The Psychology of Money. I think that’s a book that has really changed my perception of money. I wouldn’t say I have read so many financial books, but that one written by Morgan Housel is terrific. He talked so much about many money principles that I could relate to. I don’t know if I have ever seen any book that has given so much clarity on my financial situation. So when I read that book, I decided to be more frequent in my investments this year. I’d say that I’ve been a bit more frequent than I was when I joined. It’s been an amazing journey, really. I mean, I just do it and enjoy it.
As a member of the telegram group, what do you enjoy most about it?
For the most part, I’d say my interests there are just selfish. I just go there to look for what interests me and for updates that will benefit me. I see a lot of dry and annoying posts there, but it’s a community; you’ll have a lot of hotheads. And I have a busy work schedule, so when I return, I can wind down a little on the telegram group. I think there was a session Eke held recently that I joined on Zoom, and hearing about how Risevest was expanding to other parts of the world got me interested. It was great to hear that, as they are the things I love to read and hear about. I’m interested in hearing about how the company is expanding, its new strides in investments, and what they intend to do for the investors. These interest me, and they come up occasionally, so I just try to look out for them. If they are not there, I just try to catch up with the trend of things. Overall, the community is fun.
What advice would you give people who are looking to start investing?
First and foremost, like I’ve said in that group before, investments no be for people wey never see food chop. I think people have a very skewed concept of investing. I don’t know if it’s a concept driven by greed or get-rich-quick schemes. You know, there are a lot of them that used to be very popular. I think that’s the idea people have. “Oh, there’s this platform where if you put in a certain amount of money, within 24hrs, the money is going to double and you can pull it out and recycle.” They think that Risevest is like the ultimate recycler.
Risevest is not a get-rich-quick scheme where you’re hoping to get rich in 48hrs to one month if you put in some money. No, that’s not how investments work; you need to understand that investments are long-term commitments. You also must know that you should only invest money you can afford to lose. Investment is a risk; there’s always an inherent risk. Before considering investing, you must make sure you have money that can take care of your immediate needs. You have money saved up as emergency funds in case life eventualities arise, and you need money urgently. Long-term patience is the only way to grow in investments, so people need to understand that. If people understood that, the pressure to get quick, magic results would wane. People need to understand what investments are before they venture into them. It helps a great deal. That’s what I’ll advise anyone that wants to begin investing or join Risevest. You’re not joining a community that will make you a billionaire in one month, two, or three months. Also, see investments as some form of long-term discipline for yourself. The fact that you have money somewhere and the discipline to let the money try and grow on its own is a great thing. And you’re not doing anything to make the money grow yourself other than putting in patience. There are already systems in place that are managing your money, so you’re literally not doing anything except applying patience. I think people need to understand these concepts first before they begin to think they’ll rise with Risevest. That’s all I’d have to say.
Haha. Love the play on words! So what advice would you give to people looking to dive into your field of career?
There’s no money here oh! You better go and do politics. Don’t let your parents deceive you; they want you to study medicine, but there’s no money here. I wouldn’t want my kids to study medicine; they must play basketball or football. Yes, you should go to school, get some education, do a masters and possibly a Ph.D. As a matter of fact, I want all my kids to be Ph.D. holders, but their careers must be football or basketball, please! I’m sorry to say, but there’s nothing noble about pursuing a medical career. Only do it if it’s something you think you’d enjoy. If it’s something you think you’re going to make money from, there are rich doctors, I’m not going to lie. There are doctors who earn millions, but they’re nothing compared to the number of struggling doctors. Not everybody is going to have the same story, so it’s best to plot your graph well. If it says medicine will give you billions, I’m sorry; it’s a bad graph. I can’t encourage you to tow the path of my career because if I had been adequately advised, I’d have probably gone for that engineering. I have to be realistic about this; I probably would’ve gone for engineering. There’s much more money to make in tech; now, you can even learn tech without having to do actual engineering courses. There are a lot of tech and Business Management opportunities.
But you can be a doctor and also be in tech.
Yes, exactly. Matter of factly, I’m taking a course in Data Analytics. I’m trying to diversify my portfolio; hence, why I’m doing this. Data Analytics should be something you start learning from secondary school. So if it’s Medicine that comes to your mind as a future career, you may want to rethink. Just go to some other place; there’s no money here.
Who knows, maybe if I had a good guidance and counselling officer, I probably would’ve opted for nursing. And once I completed my nursing, I’d have travelled to the US to practise while I learned tech. So I’d be doing nursing and tech, and I probably would have been much more successful. LOL. So before you make any plans, please, ask questions. Ask people who have gone ahead of you. So make sure you know where you’re going.
Haha! It was so fun talking to you, Barry.
It was my pleasure! You all should keep doing the good work, and thank you for the gift of Risevest.