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Moneying With Women: Nneoma is on a journey back to life as she knew it

Adjustment is hard! Especially if you were born with a silver spoon and then lost it along the way. Nneoma (not real name) shares with us the rollercoaster journey back to the financial life she knew and was accustomed while growing up. During our interview, she had an 'Aha!' moment.

Meet Her at a Glance

Name: Nneoma

Age: 29

Occupation: Lawyer

Avg. monthly income: N300,000

Personal Financial Stability Rating (PFSR): 4

In an alternate universe, I am an Igbo girl and well my name is Nneoma😮‍💨. Currently, my salary from my main workplace is N150,000, then I have a standby N70,000 that comes from another legal advisory role, I also have some other income that come in from CAC registrations and other things that I do. So, monthly, my average total income is about N300,000. That said, I would rate my personal financial stability a 4 and this is mainly because of my responsibilities+habits, and I’m not even married yet.

But in my defence, these responsibilities are mainly from the home front, there is my dad, my two younger brothers and my mum. In addition, there are also younger people who might want to ask for help. In fact, there are people that if I had enough, I would want to be giving money to them monthly until they are able to stand on their feet.

Apart from responsibilities, there is also poor management on my side, I have been unable to properly manage the finances that come in right now and that is a huge challenge for me.

So let’s uncover my rating of 4

Growing up, I would say I was born with a silver spoon. I was living the life, I attended one of the best primary schools in my city and yes, it was a private school. I had a caregiver who attended to me, from bathing to cooking and all that, I had someone taking me to school and bringing me back, we had about 3 cars, so basically, I was living the life. Sadly those changed after my formative years due to some reasons, but things were not really bad until final year in university, when my father had stopped working. But when the rubber really hit the road was by the time I was in law school, at that time, most of the money built over time, had been depleted.

One of the things that drive me is that I want to get back to that level of comfort I used to have while growing up, and be able to sustain it.

My background really shapes and plays a major role in my current financial status. In fact, I would say it plays about 80-90% role. For example, one of the things that drive me is that I want to get back to that level of comfort I used to have while growing up, and be able to sustain it. When I think back on those days, I often end up asking myself “Nne, how can it be better”. Of course, the value of Naira is not the same as it was then, but things can surely be better.

Also, I live a certain type of way that though some people might think I am being lavish or trying to ‘show myself’, it was/is a norm for me.

For instance, in university, even though things had started going the not-so-great direction, I still had a level of comfort that was above average. I had weekly income, regular provision, a private hostel accommodation and a lot of pampering as daddy’s girl. Of course I had to try and adjust to the new financial situation at home by the time I was in law school and in NYSC, but, this was really hard. I tried, but adjustment is hard.

Now that I am earning, I just want to get back to that point where money is not a problem. That point where when I have an issue that money can solve, I don’t have to overthink it. Also, as my dad is aging, there are things; like getting a caregiver for him and also a level of comfort, that money will naturally just cater for. So, that foundation is pushing me to get more gigs, to do more to earn more.

My financial growth journey started on a steady route but has recently become a rollercoaster

I started becoming very conscious of my finances in 2016 - my final year. By then things were tough at home and I needed a lot of help. Thankfully, with the help of a senior friend, I started getting on track. She gave me some financial books to read but because I don’t like reading books, I didn’t read them completely, I read them ‘half and half’. So that is where it started from, and that intervention really helped to balance my finance at the time. I started a baking and chapman gig and also got some other sources of income. The senior friend also introduced me to a savings group that we started doing about 3k or 5k monthly. But that was for final year, because in Law School - where you can’t cook, I was not making any income. However, I had a God-sent room mate that so financially supportive.

Nysc came and I moved my savings from 3k to 5k because I was getting paid an extra 10k in addition to the usual Federal Government ‘allawee’, I was also receiving transport stipends regularly from my employer and was not incurring any housing costs. In NYSC year, I started a CAC gig but was only earning about 10k or 15k per referral because I didn’t have a CAC portal myself. So things were fairly good. I also had to submit my finances to this senior friend, and by the time I was completing NYSC, I had over 125,000 saved! At that time this was huge and also it was a big deal for me.

However, within the past two years, I hit rock bottom and here is how it happened.

Prior to the rock-bottom period, I was working remotely in a contract for a 10-month period, earning 200k monthly, but I Was not consciously saving anything except for the Piggyvest and Risevest automated savings. Thinking of it now, that was crazy, considering that I didn’t have to pay transport to work. By the time the contract was over in February 2022, I only had the salary that I was paid for that month.

Then the wait started. Everyone typically feels like once you leave a role it will just take a month or two before you land the next role, in some cases that holds true, but in my case it took 10 long months before I got another role in December 2022. That waiting season was really hard and in part because I knew that it was poor financial management that landed me in that place where I did not have enough to survive on.

Now during this ‘waiting’ period, I was not earning anything with my CAC side gig because during the contract job period I had to put everything on pause, so people didn’t even know I was still in the business. I had to start deliberately marketing again on WhatsApp, but there was almost nothing coming in from there.

Soon enough, the 200k from my last salary got exhausted and I switched to the 52k from my weekly 1k automated savings with Piggyvest and some dollar denominated savings at Risevest which I converted. Thanks to an emergency laptop breakdown, living expenses and medical bills because my father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease within that period, the little in the savings quickly got exhausted and I had to switch to loans. Long story short, I ended up 600k neck deep in debt. Crazy, I know.

When I eventually landed a role, I had to thank God first because it was His mercy. One of the key learnings from that period was that God is my source.

Additionally, I am a SPENDER, especially on food!

I wish there is something I can do to stop spending so much. I did a personal finance review with a friend recently and found that I had spent over 700k just from July to August - that is outside the small small spendings here and there because, shhh, I like to buy things. The good news is that I recently started an investment journey - currently buying land and paying with a 6-month plan.

Money Moves

My best money move so far was saving in dollars with Risevest, I wish I could go back there. Interestingly, before the rise of dollar from N700 ish to N900, I had an intuition to save some money in dollars, I kept procrastinating until I woke up one day dollar got to 900+. Sigh.

I don’t have a single worst money move. Every other thing I have been doing due to indiscipline is ‘worst’. I am not a risk taker, so I did not lose money in MMM or forex or all those schemes. I have just been a very indisciplined spender.

If I had $100,000 today, I would first pay my fees for my LLM at the University of East London. Wait, $100k!, scratch that, I would quit my job and first relax🤣. I would also invest in landed properties, develop them. My eyes are on Portharcourt, Benin and Akwa Ibom which are highly developing areas in terms of real estate.

Here’s a breakdown of my Top Three’s

Top 3 things my money goes to monthly:

  • Family: Medications for dad, groceries and other things
  • Gifts and handouts
  • Impulse Buying

The top three things I need for improved financial stability:

  • Be serious with my accountability, probably get a personal auditor
  • Something to track my finances
  • DISCIPLINE! In fact this the only thing I need

My top three digital finance tools:

  • Piggyvest
  • Risevest
  • An Esusu WhatsApp group

Moneying with women is our 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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