Chasing money, many have regrettably discovered, is like playing hide and seek with the ghost of Houdini. In Nigeria in particular, money continues to play hard to get with tens of millions of us that the country’s dismaying status as the global capital of involuntary austerity seems quite inescapable, or maybe even destined. Yet, right here in Lagos, there’s a young lady — intrepid, resolute — who has assigned herself the task of coaching a new generation of Nigerians on how to play this game of show me the money and win. This lady, her name is Oluwatosin Olaseinde, Tosin for short.
You should see Tosin talk about treasury bills. It’s a show to behold. Reviewers say she brings down the house every single time. “The passion… the commitment… the consistency… the knowledge!” someone raved on Facebook. And even when her set is about stocks, forex, real estate, mutual funds, or the humble savings account, she receives such loud ovations that would make any up and coming afrobeats artiste green with envy.
Tosin is an ICAN (Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria) certified accountant. Trained in accounting at the University of Johannesburg and the University of South Africa, her LinkedIn bio says she’s been in this line of work — straddling taxation, auditing, financial journalism, and corporate finance, for more than 11 years. Since January 2018, she’s been giving monetised advice to millennials and Gen Zs whose dream is make so much money and leave all this poverty behind.
Now famous in the personal finance niche, Tosin commands such unprompted brand recall that her name, or that of her company Money Africa, pops up wherever independence-chasing executives and entrepreneurial types gather to jointly dream of ways to make out like bandits in this small-scale investments project.
“Do you know Tosin?” I’ve heard a number of these folks ask, speaking of her as if they’re on first name basis with the woman. “Okay, even if you don’t know Tosin,” they say with an impatient eye roll, “what about Money Africa? Please don’t tell me you don’t know about Money Africa.”
Well, if you’re not one of Money Africa’s 139,000 Instagram followers, their 30,000 Facebook group members, their newsletter subscribers, or one of the hundreds of their paid members, this, right here, is your free introduction:
Money Africa, a Nigerian financial consulting start-up, uses its tech portals to teach clients how to invest at any level of income in order to multiply that income. And Ms Tosin Olaseinde, 31, is the founder of Money Africa.
So, now that we’re all caught up, you should also know that Money Africa’s learning portal fits perfectly with these times. If you’ve seen Udemy, Skillshare, Coursera, or Domestika, yes, you already know how the Money Africa system works. For a flat yearly or half-yearly fee, subscribers retain access to explainer and strategy videos by which they learn to make heads or tails of their naira and kobo. Also, if you’ve got a N100,000 you could invest in yourself, then you’ve got yourself a number of one-on-one consulting sessions in addition to the videos.
Olaseinde has said she started Money Africa after four years of squandering her own wages. Like most kids who started getting paid at age 20, she blew it all on dining, dresses, and scooby doos. As for savings, investments and prospects, she scored a perfect zero.
“I went from zero salaries to over one hundred thousand per month and my expenses surprisingly grew at the same pace,” she said. “Interestingly, over the years as I got an increase in salary, the same pattern occurred, I acquired a new taste and my expenses grew at the same pace as my income.”
In her fifth year, though, she took a hard look at those elegant dresses and cool shoes and thought, Okay some change is urgently required. Becoming an investor, she reckoned finally, is not about waiting for a bulk sum of money to traipse into your bank account. You can do much more with what you have right now, put that dough to work and make some bread.
Olaseinde does understand, however, that in a country with never-before-seen levels of unemployment, which in the first of half of 2020 stood bleakly at 27%, the primary problem to solve for most people is not so much their gaunt savings account as their lack of steady incomes.
“It’s disrespectful,” she said to Nairametrics last year, “to preach savings to people who are literally living from hand to mouth, not because they aren’t prudent but because they earn too little. What they need first is how to earn more”
For those who have some revenues but have been helpless because they find the math of compound interests too difficult, rather shifty, or just plain confusing, Money Africa keeps breaking down the various formulae into common English.
In one interview with She Leads Africa, Olaseinde suggests that a fundamental principle of investing is that players have to plot their ventures against the going inflation rates.
“Tracking inflation from an investment angle ensures that what I can buy with N1,000 in 2018, I can still buy it in the future with the N1,000 plus the interest I earn on the N1,000 capital. Whenever you’re investing, look for opportunities that give you a return that is, at the minimum, equal to the inflation rate,” she says.
That’s one rule, simple and straightforward, just like this other one, which says: The key to growing wealth comes down to three things — “Risk management, risk management, risk management.”
The numbers on Olaseinde’s social media pages confirm that, while cash may be putting up a disappearing act, there’s still a tribe of brave young things out there who’d stake their little on the belief that they could earn much more. With Olaseinde as their maestro in charge, they may just be standing on the very platform to make that happen.
This story was first published in The Guardian (Nigeria) on November 7, 2020.