In many countries, there is a significant gender gap in opportunities for accessing financial services. A recent survey by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisor (RPA)’s Gender Centre for Excellence indicates that about 98 percent of women still have limited access to the formal credit market. The survey noted that low education status and restricted decision-making power were factors limiting women’s access to financial services in the country. The Gender-Disaggregated Data Analysis Report, a product of RPA’s Gender Centre for Excellence however urged for more inclusiveness for women in Nigeria’s financial services.
Jennifer Awirigwe, a personal finance expert and investment banker, during a recent interview, condemned the surging limitations restricting women from accessing financial services. Jennifer, who also founded FinTribe, Nigeria’s biggest women-only finance community, stated that her dream was to see women being immensely intentional about their finances and this prompted her to establish a women-only finance community. According to her, the community’s influence in helping women make intentional and smart financial moves has defined success hugely to her.
Youths urged to invest in themselves by acquiring relevant skills.
On important decisions that young people can enact in setting up a secured financial future, she noted that it was important for young people to commence investing at the early age. She urged young individuals to invest in themselves by the acquisition of relevant skills and experiences. She also stated that it was important to build networks upwards, downwards and sideways. According to her, building relationships that would enhance knowledge and opportunities across all levels must be a prerequisite.
Sharing her financial journey, Jennifer revealed that she was once a broke Chartered Accountant who managed a firm’s money as the Treasury Accountant, even whilst her personal finance was dilapidated. However, she noted that her journey to financial stability commenced with the conscious decision to make her finance better. She noted that she had to make sacrifices like moving some of her money into a savings account and then, an investment one. She also disclosed that the little steps that she consistently shared via social media was immensely helpful in establishing her women-only finance community. According to her, intentionality and planning would play an important role in helping youths secure a financial stability.
The need for high funds, the biggest misconception about investment.
She also stated that one big misconception about personal finance and investment was the thought that only wealthy people could invest because a huge amount of money is needed for investment. She said that there were numerous investment opportunities for as low as N5000, such as saving bonds, mutual funds, stocks and many others. She explained that whilst these were important investment platforms that could help grow ones money, Ponzi Schemes for doubling money was not an investment.
Asked about FinTribe’s achievements so far, the personal finance expert stated that the community which consisted of women saving and investing together, has been immensely helpful in keeping its members accountable. She indicated that the community also finds measures to leverage their number to the members’ benefits. Asides coordinating bulk food buying which saves costs, they also support each others’ businesses immeasurably. Jennifer indicated that the community’s impact as to improving the members’ portfolios, business startups and other smart financial decisions was the community’s biggest achievement.
Women urged to be more intentional with their financial targets.
On the country’s economic outlook over the next three quarters, Jennifer indicated that inflation would expectedly maintain its surge due to the increasing PMS prices from removing fuel subsidy, readjustment of exchange rate, policy implementation delay due to change in government, as well as the prevalent insecurity that has impacted food production across the country. She thus urged everyone to seek credible investments that would yield high returns. Despite the over 100,000 women that read and learn from her, Jennifer hoped to reach more people for her personal finance message and FinTribe. She urged women to be intentional with their financial targets.
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