“I can’t believe this is happening to me!” How many times have you looked at your account balance and said these same words? This is how Zuri’s story in the Smart Money Woman begins with disbelief at how broke she is yet to the outside world she is doing well financially. If you are looking for a book on personal finances, Smart Money Woman by Arese Ugwu should be among your top choices.
The Smart Money Woman tells the story of Zuri and her friends who find themselves in financial messes and are struggling to come out of them. Zuri, the main character has a well-paying job but lives in a gorgeous apartment that she cannot afford and is technically broke. Zuri’s friends are Tami, the fashion designer, Lara, an oil and gas executive, Adesuwa, the lawyer and Ladun, the fabulous housewife.
The Smart Money Woman will keep you glued to each page due to the writing style. It tells you about the lives of each of the characters in an easy way that you can relate to. Each of the characters tackles a certain aspect of finances and lifestyle. The book mirrors the typical lives of middle-class Africans. For example, it is very common to complain about the financial strain that attending events such as weddings, and birthday parties cause to many of us. The expectations and standards have been raised to unsustainable heights. In the book, you find such scenarios and financial nuggets of wisdom that the author throws in there.
At the end of each chapter, Arese Ugwu explains a certain financial terminology. Right after explaining a financial term, she then gives an exercise for the reader to carry out. For example, after the first chapter, she explains what it means to be wealthy. She then gives an exercise for the reader to calculate their net worth. This style of writing makes the book very interactive and practical.
Arese sets the book in contemporary Lagos and in doing so captures much of what the African middle-class experiences in other African cities. While Zuri is single and independent, her friends have different circumstances. One of their friends believes in dating rich men to help her take care of expenses. Another one is married but is the sole provider for her family. Through each of these characters, Arese is able to explain different aspects of money. She talks about wills, joint accounts, personal accounts and the reasoning behind some of our purchases.
Arese’s background in finance and entrepreneurship shows in the way that she breaks down complex financial concepts in the books. She also recognizes that self-help books sometimes put off the reader. Smart Money Woman uses a fictional story to educate the reader. This is a winning strategy for the book.
Another interesting aspect of the book is how gender-specific it gets in some instances. Being an African woman, Arese understands the complex relationship African women have with money. The book digs deeper into female attitudes towards money. It also talks about the challenges women face with money and possible solutions.
The Smart Money Woman is a short book that will not take up too much time to read. The mixture of story, lesson and exercise in every chapter gives you breaks. If you don’t have time to read it in one sitting then the end of each chapter gives logical breaking points. The exercises at the end of each chapter also give the reader the fundamentals of personal finance. They may look tedious but they are very helpful.
I would recommend the Smart Money Woman to every woman, young and middle-aged who is looking for financial independence. The storyline captures many spending habits that make you realize that you are not the only one making such bad decisions. However, it also gives sound financial advice to resolve these financial problems. You can purchase it here.