Issues of Life

The Spotlight – A Review of “The Smart Money Tribe” by Arese Ugwu

Hey, hey! Compliments of the season! How y’all doing? I hope good! I hope you’re doing great, actually. Despite COVID-19 and its impact on our economic and social lives, I hope you are strong in your spirit, filled with hope and joy in the depths of your soul. And I wish you will continue to prosper, no matter what’s happening in the world around you.

Personally, I’ve been good. Enjoying God’s grace and peace. I’ve been renewing my mind on a lot of things, including the amount of control I have when it comes to my happiness and prosperity in mind, body, and spirit. There are lots of habits I need to forsake and new ones I need to adopt, but just knowing that it ain’t over, and it isn’t hopeless, is giving me much reason to breathe and smile.

Hmmm… Aight, I’ve missed blogging. I hope I can resume the habit, the therapy, and the discipline as we enter into 2021. But before then, let me get on with today’s spotlight.

So, I think it was in 2018 that I read and reviewed Arese Ugwu’s first book, Smart Money Woman. I shared a bit of background into the author, so I won’t do a repeat. Suffice to say, she’s an impressive lady, who has been generous with her wisdom by publishing these two books on personal finance.

Her first book blew me away… And her second book makes me want to bow!!! Seriously, I didn’t have great expectations for the new book, even though the first left me very much impressed. I knew it would be good, but this good???! NAH… The book was awesome!

Arese continued the story of Zuri and her four friends, Adesuwa, Lara, Ladun, and Tami. There was more development of the secondary characters in this story, as we saw them going through different life challenges, money struggles, business growth, and even relationship issues. The book was all encompassing, yet, the money lessons stood out like stars in the night sky. It was very skillfully done.

At the end of each chapter, Arese shared teaching, as she did with the first book, which was extra! As in, it really helped to make the lessons resonate and stick, and makes the book easy to reference in times you need practical tips on saving, investing, and avoiding money troubles.

With the fiction, the lives and experiences were so relatable. There was real drama, suspense, romance, friendship, break ups and make ups! Jeez, it was as entertaining as it was educative. I totally loved the book.

In particular, I love how Arese dealt with Adesuwa’s marriage, using it to share lessons and empower women in similar situations. There are too many women who are financially abused by their spouses, whether they are the ones who bring the bread, or rely on their husbands to provide. The dominant narrative is against a woman’s ability to cater for herself, so that even when she’s able, she’s made to feel inadequate unless she’s dependent on her husband or, at least, gives society that impression.

I also loved how Arese showed that all marriages are different with Ladun’s marriage in contrast. With Ladun’s marriage, we saw a woman who stood by her rich husband even after the loss of his family fortune and a dramatic change in their lifestyle. Ladun not only lost the luxuries she had become accustomed to, she also had to get into work, bring money into the household, and deal with all the emotional, financial, and pyschological changes such would bring! Through this story, Arese showed the resilence, adaptability, and strength of women.

Tara’s journey to transforming her business was also deeply inspiring and enriching. There were lots to take away from the mistakes she made, the breakthroughs, support of her friends, and how she tapped into herself, built up her confidence, and put her best foot forward.

We also learn from Lara’s struggles, and see how we can let family and responsibilities bury us in debt if we aren’t careful. Despite falling for that trap when her mother falls ill and dies, Lara’s smarts gets her out of it and back on track to financial independence, dodging the trap of ruthless and selfish men, who desire to possess her, though already married. I’m sure many women can relate.

Zuri, the main character, was also a pillar of inspiration. We can learn from her relationship with her friends, her boyfriend, her mentor, and her financial adviser, how to be a well-rounded woman. Yet, she isn’t perfect, like all her friends, she has her flaws, most noteably, her weakness for shopping and labels. We see her mature and come into her own, and lead her friends as they come together to start up an investment company.

And then there was Tsola, aka “The best boyfriend in the world!” Guys should read and learn from this dude, how to rightly treat and support your lady. Sure, he wasn’t perfect, he had to deal with his ego and pride, but when he got the telling off of his life, he humbled himself, repented, and went after his heart wholeheartedly. God bless him!

Oh, wow… There’s still still so much I haven’t said, but this has been such a long review already. Please, go and read this book! It won’t cost you more than a month’s subscription to Bambooks. But I think it’s a worthy investment to get the paperback too. Arese gave us gold!

My critiques of the first book, regarding editing and formatting, stands in this second book. Ma, if you need help with it, I’m your girl. Your books are awesome, but that’s where there’s room for improvement. Your covers are gorgeous too!

Well done on turning your books into TV series too. You’re truly an inspiration, Ms Ugwu! Keep it up and more blessings 🤗.

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