This is you.
You are becoming a grown-ass woman and learning all the survival skills to navigate adulthood.
You forgetfully left your drink unattended at that party. When you got back, you knew better than to drink it after the guys around the table.
You’ve turned down many requests to be in locations you believe are not safe for you, watched a few online self-defense videos to assume you are knowledgeable enough to ward off situations you don’t fancy.
You are in your twenties, staying focused in school, and then you graduate! You start that graduate job. Finally, you are a woman.
You are excited about your prospects, and you tell yourself that as soon as you earn more, you will start saving. You realize something weird is happening; the more money you get, the more you spend to upgrade.
You upgrade to a more silky human hair, to that latest iPhone (just this last time) and oh, there just happens to be frequent hangouts with friends at that “highbrow” restaurant on Lagos Island where the drinks cost twice as much.
The car; Well, it just makes sense to change it after 7 years of using the old one from your parents and with a bank loan, you think you can afford. I mean, why not?
Your life turns into a stock photo tagged “cool young professionals.” It’s all going well until you are at that age where everyone in Africa expects you to be, uh… well, something else. You look back and notice that time has gone faster than you stopped to notice.
You start to think about stability and security. How do you keep up with this lifestyle? High standards, great taste but no assets and worst of it all, no f*ck-off fund.
Your boyfriend is back again, and he wants to get married this time. You think: “how convenient”. And even though you and your friends know that something is off and you should be done with him, you go back to him.
You believe that you’ve been on the ride for so long and you don’t have options.
You feel the need to leave your current house to move somewhere else, just to show progress, sorry “move-m-ent.” So, you get into the marriage and realize that marriage is not the destination to that vacation land because those “off things” are now a nightmare.
The first kid is here, and with all the other things on your plate, you are trying to get your balance, but tight on a budget.
The second kid comes along. Married but raising two children alone, you realize your partner might be a deadbeat. How couldn’t you have seen the signs!? You’re constantly afraid that one day he might actually become this person who would tell you to leave his place, and then what would you do?
Being broke and raising 2 kids alone is not something you are brave enough to face independently. You are afraid inside. You are stranded.
Wait. This story sucks.
If it were one of those Choose Your Own Adventures, here’s where you would want to reverse, start over and rewrite what happens to you.
You are in your twenties, a young woman staying focused in school, you graduate! You start that graduate job. Finally, you are that woman who wants stability in her life and understands that money can help with that.
You immediately set up a f*ck-off fund with your savings. Your future is more important to you than anything else.
To build this account, you develop a strategy. Live on a budget, increase your income and invest.
You keep driving that old car; buying a new one when that old one is still performing seems like a rash decision to you. You target those 50% off sales to stock up on clothes and premium shoes. Why buy them for the total price when you can get them half off?!
You start that certification to help you earn more. Suppose you haven’t met a millionaire customer support in your country. In that case, you want to drastically change that career line from customer support to mobile engineer to earn more.
You avoid loans that don’t make you money and pay back quickly when you get one. You save up a f*ck-off fund of $2,000, $3,000 (note I put it in dollars), then enough to live half a year without anyone else’s help.
By now, you’ve built confidence in your ability to create the life you want.
Your boyfriend comes off a certain way; you sit him down and clearly tell him that it is a deal-breaker for you and would prefer to be treated a certain way. You should be able to AFFORD to leave a toxic relationship.
You are married with kids, and you need a few months out of work for your mental health. You take the break because you can afford it. Thanks to your f*ck-off fund! You do not have to sacrifice your mental health for financial security.
Once your f*ck off fund is built back up, with your new, better job, you pay cash for the most bad-ass black leather skirt you can find and upgrade to a more ideal car you’ve always wanted. And then, start saving to go to Thailand with your best friend the following summer.
– Ifeoma Uddoh, Founder/C.E.O. Shecluded