The Smart Money Woman by Arese Ugwu

Table of Contents

The Smart Money Woman
The Smart Money Woman—An African girl’s journey to financial freedom

The Smart Money Woman – Meet Zuri. She’s living a fabulous life. Great car, gorgeous apartment, well paid job.

Meet Zuri. Broken down car, an apartment she cant afford, a job she’s about to lose.

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With her best friends Tami (the flighty fashion designer), Lara (the tough oil and gas executive), Adesuwa (the conservative lawyer), and Ladun (the fabulous housewife), Zuri grows a little, learns a lot and navigates her way to making better financial decisions and building wealth.

This book tackles, debt, spending, 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 roles they play in success. With each chapter comes a Smart Money Lesson, there to help you work your way up the financial ladder.

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Originally published22 August 2016
GenreTravel literature



I was curious to see an African perspective on money management. Arese Ugwu delivered 100% with a mix of a typical African society (Nigeria). As a matter of fact, i fell in love with Nigeria (Cameroonian here) even more with an extra love for the continent, seeing how individuals are defying the odds to foster business and economic growth like Tara of House of Tara, she leads Africa etc.

Wished I had read this book 5years ago when i moved to the US or 3 years ago when i joined CorpAm. 2 years ago I decided to understand the game of money (still on my goal), plus there’s been so much to learn on how entangled we can get and easily become slaves to credit card debts. We are raised to believe money is the root of all evil (sighs), chasing money is bad and not helping others in need is wickedness…While reading I couldn’t help but wonder why most Africans (Blacks in general) and other minorities spend so much on designer items, while the Caucasians invest in real deals (real estates, stocks, retirement, etc). Truth is the system is built for us to remain down as we classify looking good and flashing for wealth (all stated in the book).

Its never too late to make necessary adjustments, save more, invest and forego things which add little or no value to us…i love my little luxuries, but know when soaked garri has to be my best friend, haha.

Great work Arese, you are an inspiration.


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
behavioural and emotional aspects of money in a
practical way that makes it easy to personalise.

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.