Finance
How To: an African Woman's Guide to Financial Freedom
The African Woman is endowed with a lot of virtues, one of which is financial management. This article will show you how to groom this virtue and master your finances.
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Image Credit: Unsplash || Christina
Okoji Jane
Freelancer
Article writer • Blog writer • Academic Writer
23rd May, 2020
8 mins read
Opinions expressed by IABC contributors are their own.

Stocks, bonds, real estate, what is an African woman's business with any of these? Does she have the right to gain financial freedom? Is financial freedom a mere mirage to her? Why does money come to her with ease, and leave her account and purse with more ease? Could she be missing something vital?

Are you an African woman looking to free yourself from financial stagnation's rock-hard grip? Here are 8 tips that are proven to answer these bugging questions and boost you to financial freedom:

1. Have a Renewed Mindset.
The average African woman is relegated to the kitchen and 'other room' by her husband, a fraction of the male population, and the African woman — both she and her fellow women.


She is taught to depend solely on her husband and the income he brings: finances are for him to gain, and her to manage. This seems harmless until her husband loses his primary source of income or dies, and this African woman is forced to relinquish all her husband's investments, savings, and property to his family members or the bank he may have taken a loan from.


In order to start a smooth journey to Financial Freedom street and Money avenue you must first understand that as money-spending is not restricted to the male population, money-gaining is also not restricted to our male counterparts. To paraphrase Suze Orman, a major aspect of financial freedom is freeing your mind and heart from the uncertainties (what-ifs) of life. "What if no man wants to marry you, because you're rich?" "What if men think you're proud, because of your wealth?" You need to change your mindset and channel your thought process to things that will improve your financial life, not to "what-ifs" that have no solid bases.

 

Related: Six Ways to Manage Personal Finance in the Time of Global Crisis

2. Find your Purpose.
Purpose is the key to breaking out of the misery of financial bondage; it is so important that John C. Maxwell, in his book, "Your Roadmap for Success" recognised it as the first and fundamental step to attaining success. A paraphrase of his definition of success: Success is finding your purpose, developing your skills to their maximum potential, and always putting yourself in the position to help others.


We are here on earth to accomplish an innate mission strapped to our souls the moment we broke out of our mothers' wombs; that mission is our purpose. Once you are working towards your purpose, you could have sleepless nights, raccoon eyes, a tired exterior, but you would be overjoyed going through the process all over again because, in every sense of the word, you were made for it.


Find your purpose, show up each day to work towards it, and watch your financial problems disappear.

3. Gain Financial Knowledge.
After you have set your mind up in the right conditions for growth, your mind becomes a fertile soil to plant financial knowledge and grow money-ideas to fruition. Get knowledge on different money-making techniques, how to invest the right way, and other financial knowledge. There are over a thousand books, blog or website posts — like this one — articles, podcasts, seminars, and other media where the you can gain money knowledge. If you see the need for it, you can get a mentor or coach to give you a solid foundation in all things finances.


Have a special "financial knowledge book" where you summarize all the information you learn from the different media or mentors, and show where each summary sprouts from. If you have any assignments from your courses or lecturers, answer them after each chapter of the book, or lesson of the course, as the case may be. Once you are intentional about the knowledge you want to gain, you will be able to implement the ideas and knowledge you have garnered so far.


Warren Buffet explained the importance of financial knowledge in a simple sentence: "Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing." Once you gain solid ground — via knowledge — in the financial sector, you will feel confident about yourself, and have a constant stream of money-ideas flowing through your mind.

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4. Learn a High-Income skill or Improve on your Existing Skills.
"The secret to wealth is simple: find a way to do more for others than anyone else does. Become more valuable. Do more. Give more. Be more. Serve more.” ― Tony Robbins, Money Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom. If you have a soft spot for churning words in your mind and turning them into beautiful prints on paper — electronic and pulpy — consider improving on this skill in the various aspects it has: copywriting, article writing, blog writing, etc.

 
If the way a needle and thread seem to dance through textiles and mold beautiful designs, embroideries, and clothes entice you, try your hand on the textile industry.


Groom whatever skill you are passionate about by taking online courses, reading books, and gaining enough knowledge about it. Pick up an aspect of that skill and perfect your expertise. Once you master and hone your high-income skill, you will have a constant stream of income.

5. Make Money while Sleeping.
The income you make while sleeping is referred to as Passive Income. One way to make money while sleeping — as absurd as this sounds — is to 'bury' your money and watch it grow. This is where your financial knowledge on real estate, stocks, bonds, and other forms of investments will come in handy. Arese Ugwu's book 'The Smart Money Woman' is a must-read for every African woman seeking to understand the stock market, bonds, and other investment options.


Once you receive your income, set aside a minimum of twenty (20) percent to save up for your investments: properties, lands, or a stock portfolio. Then, set aside ten (10) percent of the remaining income to save up for treats: eating out at an expensive restaurant, a dream holiday, whatever you would like. For the remaining seventy (70) percent of your income, set it aside for your living expenses: electricity bills, rent, and the likes.


It's an open secret that the wealthiest people in the world make simple investments, and only invest in what they understand; get your facts straight and watch your net worth go through the roof. 

Related: PANDEMIC ECONOMICS: What You Should Know About Government Response to a Global Crisis.

6. Build Your Net Worth.
Unlike popular belief, everyone has a net worth — not just people on the Forbes list. Most people believe that anyone with a regular inflow of massive income has attained financial freedom, but, a person's financial freedom is determined by her net worth.


Your ability to build your net worth is determined by your network: the people you have around you. The first step to building your net worth is knowing your starting point by calculating your current net worth. To calculate your net worth, subtract your liabilities (everything you owe) from your assets (every valuable thing you own). Whatever you get from the calculation should spur you to do better, not make you sulk — if it's low — or feel content — if it's high. The next step is to surround yourself with industrious, high-net-worth, and inspirational people: their aura, advice, and relationships will give you the leverage you need to maximize your earnings and boost your net worth. Arese Ugwu's character in 'Smart Money Woman', Mrs. Abafo Williams, could not have put this in a better way: "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. If you hang out with four broke people you will be the fifth, and if you hang out with four business-minded people, you will be the fifth."


You can now build your net worth by investing, acquiring assets (property, land, etc.) from your investments, and reducing your expenditures and liabilities to the barest minimum."

7. Cast your Bread.
This is a sure way to increase your earnings. Eggs crack with ease when they are in one basket: you need to have multiple streams of income to counter the uncertainties of life.


You can decide to add part-time freelancing (writing, tailoring, coding, website designing, etc.) to your nine-to-five job. Once it's something you are passionate about and comfortable with its timing, have at it! There's nothing to lose asides a low net worth.


You may also decide to go into entrepreneurship. To paraphrase Arese Ugwu, Entrepreneurship is concerned with discovering a problem you are uniquely placed to solve, and getting paid for solving it. If this sounds like you, put on your thinking cap and get your multiple streams of income flowing.

8. Have a Money Management Conversation before Marriage.
Before you tie the knot, ensure that you and your spouse are on the same financial page in terms of family expenditure and budgeting.


He may come from a family where the couple contributes 50-50, while your father may have single-handedly provided for the family's needs. A money management conversation is necessary to avoid discord, stress, and money mismanagement in marriage. It is common in Africa to hear a man exclaim: "God forbid, it's not my portion!" and ask: "Are you planning to kill me?" when his wife brings up questions about a will, life insurance, next of kin, and other important financial documents. The painful truth is these conversations must be had to avoid had I known's in the future.


If you and your spouse agree to it, having a joint account is wonderful when the account is used to store up money for the family's collective needs. However, both of you must have your separate accounts for your needs, treats, and the likes. A money management conversation before marriage will breed a happier, stable, and secure relationship in your marriage.

 

Once you follow all these tips to a tee, gaining financial freedom will be a walk in the park for you.

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