The other day my sister gave a man some money and in appreciation, he prayed for her. In his prayer, he concentrated on asking God to give bless her with a wealthy husband. I found that strange. Why did he not pray for her to be wealthy, rather than wish for her to be the wife of a wealthy man?
I have seen this happen time and time again. A girl on twitter posts a picture of a luxury car and in her caption she prays for God to give her future still non existent husband the money to be able to buy such a car. Girls pray for their yet unknown husbands to be able to afford first class flights, luxurious estates and a generally lavish life, rather than hope that they are able to fund such lifestyles themselves. There is nothing wrong with praying for your future spouse, or in wishing for a successful partner but don’t forget about yourself.
I try to play my part by slowly trying to change this mentality in women around me. Even my hardworking ambitious friends wish lots of good things on their future husbands and forget about themselves. When a friend says “God please let my husband be successful” I say “Amen. I hope you are successful as well.” or “Why not pray for yourself as well?”
Money is seen as a masculine noun and having it is a male trait. It is almost inconceivable to some girls and women that they can be successful and wealthy. It seems that the pinnacle of success for women is to be married to a wealthy man. Success is the birthright of men and women can only hope to taste this success by being associated with a successful man. Women have no business bothering their pretty heads about finances, they will get married and then Baba Tayo will handle all the bills from rent to school fees.
Even when a woman does earn some money, it is seen as play money. Rather than using it constructively by saving or investing, her money is seen as extra change. Some housewives are fortunate enough to have husbands who give them monthly allowances. Due to a lack of foresight, not one penny of this money will be saved and when a rainy day comes, they find themselves drenched to the bone. I know having someone pay all your bills is a sweet deal, and having your bills taken care of may be your reward for being the housemaid, chef and all round stressed out (working) mum. But this does not mean that your money should be used to buy chewing gum and Peruvian hair alone. Save, invest, you owe this to yourself and to your children, if you have any.
This thought process is quite damaging as it makes us women limit ourselves. I have seen someone advice a female family member to pass up on a promotion because it is not good for a (single) women to earn too much money. A little advice to my darlings:
- Do not be afraid to aim for the top. A lot of women are just happy to do enough. They think why aim for the CEO position when they are earning enough money as a secretary? Do not sell yourself short. Do not allow yourself to be satisfied with mediocrity. A lot of people are lazy and unambitious because they feel they are going to get married and their husbands will pay the rent and school fees anyhow. All women do not have to be CEO, but do not feel that you can’t.
- Have your own money. This point cannot be emphasised enough. Financial independence is important and so liberating. Even if, for whatever reason, you do not have to spend your money on bills, just having the option to take care of yourself and your kin is wonderful. Don’t be in the position where your husband (or someone else) punishes you by withholding funds. How embarrassing. It does wonders for your self esteem when you have your own.
- Do not think that your finances are not your business. I have witnessed first hand a woman and her children get screwed over because she left all the money matters to her husband. Some women literally have no idea where money comes from. Their parents took care of everything and now their husbands have taken up that role. If the husband leaves or dies, they are lost. Even worse, some of these women have no income of their own and are completely reliant on someone else, usually their husbands. Papa Chukwudi pays rent, buys aso ebi, buys groceries, everything. Show interest in your family finances. Do you have an emergency fund? Do you have a plan in the event of a job loss? What if the breadwinner dies? What are you going to do then? Is there a will? Life insurance? For some women, even when they attempt to learn about their finances, they do not understand what it is they are looking at. Ignorance is not an excuse. Educate yourself, you are not an infant, there is no reason for you to be in the dark.
- It is never too early to start investing: A lot of people worry that it may be too late for them to start investing, but more people actually feel that they still have time before they need to start investing. It is never too early, the earlier the better. When you start investing early, you will have more time to make mistakes and learn from them. Losing money in your twenties is not as painful as losing your retirement money in your seventies. When you invest early, your money will also have a longer time to grow. You can even invest for your children as well, it will be one of the best gifts you could give them.
A word is enough for the wise. I have given you over 900, knock yourself out.