Meet Financial Jennifer: the FintribeWomen Superstar Using Social Media to Empower Women
Jennifer Awirigwe, certified financial instructor, chartered stockbroker, founder of fintribe, a women’s community that’s focused on empowering women through building wealth, smart investments, and savings, and social media influencer, chats with Document Women.
In this interview, we talk about her trajectory as a woman in a usually male-dominated field, especially in Nigeria, what inspired her community for women, and the ways that she’s utilized social media to work for her.
Jennifer, first off, what you’re doing is amazing. How do you balance your job as a finance instructor and investment banker with content creation and influencing?
I’m one of the lucky people that love their job. Both my 9-5 and personal work revolve around money and investment, topics I enjoy. But still, time management is key. I plan out a lot of things ahead. And I have an assistant, Joy, who’s been so helpful. For our Fintribe savings community, we have admins that help with that too.
The road to success is not a straight line, especially one as dicey as internet success. At what point did you realize you had started to make an impact?
Early enough. This all started with me sharing my personal journey on what I was doing to better my finances. I was doing it in a very simplified and relatable manner. It didn’t take long for my tribe to find me, women who are also on the same journey. Over time, I would get messages of how my posts and lessons had helped them. That was when it dawned on me, like, hey, this is no longer about you. You are on this journey with thousands of other women.
And in our Fintribe community, which is a female-focused platform where we invest and save together daily, I watch these amazing women make money moves which they testify would not have been possible if they hadn’t encountered me or our community.
Do you often come across trolls and derogatory comments on your content platforms? How do you deal with them?
I don’t entertain negative energy at all. People understand this and act accordingly. Though I remember a couple of gender-centric derogatory comments by random fellows. But I don’t talk much: I just block the unfortunate humans and move on.
You’ve built Fintribe from the ground up. What would you say has been the most surprising challenge in holding down a community that’s empowering women through smart savings, investments, and wealth building?
For over 3 years, we were low-key doing our thing, saving as a community. But then I realized that the community could be even better. So I became more intentional about it. I believe anything worth doing is worth doing well - registering with the relevant government body, partnering with a custodian, building a tech platform, signing up with investment partners, etc. We didn’t envisage some of the bottlenecks that came up. But thankfully, we have crossed most of the hurdles.
My goal is to build a close-knit community of money-minded women intent on doing the most with their finance. It’s happening! We have over 2,000 women who are very proud and glad to be part of the community, and more women are still coming on board. We are always happy to receive them. We can be reached via our email address [email protected]
I enjoy the FintribeWomen series and have followed Bella, Sade, Deb and Kamsi through their many highs and lows. How do you come up with their stories?
The plan with the series is to highlight the relatable money habits of the everyday woman. I am lucky enough to have Gail on the team who understands my vision and brilliantly crafts the stories.
What made you venture into the finance sphere?
I like money. Lol. Really, I have always been excited by discussions around money. And being a gender equality advocate, it was easy to focus on women and their finances. I knew how I struggled with my own finances. Sharing my steps online was a way to keep myself accountable, but then I realized that there are so many other women who were in the same phase as me. My writing was a sort of wakeup call for them, so I doubled down.
Growing up, what was your relationship with money like? Did you have any personal finance role models or influences?
Just like many of us, no one told us anything about money management as kids. My parents are business people, and even as a kid, I knew a lot about their business. I guess that’s what opened me up to the world of business and earning from an early age. But did they discuss money with me? No. In fact, I didn’t learn to manage my money properly until a few years ago.
That was when I made conscious efforts to read and learn about money. So many books like Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Smart Money Woman, Richest Man in Babylon, etc., have influenced my mindset when it comes to money.
How old were you when you decided to start saving/making impactful financial decisions?
I was 25. And it was around the same period I started writing about money on social media. I was just putting out everything I was doing on my journey to get my finances right.
What’s the worst money decision you’ve ever made? Something that makes you cry, God why! when you remember. And what’s the best money decision, something that makes you hum, my God don’t flop when you think about it?
The thing is, I move on fast from mistakes. I don’t waste time on regrets. I probably have forgotten some specific money mistakes I have made. You see, some of the nonsense investments we were making back then – in fact all of them – were ponzi schemes. Dark days. Anyways, now we know better. We are doing better.
My best financial decision was the decision to start sharing and teaching personal finance publicly. That single decision brought immense rewards, not just for myself but thousands of women who read my work and belong to our Fintribe Savings Community.
One thing you think people can spend less on, and something people should spend more on?
Please spend more on personal development, it’s the best investment ever. Polish your craft, be the best at your career, and learn new things. Basically upgrade your mindset. These we do through free and paid resources. Have a generous budget for your learning.
What we can spend less on. . .I really can’t point at any specific thing. What is a waste for me, can be a priority for someone else. What I recommend is this: as much as possible, have a budget for the things you feel you spend so much on. That way you don’t go overboard. When you exhaust your budget for it, you rest.
You once asked your followers this question, and I’m curious to hear your answer: What’s that recurring expense that without it, you for don blow?
Mine would be transportation. If not for the money I spend on rides, I would have been an Ikoyi landlady by now.
How do you think working women can maximize their earnings?
Start from what you have currently. As a career woman, how can you continuously upgrade yourself? The more you upskill both on soft and hard skills, the more you earn. As a business person, think of expanding your product offering and gaining a wider reach through aggressive marketing.
Don’t stop there. Think of ways you can generate additional sources of income by selling your knowledge, starting a new business, etc.
A lot of young Nigerians trying to make a living for themselves have to contend with a lot, including Black tax. Have you ever struggled with this? How did you navigate it?
Black tax is something many of us Africans can relate with. Here are a few steps to handle it:
Have a (monthly) budget of how much you spend on black tax. Once it’s exhausted, every other person will chill till the next month.
Understand you have to look out for yourself too. You cannot pour from an empty vessel. Always pay yourself first. This means the first thing you should take out of your income is something for your savings/investment.
As much as you can, support them (your family) to start up something. Pay or contribute to it. This way, they can take care of themselves and others coming up.
Last, you don’t have to reveal your income volume to them, so that no one is pressing calculator for you or being entitled to your earnings.
N10 million falls into the lap of a random 20-something Nigerian. What’s your best breakdown to making this lucky fellow’s money work for them in the long run?
First, please go and lock that money somewhere. It can be in a fixed deposit or similar platform. It’s very easy for us to jump ahead of ourselves in spending when we come into unexpected funds. To avoid this, put the money away and take time to think and decide on what to do with it next.
Since it’s something you want to work for you in the long term, it can go into funding a business plan you have. Don’t jump into this though, do your homework first. If you want to go the investment route, depending on your risk appetite, you can split the fund between stocks and fixed-income investments like Treasury bills or commercial paper. Whichever you decide on, have a clear idea of what you want to do before you can go pull the funds from where you locked it.
Remember to remove something for yourself, too. Go pamper yourself. You deserve it.
If you weren’t a financial instructor and influencer, what would you be doing?
I am an investment banker, it’s my career line. That, and practising as a chartered accountant too.