The “clever girl” behind Clever Girl Finance, Bola Sokunbi helps women become both financially literate and financially free. In this interview hear how Bola saved her first $100,000 just a few years after college and what her top tips are for women who are looking to take charge of their financial futures.
Here is Bola’s bio: Hi there, my name is Bola Onada Sokunbi. I am a Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI), money expert and the CEO and founder of Clever Girl Finance.
I help women become accountable, ditch debt, save money and build real wealth.
Growing up in Nigeria, my father was the breadwinner of our family until he had to retire about 15 years before he originally planned due to a job loss and health concerns. In the grand scheme of things, this was a big deal.
After my father had sent my 3 older brothers to school abroad in England, my mother decided it was her turn to step up financially and help out with my education.
She was very savvy, hard working (and still is) and was always making plans and putting money aside and as a result of her good planning, she was able to pay for all 4 years of my international college tuition including my books and my rent in cash and she gave me the opportunity to go to school in Austria, England and the United States. I aspired to be just like her. My parents were not rich but they were able to give my brothers and I the great opportunities we had with our education because they planned well over time.
After college, I was able to apply some of the money lessons I learnt from my parents and I saved over $100,000 in a little over 3 years. I did it by contributing to my employer sponsored retirement account, keeping my expenses low, saving half of my salary, and starting my own side gig that earned me $40,000 in the first two years.
“Right out of college, I saved over $100,000 in a little over 3 years earning a very average salary – nothing close to 6 figures!”
Despite the great money lessons I got from my parents, I still managed to make a few of my own money mistakes, like applying for my first credit card in college without caring or understanding my crazy interest rate of 24.99% (yikes!). And let’s not even talk about my epic and very ridiculous designer handbag collection that I barely used and held on to for years before eventually getting rid of. I however, managed to navigate my way through those murky financial waters and come out on the other side starting with that first $100,000 I saved.
As I got older, I started to realize my mother was truly one of a kind. Not all of her friends were like her when it came to their personal finances and most relied completely on their husbands. When things didn’t work out, it was always a sad story.
“I’ve made money mistakes too, but I never lost my focus of building long term wealth.”
Now, I’ve started to see the cycle of my mother’s generation repeat itself in my age group. The biggest recurring theme I see with women is that we shy away from the whole money conversation, or we don’t involve ourselves as much as we should when it comes to our finances. I also realized that just like me, there were other women out there who’ve made money mistakes and are attempting to navigate their own murky financial waters but don’t always have the support and encouragement they.
And this is the driving force behind Clever Girl Finance. My career has spanned business consulting and strategy over a 11-year period. The strategist within me is an expert in planning ways to achieve goals that relates not only to finances, but also all aspects of life. As a certified financial educator, money expert and influencer, my goal is to help women take charge of their finances, build real wealth and be in control of the life they REALLY want to live.
“As women, we owe it to ourselves get our finances to a point where we are able to live life on our terms.”
Outside of finance, I love photography, fashion, reading, traveling, afternoon tea and white chocolate. When I am not working or pursing my other interests, I dedicate my time to my wonderfully supportive husband and our beautiful twins. I am passionate about my family, faith and friendships.