FEMME-MINTY INTERVIEW SERIES: WOMEN, TALKING MONEY
In this interview series, we chat with amazing women about their relationship with money. We discuss all things finance (no-holds-barred) to demystify money myths, highlight mutual experiences, and learn from one another.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself
My name is Jesutosin Ifeoluwa Oni and I’m Nigerian. I live in Kaduna, go to school in Osun, and spend most of my holidays in Lagos, so that’s a lot of traveling across the length and breadth of Nigeria for me. I’m 19 years old.
I’m currently studying Accounting at Bowen University, Iwo. I’m in my third year, and I’m looking to build a career in Finance. That has led me to being a member of the Bowen Finance Society. I’m the current President of the society
What else? I’m the only girl, I have 3 brothers and I’m proudly a Daddy’s girl!
What is your first recollection of money
That must have been Primary school when I used to accompany my mum on household shopping trips. There was this lady at the market in Kaduna who we used to buy Cowleg* from and she just loved me. I guess I was a cute kid. Haha. Anyway, she used to give me Ten Naira pretty much every time we patronized her. Coincidentally, a bank came to my school for a financial literacy campaign around that time so I asked my mum to get me a piggybank. That’s how I started saving, really.
Rich kid! What did you do with your savings
See, I don’t like to spend money. My mum is always saying I get it from my dad’s side of the family. He’s Ijebu*. The Ijebu people are reputed to be stingy. I can neither confirm nor deny.
Anyway, I just used to love keeping my money. I loved looking at my money. Keep it and look at it.
I had no goals or plans for the money, so I was just saving in perpetuity. I never touched it, except of course, the occasional “Do you have change? I’ll give you back” from my parents. They always promised to pay me back.
In one word, what does money mean to you?
Independence- There’s a lot you can do with money, and there’s so much you can’t do without money. Having money provides confidence to back your dreams. If you don’t have money, you’ll have to source for funds to finance your ideas either in form of debt or equity. I don’t like to feel indebted to people. It’s always been important to me to try to make money in some way.
So how does a 19 year old student in a private university earn an income?
I had a nail (manicure) business in my second year. Unfortunately I had to close down because of a school policy. That was my first stream of income, other than my allowance. I currently have a part-time gig with the company where I last interned as a Financial Advisory intern. It was a great internship so I’m super pleased that I get to keep working with them. It’s a financial advisory and consulting firm, and I mainly get to work on Crowdfunding, research on sourcing funds for SME’s etc.
I was teaching myself graphic design at the time when I did that internship, so I also got to help the social media team a little bit.
Impressive. Out of pure curiosity, what motivates you to work despite getting an allowance from your parents?
I think it goes back to my desire for independence. I got tired of calling my dad to ask for money when I got broke in my first year. Just the idea of being able to fend for myself to some extent is comforting.
What do you wish you knew about money before you started earning an income?
Number One, know why you’re saving. Oh my goodness, I cannot overemphasize this. You need to have savings goals and objectives. The second thing I wish I knew was not to spend my savings. There was this time when I saved up a chunk of money on Cowrywise with the intention to invest in mutual funds when it matured. L.O.L. I spent it all. When you don’t have a savings goal, you’ll spend without a plan.
Tell us about a time when money really stressed you out and how you managed it?
Hmm. There was this time when I got a lump sum and blew it all. It was a very generous gift from a family member and I didn’t know how to behave. I bought everythinggggg. I patronized all my friends’ businesses, bought gifts for people, spent money on so many good deeds which, in retrospect I could have dialled back on. Then I got broke and called home. When my parents asked me where the money went. Den, den, den… They delayed my funds to teach me a lesson. Yo! I made so many resolutions! It was such a wake up call for me. Poverty will do that to you. My brother eventually bailed me out. (Big brothers rock.)
I think it was a timely lesson because by the time I started earning money from internships, I’d learnt to be frugal.
Would you say money played a role in choosing your course of study and in charting a career path?
Yes and No. Yes, because my parents adviced me to get a professional degree to ensure financial stability in the future. In Junior Secondary School, I wanted to go into the Arts, Journalism precisely. I also loved numbers and considered studying Mathematics and Statistics, but I would have had to be in the Science Class in senior school. I wasn’t about that Biology and Physics life so I was still thinking about what to do when I went away for holday at my Aunt’s. She’s an accountant and I was so inspired after spending the summer with her that I decided to follow suit. I loved her work flow, and the fact that she obviously enjoyed what she was doing. I tagged along when she went to the office and it was like a lightbulb went off in my head like “Jesutosin, you like numbers!”.
Do you actively invest? If yes, what influenced your choice of what to invest in?
For now, I have just mutual funds on the Cowrywise platform. I don’t want to jump headlong into investment vehicles I’m not knowledgeable about. I honestly chose it because it is low risk. I already told you I don’t like to spend money. Well, I have a greater dislike for losing money.
What would be your first three spends if you suddenly came into a huge fortune?
I would tithe, then I would probably treat my parents to something nice, maybe a vacation, despite their protests.
If I don’t save the rest, I would love to travel. I can’t wait to travel as far and wide as I want.
Do you always plan how to spend your money, or do you just go with the flow?
I plan, but it is not in-depth planning. Ever since I read Smart Money Woman by Arese Ugwu, I’ve been trying to practice the 20% savings rule. I actually ended up saving a lot more than 20% because my major cost in school is feeding and I’ve given that a strict allocation. I walk a lot, so I hardly spend on cabs or other transportation etc. My spending is tightly curtailed.
So why haven’t you downloaded the Free Femme Minty Budget Template?
*covers face* I actually downloaded it! I’ll try it out this month.
What other tools to keep yourself on track with your financial goals?
Just Cowrywise, I think. Okay I opened a Piggyvest account because my friend was very dedicated with getting referral bonuses.
Do you sometimes feel intimidated by finance terms? Do you think banks and financial firms could do better with communicating financial jargon?
Not really, probably because of what I’m studying. I definitely think banks and financial organizations can do better in terms of publicizing functions other than deposits and withdrawals. I also think there’s a lot of work to be done in terms of reaching the unbanked.
If you could be a superhero, which character would you be?
Can it be a human being? It would have to be my Aunt, Mrs. Olufunmi Adepoju.
She exudes so much power and strength.
Is she the Accountant?
Yes oh, she’s my aunt and mentor all wrapped in one.
When was your ‘aha’ moment when you realized that you needed to be more financially responsible when it comes to money?
Ah yes, I was gisting with a friend one day when he casually mentioned “I remember the first time I made a million naira..” My mouth dropped open. I was so gingered. I went home telling myself “Hustle o, hustle o!”
What is the most expensive thing you have ever bought/paid for yourself and how much was it?
I don’t like spending money o. Maybe one Laju Iren book that I bought in my first year of uni. It was a lot of money for me at the time but I decided to treat it as an investment. It was so worth it!
What has been Your most ridiculous purchase ever?
Let me tell you one recent funny story. Remember how I said I try to patronize my friends when I can? I recently bought a pair of shades from a friend. I don’t even wear shades. When I realized I had never worn them, This year, I started putting them in my handbag everyday, so I could wear them anytime I remembered. Luckily my friends all bought as well, so when I see a friend wearing theirs, I whip mine out as well. My money must not waste.
What bank(s)/financial organization/apps do you use and why?
Banks- Sterling & Polaris, because they have branches in my school. I opened the Sterling Bank account first, and then the Polaris when I wanted to start saving. I’m glad they’re closeby, especially Polaris because their stress is not of this world. At some point, I went to register complaints so often that the security guards even knew my name.
I opened my Cowrywise account because my friend is a campus ambassador. I started simply to support her and ended up falling in love with the app.
You’re really big on supporting your friends. Has any ever roped you into a Ponzi scheme?
No oh. Eh. I’ve been tempted but I didn’t fall, hallelujah. I remember when Loom was the craze in my uni. I’m so glad I didn’t give in because it eventually crashed. Its the only time I haven’t been supportive.
One thing you don’t feel guilty indulging in?
Buying food. Especially Dodo*
Then mobile data, because I do a lot of beneficial stuff with it.
What book, movie, podcast, or person has had the greatest influence on your financial journey?
Person- Sam Adeyemi, his messages on finance motivate me to do better.
Book- Smart Money Women by Arese Ugwu, that book changed my life
What is the greatest lesson you learned on your entrepreneurship journey?
One, Separate yourself from the business. Accounting knowledge hits different in real life. Also I’ve learnt to keeping part of my returns to reinvest.
Do you think you’ll have another go at Entrepreneurship sometime soon?
Well, I’ve been thinking of taking my graphic design seriously. We’ll see.
Let’s round off with a lighthearted series of quickfire questions
Entrepreneurship vs. paid employment?
Saving vs. Investing?
Both. “Save to invest”- Jesutosin 2020
Spending your own money vs. spending other people’s money
Mine. I would feel guilty otherwise
A song that describes your current relationship with money?
Nobody by JoeBoy. “I don’t wanna hear say you dey with another man… Nobody”. Because my money belongs with me and nobody else.
If you had a money growing tree in your backyard, what are the top 3 things you would spend money on?
Hmmm. That means the money will always be there.
It would be: Travel, Family and Savings, in case the tree dies.
The year is 2030. You’ve been invited to give a TED talk on how you built your immense wealth, lay it on us in 60 seconds ending in “Thank you for coming to my TED talk”?
*Takes deep breath*
In this journey of life, I have discovered that money could either be a parasite, a catalyst, or a dark hole- in the sense that it can eat into every aspect of your life and leave you worse off, it can ignite your dreams, or be sunk into ventures that yield no returns. Choose this day how your money will serve you. Thank you for coming to my TED talk