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Nkem Ndem: Every Nigerian Girl Should Have Her ‘Walk-Away’ Money

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Not to sound like an annoying feminist, but a woman with her own money is everything! For as long as I have known myself, I have never been one to look to boyfriends or anyone else really, for sustenance or financial support.

I won’t lie, I have fantasized about dating a rich uncle who would cater to all my needs or having an “Otedola-like” sugar daddy (even though the giving of sugar thing has never been easy for me) but truth be told, a man can leave, get sick or become disabled, lose their source of income or even die at any time.

My drive for financial independence came to me as a child. Growing up, I watched my mother and step-mothers swallow a lot of things -which they could have defied or refused- in their marriage. Notwithstanding the dictates of our African tradition as well as the general expectation of submission from wives, I knew these women were actually forced to stomach it all in silence; as housewives, they were completely, financially, dependent on my father. Do not get it wrong, my dad was not entirely the worst. In all honesty, he was a better man than most men born in his generation; yet, I saw enough to make me take a vow at about the age of twelve to never be like any of his wives.

The truth is, we may be in a different generation today where the female folk have more liberty and are presented with better opportunities, but surprisingly, a lot of women -Nigerian women especially, are still in financial bondage. They are trapped and unable to walk out on a crappy job, a boss abusing them sexually, a bitter family friend and her apartment, or a relationship that has run its course.

Last week, I got an e-mail from a lady (I’ll call her Amara) who stumbled upon my article “Your Boyfriend is not your Husband”. In the e-mail, Amara stated that she was guilty of doing some of the things I pointed out in the article. Furthermore, she shared that the boyfriend, who she has been dating for the last 3 years, had recently invited a female colleague to live with them in their apartment, and had even formed the habit of spending their nights with the girl in the other room, leaving her alone in their room. According to Amara, one week after he started doing that, she called him out on it, but he claimed the female friend was going through a painful break-up and needed a male shoulder to lean on. He even went on to assure her that he was not having sex with the girl and that even if he eventually slept with the girl, he would still marry Amara. Amara, 28, admitted she knew she should leave the relationship, but she was afraid to actually leave him as she had invested so much in him already and, she couldn’t even afford to rent an apartment on her own any longer.

In my response to Amara, I asked her to start a “walk-away” fund. I suggested she start the fund by opening a savings account with a basic of NGN100,000 from the money she has in her other account first, then boost the account further by saving at least a quarter of every money she gets from day job and her side make-up business every month; also, she should try to live on a budget, even if for a while and cut down the amount she spends on herself, her boyfriend and in hanging out with friends.

A “walk-away” fund is simply money saved exclusively for the purpose of maintaining your dignity and safety when life unexpectedly throws a shitty situation at you. It gives a sense of financial solvency and ensures that you never have to compromise your self-esteem and personal safety. Basically, with a “walk-away fund” you do not ever have to make fear-based decisions where you sacrifice your morals and your values. The moment you feel emotionally bullied at work, you are bold enough to speak out without fear of being let go in the next rounds of layoffs.You actually stay in your job because you want to, not because you’re afraid. You do not feel pressured to become a “runs girl”, steal from anyone or become any man’s punching bag. Even more, when you get home and the Yoruba demon you call your boyfriend starts to yarn balls, you quickly tell him to shut the hell up or watch you walk away.

Of course, having a “walk-away” fund does not guarantee that you can gloriously march out the door of a toxic situation, but it helps ensure that the door is unlocked, left ajar for you when you are ready. Honestly, the feeling of independence and freedom it gives is priceless. Have you ever been saved by a “walk-away” fund? Please share your story in the comments section.

Nkem Ndem is an energetic and highly accomplished Media Consultant who loves to help small businesses, especially women-led, grow their online presence using the right digital strategy or transition from traditional organizational boundaries. With years of experience in Copywriting and Editing, Content Branding and Strategy, Social media, and Digital Marketing, she is clearly obsessed with Digital Communications. She is the Head of Content and Lead Consultant at Black Ink Media - an Ideation and Content Agency that excels in providing fresh, creative digital services to content-centric businesses. Find out more about her at www.blackinkm.com or send her an e-mail at [email protected] Also follow her on IG: @nkemndemv, Twitter: @ndemv.

51 Comments

  1. Prince Charming

    January 22, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    Solid advice! Not as hateful towards men as your other articles. Have you repented? Wonders will never end.

    • Chief

      January 22, 2017 at 8:22 pm

      I hate her too because of her prejudice against men,she has this knack of twisting facts to portray men in sadistic way and the woman as the angel in disguise when facts proves otherwise.She want equality for women yet she don’t want to give up the special provisions that they receive for being women.

      BTW are you trying to advice women to be financially independent so that they can insult and manipulate men?

    • Prince Charming

      January 22, 2017 at 8:49 pm

      @Chief, I support you 100%.

    • Udegbunam Chukwudi

      January 22, 2017 at 9:37 pm

      @Chief you read this whole article and reduced it to “BTW are you trying to advice women to be financially independent so that they can insult and manipulate men?” SMH

      Clap for yourself. You really set out to see what you wanted to see

    • yesyouneedmentalevaluation

      January 23, 2017 at 9:58 am

      you have both daddy and mummy issues. smh

    • Abigirl

      January 31, 2017 at 11:51 am

      I don’t think that’s what she meant. Btw men can also benefit from this because there are some relationships where it is the woman who provides for the man.

  2. Verasky

    January 22, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    I totally agree with you… married women especially should try and not always depend on their husbands financially… it’s good to have “your own money”… nice article.. love it

  3. The scarlet Pimpernel

    January 22, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    In the old days women were financially independent of their husbands until the colonian overlords came and we started copying their lifestyle. The original feminists were our mothers who trade and tend their farms even as they sponsored thier children to school.

    Financial independence is the currecy of any matured relationship. No two people should be dating or married when they are not financially independent, it puts too much strain on one person and calls to question the love they profess. One may be feigning “love” because of what he or she stands to gain while the other may have a morbid attraction for needy people to massage their ego. The sooner poeple in any relationship start seeking financial independence the better for them.

    …….and now a message from our sponsors

    As a woman you are better off in life earning your own money. You couldn’t prevent your husband from leaving you or taking another wife, but you could have some of your dignity if you didn’t have to beg him for financial support.”
    ― Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel

  4. Doroanon

    January 22, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    Walk away money aka VEX MONEY. its not only boyfriend matter I go everywhere with my vex money .humans are not reliable.

    • Frank teacher

      January 22, 2017 at 10:11 pm

      Confession: I didn’t read initially, I thought I’ll just go to the comments and like. But, alas! No be wetin I think as I been see the title of the article, had to go and read through.
      If you must put aside a walk-away-money, please first get that rich boyfriend, then sap him, grab a car, a house, abroad trips (not for holidays oh…) and most importantly use his money to build that eggnest of walk-away-money. Now, that’s good advise! Thank me later.

  5. hadiza

    January 22, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    Smart women would stay away from men, but well, if u want to mingle with trash, at least have the money to walk away with your head held right. Women should never be financially dependent on men. This isn’t abroad where laws support women n kids, This is Africa, nobody gives a damn about u. No laws to support your right. Be wise n be independent.

    • Huh

      January 22, 2017 at 9:40 pm

      Wonder how you keep getting likes on your comments? Such blanket generalized statement about men and women. Men – Trash ?.

    • Prince Charming

      January 22, 2017 at 10:13 pm

      @Huh, everybody has a story. Hadiza was brought up in a home where her mother suffered abuse from her father. She thinks are men are abusive towards women. I don’t really blame her. She has seen a lot and it has affected her mind. What she needs is counselling, therapy and prayers. I feel so sorry for her! Though I hate her most times. I wonder what @A Real Nigerian, story is. She’s been conspicuously absent today. I wonder what’s wrong with her.

    • The scarlet Pimpernel

      January 22, 2017 at 9:42 pm

      “Smart women would stay away from men”

      Say, my dear, what devil of a man has wrought such darkness upon your tender soul! Come on! Be bold and love again. Love, and life. Two great gifts!

  6. AceOfSpades

    January 22, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    I keep saying this. I have like 3 streams of income, I have a car and I have an apartment that’s rent to buy. At this stage, I can only date if you have something to offer too. Nobody is doing that murky thing called love anymore.

    Don’t worry about cooking or washing or any of those stuffs. A maid can do that and we can clean house together. If you have a walk away fund…great for you! I’m also not afraid to walk away if I start seeing sighs and that way, everyone is happy!

    • T

      January 22, 2017 at 10:48 pm

      3 streams! Please,do share. I need something that will not interfere with my 9-5. I’ve been thinking a lot about an extra stream this year. Something extra-ordinary.Epp a sisteh!

    • Temi

      January 23, 2017 at 4:23 am

      Abegi, when the answer comes ,i need it too. My 9-5 is stable so i need a side hustle as well.

    • eno asuquo

      January 24, 2017 at 12:52 pm

      @Aceof spades once if i may say,but they are more to it.

    • eno asuquo

      January 24, 2017 at 12:53 pm

      nice*

  7. Zuleiha

    January 22, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    I believe that it’s way beyond having money to walk away, because even financially independent girls still stay in shitty relationships, it is having faith and believe that you will be ok even if this person is absent or no longer existent. After all you have been living before the person came on board

  8. Paul Adeyemo

    January 22, 2017 at 9:48 pm

    Another men hating article as usual. Please after gathering your walk away money, the same lonely girl will be giving money to sugar boys to sleep with her. Why do you epmem love deceiving yourselves. That is the reason, I love Funmi Iyanda, she is not marriage crazy and does not hide it. You all need men for your validation because you lots have low self esteem.

  9. Buttercup

    January 22, 2017 at 11:42 pm

    I just think it’s right for both parties to be financially independent.
    But when you state a term such as ‘walk away money’ doesn’t it mean having hidden stash away from your partner? How does that sit well in a marriage? Or entering a marriage having it at the back of your mind that the dude or babe is gonna fail you someday so you have to have to plan ahead. Then you see people hiding properties or some amount of money from their partners which I think would be a disaster if said partner finds out.
    Maybe I’m over thinking it, but I just think being financially independent should be enough.

    • Pippy

      January 23, 2017 at 8:27 am

      It IS the same thing.

      She’s only advocating “walk away money” where you’re not financially independent in the first place. In such a case, it might be practical to, at the very least, rearrange your spending habits from whatever money he gives you, to ensure you can walk away IF the absolute need arises.

      If you’re financially independent from the get go, you’re good already and this article is not necessarily for you.

  10. Anon tonight

    January 23, 2017 at 12:22 am

    My parents got separated in ’94 and my mum kept hammering in financial independence before marriage. She made it a prerequisite for giving us her blessings before marriage. Because of this, I didn’t even date in uni. I and my sister are in our 30s and still single, though I am focusing on putting myself out there this year. I want to state categorically that financial independence or having vex money is not a guarantee of a happy marriage. You need to do your homework well during courtship, though that tuck away money will give you comfort from time to time. It can give you peace of mind and make you a better wife/mum in that sense.

    Generally, tuck away money is a good strategy to manage your annoying boss/landlord, etc. But if you intend to keep assets away from your husband/wife (you may have good reasons though) critically analyse the reasons why you are doing so.

  11. hehe

    January 23, 2017 at 4:36 am

    hmm

  12. Adaure

    January 23, 2017 at 6:20 am

    Amazing article

  13. kalu

    January 23, 2017 at 7:01 am

    Sister carry go…educate them ….I love ua words of encouragement..women suppose to be fit to carry some of there own responsibility… Too much of depending,may totally make u lose it all in life….looking at the inspiration is not only referring to ladies…likewise some men.thanks

  14. OJ

    January 23, 2017 at 7:01 am

    In this day and age, under these harsh economic situations, do we still have women who believe that the hubby must carry all the responsibilities? If there are, baba God biko keep them far away from me……

  15. Sincerely Yours

    January 23, 2017 at 7:44 am

    Interesting article and comments. Here is my thought!

    – before you enter a relationship, make sure you have a ‘lifeline Insurance Fund’. This fund is a saving that you intend to use when all chips r down (imagine it as a personal pension). Depending on yours or your partners spending habits, you can choose to inform them of it. If not, It is not a crime to protect your future.

    – Relationships bonds dependency. Once either partner is capable of supporting themselves individually, the relationship “should be stronger” bcos respect is honoured and “should be reciprocated”. However, the downside to dependency means a relationship could be taken for granted allowing vulnerability and doubts to emerge.

    – Always hope for the best and plan for the worst.

  16. Seyi

    January 23, 2017 at 9:58 am

    But the AMara though. You will be living with your boyfriend and he will bring in another girl and be sleeping with her while you are there, under the same roof. Ah! It can only be an info girl. They can take all sorts of trash for money. Walk-away money or not, both the boyfriend and the yeye bitch will quickly meet their make. What pile of rubbish.

  17. Seyi

    January 23, 2017 at 9:59 am

    But the AMara though. You will be living with your boyfriend and he will bring in another girl and be sleeping with her while you are there, under the same roof. Ah! It can only be an igbo girl. They can take all sorts of trash for money. Walk-away money or not, both the boyfriend and the yeye bitch will quickly meet their make. What pile of rubbish.

    • Viv Law

      January 23, 2017 at 11:05 am

      Seyi you could have made your point without being tribalist.

      There are many women, not just in Nigeria, but all around the world that take crap from there husbands because they don’t have their own money and therefore are financially dependent on their husbands. Even if they were to get out, they would struggle to fend for themselves and their kids as they lack the funds to do so.

      I am married with a kid and I have emergency funds and savings, and I am on my way to acquiring assets and creating businesses under my name that are funded through my own hard earned money (By God’s grace). I do my own thing just like my hubby does. We are both financially dependent from each other and our joint savings and bill sharing system works. Financial freedom for yourself is everything.

      Thank you Nkem for writing this article x

    • me

      January 23, 2017 at 12:23 pm

      She said let’s call the girl Amara. Let’s call the girl Amara. Let’s call the girl Amara. Do you understand now? Btw, The writer I am guessing (from her name) is from the southern part of the country and didn’t want to offend any other tribe.

    • Proudly Igbo

      January 23, 2017 at 8:20 pm

      @seyi. Must you show yourself as the Yoruba Monkey that you are? How is this about Oh no girls please. Why are you so myopic. Smh.

  18. Chisom

    January 23, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Nice advice…because i am also pro-men, I concur but think that men need to be helped to see that a woman is not to be treated like thrash. Truth be told, we all grew up in this dysfunctional society system and different people have different ways of expressing their lifestyle from the ‘set down’ rules. I love your writings anyday but men are also great people who society havent given a fair chance to be human.

    • Gracias

      January 24, 2017 at 12:35 am

      Thank you Chisom.

  19. Chief

    January 23, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    BN Where is my comment to Simp Udegbunam chukwudi aka MR WHITE KNIGHT

  20. BMFADS

    January 23, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    i agree with Nkem,Its very good for a woman to be financially independent but it shouldnt be used as a weapon to oppress the man. financial independence gives you more sexiness and also a voice in the house.I really need to be financial independent this year oo,as all my businesses are not yielding enough money to spend talkless of to save.Maybe i need my 9-5 job back,I depend on hubby most times tho he is not complaining but my conscience is.

  21. me

    January 23, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    “I’ll call the girl Amara..” pardon me

  22. Mo'Diva

    January 23, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    Lovely article

  23. uzoamaka

    January 23, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    @ the scarlet Pimpernel, please did you just quote Ayaan Hirsi Ali? Love her work!

  24. Oxax

    January 23, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    @Anon tonight January 23, 2017 at 12:22 am and @ Zuleiha January 22, 2017 at 9:07 pm
    You both make lots of sense. You perspective is admirable. Folks with cash still dwell in shitty relationship(BF, GF, BOSS, etc). Cash or not cash, it has to do with how much you respect yourself and how much you trust God to give you something better and deserving.

  25. Doronize.com

    January 23, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    She sent a mail to my email box today, saying that she’s leaving Jumia.

    • Hian

      January 24, 2017 at 2:54 pm

      Ehen…and did she ask you to announce it to the whole world? Why must you be a busybody?

  26. Big Boy

    January 23, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    I am a man. And I get the need for women to write things like this. They have been under the oppressive social construct of tradition, marriage and ideals for centuries, probably since the world began. But times are changing. And any man that carefully reads what Nkem writes and reduces it to male bashing is rather simple and, for lack of better words, stupid.

  27. Flo

    January 23, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    What a great article and comments, I agree that women should have their own money for any situation, not just in a relationship. Being independent is empowering, as we are not totally dependent on our men. But I have always thought of it as savings, I guess calling it vex money gives it that specific purpose.

  28. olayinka olatunde

    January 23, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    It will only make matter worse. if truly a woman in her matrimonial home think and reason like you advise. don’t get me wrong, I can explain it : my dear anything out of God original plan for us as man and woman is nothing . 2) we all are talking at the same time! who will listen? *. 3 get it clear clearly! wisdom is not the same thing as knowledge! . having wisdom will make you bag a lot of luggage. but knowledge help you shed the load* having both you just can’t get it wrong, because these two qualities you posses will perform and perfect God intended aim in your relationship as a lady. And do so as a married couple. it’s so great when you are happy as a companion not as Egypt and Israel. the promotion we give to elevate hatred is much much bigger than the much we give to promoting love, good, interest, commitment, sacrifice. which should have been the very value and foundation of life.

    • Abigirl

      January 31, 2017 at 11:53 am

      Your message is unclear ?

  29. Hian

    January 24, 2017 at 12:51 am

    @olayinka what are you even saying?

  30. Mayo

    January 30, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    Interesting…….

  31. sarah

    February 9, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    An article so timely. A true message to all ladies and women .

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