2023 might have been the trickiest year for the naira yet. The currency went through more ups and downs than our constantly embattled national grid and affected Nigerians’ relationship with money in more ways than before.

Per usual, NairaLife had one goal this year: Finding answers to how Nigerians are making, spending — and even losing — their money. How has money (or the lack of it) affected the quality of lives?

The stories we told sparked conversations, offered insights into subjects people seldom think about and caused some “God, when?”s

Here are ten stories you couldn’t stop talking about, and which deserve a second read.

These are the stories that did the most numbers:

1. How do people in the seats of power live?

This story broke the internet and received mixed reactions when it was published. Some were pissed to read about the extravagant life this politician’s daughter lives, and others weren’t too surprised. 
But one thing is clear: it’s important we have these difficult conversations about money. As Ruka, our editor-in-chief, explained in this thread, these conversations are a stark reminder of the country we live in.

2. She has over $150k in savings but is only 50% happy

I had to physically stop myself from converting $150k to naira when I read this story the first time. This lawyer should hold a savings masterclass. She has three savings buckets in dollars. When asked why she put her financial happiness at just 5/10, she said, “I need more money. I want to be able to travel and do more for myself without having to touch any of my savings buckets.”

Fair enough.

3. There are side gigs, and there ARE side gigs

I’m not sure if “side gig” is an accurate description of the other jobs this finance guy does. I mean, if your main salary pays ₦1.2m/month and a side gig pays as much as ₦8m, which one deserves the tag of “main income source”?

Anyway, you’ll definitely learn a thing or two from his story.

4. How do you own real estate worth over ₦40m on a civil servant salary?

The answer is years of planning, relationships and access to loans. This NairaLife is one of the most insightful ones I’ve read so far. I’ve never found civil services appealing, but after reading this, it’s not looking so bad.

5. The writer making bank in crypto’s volatile market

If peer pressure ever pushes you to crypto, consider what the content writer in this story said first: “I feel the best way to make money in crypto is to get a job in crypto. So, while I hold some coins and try my best to avoid trading, I watch out for job opportunities in the crypto market. It’s the perfect blend of stability and risk.”

That said, he’s raking in a cool $1200/month following his own advice.

These are the stories you absolutely need to read:

6. A Nairalife sponsored entirely by faith in God

This was the first Nairalife story I wrote, so it has a special place in my heart. He’s a full-time missionary who should be earning ₦49k/month, but he hardly gets paid because his pay depends on donations.

I’ll never forget the confidence with which this missionary said, “I move with this confidence that I have God and can never be stranded.” Literal chills.

7. He made 100x his salary in three years, and it started from a bet

You know that proverb, “What an elder sees sitting down, a child can’t see even if they climb the tallest tree”? It’s a good thing the data engineer in this #NairaLife didn’t follow that. His dad wanted him to join the military, but he chose computers. We can agree that decision paid off, because he now makes ₦3.5m/month.

8. From almost-yahoo boy to POS agent

I don’t think I’ve rooted for someone as much as I do the 23-year-old in this story. He’s been hustling since he was very young and left home when he was 16. No, his parents weren’t dead. They just weren’t present.

At his lowest, he almost turned to a life of crime. But a chance encounter changed the course of his life.

9. The stay-at-home dad who’s choosing his family over money

It’s unusual to find a dad who chooses to do a “woman’s job” by becoming their children’s primary caregiver in Nigeria’s heavily patriarchal society, so I knew I had to tell this story. 

Fun fact: This interview was interrupted several times when his kids cried, and he had to attend to them. I thought it was the cutest thing ever.

10. Navigating a finance-threatening mental disorder 

I first heard of the term “dyscalculia” during the interview for this story. This 25-year-old subject has struggled with numbers for as long as she can remember, and as an adult, it’s progressed into an inability to handle money and poor financial decision-making.

On top of that, she was diagnosed with Borderline personality disorder in 2022, which explains her constant struggle to keep jobs. Her story really gives individuals’ relationship with money a whole new perspective.

If you’re interested in talking about your Naira Life story, this is a good place to start.

Find all the past Naira Life stories here.



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