Mo Money – No problem?

Financial education or the lack thereof

Hi guys!

How are you all doing? Week off to a good start? If yes, wiggle your shoulders; if no, celebrate the people who are having a good start, your better days are ahead. Lately I’ve been watching a few channels of people who are getting out of debt and I find it so inspiring. While I’m not in debt (Thank God), I feel so much joy watching other people get financial freedom. However the one common thread I have noticed is that people don’t always get into debt cause they were “irresponsible with their money” contrary to what I believed. I have found that it often starts with an inevitable expense such as school, a medical bill or a lifestyle that you could once afford but no longer can; that snowballs with interest into an intimidating number that gives you anxiety.

I am always concerned about the stunning lack of financial education that I have received. I feel like I’m always a foul step away from doing lasting damage to my finances! It’s such a frustrating feeling because it seems like everything is mapped out till graduation but somebody forgot to mention the financial implications of that process or the life you will be embarking on. Yes you are earning a decent salary and that’s dandy but what next? Also don’t get me started on how taboo it is to talk about! You can’t ask someone in your field openly about how much they earn. We would rather go to Glassdoor -which is a great resource- to get the very same answer. We don’t speak openly about how people got into debt or even just the fact that you may be broke even though you’re working at a “really great job”. We live on credit so we can have a credit score and then proceed to die a slow death on credit because collections calls you religiously every week demanding a price much larger than what you actually spent.

I think talking about money is the next coming of age talk that everyone needs to have. We rightfully made such a big fuss about having the sex talk with pre-teens and adolescents so that they make informed decisions about their bodies and are aware of the changes ahead of them. We really need another “talk” for young adults. We need to demystify finances and speak more openly about our relationship with money and our mistakes. The system is certainly not built to support open communication on financial management but if we all share our lessons then maybe fewer people will feel so alone with the consequences of their financial decisions.

So here are some of my financial questions and if you have answers I’d love to hear them

  1. Why do we file taxes and why do we get money back when we do?
  2. Where can I check my credit score?
  3. Does checking your credit score really hurt your credit score? (This seems counter intuitive but I’ve heard it)
  4. When should you start investing?
  5. Who should you talk to about investing?
  6. What can you invest in?
  7. Has anyone tried WealthSimple? Is it really intuitive? Is it truly “simple” to understand?
  8. What’s the best kind of credit card?
  9. What interest rate is reasonable for a savings account?
  10. How much do you need to save to own a home?
  11. Can you buy a home without a mortgage? If no, what’s the best kind of mortgage? [Best for me in this case would be defined as something that I’m not stuck paying for the rest of my life.]
  12. How do other people manage a budget? I’ve tried Excel but it just felt like a lot of work to maintain.
  13. When/how do you start saving for retirement?
  14. Do I need to set up a pension account?
  15. How do I separate what I’m saving for? Once my emergency fund is set up, what next?

Some helpful resources I’ve found online are

  • The financial diet: They share helpful tips on managing money and are a great launching pad to start having some slightly more informed discussions on money
  • Aja Dang: She is working to pay off her debt right now and is sharing her journey in detail. She also has a budget template available
  • Levo League: This is more career related than directly financial however there are some interesting articles that could help bridge the gap.

I’d love to hear for you. What money questions do you have? Also, if you have answers to anything I asked above please help your girl out 🙂

Update time

Hey guys!

First of all I want to say I’m incredibly proud of myself for delivering a post every week for the last 4 weeks!! It’s the little milestones that keep you going you know. Without getting too long winded with this but it’s incredibly helpful for your psyche to celebrate yourself. It helps keep you going! So now to my other goals that I have shared with you over the last two weeks let’s see how I’ve done shall we?

  1. Wake up at 7am: I did relatively well on this in the first week. I woke up at 7am everyday but 1 in the first week I made this goal. This habit gave me a more relaxed start to my day and I was a lot less anxious in general. I felt more productive and happier having successfully woken up when I planned to. In the second week I relapsed into my regular sleeping habits for a little while because old habits really do die hard. I noticed though that my body would stir at 7am and I was making a choice to sleep past it. I’m back on the 7am kick and while it’s not incredibly pleasant rolling out of bed, I’m always happier for it.
  2. Sign up for driving lessons: I didn’t quite follow through with this goal but I made some moves in this direction. I contacted my driving instructor to confirm the process of re-enrolling for driving classes and as I type I have the G2 site open to book my road test. I don’t know why I’m so nervous about booking this because the worst possible thing that could happen is that I fail the test and honestly I wouldn’t be the first or last so I really should just bite the bullet and do it. I’ll keep you posted on this one when I finally work the nerve to book it
  3. Take my braids down: I did this!! Let my curly curls down. I mean I’m thinking of my next protective style but the braids came out anyway.
  4. Take a few minutes at the end of everyday to document moments that I’m thankful for: I really didn’t do this a whole lot unfortunately. I would like to carry this forward because I think its really important to be mindful of the good things that happen in your life
  5. Downsize my closet: I offloaded some items from my closet but I’m sure I could lighten up a little more. I will keep taking the opportunity to refine and pick out things from my wardrobe
  6. Do some career research: I am yet to dive deep into this but I have my to-do list prepared to tackle this goal

So in a nut shell I made progress on a good chunk of my goals but there’s room to do more :). Let me know in the comments any goals you’d like to work on this month.

DIY matching two piece set | Dust and sunshine

Matching 2 piece and fleeting moments

Hey guys!

Back at it again 🙂 This time with the third of my summer DIYs. All the cool kids on the gram are wearing matching sets so I would be remiss if I didn’t hop on this band wagon real quick. While I’m not quite at Insta baddie levels, I think this is pretty cool no? Could pass for a romper together and just as cute as separate pieces. Stunt on’em 3 different ways at the minimum!

When I picked out this fabric I thought of dust. I know that’s a strange thing to endear me to a fabric but it reminded me of being about 3 years old, looking at the flecks of dust in the air highlighted by the sunshine on a Saturday morning in Surulere. Saturday morning specifically because all through the week I had school and was more focused on getting out the door and playing with my friends. Saturday mornings however were for cartoons, breakfast and cleaning. Now at the time, I remember being too young to really be of much help with the Saturday morning chores, so my mom or my sister would ask me to sit on the bed in my siblings’ room while someone else swept the floor. I remember sitting facing the window and seeing the dust rise and actually being able to pick apart tiny flecks in air because of the sunshine. I remember closing my eyes and still being able to see tiny dust particles in the darkness of my shut lids. I’m sure there is a more scientific explanation for this but for me shutting my eyes really tight was my way of holding on the the moments of watching the dust in the sunshine.

Fleeting moments have definitely been on my mind lately. It could seem cliché to talk about how life is short or how we should take the time to smell the roses but think about it; this moment, as you read this, this is the last time you will experience these words for the first time in this way. Time is ever advancing and as much as I would love to freeze tiny pieces of happiness, I can’t. Likewise, I can’t make the hurtful times move any faster. All I can do is be present in my moments, take from them what I can because as quickly as they came, thus they will go away.

More recently, I was thinking back to a time in my life when I would have intellectual arguments every weekend (3504-2106 crew! If you know you know). At the time, it was all bants. We would get worked up making a point that was really just adjacent to the real argument. We would challenge each other’s views and refuse to fully capitulate when the other person’s argument had you beat. As simple as those moments were, I miss them so very much. I realized recently that the last argument we had in that apartment was probably the last time we would all be together in that way, the last time we would all be as young, as easy with each other. We will have other conversations and maybe even for a moment revisit those feelings but I think that moment passed and I didn’t realize it until it was gone.

I guess instead of being sad that a moment is gone I think I can be happy that I was ever in it. Which I guess brings me to my point of being present  and be fully there for your moments today. We’re always chasing our next step and our next level. Reminiscing on the past and could have beens and should have beens. Frankly for many of us when we finally stay in our present moment, its to evaluate all of the things wrong with our now. Instead of fussing about the things that you’re unable to do now or the things you never did or even the things you hope to do, take a moment and watch the dust in the sunshine.

Now like I did last week, I want to lay out some of my goals for this week and I’ll summarize how I’ve done so far on all the things I set out to do this month in a future post.

  1. Be intentional about my present. Take a few minutes at the end of everyday to document moments that I’m thankful for
  2. Downsize my closet
  3. Do some career research

Photos by Willyverse

Its a discipline | Linen drop waist dress

Simplicity for productivity

DIY boat neck linen drop waist dress

Hey guys!

So I’m on a path to simplify my life and my time. Sometimes I really just be doing too much and then end up feeling all burnt out and frazzled, squirreling away productivity pins to my “Do Better” board on Pinterest instead of actually doing the work. I think the key is to do less and do it better. I was just about to go on a tangent on how important it is to say less as well but that’s a topic for another day.

Key hole closure

 

I have seen a bunch of posts and articles lately on why you should NOT multitask which strikes me as odd because I can remember “ability to multitask” being a valued skill to have on your resume. It’s all terribly confusing how the productivity trends ebb and flow. Anyhow I’m on board with the multitasking less team. I wouldn’t say cut it out all together because there is definitely a place and time to multitask but I see how overloading your plate with activities to juggle will just result in doing more stuff but doing them really crappily.

That being said, here’s my game plan:

  1. Plan 3 key activities to accomplish per week.
  2. Actually achieve the 3 activities for the week and not everything else besides what I set out to do
  3. Reward myself for achieving my goals

This week I think I am going to try to wake up at the same time everyday, sign up for additional driving classes and take my braids out. I’ll let you know how this goes but I want to start with small attainable tasks so I hit some quick wins upfront. Future goals will include applying for my Masters, applying for my PMP and actually taking my G2 Test so I can finally drive.

Gathered skirt

Maybe I should start a little series where I update you all on my mini goals for the next three months…hmmm. Let me know if you would like to see that. I’ll probably still do it anyway but definitely let me know if you are interested

photos by Willyverse

A girl worth fighting for | DIY jumpsuit

Learning to love yourself

Hey guys!

 

So late last year, I made this jumpsuit which modeled after a jumpsuit I was supposed to ( but failed to) make for my mom. Turns out it worked just fine when  I made it for myself. I have worn this to one of my choir concerts, a work launch party and church and its always a hit. I used a really boxy blouse and some of my loose fitting work pants as a pattern for this. My goal was to go really loose all over and cinch in the waist so its a bit more forgiving. Something about its just looks like I’m a grown woman who is about her business no?

As I was planning for this post I kept thinking of what I wanted to say. What thoughts, views or stories could I share that would embody this jumpsuit. So I thought of how I felt when I wore it.

I felt powerful

especially when I’m posted up like this

I felt feminine

and I felt comfortable

For some reason this made me think of the Mulan soundtrack, specifically, “a girl worth fighting for”. Don’t ask how I arrived here, that was a long train of thought but all you need to know is this is where we ended up; at a girl worth fighting for. Now you probably don’t need me to but I’ll set the stage. The men of China are off to perform their unsavoury duties of going to war and to lift their spirits they decide to “think of instead a girl worth fighting for”. Of course to the men this really meant “she cute or whateva” and you know “she can cook or whateva” and “she thinks I’m funny or whateva”.

Now if you are a Nigerian girl/woman, at some point in your life someone has probably made reference to your “husband’s house”. This could be about how you should behave in this nirvana or how unfit you are to attain the priviledge of your husband’s house; no matter the form, the underlying message seems to be “be the girl worth fighting for”. Be cute and demure. Be entertaining but not in a way that overshadows him. Cook and nurture and be all things to all men really. I guess this wouldn’t be so problematic to me if we held everyone to this standard irrespective of gender but that’s a topic with plenty literature if you’re interested.

All that being said, I think we should all strive to be the girl worth fighting for 🙂 . Not in the traditional way of course. The girl you fight to become may not be the girl that every man wants but if she’s girl that you are proud to be then that’s where I want you to begin. I am fighting to be the girl that wakes up everyday knowing that she’s valuable. The girl that invests in herself and knows that it is not selfish to do so. The girl that actively enriches the lives of those around her. The girl that understands the need for balance in her life. The girl that holds herself to a standard of excellence in whatever she chooses to do because she knows mediocrity is not a good look. The girl that achieves her goals, that is true to herself and her beliefs. The girl who understands that she has choices to make and that her life should not be dictated by the requirements and expectations of other people. That’s the girl I’m fighting for everyday and I think she’s worth fighting for.

Pictures by Willyverse

Eyelet sisi | DIY lace kaftan

White lace bubu and social navigation

Heya!

So last summer, I got to attend a wedding as my boyfriend’s date which was super grown up to me but apparently is something regular people do…who knew? For the traditional wedding, the colors were all white with red accents so I figured this may be a fine opportunity to make my dress. The dress ended up being a pretty simple project, fold in half, cut out a neck hole, sew up the sides a few inches in to create the waterfall arms and add a collar! Easy peasy lemon squeezey.

In addition to just being excited for a new project, I knew I was probably only going to know maybe 3 people at this wedding, I figured it might be a conversation starter. Now the catch is, I suck at bringing up my sewing in conversation (lol) and I’m also really awkward around new crowds. Needless to say, I was pretty nervous about the ordeal and perspiring heavily.

I see people who move effortlessly through crowds and are able to completely be themselves from the first conversation and they baffle me. In a good way of course but baffled nonetheless. No don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate meeting people and I don’t spontaneously combust into flames of anxiety and frustration when posed with the opportunity to face people I don’t know. My main concern is usually that I have no control over the version of me they meet that day and following up as my regular self just gets harder from that point. For some reason, when I meet new people, my voice gets a little high pitched or my accent sounds a pinch more Canadian. I can never hear it in the  moment but I can read it in the reactions of others who either try to mirror my accent or who question whether I grew up in Canada.

Honestly I think my real undoing starts with the introductions. I don’t have a very common name so even growing up in Nigeria, I got pretty comfortable with my name being mispronounced. I wonder if anyone experiences as much stress as I do when people ask me what my name is. I now spell my name on autopilot just to save people the trouble of calling me Enai. For the record, my name  (Enang) is pronounced as follows: EHas in Canada eh!Nangas in bang with an N. I think it may be too late for some of my friends now because like I said I got so used to mispronunciations that I’d settle for good enough.

So between awkward introductions that always last too long and involuntarily starting conversations in a Canadian accent that I can never seem to reign in on demand, this is my SOS. All my socially savvy readers, how do you do it??? How do you navigate the crowds and finesse the awkwardness?

Pictures by Willyverse

 

Ntokon | DIY high waisted wide leg pants

Red wide leg pants and a conversation on confidence

Heya!

Yes you my address me as the associate VP of the Pepper Dem Gang. For those of you who may not be familiar, “Pepper dem” references a state of being wherein your slay is so severe that it is heartburn inducing. Marinate. On. That. Hunnay!

Remember the overalls I made for my brother? Yea that experience came in super handy with this project. I mean check me out, coming through with that front fly zipper. Trust me when I say the process of learning how to do this was grueling but look at me approaching this with so much confidence now. Also, looking back at some of the pants or shorts I made in the past and comparing them to this, talk about a progress!

Speaking of confidence, I was at a women’s conference recently and something that the speaker said really stood out to me. She said -and I am paraphrasing a little- as a woman, you need to understand the space you occupy and the value you bring. I let that sink in a little because it one of those things “you know” but I had to question how often I fail to apply these principles

For me, understanding the space I occupy means understanding my strengths and weaknesses for what they are. I’m a great listener, pretty insightful, resourceful, creative, intelligent, cute in the face and funny too. I am also often inconsistent and undisciplined, a little lazy with a tendency to wallow in self pity once stressed and not great at taking criticism (even when it’s coming from me to me – seriously, this portion of the post is aggravating me already). All of these things and more; good, bad or somewhere in between make a pretty amazing person and it important for me to move through my daily interactions with the  consciousness of who I am.

The other side to this is understanding the value I bring. Yea it’s one thing to take a personality test and say “ugh that’s so me” but so what? How does being me with all my quirks and dazzle impact the people in my life and the work that I do? Understanding who I am allows me to assert myself in my space. My strengths allow me support and uplift my friends and family and my weaknesses could be a source of inspiration if I let them or at the very least a recurring joke between me and the people who love me. Of course as my social reach expands, so does the impact of my being.

Another key portion of all of this for me being Christian, is the understanding of not just who I am but Whose I am and what that means.  I was carefully crafted by God with a unique purpose. Then not only did He make me, He loves me. That’s a pretty big deal to me because the way I see it, He looked at me and thought “Wow, I did a really good job with this one.” Soooooo, if you think about it, I already got the seal of approval from the manufacturer which would make me an asset just about anywhere!

I think bringing all these pieces together is where I find confidence. This is where I find the strength to try again after failing because my worth is not in the outcomes of an isolated event but rather grounded in the unique truth of my awesomeness. I’ll try to remember these things the next time I stop sewing because I think I suck at it or when I fail to speak up at work because I think someone else would have a better suggestion to bring forward.

This does not mean I’ll always be right or that everything I touch will always turn to gold but the confidence (and courage) to keep pressing on and trying better each time, that’s true excellence.

Pictures by Willyverse