Arese Ugwu’s book, The Smart Money Woman, was transformed into a series that is currently one of the top ten on Netflix Naija. The film, named after the book, takes us through the financial journey of four women climbing up the corporate ladder and dealing with the challenges in their personal lives. Zuri is an impulsive spender and debtor, Tami is a fashion designer who lives off daddy’s money and pays little attention to the growth of her business, Adesuwa is the housewife who takes care of her family but puts up a united front, Ladun is the relaxed and taken care of housewife, and Lara is the one who seems to have her finances in check.
Throughout the series, there are a lot of financial nuggets that were dropped through the life of the characters as they struggled to stay on top of their finances. But at the same time, I couldn’t help but wonder at the relatability of their experiences or rather the lack of it. Because when push comes to shove, how many women of today’s economy can say they earn close to half a million a month or have a rich daddy or husband funding their lifestyle? While these disparities exist and might make it hard to look past the poor on paper yet seemingly comfortable lifestyle of the women, I think that the rules of savings suggested in the series can still be applied to our lives regardless of our earnings.
Whilst I learned a lot from the series as a whole, I also learned something from each character. Take for instance Zuri, who taught me that aside from cutting your cloth to your size, sometimes you have to downsize even a little more even if you have more than enough material; downsize and find your priority. Gucci bags can always wait, there will always be the next big thing but your financial future is crucial. Tami and Ladun taught me that the comfort zone can be too dangerous. Daddy’s money is good, husband’s money is great but work hard for what you can call yours. Work hard and plan as though those comforts do not exist because life happens and when it all leaves you, you do not want to feel helpless like a stranger in your story.
Adesuwa taught me to never trust anyone when it comes to money, especially someone who has shown me time and time again that they do not value my hard work, Lara on the other hand showed me that it is okay to cut off the people who drain you financially. The people who stand on your back, take your kindness and providence for granted and do nothing for themselves. Unlike Adesuwa who pretended that everything was okay just to create a make-believe united front with her husband, Lara knew her limits and wanted to be able to enjoy adequately the fruits of her labor.
While all these nuggets are great and teachable, what resonated with me, what I think made the women’s lives and financial journeys a success story was the women themselves and the support they got from each other. They had each other’s backs, gave their shoulders as a support and saw through challenges as a collective. The Smart Money Woman is a reminder that sisterhood is important.