Title: The Smart Money Woman
Author: Arese Ugwu
Matador, Troubador publishing ltd/ 2016.
I didn’t know what to expect from this book, I only hoped in all sincerity that it wouldn’t bore me because at the time I picked it up, I had no patience for troublesome reads.
I had seen recommendations(not reviews) of it on the internet. My friend Chizaram gave me the e-book. If you’re interested, you can e-mail me.
It wasn’t a boring read in spite of discussing a bit of what is often considered the ‘professional stuff’ in finance. It takes the form of a light hearted fictional read. Considering the reader is aware the book isn’t for all purposes fictional, the lack of exceptional fictional narrative skills, is forgivable.
For me, it was an enlightening read.
The foreword was written by Nimi Akinkugbe, CEO BESTMAN GAMES, money matters with Nimi. She wrote:
”For many people, the subject of personal financial management can be somewhat daunting. The book presents the basic concepts of earning, budgeting, spending , borrowing, saving, investing as well as behavioural and emotional aspects of money In a personal way that makes it easy to personalize.”
This book isn’t vague about the ‘woman’ mentioned in it’s title, even though it is very well profitable to all sexes. It uses the story of a Nigerian woman, Zuri, to bring home the points.
After each chapter, there are highlighted lessons in which the concepts explored through story telling for that chapter, are discussed. Afterwards, there are exercises for the reader to carry out, for example, calculating your own net worth.
Zuri, a 28 year old senior manager at Richmond developments( a real estate firm), has good financial potentials as she earns a salary which the average Nigerian aims to earn. Regardless, Zuri discovers she is broke. This is a journey on how she climbs out of it.
”Broke means, if you lost your primary source of income today, you wouldn’t be able to maintain the lifestyle you have become accustomed to because you have no assets to rely on”
”Broke people think its about how much you earn and spend while rich people know it is about how much your are able to convert of your current earnings into an asset for the future.”
This book broaches the manner in which money is spent from the perspective of different individuals. We take a look at all four of Zuri’s closest friends together with their families and what financial strategies they employ.
It also broaches the subject of peer pressure(especially payment for aso ebi*); building an emergency fund; articulating what it is you exactly want your money to do for you in life; sacrificing comfort; having financially conscious friends with the same ideals who gear you on to financial accountability; setting boundaries in helping family relations; the impact of societal gossip; handling money fears, financial analysis; diligence at work; having a partner who understands financial success; the making of Wills in Nigeria(how it’s seen as a taboo); discussing family securities etc.
Furthermore, the role of employers and other mentors in the society is also considered; the benefit of organizational programs such as WIMBIZ (the largest and most substantial women organization that empowers working women in Nigeria).
Exploring this book, as is the same with other works of literature, you must be conscious of what you’re learning. Some other people can float through the whole experience and end up not realizing the gem of wealth in the book(perhaps just admiring Tsola).
Some of the points well scored in the book:
- The average wealthy Nigerian has an ayeye** mentality. Upon the death of someone in the book, the family threw a big burial party despite the fact that the deceased’s will had been read and huge debts had been unraveled. Family finances must be discussed. Understand your spouse’s money personality. Is there life insurance? What are the responsibilities of each family member?
- It teaches you that you should understand investment. Don’t just assume you’re cool because you’ve started investing. What are your investment goals and strategy? What is your risk profile? know the classes of investments that exist and very importantly, speak to an investment adviser or stockbroker.
- As an entrepreneur, do you have financial records; balance sheet, cash flow, profit or loss statement’? or are you just shining teeth that ”hello I’m an entrepreneur”?
- Everyone doesn’t have to be an entrepreneur.
”you know leveraging on your set skill to maximize your earning potential doesn’t have to mean starting your own business, right?”
- What you can do to leverage your earning potential, is to maintain a habit of thinking outside the box and to have multiple streams of income. In essence, not necessarily following the herd mentality that comes from over glamorizing entrepreneurship, if that is not your thing.
- Look beyond making money, seek to create value, to make an impact.
There’s some humour and general consideration of what it means to live in Nigeria.
I consider this book helpful in that the vibe it gives off is one of the author trying to help the reader. She goes ahead to critically explain even the downside to engaging an investment firm, what questions you should ask etc. She insists no one should dismiss your concerns. In essence, be the boss of your own money.
However, I am not wholly in support of the story’s plotline.
I rate it 4.5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it to anyone on a quest to learning on finances (and you should be!).
She felt like she was no longer on a career ladder to nowhere…Zuri had discovered she was her own hero
The smart money woman has positioned herself for success. For her, improving her net worth is more important than improving her wardrobe.
”In sub-Saharan Africa, less than one percent are born into wealth, and under ten percent are born into middle class. In general, we are not taught in any formal framework, how to keep money or grow it- basic personal finance skills are difficult to learn. As a result, when a young adult starts earning more than they need to survive, they still end up living from paycheck to paycheck”
”What you deny or ignore, you delay; what you accept and face, you conquer”
”People associate the word budget with scarcity or a reduction in station in life. Therefore budget is a word they’ve come to resent. The truth is budget is something that tells you how to allocate your resources, and it should reflect what you value”
”Your network is your net worth”
”Soji and I never discussed about money without tension. At first, it was normal because that was how I grew up as well. My parents never really discussed money with us or with each other. But now with everything that is going on, I realise Its something we should have discussed even before we got married”
”The cardinal rule is when you invest; don’t invest in anything you do not understand.”
Have you read my post on Finance and perspective? What is your view on managing finances? Have you read this book? Are you interested?
* aso ebi stands for the culture of sewing the same clothes for big events
**Ayeye is a Yoruba word meaning fanfare.