When Christine Sesay decided to study mathematics, her parents were not enthused, as they believed she would never find a job in Africa in this career field.
Christine however did not want to part with her love for Mathematics so she convinced her parents to allow her pursue a career in Accounting and Finance which was an easy sell as they were very supportive of her decision.
Upon attaining a Masters in Finance, Christine went on to work with a construction /maintenance company in Dublin as an Account Assistant, then an accountancy practice where she progressed from the Real Estate accountant to the Financial Controller over a 4-year period.
At this time, she wanted to move back to Africa but there were not many jobs available so she had to take an Assistant financial controller role with an Irish Organization in Niamey.
Within 4 months, she was working in the capacity of the Financial Controller managing €5 million projects then progressed to take charge of all operations within a year.
While working on a nutrition and livelihoods project in Niger, Christine was shocked by the abject poverty that people lived and her desire was to change the situation. But as there was a security situation in Niger, she had to move back to her birth country Sierra Leone where she started Africa’s Moneypreneur to bring about financial freedom to all Africans.
She believes that individuals would be more interested in talking money and finances when it is made easy and fun. As a determined and driven leader who is passionate about wealth management, she wanted to make sure that her African brothers and sisters started taking money seriously.
When she started the financial literacy blog, she hosted a few events for women but no one attended as they were not interested. To overcome that challenge, she moved on to open a facebook page where she featured different women and hosted 12-days of Christmas challenge.
These different pieces created traction and landed her some features on a few publications addressing the different areas of finance, a workshop on business finance tips for teenage mothers at the Aberdeen Women’s Center, teamed up with SheVestor for their training materials and wrote several articles in magazines mostly locally in Sierra Leone.
Christine hopes to teach others how to implement effective financial strategies that support the lifestyle they aspire and deserve.
Christine Sesay’s “@AMoneypreneur” seeks to challenge Africa’s views about money & Poverty, and help individuals enjoy life Click To Tweet
What are your views about Africa and money? Do you believe our way of thinking has forced us into poverty?
Like most things in life, if we are not educated, we will tend to misuse it. Financial education is a major part of life in the western world as people are aware that until they make conscious decisions about what they want for their lives and start early, it will be difficult to live fulfilled lives.
For example, it’s almost second nature to see that after a man has worked for many years, he could have nothing saved up a pension for retirement. Instead of enjoying old age, they are forced to work for longer and sometimes end up dying miserably.
There are also choices that are being made in terms of choosing to make the right choice now, with the future in mind.
Personally, I started early! While studying finance, I learned how the multiplier effect works on finance saved over long periods. I made conscious efforts to have pension funds and also started a college fund for my kids (nope they are not here yet!).
How can we become financially free? Would you say being financially educated is the first step to financial freedom?
There are quite a number of areas that could be covered when we talk about financial freedom. I think even before we get educated, there is the need to have a shift in mindset. The way we think about our finances.
People consciously paint a picture of how they want to currently lead their lives and what the future needs to look like. Charting the course of your life, like anything else helps you decide what decisions you may need to make now.
Once that picture is clear, then seek financial education. Make the right choices, choices that you can live with. Avoid looking at what others have done and try to emulate those choices. Your risk appetites and pocket sizes may differ.
Why do you believe Africa needs a platform to challenge our views about money and poverty levels?
I find that at the moment we are comfortable. People are happy to continue working, spend without the future in mind and hope that a family member will eventually foot their bills.
Things are changing and as we are emulating the behaviors of others cultures we also need to develop our own culture when it comes to financial planning. At Africa’s Moneypreneur, we want to be at the forefront of those changes.
We currently use our platform to:
- Provide financial advice for youth, start-ups and Women-owned business in Africa
- Developing communities for youth and women to engage them in making informed financial choices
- Sharing success stories relating to women in finance and in business
- Discussing personal stories relating to work-life balance and family, travel etc. to give a personal touch
- Introducing current events relating to the brand areas, like finance and pop culture events, Lifestyle etc.
- Embracing African roots and culture as it relates to finance management
With these efforts, we hope that the next generations of African families can help pull Africa out of poverty.Knowing exactly what you spend your money on is important to have a solid financial plan and a healthy attitude towards your finances - Christine Sesay Click To Tweet
How do you intend to make discussing money and finance fun? What are you currently working on?
I think the first thing we need to do is get people comfortable. It’s like going to a dentist. Unless the patient is relaxed and comfortable, the dentist will not be able to proceed.
So we make our audiences feel comfortable by talking to them in languages they understand, discussing topics and issues they can relate to and most importantly listening and having an open platform for communications on topics they want to discuss.
Over the years we have found that people want to talk about money, but sometimes don’t know where to start, so by opening the door, we let them know they are welcome to talk to us about money and we are willing the share our knowledge, experiences, and opportunities with them.
With regards to what I am working on, I am developing and expanding my digital footprints on social media. If you follow me you will experience me discussing topics relating to current events, business tip, tips for women in business to reach their highest potential.
I also share tips on my experience in finance, savings, giving back and other areas of career and finance through the following:
The Envelope System
With the envelope system (or what I sometimes call the clip system) you use cash for different categories of your budget, and you keep that cash tucked away in envelopes.
You can see exactly how much money you have left in a budget category just by taking a quick peek in your envelope.
I also travel around the continent when I have time for workshops on Finance and career with a focus on finance and empowerment for women and youth
What steps do you take to help an individual enjoy life while making sound financial choices?
In life, if we want to the success we should strategic and plan. The same goes for making wise financial choices below are a few steps that can assist in making these choices.
One of the key messages around my work revolves around planning. I believe once an individual is willing to plan (budgeting) they have taken the first steps towards cutting back or not spending and getting their finances in order.
Step 1: Where does your money go?
Knowing exactly what you spend your money on is important to have a solid financial plan and a healthy attitude towards your finances. I have created a product called the Envelope System.
This system helps you to monitor your spending whilst you see exactly how much and what you are spending money on.
Step 2: Financial Goals
Now ask yourself a simple question: “Where do I want to be 20 years down the road?” But avoid generic answers like, “I want to be rich.” Answer with more specificity.
Be realistic in setting out your goals and be specific. You want to succeed, not fail, and you can do that only if you start out with attainable, specific and realistic goals.
Step 3: Prepare for the unexpected with insurance
Do you have a family? If not, purchase yourself some disability insurance to protect your earning power. If you do have a family, you’ll want some disability coverage and lots of life insurance to protect your loved ones.
Adequate health insurance, auto coverage, and homeowners or renters’ insurance are also important. No matter your financial situation, insuring against the unexpected can help keep you on the right track should accidents create a financial burden.
Step 4: Start Saving
Here’s where guilty pleasures come back into the picture. The key to any savings plan is not income but outgo. In plain English, this means worrying about your expenditures, not just your paycheck.
Even if you earn a high wage, you can outspend your income — lots of people do. But if you control your outgo, on the other hand, it doesn’t matter how much you bring home, because it will be more than enough
Step 5: Begin to Build a Portfolio
After saving enough for an emergency fund, you should begin to look toward investing extra cash.
For new and seasoned investors alike, the easiest way to start building a portfolio is with mutual funds. One thing is, you can find mutual funds to match your particular risk tolerance.
Another is, they spread your investment risk. Last but not least, mutual funds give you professional money management — a great idea if you don’t have the time or expertise to go it alone
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