The smart money woman is a fictional story set in Lagos, Nigeria with lots of important in personal finance lessons to teach. It tells the story of an African girl named Zuri who on the outside looks like she’s financially successful but goes through a series of mishaps that help her realize she is in fact broke and needs to make better financial decisions. We follow Zuri on a journey that starts out with her being broke and navigates her way to building wealth and reaching for financial success.The book tackles, debt, spending, investing, the consumerist culture of the African middle class, the fear and misconceptions surrounding money and the lack of it, love, friendships, cultural and societal pressures and the role they play in success.

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When Arese invited me to write the foreword for her first book, ‘The Smart Money Woman’, I did not hesitate for one minute. Having observed her money ministry through her Smart Money blog, news articles, and television shows, I applaud the huge impact that she is having on the African woman and beyond. It is therefore a real delight to welcome this unique addition to the world of personal finance. ‘The Smart Money Woman’ is a charming piece of work that will educate those that care to take concrete steps to change their financial lives. This book offers the unique combination of a light-hearted fictional novel in Arese’s compelling and engaging style, filled with familiar, vivid characters, accompanied by serious underlying Smart Money Lessons—a beginner’s guide to managing her personal finance. For many people the subject of personal financial management can be somewhat daunting. The book presents the basic concepts of earning, budgeting, spending, borrowing, saving, investing as well as the behavioral and emotional aspects of money in a practical way that makes it easy to personalize. In the narrative, Arese perfectly captures the picture of a young Nigerian woman, Zuri, whose intellect, educational background, and looks have presented her with great prospects; yet she comes close to losing it all before the realisation that her lifestyle could destroy those same prospects. Whilst the main focus is on Zuri and her journey to financial awakening, the rich characterisation of other primary actors woven through the tale makes it a must read. Arese’s strong background in wealth management more than qualifies her to present this treasure trove of Smart Money Lessons. She is a role model who demonstrates her teachings; if you imbibe sound financial habits in your youth, with consistent hard work, and a dedicated savings and investment plan, you can build a life of long-term financial security and enjoy a lifestyle of comfort and dignity. The underlying message in ‘The Smart Money Woman’ is a positive one; with determination, commitment and time, you can transform your financial life. “Building wealth is more about how much you keep, not about how much you spend, ” she writes in the book; it is the habit, the discipline of setting something aside regularly to meet your financial goals. Having observed the money personality of people of substantial means over close to three decades, I have come to the conclusion that there is a discipline associated with creating, building, retaining and transmitting wealth. Those who really seek to accumulate wealth and pass it on in a structured way, do so by setting clear goals and then by consistent saving and long term investing in a diversified asset portfolio towards achieving them. They also maintain a frugal mind set and a cautious approach to spending. They do look for bargains, they do buy assets on sale and look for discounts, they do vet the restaurant bill, and they do plan ahead for major spending; and most of all, they do not waste money. Acquiring and maintaining long-term wealth is a process. There usually are no short cuts, but the rewards over time, are well beyond the thrills of instant gratification. If you are looking for a book that succeeds in unravelling the often perplexing and complex world of money management in the form of a novel, then Arese Ugwu’s ‘The Smart Money Woman’ is for you. An engaging read, it brings the subject of personal finance to life. This book is for every woman; married, single, divorced, widowed; and for every man with women in their lives.


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