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Money Hack: ‘I Listen To People Who Know More Than Me’

Money Hack is a weekly series that asks real Nigerians to share a money hack — for saving, investing or spending — that they swear by.

For the first-ever episode of Money Hack, Jola Ayeye, a 29-year-old screenwriter (Smart Money Woman), podcaster (I Said What I Said) and entrepeneur, tells us about the money hack that’s helped her save millions of naira. 

What’s your money hack?

I’m not going to pretend like I know what’s going on financially. What has saved me over the years is a list of family and friends that I call whenever I have money. “Oh look, I just got paid and I have X amount of money, what should I do with it?” 

I would rather spend the money I make with no remorse but these three people keep me in check: My father, who has worked in finance all his life; my mum, who is a super-saver; and then my friend, Adewunmi, who gives me advice on stocks, investments and all that. 

I usually check out their recommendations and then decide what to go with. That’s my hack: Listening to people who know more than me

When did you learn this hack?

I must have been 23 or 24 when I started working my first proper job at Zikoko. It hit me that I needed a plan for my life and my “money comes, money goes” philosophy wasn’t going to cut it. I remember having a call with my mom where she asked if I had any savings plan. When I told her I wasn’t earning enough and was waiting to earn more to save, she started talking about treasury bills, money markets and saving from the little I had.

At first, it felt like she was dulling my vibes, but I became more curious about the whole thing. That’s how I found out she had opened savings accounts for my brothers and I when we were younger. With the money saved, she suggested we find the best option for it. 

The interesting thing about this is, we weren’t saving with a goal in mind. She was just like, let’s keep this money for when you’re in your late 30s, 40s or 50s. 

So, like a personal pension?

Yes, but the concept of saving was so foreign to me. Like what am I saving for? In the ads we see about saving, there is always some cause. I didn’t have any. I wasn’t paying rent, hospital bills, I wasn’t married, didn’t have kids, so what was I saving for? There was no sense of urgency on my end, but my mum was all about accumulating savings for a decade to see how things go. 

So, how did your dad and friend come into the picture? 

My father runs an investment firm, and he is a strong believer that anyone who works in the creative industry is one step away from penury. He isn’t wrong. That day, he was just checking in on me, making sure that my life still had a direction. I told him I was expecting my next paycheck and wasn’t sure what to do with the money.

That was when he recommended an investment officer and a couple options I should consider.

For my friend, Adewumi, I met him in 2019 through a work thing, and I was open about my finances with him. Eventually, he started making investment recommendations to me, but it never felt like he was telling me what to do. Sometimes, I use the tips he posts on his IG stories. 

Can you think of a situation where this money hack saved you?

Yes o. In 2018 or 2019, I was between jobs. This is a fancy way of saying I was unemployed. I didn’t want to ask my parents for money even though they would have given me. That’s when I remembered I had money somewhere. So, I decided to call my investment officer to get ₦300,000. That’s how she said, “So, that will bring your balance to four point…” 

Wait. Wait. WHAT?

LMAO. The money was over four million. I wasn’t even keeping track because it wasn’t like a normal savings account I could monitor. My expectations were low so it never really occurred to me to ask.

So, all that money from my childhood savings account, salaries, birthday money, small inheritance, those funds that came in trickles I was pushing away in savings, summed up to that amount.

That moment she called a balance I wasn’t expecting at all was a very pleasant surprise. It gingered me but not enough ‘cause there’s always something to spend money on as an entrepreneur and a freelancer. Anyway, I ended up withdrawing ₦700,000 instead. 

LMAO. Do you still have investments with them?

I do. Which reminds me, I should check in and see what my balance is. 

Check back every Tuesday by 10 AM for new Money Hack episodes.

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