- Women should strive for financial independence to avoid being left with nothing in case of divorce or other unforeseen circumstances.
- Owning assets and having financial autonomy gives women a sense of empowerment and security.
- Financial literacy and multiple income sources can help women achieve their financial goals and be financially independent.
Back in the early 2000s at the Import Line in Onitsha Main market, if you ask about Lolo Tessy, everyone knew her. Each time I remember the story of this mighty woman, I get upset. Let me tell you her short story. Tessy ran a successful import business with her husband. They were one of the largest importers back then. Her husband had started the business way before he married her. He was only doing regular buying and selling, and the business struggled.
Then came Tessy, the smart businesswoman, with the lump sum cash gift her family sent her after her marriage, what the Igbos call “Idu ulo”. Tessy invested all her money into the business, resigned from her job, and teamed with her husband to run the business. In no time, the company grew exponentially. She struck deals directly with Chinese manufacturers and partnered with wholesalers in the market.
Everyone knew she was the backbone of the business. She was popularly referred to as ‘Lolo’. However, while the business was flourishing, her marriage began to hit the rocks. Saddled with childlessness after years of marriage and infidelity issues. The marriage finally went downhill when the husband allegedly got a “salesgirl” in the market pregnant and insisted on marrying her. Tessy was sent away with nothing. Not a penny or asset from the business she invested in and laboured for.
At the end of the day, “Oga is oga, nwunye oga is nwunye oga” Welcome to this side of Africa! Can we talk about women who dedicate their lives to their families with no assets in their names? This is a tricky topic because I understand the uniqueness of each home. However, from my work with thousands of women, I also know that women do not look out for themselves as much as they should regarding their finances.
We have heard countless stories similar to Lolo Tessy’s. Women who paused their life for their families, but when the chips are down, they are left with nothing—women who glory in the wealth of their partners with nothing in their names. Women who pull funds to buy properties with their partners, and the documentation doesn’t include them. There are many instances. Some of them are our mothers, sisters, aunties, and friends.
Dear woman, having your name on assets is not a crime. I understand that your partner is fantastic and your marriage is tight, but divorce is not the only reason you should look out for yourself in marriage.
We have heard and seen instances where a wealthy man died, and his wife and children were stripped of his wealth. What about the confidence that comes from having assets in your name? Asset ownership by women not only provides security but also gives a sense of empowerment and financial independence. We need more women to take charge of their financial future.
Finance is one of the prevalent causes of marital disputes. I firmly believe that when both partners clearly define their finances, and each partner has financial access/independence, the bond will be stronger. I also know that men will be better off knowing that their partner can stand in for them when things are tight. This is a call to women to step up and secure their financial future.
Financial independence does not mean encouraging financial secrecy towards each other. Instead, it’s about encouraging financial freedom and financial autonomy.
Have discussions with your partner about money. It can be an awkward conversation if you are not used to it, as your partner may need to help understanding your viewpoint. This is a call to men to be their partner’s financial cheerleaders and be the perfect money role model for their kids.
Discussed below are five practical toward financial independence for women.
It starts with equipping you with knowledge. Learn about savings, budgeting, and investing. There are many free resources online. Then, engage a financial advisor for professional guidance if you can.
Draw up a financial goal
What financial goal do you wish to work towards? It can be building a sizable investment portfolio, buying a property, saving for japa, vacation, new business, etc. Write it down and create a plan. Having a set goal gives direction and motivation to achieve it.
Have multiple income sources
Aside from your primary source of income, how else can you earn more? Negotiate your pay, dividends from your investments, sell your knowledge, start a side business, etc.
Join personal finance communities
Having a community of other financial women is a big hack towards smashing your financial goals. This is one of my motivations for starting FinTribe – Nigeria’s first and largest women-only finance community of over 3,000 women who save and invest together. Find such a community to keep you focused and accountable.
Saving is great, but the real flex is investing. You have to put your money to work. That is how to build long-term wealth. There are different investment instruments like stocks, bonds, real estate, mutual funds, etc. Examine them and settle for what fits your risk appetite and goals.
Whether married, single, recently divorced, or working to build your finances, it is never too early or too late to learn about financial independence.
About the Writer
Financial Jennifer (Jennifer Awirigwe) is a personal finance expert, investment banker, and founder of Fintribe. A Certified Financial Education Instructor, Chartered Accountant and Stockbroker, Financial Jennifer helps women make better financial decisions and build healthy savings and investment portfolios through her teachings and simplified platform. She was listed on the Top 50 Rising Motherland Moguls 2023 by She Leads Africa and has trained over 20,000 women in personal finance. Connect with her on Instagram and Linkedin @financialjennifer, and email@example.com
Lovely, thank you for this
Worth reading and really insightful. Great writer I must say with loads of wisdom being dished out.
FinTribe is an amazing community.