A tech consultant-turned-entrepreneur made it her mission to save as much as possible after graduating college, a move that has laid the foundation for a strong financial future for her and her family.
Bola Sokunbi, 36, was working as a tech consultant in New York City in 2004 and managed to save almost 50 percent of her annual $54,000 salary, CNN Money reported. Inspired by her mother, who she describes as a “hustle queen,” Sokunbi was intent on being financially secure and spent her time learning about the American retirement savings system.
“For me, it was setting intentions and wanting to do it,” said Sokunbi, who grew up in Nigeria and Austria.
The married mother-of-two has since cemented herself as an influencer, educating other young women of color on the importance of savings through her financial literacy website, Clever Girl Finance. Just two years ago, Sokunbi quit her consulting job to focus on her business full time, all while sticking to her aggressive saving habits.
“It’s also important that I mention that my ‘self-education’ was key to my success, starting with this book by David Bach, “Smart Women Finish Rich, that completely changed my life and relationship with money and the concepts I learnt stand true to this day,” she wrote on her blog.
The seasoned saver was already several steps ahead when she started stashing her coins, according to the news site. For one, Sokunbi graduated from college with no student loan debt and had already developed good saving habits.
What’s more, the entrepreneur said she didn’t have much time to spend money anyway, as her job required her to travel a lot. Most times, the company would foot the dinner bill, but when she was left to her own devices, she enjoyed a bowl of Ramen and a Coke.
So how did she ultimately manage to save $100,000 in a little over 3 years? Sokunbi said she took several significant, yet practical steps to secure her financial future.
First, she contributed to her retirement through the 401K plan offered by her job. Her employer matched 100 percent of the first 6 percent she contributed, Sobunki explained. She would later max out her contributions, giving 15 percent of her salary, and after 3.5 years, she had saved about $40,000 in her retirement account.
Sokunbi said she also made sure to keep her expenses low and tried to save at least 40 to 50 percent of her paycheck. She also suggested starting your own side hustle. For her, it was wedding photography.
“I studied my craft, did a lot of free photography to start and then raised my prices as I got better,” she wrote. “Within a few months, I found this business growing very quickly and becoming very profitable much to my surprise. As time went by, I also began to network and make friends with as many experienced photographers as I could … I loved doing it and it earned me a great side income.”
Lastly, Sokunbi spent money on credit but made sure she did so wisely.
“It’s usually easier said than done but it’s doable – I did it,” she said of amassing $100,000 in savings.
“… It starts with adjusting your mindset, taking a full assessment of where you currently stand, creating a strategy around your situation, keeping your expenses low, automating as much as you can and staying focused,” she added. “Over time, and with discipline and dedication, you will see results. I promise.”