#NairaLife: 10 of the Most-Read Stories in 2021

December 27, 2021

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.


I published my first Naira Life story on the 4th of January this year. Frankly, it feels like a lifetime ago. Since that time, I’ve talked to a lot more people, listening to them talk about their finances and the personal journeys that brought them to the point where I interview them. 

It’s also amazing how much can happen from people talking about their relationship with money. In the past year, a lot of these stories have sparked important conversations and propelled people to action. Some may have even changed the lives of the subjects

As this year comes to an end, we thought it would be great to take another look at the 10 Naira Life stories you couldn’t get enough of.

1. The #NairaLife Of A Gambling Addiction

“The 29-year-old guy in this story placed his first bet over a decade ago as a university student. At first, it was for the thrill. It quickly became a coping mechanism. Then an addiction. He thought he was in control but his debt profile and troubled relationships proved something else: He was not.”

When people talk about hope, I sometimes think about gamblers and how their entire value system is built around hope. For most of them, they are one lucky stake away from fixing most of their money problems. Unfortunately, it hardly ever works out this way.

2. The Medical Student Who Went From Nothing To $2000/Month

“This #NairaLife is the story of a medical student stuck in a loop that is the Nigerian education system. One day, he got some information that changed his life forever, and he went from being a dependent to a provider.”

This story holds some sentimental value for me partly because it was one of the first Naira Life interviews I did. Beyond that, my favourite thing about this story is how one skill and credible information transformed the life of this medical student.

3. #NairaLife: The Project Manager Still Figuring Life Out At $110,000 Per Year

“This #NairaLife is a little strange. She earns enough to meet her needs. The only problem is, she’s dealing with some regrets, especially with her financial decisions in the past 10 years.”

A personal favourite. Why does someone who earns $110k/year feel like they’re not in a good place yet? If you read this story, you will see the chain of events that led to this discontent.
This story is also dear to me because of the moves the lady in it has made since it was published. For starters, she’s fixed her biggest worry — her debt profile.

4. The #NairaLife Of A Hustler Working Three Product Management Jobs

“This product manager may be only 30 years old, but he’s lived many lives. First as a small-time plug, then he ran the club scene in his university. Tech is his most recent stop. For him, this means working three jobs and living on less than half his monthly income. He isn’t looking back.”

I like this story because you could see how accountability and open conversations helped this subject form his opinions about money very early. It also set him on a path to financial freedom and has guided a lot of his decisions. What do I like most about this story though? The subject has been on an upward trajectory since the early 2000s.

5. The Optimistic #NairaLife Of The Security Guard Earning ₦35k/Month

“The 29-year-old in this story lives on ₦35k/month, but that’s not everything there is to him. It’s also about how he’s trying to make things work for his family. His biggest challenge though? Job security.”

This Naira Life is a big reality check, and it’s another personal favourite. A lot of it has to do with the process that led to this story and a couple of things that happened after.
Also, I remember details of my conversation with this subject — the constant fear of losing his job, the pride in his voice when he talked about his wife and kid and kid and how optimistic he is about the future.

6. #NairaLife: How Could This Tech Bro Afford A Year Break From Work? Equity And Stocks

“The 30-year-old in this #NairaLife got his big break in 2016 when he started working in tech. When was the last time he worked though? 2020. Does this bother him? No. A lot of it has to do with a $70k equity payout he got at his last place of work.”

This story looked me straight in the eye and called me poor. I can’t be mad at that because it’s so wholesome. Beyond basic compensation, i.e. salaries, other job perks can completely change the course of people’s lives, and this Naira Life proves it. Totally recommended.

7. The Remarkable #NairaLife Of A Design Rebel

“The guy in this story has two things going on for him: developing new skills and taking a leap of faith. The ultimate gamechanger for him, though, is a tech hub he joined at uni and a DM he got in 2020.”

8. The Privileged #NairaLife Of An Investment Banker With Multiple Side Businesses

“This 23-year-old has an investment banking job and a couple of side hustles, but that’s not the most interesting thing about him. It’s how he makes much more money from his side businesses than he does at his 9-5, and how leveraging his privilege and connections got him there. “

9. #NairaLife: “I’m 28, Earn ₦420k/Month But I’m Not There Yet”

“The 28-year-old in this story was at her last job for three years and didn’t get a raise once. Two years into her new job, she got a raise. She’s built her wealth to ₦7m within two years.”

10. The #NairaLife Of A Journalist Who Is The Breadwinner At 21 Years

“You will find many fascinating things about the 21-year-old in this #NairaLife — his fear of poverty and his struggles with being the sole breadwinner of his family are two big ones. Another thing you should note? His growth in the past four years.”

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