Book Review by Chulu Chansa
"Financial Freedom is available to those who learn about it and work for it"
Jane Mazimba's debut book Catching F.I.R.E: Weekly Money Suggestions to get you on the Journey to Financial Independence and Early Retirement is a call to action to work for your Financial Freedom.
This is not a book that collects dust or becomes a doorstop. Quite the contrary, it is designed to be in your handbag, sitting on your bedside table, a constant topic of discussion, dog eared and highlighted, your trusty companion for 365 days.
The book is narrated from lived experience, where Jane recounts how she found herself in hundreds of thousands of debt. On that fateful 1st January, 2018, the stark realisation of having a mere K2.98 to her name was scary and depressing. Yet motivated by a child to care for she jumped into ACTION. There's that word again. Jane learned how to master her personal finance step by step, hard lesson after hard lesson, month after month. It wasn't easy but she kept going. In 22 months Jane paid off K200, 000 in debt. Now, she has gifted us with a book that documents her journey in a way that is systematic and easy for you to emulate.
That's the beauty about books. Someone else's experiences can be your stepping stone. We do not always have to start from zero or go through pain to learn a lesson.
Catching F.I.R.E. is very easy to read. Each weekly suggestion is a concise narration of real life examples that make the concept relatable. Which is then concluded by a task for the week and template to utilise. As you read, you can hear the author's voice speaking directly to you in a "let's be real" kinda tone.
What I appreciate most about this book is how it speaks about finances from a Zambian / African perspective. There is not enough financial literature that depicts the realities and nuances of mastering personal finance in an African environment. This is a much needed and welcome contribution to the topic.
I would highly recommend you action Catching F.I.R.E. with friends or family. This will help normalise conversations around money. It will pull down the secrecy and shame we associate with either not having money or not knowing much about money. It will also help you grow together by collaborating, pooling your knowledge and sharing best practices.
This book is best suited for individuals who are at the beginning of structuring their personal finance. Millenial and Gen Z Africans who are building their financial muscles. My wishful thinking is that Jane's next book caters to the more financially independent person further along in their journey.
At the beginning of the book, Jane cautions the reader by saying, "This is not a get-rich-quick book of solutions to make you a millionaire in one year." If you are choosing to work towards Financial Independence, you will do well to manage your expectations. Understand that it will take time. Furthermore, it requires patience and discipline from you. However, small actions compound into desirable results. Look at Jane. She is able to tell her success story on the other side of years of consistent work. That can be you too.
P.S. If you ACTION this book. Come back here after a year and let us know how it's going.😉
You can Listen to her episode on LEMBA: The Africana Authors space. Here.
Jane Mazimba @jaynemazimba is an ambitious financial sector professional with over ten years of experience in banking and insurance. In addition, she is an award-winning personal finance educator. Jane has found a unique way to blend her extensive financial sector experience, passion for financial literacy and significant social media influence, to curate meaningful messages around personal finance and lifestyle. A 2021 TEDx speaker and 2022 World Speech Day speaker, Jane is also a triple recipient of the 2022, 2021 and 2020 Bank of Zambia Governor's Financial Literacy Award for her contribution to Financial Literacy in Zambia.
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Edited by Bwalya M Mphuka
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