Title: Smart Money Woman
Author: Arese Ugwu
Publisher: Troubador Book Publishing
Completion Time: 8 hours
Themes: Investment, Finance, Smart money woman habits
Let’s be honest; nobody loves a self-help book unless they are really depressed or actually need advice. I don’t and that’s why I kept off reading this book for months. As an economist, I treat financial advice with a yardlong stick. But I was pleasantly surprised by Smart Money Woman. Arese Ugwu drummed up a pretty informative book carefully weaved into an everyday story with practical lessons throughout. I know this is meant to be a book review, but the financial lessons therein are more important than my petty personal feels. So let’s get into it.
Being a Smart Money Woman
Zuri is the epitome of success, I mean, even I want to be her when I grow up (who am I kidding, am grown). But she has it all- a promising career, a salary to die for, a posh two-bedroom uptown, a wardrobe collection with the latest brands and occasional cocktails with her girlfriends ever so often. Then why is she evading her landlord, her car still stuck at the mechanics and she’s buying an outfit for a wedding of a girl she’s met twice. Yes, Zuri is broke, regardless of an annual basic tax-free salary of 7.2 million naira and no family obligations.
Zuri needs money, and fast, lest she loses her Instagram-goals lifestyle. So she sets down a plan towards financial freedom and commits to it through the book. She doesn’t really achieve it by the end, but a follow-up book would probably revolve around her as the guest speaker at a WIMBIZ show. She doesn’t fail. She realizes that 'Not everyone is an entrepreneur, it is more important to be entrepreneurial in your thinking', Arese Ugwu Click To Tweet
Women, especially African women, need to have serious conversations about money. Bad things sometimes happen to good people, and a death may be the difference between lavish and poor. So what are these critical money lessons you need to act on?
If you don’t know where you are going, any road will lead you there
The road to financial freedom begins with knowing what you want and where you want to be. If the goal is to stunt on your socials then that is exactly what your bank statements will reflect. However, if you aspire to retire early then you need to start now. Do not get focused on the wrong things.
Saving 20% of your income to buy a BMW when a Toyota serves you fine is extravagant. But the same 20% invested in stocks for over 6 months might just double your income. Make your own personal decisions based on your responsibility goals. Keep a money journal, lay out a plan, track your spending and commit to it.
A Marriage is not a job
This should be obvious but for some reason, it is not. Woman, a marriage is not the solution to your money problem. While getting a rich boyfriend/ husband elevates your wealth, it is not a ticket to being a housewife. If you are spendthrift now, you will be even more careless when you are not earning it.
Passive income is money you make when you are asleep. It includes money from online marketing, affiliate marketing, stocks, dividends. Please, marriage is not on that list. Instead of getting focused on hitching a rich husband like Tami, be financially free first. Invest in your life, makes plans for the future lest that husband dies and you inherit billions in debt.
You are who you friend
A smart money woman has smart money friends. There is no workaround. If you hang out with people whose the biggest concern is what Chanel brand is out this week, then that is where your money goes to. In campus, if you HAVE to party every weekend, then darling…
But there is a trick: You Attract who you currently are. Let’s face it, if Zuri was not working tooth and nail to get her finances in check, Tsola would probably not be as interested as he was. If you are penny-wise, then the circle around you either conforms or drops off. And if they are not there yet, then find a way to network. Attend women empowerment seminars, invest in your growth, find a mentor, talk to a Smart Money Woman.
Perfect your elevator pitches
“She never Tried, so She Never Knew how good she was,” Charmaine J. Forde. Click To Tweet Everyone has that one idea they love to love. Some of us have more than one, but at the very least, everyone has one. Is it a blog, a book, a hotel, a charity organization, a new invention, a fashion line… whatever it is, that’s yours, solely yours but there’s always a reason why you’ve not actualized it. is it connections, capital, the perfect partner?
Well, you need to learn the elevator pitch. Essentially it just means you should be able to convince someone of that billion-dollar idea. While at it, focus on the why. Time is money, no one has enough to listen to a lecture about who you are. Lead with your idea, connect it to whoever you are pitching to, convince them. It just might be the big break you are waiting for.
Budget is not scarcity’s synonym
Whenever anyone mentions they are budgeting, everyone expects them to move out of their loft, sell their clothes, stop eating. Okay, maybe these are worth trying but going cold turkey is the number one reason people who have been addicted to anything relapse. Budgeting means tracking your expenses, saving a coin where you can and knowing where exactly that coin should go.
While at it, you really don’t need another pair of shoes, and you don’t need to renew your annual gym membership card when you will be in college for 9 months. She’s not even your friend, you can afford to recycle that LBD you wore to dinner at her wedding reception. You cannot afford to live beyond your means. Sacrifice today for tomorrow. Thank me later.
Consumption rises with income
“Consumption rises with an increase in income”, The Income Effect, Microeconomics. Click To Tweet Yes, Economics class of 2018, you can quote me, lol. An increase in your purchasing power, from either a salary increase, the yearly bonus, a stipend from your family or a gift from your spouse significantly increases your demand for things.
Now, if you have a savings plan that involves investments you are safe. Otherwise, your income will just stock up your wardrobe and run your entrepreneurship venture into loses. If you can afford to live at your current lifestyle level even after your purchasing power increases then you have more money to invest.
Have a turnup account
Stanley Kubrick, an extreme perfectionist and film producer, once said, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” And Arese seems to agree. All saving and no spending makes you a stingy person, take it from someone who’s done that. Do what you want, take a vacation, buy that Louboutin you’ve been eying, throw a lavish birthday party, just be sure to charge it to your turnup account. Be a smart money woman about it. Ideally, that account should not be more than 20% of your income and you do not have to spend all of it. Prioritize your splurges
One Last Thing
If you have read all 1204 words to this point, then you have already read the book or the lessons you need. Buy it still, and decide if you like it. If not for the love between Zuri and Tsola then for all her friends who finally decide financial freedom is a goal.
If nothing else, I hope this book teaches you to be wise about your finances. Being a paycheck away from poverty is not the way to live. Diversify your income sources and think long term. I hope it explains a few financial jargon that you should know. Be a smart money woman. You owe yourself that much.