Bola Sokunbi

Founder/CEO Clever Girl Finance

Bola Sokunbi

About Bola Sokunbi



The last of four children and the only girl, my father was the breadwinner, and my mother was a stay-at-home mom.

As time went by, my mother who got married really young at age 19, began to notice things about herself and within her community of friends that she wasn't thrilled about. She realized that she didn't have much insight into our family finances because my father managed all the money.

She also wanted to be able to make her own financial contributions to our household and put money aside for herself.

My mom, my role model

Based on this, my mom took it upon herself to change things. She became the hustle queen. She went back to school, got her degrees, worked as an investment banker, owned a hair salon, had a typing school, was the principal of a girls' school, and ran a Coca-Cola franchise amongst other things. Her main goal was financial peace of mind and she was serious about it.

While all this was going on, my father was spending a significant part of his income on educating my 3 older brothers abroad. However, a few years later as I started thinking about what colleges I would be applying to, my father was forced to retire about 15 years earlier than he planned due to job loss and health concerns.

This, in the grand scheme of his retirement plans, was a huge deal especially because he had spent the bulk of his income educating my older brothers and he needed more time to put aside for his retirement.

The major sacrifice my mother made for me

And so, my mother stepped in and changed my perspective on money forever. She decided, that after high school in Nigeria, I would be going to college in the U.S. so I could have the best opportunities possible.

Since I was not eligible for student loans as an international student, she also decided that she would be paying for my college expenses, with the money that she had worked really hard for and saved up all those years. This was at the expense of her retirement plans.

Her expectations of me were simple: Do well in school and remember this opportunity did not come lightly.

Alongside a partial scholarship, she paid for all 4 years of my international college tuition - a gift I am forever grateful for and will never take for granted.

Seeing my mother make this massive sacrifice for me, changed my life. It laid the foundation for my wanting to make my parents proud by becoming financially successful. I realized that having my own money would open the doors for me to be able to make my own decisions and live my life on my own terms.

I also realized that having money would give me options so I would never find myself stuck in an unfavorable position if I planned carefully. However, it’s taken a lot of trial and error to get me to this point where I am now, telling you my story.

My first big financial accomplishments

After college, my parents set me off on my merry way to figure out my life. My mother had paid for college and that was the extent of their financial support.

I was however able to apply the money lessons I learned from my parents by figuring things out on my own as a then single woman. I figured things out through trial and error, learning from others, reading, and more. As a result, I was able to save my first $100,000 in a little over 3 years with a starting salary of just $54,000 before taxes even though I had a mortgage and other expenses.

I did it by:

  1. Contributing to my employer-sponsored retirement account
  2. Keeping my expenses low
  3. Saving half of my salary and most or all of every bonus, raise, and tax refund I received and increasing my income by starting my own side business (a wedding & lifestyle photography business) that earned me $40,000 in the first two years.
  4. And most importantly, believing in myself and developing the mindset that I could succeed - especially when other people doubted that I could do it.

While I made many money mistakes along the way, this first big financial milestone was my stepping stone to several other major financial milestones I am incredibly proud of. Including my financial independence and being able to live my life on my own terms.

Why Clever Girl Finance is here

The biggest recurring theme I see with women is that we are not talking about money and financial wellness enough.  We are also not involving ourselves as much as we should when it comes to our finances.

I've also realized that just like me, there are 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 need.

This is the driving force behind Clever Girl Finance.

As a certified financial educator and money expert, my goal is to help women just like you take charge of their finances, end the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, build real wealth, and get in control of the life you REALLY want to live. My mother did it, I'm doing it for myself and now, so can you.

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About Clever Girl Finance

Clever Girl Finance® is a mission-driven company aimed at providing women with much-needed financial guidance and support to build financial confidence and make smart money decisions in their day-to-day lives.

We do this through our completely free resources including personal finance courses, one-on-one mentor calls, articles, audio, and video content, an incredibly supportive community, and more.

Through our approach, we support our community in a fun, engaging, relatable, and non-judgmental way. Our team is dedicated to helping women to become accountable, ditch debt, save money, and build real wealth.

Learn more about us.

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