Someone once said to me you cannot connect the dots going forward. I didn’t know what it meant at the time but, after years of working in financial services, being made redundant and re-evaluating my options after COVID, it finally makes sense.
You cannot connect the dots moving forward; you can only connect them looking back. It sounded mystical at the time, an unassuming statement that has a profound sense of clarity, but clarity can only be gained with perspective.
I am the child of immigrants who came to the UK in the 70s seeking education and a better life. They worked three jobs each and studied – my dad printing technology, my mum fashion design. When I arrived, in 1979, they were in full swing working and studying and couldn’t afford to slow down. As many Nigerian couples did back then, they put me into foster care at three months old. I remained in foster care until I was eight when my parents thought it would be a great idea to meet my three older siblings in Nigeria. What should have been a two-week holiday turned into a ten-year hiatus.
I arrived back in the United Kingdom in October 1998 with £50 in my pocket and my foster parents’ address, hoping they still lived at the same place.
‘FOR THE LONGEST TIME, I NEVER REALLY UNDERSTOOD MONEY. I KNEW ITS IMPORTANCE, BUT I NEVER TRULY UNDERSTOOD IT’
Fast forward to now, and it all seems like a distant memory, but, as I look back, I can connect the dots. I can connect the dots in my experience of being homeless on the streets, meeting Jenny Berry, who gave me my first job in financial services and my journey through Canary Wharf to now.
In connecting the dots, there is one thing that I keep coming back to – the power of access and knowledge.
For the longest time, I never really understood money. I knew its importance, but I never truly understood it. Growing up, we never had a positive conversation about money. Conversations always seemed to revolve around the lack of money and the ensuing desperation. The stock market, investments and words like ‘compound interest’ were words I didn’t hear till my early 30s.
If you’re reading this, it may ring true with your experiences growing up. You don’t know what you don’t know till you know you don’t know it. So how do you put a robust budget in place to govern your finances, how do you begin investing and building for the future if you never learned what the stock market is? Whose responsibility is it to grant or gain access to the knowledge required to empower your finances?
‘WE HAVE TO START THE MOST DIFFICULT OF CONVERSATIONS – THE CONVERSATION OF MONEY’
Many adults and young people will go through life and learn about money through trial and error. Often this results in excessive debt, County Court Judgements and a litany of poor financial habits.
These habits become deeply rooted and hard to change as we grow older. A study suggests that we form our financial habits as early as age seven. This begs the question if we are not taught basic financial education at home or in school, how can we be expected to make sound financial decisions in adulthood?
That’s why I’m here, to share what I’ve learned through 15 years in Financial Services, being a qualified Financial Adviser and working my way up in Canary wharf. To start the most difficult of conversations – the conversation of money.