On this episode of MoneyRise user story, we talked to Chika a finance expert who started Money talk Afrika because she noticed that people struggle to manage their finances.
Hi Chika, What do you do for a living?
I am a personal finance expert, an author and an educator.
Personal finance expert?
Yes. I have a platform where I educate people on how to invest and grow their funds. It is called Money Talk Afrika, and you can find it on Instagram. I also published my book recently. It is titled: Richer You – The One Habit That Will Create The Wealth You Desire.
How did you come about being a personal finance educator?
I have been in the finance industry for eight years now and I have noticed that the major issue people have is how to manage their finances. A lot of people don’t know the investment options available to them; they have funds but do not know what to do with them, where to put them, or how to manage them. So many people are not financially literate, and this is mainly because the right information is not easily accessible. Our school system does not teach about money management and the topic is hardly ever discussed in our African homes as well.
I have seen that a lot of people don’t know how to curtail their spending habits because they are trying to keep up with the Joneses’ and social media. We see everybody wanting to live up to a certain standard set by society. Most times, they rely on the fact that they have a 9-5 job and the salary will keep coming at the end of each month, so they do not see the need to save, and even spend the money before they have earned it, through soft loans and the likes; but the pandemic has been an eye-opener.
I realised that there was a huge gap and a lot of people have to be financially aware of how spending without a plan can be hurting their future. I have seen people with well-paying jobs, leave their jobs or even retire but find it difficult to take care of even their necessities. I am trying to close that gap by showing them how to manage their funds, how to save smartly and grow their wealth through credible investment opportunities. So, I am focused on financial education, which I have been doing through my Instagram posts on Money talk Afrika and I will be sharing more resources on my website which I just launched – www.moneytalkafrika.com. I believe it will provide an avenue for me to reach a wider audience.
So, being a personal finance expert, what are some of the challenges you face?
The challenge is that a lot of people are more interested in getting rich quickly, instead of learning how money works and its guiding principles. They forget that once the foundation is not there, there will be a lot of pitfalls. Saving or growing your income is like a muscle that needs to be developed over time. Like in every exercise, the more you work out, the better your results, and it becomes easier to adapt to the routine. Over time, you will realise you don’t need anyone to remind you to be prudent with your finances; you will do it effortlessly even without thinking about it. I also have my book that focuses on the principles of financial wellbeing titled – Richer You. The book is available on my website and has received a 5-star rating on Amazon. So, once you get the foundation right, every other thing will fall into place. But when people don’t get their foundation right, they will find out that they keep falling for fraudulent investment schemes. I believe that is the main reason people keep falling for scams.
When you think about financial wealth, what comes to your mind?
When I think about financial wealth, I think the first thing that comes to mind is freedom, and getting my time back so I can pursue passions that will have a greater impact on others. I think about financial freedom as a long term thing. You may have a salary now but it will not last forever. There should be a time when you say, “I have done this stress enough and I want to take care of myself without being dependent on anyone”. And then, there is something else: No matter how smart you are, no matter how wealthy you are, there is a limited time you can work, so what happens to the time when you cannot work, when you are forced to retire by your employer or for health reasons? Most people want to retire at 50/55, and the fact is that they will still have 20-30 more years to live. Sadly, very few people plan for those crucial years.
In summary, what I think of when it comes to financial wealth is freedom, peace of mind, being financially stable in the long run, and being able to retire early because I can’t keep working all my life. I should be able to retire, relax and take care of myself without depending on anyone because of the structures I have been able to put in place in my earlier years. I also hope to impact as many people that have this same desire.
At what point did you think you needed to invest?
Okay. From the time when I got my first paycheck, I have always had the desire to be financially free. This had always been at the back of my mind from the first time I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. I think I was about 11 or 12 years old then. So, from the moment I received my paycheck, I knew I had to start, no matter how little. I started researching, I started asking questions, asking friends and colleagues what they do, where they invest their money, and that was how my journey started.
So, where did you put your money?
So because I was always looking for an option that was not just the regular savings account or fixed deposit, I had to do a lot of research. For a young person like me, I felt the interest on these regular options were not encouraging enough. So I kept asking people I knew who were conscious about their finances until I found out about an asset management firm that was credible. I researched about them and the more I understood their operations, the more I became comfortable investing my little funds with them. So, that was how I started.
After that, what else did you invest in?
After that, I monitored the market; I looked at mutual funds and realised that the money market fund was doing very well at that time, so I started my research again until I found a credible company and invested with them. I have never been a regular fixed deposit and savings account kind of person. That was when I discovered Risevest two years ago. Risevest was still somewhat new then, but I loved what they were doing and tried to understand their model and I was comfortable with it. At that time, they were doing something that others were not doing in the market, and the first that caught my attention was the real estate investment plan where I could leverage fractional investments and get a return at the end of the month.
I have always wanted to invest in real estate. Remember I had a very early exposure to Rich Dad, Poor Dad where Robert Kiyosaki talked so much about real estate and rental properties. I had not been able to apply this knowledge because investing in real estate is capital intensive. So when Risevest provided an opportunity where I could invest in actual rental properties, get returns at the end of every month without having to buy a full plot of land, I just could not miss out on such an opportunity. Even though the platform was still new, I decided to give Risevest a chance and I have not been disappointed so far.
What is your experience with Rise so far?
Over the years, I have watched Risevest grow. They also started the Telegram channel and weekly Sunday school. This helped to put a face to the founder, Eke, and the Risevest team as the telegram group became more interactive. Even when the market was tested, we saw a lot of schemes that came up at the same time as Risevest, but a lot of them have folded up. We have seen a lot happen over the years but Risevest has remained strong. I am glad.
Thank you, Chika. So what kind of investor would you call yourself?
I think I have been focusing on medium-risk investments; perhaps, because of my finance background where we are deep in risk management, so I try not to venture into very high-risk investments. I try to carefully understand and analyse any investment option presented to me.
What philosophy guides your investment?
Well, I think the first one that has actually worked for me all my life is paying myself first which I learnt from reading the Richest Man in Babylon. That was the first thing that helped me even though I had just started my career. You know how difficult it usually is to start saving as a fresh graduate. You start working and after all expenses, you have very little left, but that philosophy has kept me through all the years. Before I pay any bill or do anything else, as soon as the salary hits my account, I pay myself immediately before thinking of my feeding, transportation or anything else.
Since you started investing, what has been your biggest gain?
Since I started investing, what I have gained the most is peace of mind. So I look at a lot of things happening around me and I have peace. I have a financial plan and my emergency fund can sustain me for a few months before I start to panic like everyone else. I will like to add that the beauty of having a budget and a financial plan is that you have access to a whole lot of opportunities. So, even if you decide that you want to ‘japa’ like everyone else in Nigeria wants to, you will still need funds. If you want to further your education, if you want to get certifications, start a business, whatever you want to do in this life, you need money for it so you have to start early. There are times in life when you will have no one else to depend on because those you look up to also have their own responsibilities. There are certain times in your life when you will be your only ‘sure banker’, and you have to be prepared for those critical moments.
Have you made any losses?
Yes, I have, in all honesty, and the times when I made losses were the times I went against my own principles.
Yes. The first time I made a loss was during a period I joined an investment because a friend convinced me to. I had this strange feeling that something didn’t feel right and I was unable to pull out my funds fast enough until I lost everything. I allowed the fear of missing out to cloud my judgement and I felt so pained.
What did you learn from this episode?
It was a bad experience for me and I had to turn it into a learning point. Because I don’t like to lose money, I went back to redo my assignment, identifying things that characterise a fraudulent investment. So before anyone comes to convince me, I have all the red flags identified for them with facts and this has served me for a long time now. When I am faced with such situations, I have my checklist and that is what I have stuck with and I hope it continues to serve me.
So judging by where you are coming from, how do you feel about your investment position today?
If I should look at where I am coming from, I think I am very comfortable with how far I have come on my financial journey.
For beginners looking to start investing, what words do you have for them?
For beginners, the first thing that I would tell them is not to follow the crowd. Don’t just do things without doing your own research and always learn to ask questions. When it comes to money and investments, I am surprised that people don’t ask questions. They ask questions about other things like shoes, bags, clothes and all. They check numerous vendors and ask all the right questions before they buy one item, but fail to do their due diligence when it comes to investments.
Secondly, learn to have a budget and learn to pay yourself a minimum of 20% of your income and automate it where possible. If you plan properly every month, you will still survive on 80% of your income.
Then, one last thing is to look for a platform that gives you peace of mind like Risevest. Risevest covers basically anything you want to invest in, from international stocks, real estate, to fixed income which is great for a beginner investor. When it comes to money, money is serious business; take it seriously, read always and ensure you update your knowledge.
On a scale of 1 to 5, how likely are you going to recommend Risevest to new users?
Oh, 5! I will rate Risevest 5. I am so impressed with how far they’ve come and I hope they continue to improve and grow stronger.
Thank You very much for your time Chika.