Are You Ready For Big Business in 2016?

I had a very emotional conversation with a dear friend of mine this morning, the conversation was about a once thriving consumer goods business he owned that not only went down in the flames of huge debts, but took a lot of him with it. In fact, after analyzing the entire conversation, I thought to myself: “It’s a miracle this man didn’t die.” As an auditor/accountant who has done a lot of financial control and fraud investigation work over the years, I was literarily drawing process flow charts in my head to identify problem areas as he spoke about various aspects of the business. The problem was clearly not revenue generation or market share; he had all that in the bag, it was hardly access to working capital or distribution network as well. It was simply the fact that while he paid attention to growing his business with all he had in him, he, like many business owners didn’t implement proactive financial controls and/or know how to interpret financial reports that could have told him there was fire on the mountain. He didn’t know how to catch and dispose of the rats who lurk around the businesses of hardworking business owners like him.

As we count down to the year 2016, it is important that you just don’t sleep and wake up marking your calendar, you have to make the intention and put plans in motion right now to ensure that you and your business have an agenda of growth and progress in 2016 and beyond. If you want to play bigger than you are playing right now, and want to take down the big sign at your door, which tell preys that you are open for them to come and loot your sweat, then take action now to attend one of Our Financial Coach’s Financial Management classes in Lagos and Abuja today. Each class size is limited 20 students because this is more than a training class, it is the beginning of a mastermind group for business owners who want to really understand and take control of their business financial future. The relationship will start in January, but we will continue to meet and provide business support to grow your business till December 2016. You will learn with your colleagues during our live classes/webinars/telephone conferences, work on real business issues with your business buddy class, and have access to one-on-one support.

So the question is, are you ready to see real, specific and measurable progress in your business in 2016? Then come for a trial run on January 7th in Lagos or Abuja on January 15th. There is a 100% money back guarantee if you are not completely satisfied after this first class.

Financial Management Workshop for PROACTIVE Small Business Owners in MD

Our Financial Coach is proud to present a hands-on financial management workshop for owners of small and medium enterprises in Maryland. If you wish to understand how your business performed this year and want to grow in 2016, then you absolutely have to mark your calendar for this event.

Objectives:

This workshop is designed to help you understand and implement sound financial management policies, gain familiarity with 3 key financial statements and most importantly reduce your anxieties regarding business financial management.

Who Should Attend?

Owners and managers of business ventures who wish to proactively manage and grow their business ventures in 2016 and beyond. Whether you engage an accountant to manage your books or struggle to prepare your statements yourself, this class is a must if you want to actively drive your business success in 2016 and beyond. Class size is limited to 20 to ensure each participant derives maximum benefit. This is a practical class – participants will learn and immediately apply concepts to their business during the class.

What will we cover?

Part I

  1. You and Your Business: Building and maintaining a beneficial relationship with your business. Learn if, when and how to withdraw funds for personal use from your business, and how to identify and control common mistakes that can stunt your business growth.
  2. Planning for success: Start 2016 on a solid note by planning for success. You will learn about budgets – the essential planning tool every successful business must have. “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”— Benjamin Franklin.
  3. The 3 Master Keys: An X-ray of the 3 statements that tell the most comprehensive story about your business – The Statement of Profit and Loss, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Statement.
  4. Focus on Profitability: In-depth review and preparation of the statement of profit and loss. You will learn how various transactions affect your business profitability. You will also understand the impact of cash and credit transactions. Each participant will prepare his or her business profit and loss statement for the month of December 2015. Please bring your bank statement and other records of your business transactions for December 2015.

 Part II

  1. Sneak preview of future classes:
  • Budget Preparation Workshop: Come prepared to translate your business goals into a proper budget.
  • Budget review techniques
  • Understanding your costs and pricing for profitability
  • Month end closing check list – Financial Indicators that you and other stakeholders need to know, and how to effectively review your accountant’s work
  • Cost and cash flow management strategies
  • Financial control and fraud prevention best practices for your business
  • Using and understanding business reporting tools such as Microsoft Excel and QuickBooks

Date:  Tuesday December 22, 2015

Venue: Columbia MD (Location address will be sent to confirmed to attendees)

Time:  5PM – 9PM (4 Hours)

Class Size: 20

Cost: $100

Discounts: Early Bird -10% (Ends on December 17th). Referral – 10% (Discount will be issued after referred participant pays in full)

Registration Details

  1. Complete the course registration form
  2. You will receive an electronic invoice with payment instructions.

Workshop Facilitator: Tope Fajingbesi CPA ACA MBA

Tope is a social entrepreneur, author, financial coach and an inspirational speaker. She hosts Impact Africa a podcast that inspires listeners to participate actively in African development through entrepreneurship and job creation particularly for Africa’s growing youth population. She also invests considerable time and energy into creating a better world for children from low-income families through United for Kids Foundation, an organization she co-founded in 2002 and which she continues to serve as its Executive Director/Coordinating Trustee. Tope, a U.S. Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Nigerian Chartered Accountant (1999 ICAN prize winner) is the author of “What Color Is Your Money? Your Personalized Roadmap to Business Success.” She obtained a Bachelors degree in Accounting from the University of Lagos Nigeria, a Masters in Business Administration from the Goizueta Business School of Emory University in Atlanta, and attended the University of Oxford’s Women Transforming Leadership Program in October 2014. Her 17-year work experience in Nigeria and the U.S. include positions in Arthur Andersen, Pricewaterhousecoopers, nonprofit organizations and Fortune 500 corporations. Tope is also a fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar Session 530 – “Value(s) for Money? Philanthropy as a Catalyst for Social and Financial Transformation.” She was one of 30 African leaders invited to the U.S. White House briefing and dialogue session in preparation for the 2014 U.S.-Africa leaders summit in May 2014.

Testimonials

The Financial Seminar for Women got me dreaming big dreams for my business. Now I’m working on turning those dreams into reality. I highly recommend it!” – Fawzah A.
The Seminar is the most wonderful thing that has happened to me in recent times. I was glad I could made it to Abuja for the seminar. I give kudos to our wonderful coach. Thumbs-up for her.” – Folashade O.

Thanks for bringing Miss Tope Fajingbesi to change my financial life style. Kudos !!! I am just taking a look at my tracking and budget, and just keep smiling. Tracking of expenses has controlled my spending and I was able to achieve my budget beyond expectations. Above all My husband is loving it (I am adding other color to my Green and yellow.) I hope I will be able to sustain it. Thanks once again.”Saidat S.

Financial Management Workshop for PROACTIVE Business Owners in Nigeria

Our Financial Coach is proud to present a hands-on financial management workshop for owners of small/medium private companies and unincorporated businesses in Nigeria. If your goals for 2016 include growing your business venture, you absolutely have to mark your calendar for this event.

Objectives:

This workshop is designed to help you understand and implement sound financial management policies, gain familiarity with 3 key financial statements and most importantly reduce your anxieties regarding business financial management.

Who Should Attend?

Owners and managers of business ventures who wish to proactively manage and grow their business ventures in 2016 and beyond. Whether you engage an accountant to manage your books or struggle to prepare your statements yourself, this class is a must if you want to actively drive your business success in 2016 and beyond. Class size is limited to 20 to ensure each participant derives maximum benefit. This is a practical class – participants will learn and immediately apply concepts to their business during the class.

What will we cover?

Part I

  1. You and Your Business: Building and maintaining a beneficial relationship with your business. Learn if, when and how to withdraw funds for personal use from your business, and how to identify and control common mistakes that can stunt your business growth.
  2. Planning for success: Start 2016 on a solid note by planning for success. You will learn about budgets – the essential planning tool every successful business must have. “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”— Benjamin Franklin.
  3. The 3 Master Keys: An X-ray of the 3 statements that tell the most comprehensive story about your business – The Statement of Profit and Loss, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Statement.
  4. Focus on Profitability: In-depth review and preparation of the statement of profit and loss. You will learn how various transactions affect your business profitability. You will also understand the impact of cash and credit transactions. Each participant will prepare his or her business profit and loss statement for the month of December 2015. Please bring your bank statement and other records of your business transactions for December 2015.

 Part II

  1. Sneak preview of future classes:
  • Budget review techniques
  • Understanding your costs and pricing for profitability
  • Month end closing check list – Financial Indicators that you and other stakeholders need to know, and how to effectively review your accountant’s work
  • Cost and cash flow management strategies
  • Financial control and fraud prevention best practices for your business
  • Using and understanding business reporting tools such as Microsoft Excel and QuickBooks

 Part III

  1. Budget Preparation Workshop: Come prepared to translate your business goals into a proper budget.

Lagos (Part I – III)

Date:   Thursday, January 7th 2016

Venue: 120/12 Bosun Adekoya, off New Market Road, Oniru

Time:  9AM – 2PM (5 Hours)

Class Size: 20

Cost: N40,000

Discounts: Early Bird -10% (Ends on December 17th). Referral – 10% (Discount will be issued after referred participant pays in full)

Abuja (Part I & II)

Date: Friday, January 15th 2016

Venue: 65, 11 Crescent, Kado Estate Phase 1, Abuja

Time: 6PM – 9PM (3 Hours)

Class Size: 20

Cost: N24,000

Discounts: Early Bird -10% (Ends on December 25th). Referral – 10% (Discount will be issued after referred participant pays in full)

Registration Details

  1. Complete the course registration form
  2. You will receive an electronic invoice with payment instructions.

Workshop Facilitator: Tope Fajingbesi CPA ACA MBA

Tope is a social entrepreneur, author, financial coach and an inspirational speaker. She hosts Impact Africa a podcast that inspires listeners to participate actively in African development through entrepreneurship and job creation particularly for Africa’s growing youth population. She also invests considerable time and energy into creating a better world for children from low-income families through United for Kids Foundation, an organization she co-founded in 2002 and which she continues to serve as its Executive Director/Coordinating Trustee. Tope, a U.S. Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Nigerian Chartered Accountant (1999 ICAN prize winner) is the author of “What Color Is Your Money? Your Personalized Roadmap to Business Success.” She obtained a Bachelors degree in Accounting from the University of Lagos Nigeria, a Masters in Business Administration from the Goizueta Business School of Emory University in Atlanta, and attended the University of Oxford’s Women Transforming Leadership Program in October 2014. Her 17-year work experience in Nigeria and the U.S. include positions in Arthur Andersen, Pricewaterhousecoopers, nonprofit organizations and Fortune 500 corporations. Tope is also a fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar Session 530 – “Value(s) for Money? Philanthropy as a Catalyst for Social and Financial Transformation.” She was one of 30 African leaders invited to the U.S. White House briefing and dialogue session in preparation for the 2014 U.S.-Africa leaders summit in May 2014.

Testimonials

The Financial Seminar for Women got me dreaming big dreams for my business. Now I’m working on turning those dreams into reality. I highly recommend it!” – Fawzah A.
The Seminar is the most wonderful thing that has happened to me in recent times. I was glad I could made it to Abuja for the seminar. I give kudos to our wonderful coach. Thumbs-up for her.” – Folashade O.

Thanks for bringing Miss Tope Fajingbesi to change my financial life style. Kudos !!! I am just taking a look at my tracking and budget, and just keep smiling. Tracking of expenses has controlled my spending and I was able to achieve my budget beyond expectations. Above all My husband is loving it (I am adding other color to my Green and yellow.) I hope I will be able to sustain it. Thanks once again.”Saidat S.

Free Event: Is Your Organization Ready For Year End?

2016-new-year-ss-1920The clock is ticking, 2015 is on its way out and 2016 is upon us! But how financially ready is your non-profit organization for 2015 to end?

What are some of the quick and simple steps you can take to ensure your finances are secure before the year ends? What should you do to jump start 2016 on a bigger note for your organization? What must you do to ensure you are in good standing with the IRS, your board and other stakeholders? How can you plug existing holes in your organization’s financial system?

Our Financial Coach is honored to invite you to a free teleconference to help you manage your organization’s finances more effectively and efficiently in the last days of 2015 and 2016.

Who Should attend: Presidents, Treasurers and other officers responsible for financial management functions in Non-profit organizations in Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania.  This call will benefit both brand new officers as well as veteran officers who wish to find new and effective ways to manage organization’s finances.

When: Thursday, December 3rd 2015, from 12 – 1:00 PM

Where: Conference call details will be sent via email to registered attendees on Wednesday, December 2nd 2015.

Who: The class will be taught by Tope Fajingbesi, a Certified Public Accountant with more 17 years experience in finance and accounting, including over 10 years working with nonprofit organizations (American Federation of Teachers, Impact Africa and United for Kids Foundation) in several capacities such as training, auditing, financial reviews and investigation.

Have questions about managing your organization’s finances and want to make sure it is answered during the call? You can send your questions in advance via email.

Note: This event is free so you may share with your colleagues. However class Size is limited, so hurry to secure your space today!

A System that Preys!

I had been flying for about 7 hours and all I wanted to do was pick up my rental car and grab something to drink so that I could get strength to make the 1 hour drive ahead of me. I was physically and mentally tired: I only got 4 hours sleep the night before my flight, and my body was also struggling with the 3 hour difference between my home state and California, where I had just arrived.

As I staggered to the National Car Rental parking lot with my suitcase, laptop, handbag, drink and a head full of thoughts, a voice jolted me. “Will you like to upgrade to any of these cars for only $25 more?” I looked up to find two smiling faces in front of me. “Hmmm, this is weird, there is usually no staff in the lot. Why are they here?” I looked past them to see the cars they were trying to get me to pick: my tired brain recognized a Volvo and a dangerously beautiful Mercedes Benz. I was getting lost in my thoughts when I realized the pretty faces were waiting for my answer. “Oh no, my boss will kill me if I do that,” I replied. With a rather dry laugh that seemed to tell me I didn’t know what I was missing, one of them replied: “Okay then, please choose one of the cars after the big sign.” And off I went in a car I honestly still don’t know its make even after 3 days of driving it.

Welcome to America, where companies prey on the tired traveler, the excited tourist and the “plan-less” shopper. As a member of National’s Emerald Club, I usually have a ton of choices when I get to the rental car lot, but until this week, I had no idea there was a premium section. I just thought National didn’t carry the luxury brands. Now I know they do, and I also know that someone somewhere is unhappy that customers like me haven’t been willing to pay more than the $50-75 per day we pay to rent their cars, so they will like us to step up our game. Well thanks, but no thanks. Apart from the fact that it makes no sense to incur an additional and might I add non-reimbursable $100 for the 4 days I will be here on official duties, I also don’t care to spend an additional $100 on a car. As long as the car is reliable and functioning properly, I could care less what the brand is.

While it is easy to blame National and other companies that prey on tired minds when we get to the car lot, grocery store and shopping malls, I want to advise that we don’t blame them, they are just trying to make money. What you and I need to do is learn how to survive in a system that lets predators roam free. Here are some useful tips:

  • Proactively plan your finances,
  • Be alert and aware, don’t let current emotions sway decisions that have financial implications,
  • Set a limit/threshold that you need to think about for at least 12 hours before spending without a plan,
  • Cut your coat according to your “fabric” not your size,
  • Don’t subscribe to the “instant gratification” school of thought,
  • Leave an allowance in your budget to spoil yourself a little, this makes it bearable to take your eyes off every single distraction,
  • There are so many free and cheap ways to relieve stress – explore them,
  • Know the color of your money, so you can be equipped to deal with your weaknesses and to maximize your strength!

I hope these help you keep the predators away from your future. Good luck!

Take Your Life Back in 2015

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I just opened my yahoo email and the first couple of messages were marketing emails from Macys, Best Buy and Air France. The titles were: Pop Up Sale: get 50% off boots & shoes noon-11:59pm ET today!” Save up to 25% on select HDTVS – Upgrade for the Big Game,” and “Resolution No. 3 – Book Your Next Vacation!”Note how these titles have a sense of urgency and seek to make the reader eager to act before they lose out on something absolutely critical? See how these titles make vacation, shoes and TVs seem just as important as oxygen? I used to blame the retailers for targeting “poor consumers,” but I have now changed my mind, these tricks can only get a consumer that permits them. The marketers who draft these emails must earn a living and pay their own bills too, so if that involves getting you to use money you don’t have to buy things you don’t need, well whose fault is that?

But guess what? It is 2015, the year to get things right and live your own truth, so it is time to flip the script. Not only will I unsubscribe from all email lists that only “check up” on me to take my money for things I didn’t plan for and don’t need, I am also going to struggle to be better at planning my finances this year so that I don’t fall prey to the “money vampires” lurking around every corner. So help me God! Want to join the struggle? Here are some of the tips that can help you do same in 2015 and beyond. Enjoy!

  1. Align your spiritual life with your financial life. Pray about money, but work hard to avoid money mistakes too. God says he will grow the seed, but hey! You have to plan it first.
  2. Lose the immigrant mentality. There is no value building a mansion in your village when you or your children don’t plan to relocate there, yet you are barely contributing anything into your employer sponsored 401k.
  3. Start saving instead of borrowing for the rainy day. Want to take a summer vacation? Start putting money aside now instead of charging it on a credit card or other installment loan when it’s time to go.
  4. Can’t afford a vacation out of town? Try a “staycation” instead. No one ever got hurt by staying home to sleep and bond. You may just discover your purpose.
  5. Be determined to stay out of debt. The alternatives may require greater sacrifice but absolutely nothing is worth amassing debt laced with finance charges for.
  6. Get organized about existing debt, understand what you owe and make plans to pay back. Remember that some debts such as student loans are not discharged during bankruptcy.
  7. Stop being a people pleaser or a fake big guy! Aim to please no one but yourself, not even your spouse. Only a financially healthy person can be a good spouse, friend, child or parent in the long run.
  8. Switch on the busy tone for bad influencers, the ones who only make you spend and spend. The outings that involve getting intoxicated before joy can come are just ways to prolong misery.
  9. Ditch the expensive cable and fancy restaurants if your pay check can’t carry them. Why pay to watch people living their dreams when yours is waiting to be discovered?
  10. Cut your coat according to your size, but please don’t make it too tight. That is, leave room for some indulgence, just don’t go overboard.

I hope these tips help, but when it’s all said and done, the bottom line for financial wellbeing is to be very proactive and purposeful about money. Ignoring money troubles in relationships won’t make them go away, so find a way to address them effectively and peacefully. And remember that the struggle to stay financially healthy is just the same as the struggle to maintain a healthy body weight; it requires constant and conscious work. It requires living purposely and staying true to your own truth, which is what I plan to do in 2015. So help me God!

10 ESSENTIAL THINGS TO DO BEFORE I DO

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The wedding season is about to begin! Yes I know this is September and the Americans reading this are probably thinking, “what is she talking about? The wedding season just ended.” Not really, I can’t help thinking in “Nigeria” and for us, the wedding party season is just about to begin. From now till December 31st, it is going to be celebration galore. If the bells are ringing for you my dear friend, accept this beautiful and essential wedding gift of from Our Financial Coach, and feel free to share with others too. Here are 10 things to do before you sign those dotted lines:

 

  1. Make Peace With Money: By this I mean, understand your personal relationship with money. What are your strengths? You are good at saving your little bits every month? You watch the stock market like a hawk? You stay away from debt? Live within your means? Know what you bring to the table financially before going into the union. A good place to start is to find out what your unique money color Then prepare your personal DOES (Debt, Own, Earn, Spend) sheet. You can read more about this in chapter 2 of my book – What Color Is Your Money?

 What_Color_Is_Your_Money_amazon

  1. Do Your Due Diligence: Just in case you haven’t heard, let me be the first to break the news to you – marriage is a merger of two businesses. I am not saying you should or should not sign a pre nuptial agreement, but if you are blinded by “love” and refuse to see marriage as a serious business agreement, then you may be in for a shocker. So what happens when 2 businesses wish to merge? A due diligence review is conducted by us accountants, right? Each party has full knowledge of all the assets and liabilities the other is bringing into the new entity. If you want a successful merger, then you have got to approach marriage this way as well. What do your individual DOES sheets look like? What loans are you bringing into the union? Car notes, student loans, credit card balances, and mortgage on primary or investment properties? Be sure to disclose all. If you love your partner, you owe them a duty to let them know what they are getting into. Beyond full disclosure, ensure there is clear communication about who pays what. Will your husband love you enough to start paying off your 6 digit medical or law school loans? Sign me up for that one!

 

  1. Figure Out Your Destination: It is very common to discuss dreams and wishes for the union – Where will you go for the honeymoon? How many children do you want? Where do you want to live? while those are all great conversations to have, it is also necessary to discuss your financial goals as a family. What will your joint DOES sheet look like? What will your financial goals be for the first year? Do you want to pay down or pay off all debt before you buy a home? It is important to discuss critical “post-merger” financial plans before signing the dotted lines so you don’t wake up one day to find the husband has bought a new Harley Davidson power toy while you are working the phones calling realtors to get a new house.

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  1. Assign Money Roles: So the husband’s money color is grey, uh! Dude will never buy anything new or expensive ever, laughs! And the wife’s money color is yellow, so she is going to spend all the groceries money in the shopping mall buying the latest designer items, so who should hold the money? Should there even be any “family money?” Will you have a joint bank account? Who will administer the funds therein? These are important, though unromantic conversations to have. It is important to establish clear goals and put “loving” controls in place to ensure these are met. In this case, the “Yellow” wife should obviously not hold the savings account passbook unless the family considers a closet full of Gucci shoes and purses a good way to plan for retirement. Who will ensure that bills get paid and on time too? It is probably the grey husband who doesn’t like debts and financial hassles. Bottom line is use your strengths to assign roles, but make sure no one is kept in the dark about family finances.

 

  1. Draw the Lines: So what’s the plan to pay bills, fund vacations and grow the family fortune? The husband pays all the bills and the wife spends her money enjoying life? I actually like that plan, but it may not work for you all. So it is important to define how things will work in the family accounts payable department. There can be many twists and turns related to this topic especially if one party is not working outside the home or where there is significant disparity in income. Regardless of this situation, I advise that the new family start out with at least 4 bank accounts – His account, Her account, Our bill paying account, and Our savings account. That way, the yellow husband can be free to buy a Harley Davidson power bike with funds from his account, and the wife can stock up on all the Gucci with her money without anyone getting offended or angry. Or at least the craziness can be minimized while the family stays on track to meet or exceed established goals. So what if the wife is not going to work outside the home? Well sisters, this is the time to discuss and agree upon the salary the husband should transfer into your account unfailingly every month. And this is not the housekeeping allowance, this is your salary for putting up with him, laughs! But seriously, in order for the marriage not to be a prison cell, each party should have some change they can spend however they like.

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  1. Plan Board Meetings: It is romantic to plan and prepare for the places and days you will select as your date nights to keep the fire of love burning, but how about the dates to discuss money? I personally do Financial Fridays, when I look at how much I have spent and what I plan to spend the following week just to see that I am still on track. You honestly want to plan for this, it seems unromantic, but the alternative is worse. I will rather choose unromantic open discussions about money for an hour every week than find myself in a divorce mediation hearing trying to share debts and money. The reality is that the way we plan to approach money in our relationships can affect all other aspects of the union. There are sad stories of widows who are not only mourning the loss of companionship but also finding out about huge debts or starring at empty coffers they thought were full of gold coins after the loss of a loved souse. While we wish and pray everything will work out fine in the marriage. It is very important to do our own part to make sure we get the money right.
  2. OFCDiscuss Your Debt Strategy: Will your new family acquire anything on credit? Will one party buy anything on credit? You may think it does not concern you if your spouse chooses to buy everything on credit, but it really does. If you live in a community property state like Arizona, it is very important that one spouse does not go out acquiring debt without the consent of the other because both will generally be held liable for such debt. So decide what if anything either or both of you can buy on credit.

 

  1. Put the Right Foot Forward: Still on debt, it is important to avoid the fad of starting your marital life on credit. One thing people are owing for these days, which really baffles me is wedding expenses. Why in the world would I borrow money to show off to people? As a Muslim, I know that getting married is one of the cheapest events ever! Starting your marriage on credit is as bad as building a mansion on ocean sand with no foundation. It is a bad move point blank period, end of story. You will get your fairly tale wedding if you do things right. How about you start with a wedding in your living room this year, save money and work hard then renew your vows in front of friends and family when you have got more cash for a party?
  2.  Put Your Money where Your Heart Is: Make a check list of agencies and organizations that need to be notified about your change in status. Retirement benefits managers, insurance companies, your work place, doctors and banks are some of the places you need to notify and list your spouse as your primary beneficiary. You are most likely not planning to die soon after getting married, but just in case it’s your time to exit the stage, you don’t want to live your spouse out in the cold because you were to lazy to list him/her as your primary beneficiary on your life insurance or 401k. So be prepared.
  3. Bring In Your Strength: Yes 2 will become 1, but that does not mean you should lose who you are in the marriage. Be ready to make sacrifices, but also get ready to bring in your strengths to make this marriage work. If you are a saver (blue), and your spouse is a spender (yellow), guess what? Your combination is fantastic! Actual combination of both of these colors produces the color Green. So why lose yourself when you can form a formidable team by combining your strong points and minimize your weaknesses?

hot_pink_crystal_i_do_shoe_stickersSo take a break from the wedding shopping to tackle these important items on your To Do list, and if the conversation seems awkward, contact Our Financial Coach, and we will be happy to help you lay this critical foundation for a solid happily ever after. We guarantee 100% confidentiality too! Already married? It is not too late to start the money talks so the crazy fights over money can be minimized. Congratulations and may your love last forever!

Your Filing System Either Promotes or Prevents Fraud

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She looked stunned as her accountant told her it was her fault that the woman had stolen the company’s money to pay for personal expenses. How could it be my fault, she asked? The accountant told her that she created room for the thief to operate by allowing a disorganized filing system in an environment where the culprit had access to her company’s check books. In short, she always left the “pantry” door open, gave the extra house keys to the “visitor,” never complained when the “house” was left disorganized and never checked to see what the visitor took from her home each time she came in. So why wouldn’t the visitor become a thief? She clearly showed she didn’t care! She displayed the sign – “we are open for robbery.” And the robber stole her money. End of story!

If you insist that employees file check stubs along with check copies and supporting documents in a logical (sequential) order, it becomes hard for anyone to steal your check leaflets because it is more glaring and obvious when the numbers are out of sequence. But if you leave receipts, invoices and check stubs scattered and disorganized, then it is harder for you to detect when something is missing, and easier for a thief to take advantage of you. So get on this today! File neatly and logically, and check your number sequence for missing check numbers often.

 

 

 

Financial Education – One Size Does Not Fit All!

I felt highly honored to speak at the Annual Conference on Financial Education, which was held in New Orleans from April 9th to 11th 2014. Big kudos to the Institute of Financial Literacy for including the “one size does not fit all” session to discuss peculiar issues affecting women and immigrants. Other speakers and members of the audience included directors of student services, military and private financial counselors, credit union and commercial bankers, non-profit organizations and TV/Print media personalities.

During my presentation, I shared my personal struggle with paying high college tuition and fees for my graduate degree when I arrived in the US, as well as my introduction to the strange world of student loans. I also spoke about the tough choices I had to make to pay off the modest student loan balance I had, and most importantly how I adjusted, and continue to adjust my “American Dream” based on my financial reality. I used my stories to showcase the realities of many African immigrants, especially international students, with the hope that the financial educators present would be more sensitive and aware of important issues to note when working with the increasing number of African immigrants in the US.

With Sub-Saharan Africans making up almost 31,000 of the foreign students schooling in the US, and more immigrants joining the US Army, I hope to have more of these discussions across the country, not only with financial educators, but most importantly with fellow immigrants, not because I am a CPA/financial coach, but because I share their struggles and their stories, so we can relate with one another. The first 3 years of migrating to any country, especially the US are very critical in determining financial success. I took a recent survey of African immigrants, and so many respondents wished they had more information about how credit cards, student loans and car notes really worked when they arrived in the US, because these are alien concepts to many adult immigrants from most African countries.

I truly hope we continue this conversation so we can help immigrants; particularly African immigrants achieve greater financial success in their new home. Are you ready to have these important conversations and coaching sessions for the African immigrants and women in your community? Email tope@ourfinancialcoach.com today. I look forward to hearing from you!

 

Brunch with Brains!

Ginger Tapas n Grill continues to blaze amazing trails! The  first of its kind Spanish cuisine restaurant in Lagos Nigeria launched a new series tagged “Brunch with Brains” on Saturday March 1. I had the privilege of being the facilitator at this first edition. It was a pleasure discussing money colors with a very wonderful audience. I learned a lot from the women and from the feedback I received, they also enjoyed the event. Here is to many more wonderful, relaxing and progressive conversations in the future!

Want to do this for your group? Send an email to tope@ourfinancialcoach.com

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