June.8.15Personal Finance
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Money Matters with Nimi
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Women4Africa – Celebrating the Best of African Women

‘Women for Africa’ was birthed from a 20 year desire and passion to see women honoured and appreciated in a celebratory way. Everywhere you go in life you see women. Focused, driven, determined, ambitious, resourceful, passionate, talented, inspiring are just some of the characteristics that are embedded in these women.

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Cross section of Guests

At the 4th Annual ‘Women4Africa™ Awards UK 2015’ which took place on Saturday 9th May 2015 at ‘The Great Hall, Kensington Town Hall, Hornton Street, London W8 7NX’,  Nimi Akinkugbe received a recognition award. Please find her speech below;

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Nimi Akinkugbe giving her speech

“Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies & Gentlemen

I must start by thanking Women4Africa for honoring me in this way. I feel truly humbled to be recognized amidst such esteemed company and for this opportunity to share some thoughts about my world of personal finance.

Personal financial literacy has been a crucial element in charting our course and for close nearly two decades I have sought to break down money matters into an engaging practical form through various platforms including columns in leading publications, radio, television, the Monopoly Board game and most recently, my first book.

BESTMAN GAMES

Our company Bestman Games is the African distributor of customized editions of Monopoly, the iconic board game owned by Hasbro for 48 African countries. The City of Lagos Edition of Monopoly, the first African city edition of Monopoly, was launched in December 2012. We subsequently launched The Nigeria Centenary Edition in February 2014 and a stunning Calabar edition will be unveiled this June. Our product suite extends to all Hasbro games including customized African editions of Trivial Pursuit, Risk, Top Trumps etc.

Monopoly is much more than a board game; it presents the basic principles of personal financial management in a profound yet entertaining way. Asset acquisition, passive income, rent, dividends, bank deposits, inheritance, salary, and income tax are some of the messages and concepts that are embedded at its core. Through our African editions of Monopoly we seek:

• To promote personal financial literacy from an early age to encourage economic empowerment and entrepreneurship in communities across Africa.

• To promote and encourage strong ethical values and a sense of integrity amongst players by penalizing negative or dishonest behavior, and rewarding positive actions in a symbolic but fun way.

• To reinforce the importance of family values by creating a reason for family members to spend quality time together face to face and learning through play.

• To present our emerging continent in a positive way. We have grown weary of the more common narrative of doom, gloom, corruption, disease, poverty, war and despair and feel that it is our responsibility to showcase some of the spectacular growth and infrastructural development in some of our stunning cities. Indeed, in the past ten years, African countries have experienced unprecedented growth rates, with seven of the world’s top ten fastest growing economies being those of key African countries in 2014.

• To instill a sense of community both at home and in diaspora by presenting the customized board game that we can relate to, including familiar streets, landmarks, locations, and historic sites. I am sure that many of you remember Mayfair, Park Lane and Old Kent Road on the original London edition.

What should Mayfair be on a Kenyan version? Karen?
What would it be in an Accra version? The Ridge or Cantonment?
I spent part of my childhood in Dar es Salaam and I hope the Tanzanians among you will agree that a Dar edition of Monopoly would not be complete without the idyllic Oyster Bay.

THE AFRICA WOMAN AND MONEY MATTERS

For many years, African women have made huge strides in business, in the corporate world and in government, and continue to strengthen their earning power and influence. Power and position come with responsibility, yet sadly far too many women still feel ill equipped to make bold financial decisions. Powerful and influential women are often powerless regarding their finances; many successful women find little success in their financial lives. If women ignore their personal finances, it is likely that they will be forced to face these issues at a time of crisis such as the illness, divorce or death of their spouse.

A few years ago, at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington, D.C. where he honoured 50 accomplished women, Barack Obama stated that women, half of America’s workforce, are primary or co-breadwinners in two-thirds of American families. One wonders what statistics in African countries would reveal. Indeed, African women are earning and contributing a significant part of the household income, often even assuming the role of primary earner. This social phenomenon has financial, emotional and psychological implications for both men and women, particularly in a patriarchal society with its traditional cultural values.

Traditional role reversals can be disconcerting, and can lead to
frustration or resentment as an increased financial burden is placed
on women on the one hand, and potentially bruised male egos on the other if such issues are not addressed.

Whilst the general principles of personal financial planning are universal and apply to both genders, women face unique challenges that translate to distinct concerns regarding their earning potential, roles and responsibilities.

• Women tend to be more tentative regarding their finances
• Women generally have a longer life expectancy
• Women are more likely to live alone for significant periods of time.
• Women are getting married later
• Workforce participation can be intermittent
• The care of dependents, children and aged parents, usually falls on women

Suze Orman in her book “Women & Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny,” illustrated what she termed “dysfunctional scenarios” thus:

• A successful working woman who contributes a sizeable portion – in many cases the majority – of family income, but delegates all financial responsibility and decision-making to her spouse or partner.

• A stay-at-home mum or nonworking spouse who relies on an “allowance” from her husband who controls all money matters.

• A wife, sister, who is talented and accomplished in her career, but is constantly frustrated at being passed over for a promotion or not earning what her male counterparts are earning.

• A grandmother or aunt who doesn’t know much about money or about the family finances. If anything happens to her husband she could be in dire straights.

Whatever your age, or stage and whether you are single, married, divorced, or widowed, I would like to touch briefly on ten areas of your financial life to consider.

1. Set clear financial goals

Do you have short, medium, and long term goals? Prioritize them and assign values and target dates. These may include, reducing your debt, purchasing a car, planning a family holiday, putting a downpayment on a new home, building an educational fund, or funding your retirement.

2. Create a budget

Old-fashioned budgeting is still one of the most successful ways of keeping track of your finances. Create a budget and try to stick to it; this will help you to monitor your expenses so you have a clearer idea of where you can cut back and begin to save.

3. Be in control of your debt

Be in control of your debt particularly the most expensive debt. Avoid debt that is incurred purely for consumption; for clothing, jewelry, or holidays. Debt needn’t be negative; indeed credit can be a most effective tool to fund real estate acquisition, finance education or for a business.

4. Saving

An emergency fund is a necessary financial cushion to fall back on in difficult times. Six months’ worth of living expenses set aside in a safe, accessible interest bearing account is usually recommended.

5. Investing

Invest in Yourself – Whether you have chosen to be a stay-at-home mum, in full time employment, or running your own business, it is essential that you continue to develop yourself. Constantly seek additional training and knowledge; there is so much that you can achieve with commitment and discipline. Develop and nurture your talents and skills, those things that you are passionate about and naturally excel at; they may well be what will keep you earning for pleasure in your later years.

Consider investing for the long term in the stockmarket either directly or through mutual funds. Bear in mind that stock market investments, whilst they have provided higher returns over the long term than other assets, come with greater risk. Diversify your portfolio, by spreading your investments across the various asset classes – cash, stocks, bonds, real estate – to mitigate some of the risk.

There is no excuse for being totally ignorant about your finances with the plethora of information around you both in print and on line. At a minimum you should have some basic knowledge of the principles and the various investment vehicles available in order to build a diversified portfolio. Seek guidance from an experienced, qualified professional, but remember that ultimately, you are responsible for your finances.

6. Family Finances

It is important for you to be involved in the family finances. These can be awkward conversations for many women but you owe it to your children and yourself to be fully aware of the family’s financial standing.

As you build wealth, be mindful of the fact that the way you bring up your children can have a profound impact on your finances in your later years. If you over indulge them today, they could end up being dependent adults during your retirement years.

7. Do you have adequate insurance?

Without adequate insurance, an accident, a medical emergency or other disaster could seriously undermine your financial security. Reduce the risk of loss with adequate home, health and life insurance. One serious illness can wipe out decades of saving and investing without insurance in place.

8. Retirement Planning

You could spend over twenty-five years in retirement. These years should be a time for new and exciting opportunities that keep you productive, mentally stimulated and fulfilled. Those who start planning early have a much better chance of retiring in comfort.

9. Estate Planning

We don’t really want to be morbid on a wonderful evening such as this but by considering your own mortality and getting your affairs in order, you will have the peace of mind of knowing that should anything happen to you, your loved ones will be protected. Do you have a will, a trust or other estate plan in place?

10. Philanthropy

Having money comes with a huge responsibility because it makes it possible for you to do things for others and this should be built into your financial plan. Material possessions will eventually lose their shine, but through philanthropy, one can help others, shape or even save lives. If you look around, you will find that there is always someone worse off than you are. By deciding to make a difference in someone else’s life, you can bring so much more meaning, value and a lasting form of happiness to your own life. It is through generosity that we attain the best relationship with our money as it enriches our lives far beyond any financial asset number.

Your Excellency, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, African women have been described as the continents “greatest untapped resource” and our contribution is key to its achieving its full potential. Women bring something critical to the economy, civil society and politics. When you empower a woman with information and education, you empower the family, which is the smallest unit of the society. I truly believe that if the African family is empowered, this has profound implications for our communities, our nations and our continent’s economic development.

Thank you very much for listening to me.”

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2 Responses to “Nimi Akinkugbe’s Speech at Women4Africa Awards UK 2015”

  1. cec says:

    Great speech. Good advice.

  2. Halima says:

    This is so powerful and so true.

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