BOOK REVIEW: THE SMART MONEY WOMAN BY ARESE UGWU

by - August 13, 2019

So many women in this dispensation struggle with their finances. It could either be as a result of their bad spending habits or not being able to account for their incomes monthly. But here is the catch, Arese Ugwu has come to rescue those women, most especially African women from the claws of financial turmoil. "The Smart Money Woman" is packed with enough lessons for financial security. Suffice it to say that, it is a manual designed to help you navigate through whatever financial crisis you are battling with, due to making poor financial decisions. This book is really not like every other financial books out there that just keeps emphasising how to get your finances right without giving you any call to action making it a boring read! The author makes the book so captivating by weaving the lessons from this life saver manual into characters and stories every young African woman can absolutely identify with.

The book centers on the protagonist "Zuri" a twenty eight years old woman who works in a real estate firm and basically lives a good life, but is in a state of disarray because of her financial decisions. She earns the sum of six hundred thousand naira monthly as a senior manager at Richmond Developments but finds out abruptly that she's flat broke! Isn't this every woman's worst nightmare? It doesn't matter that any young woman of Zuri's age in Nigeria will definitely give anything to have this kind of steady income. All that matters is the fact that, she is neck deep in debt. She has her service charge bill for her apartment in Lekki phase one to pay, she has bills to settle at her favourite boutique, she has an impending operation to take out her fibroids, she also has to pay for her car at the mechanic workshop and other bills she clearly can't account for, totalling into a little over one million naira! So how exactly can she get out of these numerous, albeit avoidable debts with just eighty something thousand naira in her account? She has to find a way to come out of it in a legit way as a responsible adult instead of turning to a man for help like her best friend "Tami" suggests.

The author differentiates the meaning of being broke and also what it means to be wealthy. In her words,"Broke people think it is about how much you earn, but rich people know it is about how much of your income you are able to keep and convert into assets that can provide you with an income in future" This right here absolutely makes sense and every woman should have this mentality. The question is, how exactly will Zuri come out of this broke state of hers?

Zuri has a girl gang of four friends who she absolutely can not turn to for help due to shame. She is someone who loves the good things of life and always takes pleasure to splurge on her income without having a care in the world. Her mantra really is " you only live once". But the author takes us on a journey of how Zuri finally emancipates herself from the slavery of debt and embraces the realms of financial freedom through the help of Tsola her would be boyfriend, who actually propels her to take charge of her financial state and cut down on all excesses. Tsola is a successful business man who can easily get Zuri out of her financial mess, but instead, he takes the bull by the horn by teaching Zuri how to be accountable. Zuri who is also a willing student does not take long to put all these lessons into practice. She is an independent woman who doesn't believe in welding "Bottom Power".



This actually serves as a call to action to every African woman who has internalised the fact that a woman can get out of any "money wahala" with the help of a man instead of actually working towards it in a legit way. The African society has reinforced this ideology for a very long time, but the author is charging every young African woman out there to break free from this shackle and embrace the act of being independent. Zuri finds it difficult at first to cut down on her spending but the rude awakening that spurs her into taking charge of her income is when her landlord goes over to her house to angrily demand for her service charge bill she has been avoiding to pay for several weeks. She decides right there that she has to be a financially responsible adult.

The author encourages female friends to always have conversations about their financial states and to also attend business workshops. This way, they can keep track of how to make, keep and invest their incomes reasonably. This is something the protagonist and her friends have evaded for so long ,save for Lara; but finally have to inculcate in their respective lives. Zuri transforms from having conversations with her friends about the latest "asoebi" to buy to talking about the latest investment she intends to delve in. The book reveals different ways of investing one's money and how to effectively divide our incomes into three parts like; long term financial goals, short term financial goals and living expenses. At the end of each chapter, there is a session called "Smart Money Lesson" which highlights the points of the chapters, and also a little exercise the reader is required to do to have a graps of his or her financial state.

This book is truly an African girl's journey to financial freedom which every lady has to read. I throughly enjoyed it and also learned so many valuable lessons from it. You should totally get a copy and drink from this wealth of knowledge.

 Have you read this amazing book? Share your thoughts with me in the comment section.

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