Continuing our AFFIRM Shero series, Abimbola Abdur-Rahman Lekki shares her experiences and views on the financial pressures women have and how to deal with them. She is on a mission to build WOMEN’S FINANCIAL RESILIENCE. Read her story, share it and add your own comments below.
Although I am a lawyer and researcher, one fun fact about me is that I teach financial literacy. I owe a debt of gratitude to my parents who did their best by ensuring I got an education that I am proud of, which also allows me to add value to others.
My love for books and apathy for figures led me to study Law. However, that wise saying about those things you run away from, always come back to haunt you, came to pass for me. I allowed others to make financial decisions for me and got my fingers burnt badly.
Journey of financial development
My paradigm shifted several years ago when I reached rock bottom and swore “never again”! My mindset changed with the realization that the best form of self-love was to broaden my financial literacy. So, I began reading books, taking classes and became a mentee of renowned financial coaches, thereby moving my nil passive income to a 7-figure passive income.
I am also a work in progress, so have never considered giving up. I haven’t reached enough women yet, and feedback has surprisingly shown that men also need financial literacy.
Our African society placed the man as the head of the family. Does he have requisite financial acumen to steer family finances or he was born with it?
I believe there’s a lot of pressure on women, particularly once she starts a family. A lot of bills have to be paid and it’s often difficult to survive on one income. If a woman’s labour in the home was monetized, there’s a lot to be paid for: childcare, laundry, maintaining the home, cooking, etc. Thus, women need additional sources of income and that’s where passive income(s) come in.
My faith, values and goals
Also important to me is completing the pillars of Islam which are “Zakat” and “Hajj”. Without adequate money, a Muslim would most likely lose out on these two pillars – Zakat (Annual Alms Tax) and Hajj (Holy Pilgrimage to Mecca).
In my own words, “the best thing about making money is giving it out, then going on to make some more’’.
I have learnt to face challenges head on now. Deal and move on. Setting healthy boundaries is a MUST for me.
My goal is to continue to build financially literate women that will excel in various fields. In meeting this goal, I am an advocate of ‘’sell yourself’’. My colleagues at work will testify about my sharing financial tips, stocks and bonds advice, and inviting financial mentors to speak to them on building a portfolio of investments.
From my experience of introducing Point of Sale (POS) terminals in marketplaces in Lagos State, Nigeria, I also realised that the language of money is universal. You must learn how to make it and keep it otherwise you find yourself depending on others to survive. Not a good place to be!
What I see as success and progress is when a mentee makes a smart financial decision, I feel fulfilled. Likewise, I couldn’t have gotten very far without standing on the shoulders of giants i.e. my financial coaches, who chose to remain unnamed. I am also an advocate of “seize the moment”; hence, my go-to social media plug is LinkedIn, with its 675+ million users and huge opportunities.
My interests outside work include partaking in marathons, volunteering in a number of charities and chatting with teenagers. When I feel I cannot continue, I take a nap. I hugely recommend Matt Walker’s TedTalk titled ‘’Sleep is your Superpower’’, it’s a favourite of mine.
Abimbola has worked as a public sector specialist with Lagos Internal Revenue Service for over 16 years. Her work is an intersection between tax policy and academic research, where she helps to improve domestic resource mobilization in Africa and beyond. Her academic background is all in law, with a PhD in 2022 from UNISA.
Her extensive professional experience includes: international consultant for UK DFID-GEMS 3, beneficiary of the research methods program of the International Centre for Tax and Development, visiting research fellow at the Global Entrepreneurship Research and Innovation Center at Univesiti Malaysia Kelantan. In 2022, Abimbola was nominated for OECD Women Leaders Exchange of Information and Tax Transparency Program.