Every week, Zikoko seeks to understand how people move the Naira in and out of their lives. Some stories will be struggle-ish, others will be bougie. All the time, it’ll be revealing.

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When they told me I’d be taking over writing Naira Life in January, I can’t lie, I was excited. What are the financial journeys, similarities, and differences of everyday Nigerians, and how has money affected their lives?

My conversations with strangers led to several captivating stories, but these are the 10 stories people just couldn’t stop reading. 

1. Naira Life: From Internships at 14 to $93K a Year at 24

“After this subject on #NairaLife was fired from her ₦200k/month job in 2020, she found remote work and hasn’t looked back since. Since then, she’s gone from $50k to $93k a year, and she’s only 24.”

This Naira Life is stuff of “God whens?”. Even I didn’t know what to expect when I went into the interview. Have I recovered from the fact that my mate is making $94k a year? Don’t ask me. 

2. #NairaLife: She’s Tired of Being Her Family’s Financial Backup Plan

“The 27-year-old lawyer in this story is the last of six children in a family that grew up very poor. Now that she’s making money, her family looks to her for their daily bread, and she’s tired.”

This is Naira Life 200, our last Naira Life for the year, but the second most-read. If people weren’t already talking about black tax, this one was sure to make them do that. In all, I’m super glad she’s made it out of the ghetto and is making good money now. 

3. The #NairaLife of the 19-Year-Old Student Who Doesn’t Mind the ASUU Strikes

“When we asked the 19-year-old on this week’s #NairaLife about the ASUU strikes stopping him from graduating, he replied, “I don’t mind. They should take their time.” And why not? He’s a millionaire.”

I wonder what he’s up to now that ASUU has called off the strike. 

4. NairaLife: In Just Two Years, This UI/UX Designer’s Income Has Gone From ₦120k to Over ₦3m

By 2019, this 23-year-old Naira Life subject didn’t know what to do with her life. Then she met a friend who told her to try UI/UX design. Four jobs later, she’s managed $65k a year. She thinks it would be more if she weren’t such a bad negotiator.

5. From Nursing to Hairdressing: This 43-Year-Old Mum Is Living in Debt

“Between 1996 and 2014, today’s subject on #NairaLife worked as an auxiliary nurse. Her highest salary in that period was ₦12k. Today, she works as a hairdresser and lives on loans she repays every week.”

Fun fact: In one week, this story got ₦335k in donations from Zikoko’s Naira Life readers to clear her debts and find her feet. As if that wasn’t enough, the subject was placed on a ₦30k monthly stipend from another reader from May to December this year. 

6. #NairaLife: How Did This Third-Class Graduate Manage to Make $20k a Month?

“After graduating from university with a third class in 2006, the 38-year-old subject of this #NairaLife moved to the US and got a $50k/year job almost immediately. How did he manage to grow his career to the point where he wants to retire in three years?”

A third class graduate from a Nigerian university making $20k a month in the US? How? Well, first of all, a few lies on his CV here and there, and a few failed jobs. 

7. #NairaLife: This Marketing Babe Vowed Not to Return Home Until She Made Money

If you shed a tear while reading this #NairaLife, you’re not alone. This subject went from sleeping on the floor with her family to going days without eating to sleeping outside. Then she decided she was going to make money, and nothing has stopped her ever since.

8. #NairaLife: This Gen Z Knows How to Use Her Network to Increase Her Income

“The content writer on this NairaLife made ₦65k monthly at her first job in 2020. Two jobs later, she’s on $2,500. How? She has a solid network and knows how to use it.”

An excerpt: “They reached out and asked how much I wanted to be paid. I told them ₦850k, and their response was that I should come back with a “round figure”. I was so confused. I went to meet the person who referred me to explain what that meant. And all he said was that I should aim higher. Before I could even do that, they sent me an offer — $2,500.”

9. The Soft #NairaLife of the Engineer Making Millions Selling Shoes

“The 30-year-old tech sis on this #NairaLife makes ₦800k from her job. Impressive, right? Well, she also makes over ₦1m a month selling shoes on Instagram. And all her life, she’s only ever wanted to spend money on food and her family.”

Life is funny. One minute, you’re disappointed the shoes you got online are not your size, and you have to sell them to your coworkers; the next, you’re making millions selling shoes because you discover you have a knack for selling. 

10. #NairaLife: What Happens When You Have to Raise Five Siblings at 20?

“When this subject on Naira Life was 27, he received a ₦50k paycheck and tried to return it because he’d never made that much before and thought it was a mistake. From working at age 12 to taking care of five siblings at 20, how did this man survive?”

Even though MTN was after my life during the interview, this is my favourite Naira Life from this year, simply because of how this guy rose through life. It really gives duty and responsibility a whole new perspective.

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Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.