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Simplified by Cowrywise: Financial Independence for Women

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‘Simplified by Cowrywise – Financial Independence for Women’ was a session held to teach women how to create wealth on their own terms and become financially independent. Simplified by Cowrywise events are periodically held to help break down how money works for everyday people. At the Simplified event held in March (the month internationally set aside to celebrate women), Peace Itimi, a Growth Mentor at Seedstars and Temitope Busari, the Founder of Money Savvy with Temi shared practical tips that have helped them attain financial independence. Want to learn how? Then this summary of their sessions is for you!

Peace Itimi’s Financial Principles

Money follows value 💰

It is important to have your own money but you need to acquire relevant skills to do so. Ask yourself what value you can give to make your money and build your assets. Always remember that money is a means of exchange which means that when you give value, people will pay you.

Therefore, the first thing to consider to attain financial independence is to figure out how to give value.

A lot can change in five years ⏳

Peace shared that she was broke just five years ago when she earned 25k. However, she has grown past that because she has increased her value by acquiring relevant skills. For you, it can be building your career by growing in your 9 to 5.

You can also decide to be your own boss by starting a business or by selling your knowledge or consulting. There are many options to choose from. You can sell products/services or build a tech startup. The main idea is to do something that fits the need people are willing to pay for.

You can also go with both, where you build a career and work as an entrepreneur on the side. Whichever one you decide on, just position yourself in a place of value. To properly position yourself, you have to be very clear about what you can give people to make their lives easier so that you can make more money. Essentially, be clear about your niche.

In tech, for example, there are certain skills you can acquire that are recognized internationally – Coding, Digital Marketing, UX research, Data Analytics/Scientist, Content Creator. These skills can position you to not only earn in Naira but in foreign currency.

Visibility is important ✅

People who often get opportunities are people who are visible and known. Let’s say you work in a company, and you are known and competent – this will probably make people refer to you more often. If you also use your social media to share insights, people can begin to regard you as a thought leader and might find it easier to refer you for opportunities.

These days, it’s not enough to be clear about the value you offer and what you do, you also need to be visible.

Visibility brings more opportunities faster

It doesn’t mean you’ll not get opportunities, it just means that visibility is a faster route to doing so.
Build in public, talk about the work you’re doing in your company, talk about the courses or conferences you attend and how you’re upskilling. Have a good LinkedIn presence or start a YouTube channel.

Peace’s last three major opportunities came not just because she was good on paper, or because of a good resume. They came because of her visibility.

It takes courage and practice 💪🏽

Visibility takes courage but also takes practice. Do it not just because you think you’re shy but because you know the end goal. Men are often more audacious and may get ahead faster so that should motivate you to get over the shyness and begin to share your story. The more you do it, the more comfortable and better you become.

Learn how to manage money 😎

First thing is to budget at the end of every month.

It doesn’t have to be a sophisticated spreadsheet. You can just document how much you want to spend on what every month. Accolate funds for feeding, flexing, etc so you don’t exceed that amount.

Always save first before spending. If you spend and then wait to save what’s left, you may never do it. To help you manage money better, you can limit your access to certain accounts by not having internet banking or an ATM. This makes it harder to get the money which will limit how you spend it.

Also, always have an emegency fund. This can even be your first financial goal which will be you saving your three to six months income in an emergency fund. Then you can start investing.

Understand the standard investment principle 🧐

Understand what you’re investing in and act based on your own risk appetite. There are mutual funds, dollar investments, cryptocurrencies, agriculture, etc. There’s a tendency to get carried away, especially if you’re on Twitter, but have knowledge before you put your money into anything. Have substantial knowledge about the things you want to invest in and only invest based on your risk appetite. Also, mutual funds are generally low risk.

Always play the long-term game ⌛️

In terms of building wealth, see investments as a long-term strategy. Not just for short-term stability or high returns but for long-term returns. Always think of reinvesting dividends because investments compound.

Playing the long-term game will also encourage you to lock funds down for a long time. But it doesn’t stop there, to invest more, you have to make more, so upskill to get better jobs and higher pay. The more money you invest, the more returns you will get.

Negotiate every offer 🤝

You can negotiate for a better job title, negotiate for pecks (e.g. 2 days remote work) if they can’t increase your salary. And when negotiating, always do so from a place of strength. Don’t be afraid to charge your worth. If you don’t ask, people will pay you anything they think is ok. The more you ask, the more you can command at the end of the day.

Go where the money is 🤑

If you’re in a job that pays very little, it’s ok to move. You can sometimes receive double your income by 100% when you move jobs. You can also say you want to work for money in the next few years and then go after your passion after that.

Financial Independence Tips for Women by Temitope Busari

Women have power when they are financially literate.

When you are financially literate, you will be able to make informed decisions and go after investment opportunities that suit you. It will also help you set financial goals in line with what you want to achieve.

Women need to understand money – the entire spectrum of personal finances because wealth management is not only for the “rich”. You don’t become rich then learn how to manage money. Instead, you learn how to manage money and then become rich.

Money Scripts 🤔

Money scripts are conscious or unconscious beliefs about money that shape your financial habits and outcomes.

Money Vigilance – People who have this money script are very financially anxious. They are concerned and discreet about their finances. These people tend to have excessive anxiety over money and can be very stingy. They make money decisions based on fear and are often risk-averse and focused on capital preservation. They would rather put money under their pillow. 😩

Money Avoidance – People here believe that money is bad and that wealthy people are greedy or corrupt. They also believe they don’t deserve to have money but money is not a bad thing. It’s good when money does not limit the things you want to do. People here can also be compulsive buyers who cannot stick to a budget. They rarely plan their finances and feel like saving and investing is too complicated. They are the top preachers of “problem no dey finish”.

Money Worship – These people believe that money equals happiness and you can never have enough so the pursuit of money never satisfies them, but do not chase money at the detriment of all other parts of your life. These tend to be impulsive buyers who overspend and get carried away by get-rich-quick schemes. They also look for short cuts to make money.

Money Status – They equate their self worth to their net worth. They prioritize the outward display of wealth and are often in debt and pretend to be richer than they are. They also tend to overspend while their savings take a backseat. People here may also experience FOMO – fear of mission out.

The way forward that leads to financial independence ⏩

It’s important to identify where you are and then develop a healthy money mindset that will help you get to where you want to be.

Take control of your finances by:

  • Setting achievable goals. Have a working budget, emergency savings, investing and retirement plan. Your change should be gradual and not too sudden. It’s better to achieve your goals in smaller and easier bits so they can help you build the confidence to stay consistent.
  • Enhancing your knowledge. Take financial education very seriously so you can make informed decisions.
  • Knowing your triggers. Limit the sites or stores that make you overthink YOLO which leave you broke or in debt.
  • Being accountable. You can join a community or work with like-minded people to help you keep track of your financial goals.

4 C’s of Financial Success 📝

  • Be creative in finding more ways to earn so you can get to financial independence faster.
  • Be conservative with your spending. Spend less than you earn.
  • Be consistent with saving and investing, this is how you grow money consistently and sustainably.
  • Be careful with investment advisory.

The Smartest Way to Invest ✅

Your investment strategy should be determined by your financial goals, age and time constraints, and risk profile which is largely influenced by your level of financial literacy.

To get started, you can do these:

  • Subscribe to financial education platforms for money tips
  • Build your budget to track your spending
  • Create an emergency fund
  • Create an investment plan – your risk profile and financial goals should inform your investment strategy
  • Start investing
  • Diversify your investments to protect yourself using different assets and currencies
  • Avoid investment scams and ponzi schemes by asking the right questions
  • Work with an expert if necessary

Women can create wealth and enjoy financial independence, it all just begins with the right information and consistent implementation. Put your knowledge to work by starting your automated emergency funds, as well as creating your savings and investment plans on Cowrywise.

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