What do you do when your background makes you fear money? You attack that mindset one belief at a time. Jemima (not real name) takes us on her personal finance journey as a young Nigerian Woman, sharing the new beliefs that are deconstructing her fear of money.
Meet her at a glance
Occupation: Programs Manager at a startup
Avg. monthly income: 480,000 monthly
Personal Financial Stability Rating (PFSR): 3 or 4
My personal financial stability rating is a 3 or 4, and here’s why…
First, I think that there is more I can do with my skills- from writing, to programs, there is more I can do- the only limitation is that I haven’t had time to put myself on these other platforms. Secondly, most times before it is month end, I am already broke and it shouldn’t be so, I know that I should have alternative sources of income. Thirdly, I spend a lot of my earnings on needs and a little less towards the things I really want to do with myself. Fourthly, I want to come to a point where my earnings are better and even though with money nothing is certain, that way, I can map out money that goes to things and still have a sufficient amount for spend on ‘my own’ needs. Lastly, I need to get to the place where I can spend my own money and not feel guilty about it. These are all the reasons why my rating is this low despite a good income.
But let’s start with some family financial history
I would not say we were poor, but I grew up in what you could call the average or middle class family where all my core needs were met but definitely not all my wants and that significantly shapes the way I saw things. For instance, other children could go to resturants, but that wasn’t a privilege we had growing up, beyond the money, this was also because of my mother’s upbringing as she didn’t believe those things were necessary. In her opinion, “Why should you go to an eatery when you can use that money and buy many foodstuffs?”
My background really shaped my money mindset
But, as I grew I knew that mindset needed to change, so even now, I have to consciously remind myself everytime, that I have worked hard to earn this money and so I have earned the right to buy other things for myself that are not core needs. Whether it is ice cream, food from my favourite plugs or even much-needed clothes! I am always feeling guilty that when I spend my money. Early this year, I had a major weight loss and most of my clothes didn’t fit anymore, I had to spend a necessary 50,000 Naira on a few clothes, you can’t imagine how guilty I felt. In fact, sometimes, I will literally hear my mum’s voice in my head and I feel like I’m betraying her by buying stuff for myself. Change has not been easy but as I grow my earnings, I have decided not to starve myself of good things because I feel guilty. I am becoming more aware and intentional about it.
Additionally, growing up with this experience has not made me more frugal, I would rather say that it has made me more afraid of money, I hear big amounts and I’m like “OMG!”. Then, there is this nagging thought that the money might disappear and so I just have to keep amassing more and more money, so that I don’t get to the point where I don’t have money anymore. While I am working on this mindset, I think I am still a little bit afraid of money. In my head, I know this mindset is not true, but I am still on that journey of getting my mind to where my head is at-given the knowledge I have now. Finally, there is the other extreme where I tend to become a spender, because I am trying to heal my inner financial child, and sometimes, this is not even conscious, it is when I reflect that I realise- WOW!
As I heal, I anchor my financial journey on certain beliefs…
My first financial belief is that money answers to value, so I believe that if I want to make more money, I have to up my value because what people pay for is actually value. The second is that I am deserving of good things and so if I work for it, then I should enjoy it. One place I am trying to get to is where I can afford a vacation and it doesn’t have to be outside my city or country, for me, it is just being able to book a great hotel suite, eat whatever I want, stay and enjoy that ambience and have that luxurious rest. Thirdly, I believe that if I have to make money, I have to understand investment. While I think saving is good, I also want to understand investment and how it works, not just the basics of it.
And it has been a JOURNEY!
For sure, my money journey hasn’t been smooth, I don’t think anything good comes smooth, but we keep progressing. I remember my first pay was just about 20,000 Naira as a fresh graduate and post-NYSC. This was even less than the National Youth Service Corps allowance which was 33,000 Naira, I couldn’t even save anything, I was just trying to afford basic necessities. Then I started earning more and now we’re here.
As a process-oriented person and as someone that likes taking my time, I don’t typically set overarching financial goals- like earning 500,000 when I don’t have years of work experience, because I believe money does not come ‘poom’💥. Interestingly, at the beginning of this year, I had told myself I would increase my income to 250,000 Naira, and now I almost earn twice that. Here is the short story of how it happened; When I was asked for my salary expectation for my current role, I said 350,000 Naira, I landed the role. What I was not expecting was for the company to reach out to say, they were going to pay me higher than my expectation, and now I earn almost 500,000. I would say this was God’s own miracle power and that really opened my mind to possibilities.
I really love career, I do not believe that “your salary is a bribe they pay you to forget your dreams yes, yen, yen”, because of this, I try to watch older women who are in the corporate world and are wealthy as I go on my own financial journey through the career ladder. From Sheryl, Sandberg, Dupe Olusola and Omilola Oshikoya, their success in the corporate world inspires me and made me know that all I need to do is to get better at my skills, such that when I ask a company for a particular amount, I would not be an empty barrel making empty promises, but a person that can deliver value.
At this phase of my journey, I would classify myself as a saver, I hope to move into investments soo, but right now, I save a good part of my salary monthly.
Best Money Move:
Hands down, it was getting myself a laptop. My last laptop was given to me by a friend, the one before it by an employee and the previous ones have been from my fathers office.
It is so relieving to have a personal laptop where no one is tracking your browsing history. Also, I started saving in dollars and this was because my earnings significantly improved and I could now afford to.
Worst Money Move:
It was pulling out of an internship on my parent’s advice. I feel that it could have built my skills way earlier and I might even be earning way more as a digital marketing and SEO big shot than what I earn now.
If I got $1,000,000 (1 million dollars) I would buy old houses in Lagos and renovate them.
Here’s a breakdown of my Top Three’s
Top 3 things I spend on:
Top 3 things I need for improved financial stability
Budget better: I am always exceeding my monthly budgets
Top 3 fintech brands
Access Bank App
Moneying with women is a series that dives into the financial stability of women from their own point of view. It uncovers habits, financial inclusion gaps and empowers women to take charge of their financial journeys.
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