“Broke means, if you lost your primary source of income today, you wouldn’t be able to maintain the lifestyle you have become accustomed to because you have no assets to rely on.” – The Smart Money Woman, Arese Ugwu.
I have really been working hard to become financially literate. According to Wikipedia, “Financial literacy is the possession of the set of skills and knowledge that allows an individual to make informed and effective decisions with all of their financial resources.” This is an issue of fundamental importance to me because when my mother, the sole breadwinner, fell ill and was unable to continue working (God rest her soul) we all experienced severe hardship. I have always been driven by the desire to never find myself in that situation again.
Coming from a situation where I was destitute, it’s no surprise that I had always thought that the answer to all money problems was having a whole lot of it. In one of the ‘aha’ moments I had this year, I learnt that the key to financial freedom comes with, first being a responsible custodian for what you already have and then growing it. If you are not financially literate, you will keep running into the same issues no matter how much money you have. Just ask Mike Tyson.
A friend recommended that I read “The Smart Money Woman.” I read the whole book in just under 4 hours. I not only enjoyed it, but I also found it truly helpful. It is a novel style tutorial with a summary of lessons, advice and suggested actions at the end of each other. Each character in the book is either a reflection of me or of a woman I know.
No summary of the book or it’s contents will truly do it justice so I will just share one (of very many) of my favourite lessons from the book:
“Creating multiple sources of income does not necessarily mean becoming an entrepreneur. The reality is that not everyone is cut out to be their own boss and you need to learn this early on. Being a Boss is not about working for yourself and avoiding the discipline of a nine-to-five.
There are two ways to be stuck (and you don’t want to be stuck in your thirties or forties):
- stuck in a 9-5 job you hate; or
- stuck in an entrepreneurial role you can’t handle.”
Essentially, you can be entrepreneurial in your thinking and maximise your earning potential in a 9-5 job if running your own business is not for you. Arese gives an excellent example of this in Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook and Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook. The former is an entrepreneur and the latter is an employee of the former but both are successful.
I have never been entrepreneurial like Mark Zuckerberg but could I be Sheryl Sandberg? Absolutely. This is the first I have ever heard, read or been told that that is ok too. The book also made it clear that if I am enterprising in thought, I can continually and creatively find ways to increase my value and consequently my income. This could be done by doing anything from, but not limited to, solving an issue, identifying and plugging a gap or introducing a new idea. I can make myself the invaluable product that the employer is willing to pay for.
Don’t just follow the herd. Find what works for you and play to your skill, passion and earning potential. What a thing.