On the praise report page for this book, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, chairman and CEO, Dangote Group wrote: “An entertaining way to learn about money… ushering in a new narrative of Africa, specifically of the African woman in the 21st century- her perspective, her ambitions, her journey, flaws and all, but wholly hers.”

The Smart Money Woman is a 210 paged book written by Arese Ukwu, who is out to help young Africans discover their power to build their future and make smarter money decisions as in helping them get money, keep money and grow money through her personal financial platform, Smart Money Africa.

The story revolves around a classic girl squad with Zuri being the protagonist and her best friends; Tami (the fashion designer), Lara (the oil and gas executive), Adesuwa (the lawyer) and Ladun (house wife). Zuri is a senior manager in a real estate firm in Lagos called Richmond Developments and earns six hundred thousand naira every month after taxes have been deducted.

Chapter one

Chapter one begins with this exclamation, ‘I can’t believe this is happening to me!’ At some point in time, most of us have asked ourselves this famous question. Often times, it’s a sign of being broke and that’s what this chapter is all about. Everyone thinks Zuri is wealthy and doing well, but no one sees her skeleton in the closet as she has just realized that the month is barely midway gone but there’s little or nothing in her bank account. At the end of the chapter, the author explains that being broke is if for example you lost your primary source of income today, you wouldn’t be able to maintain the lifestyle you have accustomed to because you have no assets to rely on. She also explains that being wealthy isn’t about how much you earn but how much you keep.

Chapter two

The best way to conquer your money fears- fear of failing in business, fear of not being able to measure up to the lifestyle of your friends and family, or the fear of not being able to afford the lifestyle you have, is to face them. What you deny or ignore, you delay; what you accept and face, you conquer.

Chapter three

Where is your money going? Does the way you spend your money reflect your values? We have to learn to spend with intention by allocating our resources to reflect the lifestyle we want and are able to afford. If you don’t treat your money with respect, it will leave you with no respect.

Chapter four

It talks about dealing with debts. One of Zuri’s greatest ‘wahala’ is the fact that she owes her landlord. Debt can be a useful tool to attain financial success but how you use it matters. Only borrow to acquire an asset that will appreciate in value.

Chapter five

It talks about importance of building an emergency fund. Instead of worrying without action, plan for emergencies.

chapter six

What marked me in this chapter is the conversation Zuri has with Tsola, her new found friend who is interested in her too. He’s one of those who play a major role in Zuri’s journey to financial freedom. I don’t really like being a movie spoiler, so i won’t go into much details but he asked her questions like what she wanted from life and if she had to narrow them down into three things what would they be.

Chapter seven

This chapter is a vital one, it gives practical steps on how to develop a sustainable budget. Although, let’s not forget the deep conversation the ladies had on the different types of men they want to marry. They also shared their financial challenges and tried to come up with solutions.

Chapter eight

Zuri is forced to attend the WIMBIZ conference for women after being very reluctant. But you know that feeling you get after coming into contact with highly energetic, fire-branded, purpose-driven, well-to-do women, at the end of the conference she found herself asking this question, ‘what have I being doing with my life?’

Your network is your net worth.

Chapter nine

The author encourages conversations on family finances and wills. She also talks on joint accounts and personal accounts and how to go about them.

Chapter ten

When it comes to finances, investment was the part where I could say I had little or no knowledge on but after reading this I got the big picture and even though I’m not a pro at it, at least I could check her guidelines from time to time.

Cardinal rule in investment is, do not invest in what you don’t undertand.

Chai, with the kind of mistakes one has made, I really need to remember this more often.

chapter eleven

The author talks about maximizing earning potential by focusing on finding purpose. In other words, if you want to make more money, find your purpose.

Chapter twelve

Become your own version of The Smart Money Woman- she’s the woman we should all aspire to be, financially!

My opinion

I don’t want it to sound like a cliché but I really enjoyed reading this book, I loved everything about it- the characters, the storyline, the slangs, the lessons in fact , everything. I took three days to finish it unlike the usual one week or month.

I love the fact that it was purely in an African context and i could totally relate with the characters which made it more fun. After reading, I had a burning desire to visit Nigeria.

I love African books, do you know of any books like this one which you could recommend and if you’ve read this one, what lesson did you get from it?


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