You can chose to prosper. Yes, you heard us right. Success is not accidental, but something that we intentionally set out to do, that’s according to Bola Sokunbi.
Sokunbi is a Certified Financial Education Instructor, finance expert and bestselling author. She is also the founder and CEO of Clever Girl Finance, a personal finance education platform for women. In her latest book, Choosing to Prosper: Triumphing Over Adversity, Breaking Out of Comfort Zones, Achieving Your Life and Money Dreams, Sokunbi wants to help you find the inspiration you need to create the life you want. She shares personal stories of her journey and challenges readers to take a good, hard look at their own lives to discover what stands between them and the new career, salary increase or business they desire. We spoke with Sokunbi about her new book and why prosperity can mean different things for different people.
Sokunbi says she chose the title for her book because we can often get in the way of our own success. But she adds that even the smallest action can help you take on challenges you may have otherwise been avoiding. “Sometimes, we let our own circumstances deter us when it’s time to pursue our goals. ‘Choosing to Prosper’ is an intentional action you take to succeed, despite what’s happening in the world,” she said.
She adds that she was intentional about building her now successful finance platform for women after encountering a lot of naysayers along the way. “People told me my business wasn’t going to work out because women of color don’t care about their money,” she said.
But Sokunbi is keenly aware that for women of color, intention is only part of the process. Systemic issues can be obstacles on the path to success for even the most determined. Gaps in wealth and wages along gender and racial lines can leave us constantly trying to catch up. “That ties into an investment gap because if we’re not earning enough money, we don’t have enough to invest,” she said. But Sokunbi says the key to overcoming those obstacles is financial literacy and arming ourselves with knowledge we can share with future generations.
The bright side, according to Sokunbi, is that Black women are now outearning previous generations, despite the current wage gap. “Black women are now in the space where we can create our own seats at the table,” she said. “And by earning more, we are in a better position to change the narrative going forward.”
When it comes to defining prosperity, Sokunbi’s answer may surprise you. She says it doesn’t necessarily have to be measured by your income or the size of your home. “To me, prosperity equals peace of mind,” she said. “Money can help you get there, but there is no definite answer that you must own a business, have property, two children and a white picket fence.” She cautions the women she works with not to get caught up in they see on their social media timeline. “Because when you think about it, a lot of people are in the pursuit of all of these things, and along the way, it’s impacting their mental health. If you’re not happy, how is that prosperous?” she said.