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HMM 45:  Taking Financial Responsibility With Priscilla Okwaro

HMM 45:  Taking Financial Responsibility With Priscilla Okwaro

It’s my pleasure to introduce to you Priscilla Anono Akworo.  She is a Kenyan born pageant queen turned author and she so generously shares her money story + her journey with her personal finances!

It’s a good one so go ahead and press play :-).

What You’ll Learn In Today’s Episode:

  • How growing up in Kenya shaped her personal finance journey
  • The legacy her father left her and what it meant to her
  • Why she strongly feels women should be financially responsible and what she means by this

Resources From This Episode:

Click here to learn more about Priscilla!

Priscilla’s book recommendation:  Rich Dad, Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki

To continue the conversation of this episode join us in our Her Money Matters Community!

HMM FB Group for link for show notes

I challenge you, if money is something you struggle to talk about then journal about it!  This will help you get to the core behind why AND help you develop a better relationship with your money.

Abrazos (**hugs**),



Click on the arrow below to access the transcript:
Read Full Transcript



[00:00:08.6] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to the Her Money Matters Podcast, the podcast to help you take control of your finances. Join your host, motivational money coach, Jen Hemphill, as she shares with you practical, simple money insights and real life stories by women like you.

Let’s get to it!


[00:00:26.6] JH: Welcome, welcome. I am so happy to have you joining me today. This is Jen Hemphill, your host and really, it’s hard to believe that this is Episode 45 — Episode 45 and that means that soon to be reaching 50 which in June, around last year, it launched June 23rd. So on June 23rd, whenever the Thursday falls of that week, we will definitely be celebrating the 1st year birthday of the Her Money Matters Podcast.

So expect a fun episode for that one because it’s all going to be you and if you are in our community, you have a little more of an inside scoop and a spoiler alert as to what we’re going to do for that episode. So if you have not joined us, please, I invite you to join us over there. We have a lot of fun and you can just do so simply by going to and that literary takes you to the Facebook group. You click “join” and then we will add you. It’s as simple as that.

So today, I’ve got a super special guest with really such an interesting story, interesting background and what you will learn in this episode is how this guest, growing up in Kenya, shaped her personal finance journey. So the culture, we’ll learn a little bit about the Kenyan culture, which is really interesting and then we’ll also learn the legacy that her father left her and what it meant for her.

She also shares why she strongly feels women should be financially responsible and what she means by this. You’ll probably guess that really I stand side by side with her and her sentiments. So let me tell you a little bit about our guest today. Her name is Priscilla Anono Okwaro and she is an author, entrepreneur and a women’s financial strategist. She writes, teaches and coaches with the aim of empowering women financially.

With her Dream, Design and Deliver System, Priscilla helps modern women entrepreneur moms who are feeling off path, overwhelmed and burned out reignite their passion and create a business strategy that allows them to earn more while working less so they can have more freedom, fulfillment and fun. So let’s not delay and let’s go ahead and meet Priscilla.


[00:03:09.5] JH: Welcome Priscilla to the Her Money Matters Podcast. I’m really excited to have you here.

[00:03:14.8] PO: Thank you Jen and I’m excited to be here as well.

[00:03:19.2] JH: Great, well our listeners already know about your read, I’ve told them your more formal bio but I noticed some things about you so I wanted to learn more on the personal side. I’ve noticed you’re an author, you also have some pageant titles as well. I thought that was really neat and a background in the financial services industry. So tell us a little bit more on one of these things that you would want to talk about.

[00:03:49.9] PO: I can tell you about my pageant background. I grew up wanting to be supermodel like many other young girls and I kept waiting to be discovered by one of the scouts but then that never happened and so I’ve thought why not just take my life in my own hands and then go out there and try to launch my modelling career and that’s how I got into pageantry.

[00:04:17.0] JH: Okay.

[00:04:17.4] PO: I ended up doing pageants for my college when I moved to the US. I did school pageants. I won Miss International Student, Miss School of Honors and then I went further on to represent my country and became Miss Kenya USA as well as Africans People’s Princess of the Miss Africa USA pageant and it was such an amazing experience to get to not only showcase your beauty and glamor and poise but also to support a cause in the process and do fund raises and just meet all kinds of people representing your country.

[00:04:58.7] JH: That is neat. I mean I saw that and I’m like, “Well that is interesting. I definitely want to know about that.” So you did that for several years?

[00:05:07.1] PO: Yeah, throughout college, my first year in college until I graduated from college.

[00:05:13.2] JH: Okay and then after that is when you went into the financial services industry?

[00:05:18.6] PO: Yes.

[00:05:19.9] JH: Okay, I’ll ask you more about that later because I’m curious about that too. Now let’s go back in time because you are from Kenya and culture is different there. So give us — how did you grow up around money?

[00:05:33.3] PO: In Kenya, basically I grew up in the village and both my parents are teachers and teachers don’t get paid a lot of money in Kenya. So money was not available and there wasn't a lot of money available and so my parents had to do different things to make sure our ends meet and they were very entrepreneurial.

We did farming and they did small businesses in the market just to make sure that all our school fees needs were paid off and we had food and like everybody else who struggled to pay their meals and to have food to eat. So we really work hard to make money so I grew up knowing that to make any money, you have to work hard and you also have to go to school and get a good education so that you can have a career where you’re not struggling to make money.

[00:06:32.0] JH: Right and were there any, as far as from parents to kids to typically do, maybe in your particular family, did they have a conversation that maybe teach you some money lessons or was it just what you saw?

[00:06:47.3] PO: Mostly it was what I saw because in the Kenyan tradition, as a kid, you’re not expected to listen in on your parent’s conversation. When adults are speaking, you walk away and go outside or somewhere else. So I really never got to listen in on money conversations but it’s what I’ve observed. I observed that we work hard and they worked hard every day.

And whenever you ask for money, you were told there wasn’t any money. Whenever you wanted anything, whenever I wanted anything and asked for it, I was told there was no money, “We don’t have any money,” so I just grew up hearing and seeing that we don’t have any money even though we worked so hard to make extra money.

[00:07:33.9] JH: I got it, that’s interesting. And what would you say, so there wasn’t really — you mentioned as far as money conversations that was between the adults, the kids we’re allowed in those conversations. But did you receive any advice from your parents about money later on in life or maybe where did you receive your best money advice?

[00:07:56.6] PO: My parents didn’t talk about money or how to handle money so I didn’t know anything about handling money until I left home and I came to the US and now, I had to handle all my money all by myself and I didn’t have any of this education but in college it did matter because I had a full scholarship and I lived in the dorms. So I never got to budget or to wonder where my next meal is going to come from or have to work to pay for anything other than just a few bills.

But when I graduated from college and now I had to get my own apartment and had to start budgeting, I realized I had no idea where money comes from, how to handle it and that’s when I started reading a lot about personal finance and my first book that I read was Suze Orman’s The Money Book for the Young…

[00:09:00.7] JH: For Women?

[00:09:00.9] PO: Yeah.

[00:09:02.0] JH: That is the first one that I read too. That’s interesting.

[00:09:06.0] PO: Yeah and the best add for it that I got from that book was to pay yourself first and that advice I take it every day and whatever money I make, I make sure that I put it in my savings account. I ended up opening up an online savings account where I direct deposit any money I make at least 10% of it just to pay myself first.

[00:09:33.3] JH: Now you’ve mentioned that growing up you didn’t — your parents didn’t talk to you about money because that was just a cultural thing. In college, you didn’t really have to deal with the money because you had that scholarship. So it wasn’t until after college that that’s when you realized you were needing the budget, you needed to do all those things. So what kind of challenges whether then or now have you had with money?

[00:10:02.2] PO: My first challenge was learning how to save and just making money — the budget work for me. I’d discovered that I had gotten an apartment that I couldn’t really pay for and so I had to cut down on all my expenses and find roommates and really reduce my expenses to a very low level so that I was saving most of what I was earning and once I figured how to do that and I was doing so well with my personal finance, another challenge came up.

When I finally now committed to a relationship and I had to move in with my then boyfriend and now, he was paying for everything and somehow with my background and everything I had seen and been taught about money was leading to the idea that a man is supposed to take care of everything and he’s going to take care of everything so I didn’t really have to worry about the money stuff and so for a while, I just didn’t know how things were being paid and I didn’t have to worry about it.

Until my husband had to go to the military for training for a long time about eight months and I would have to be in charge of everything and I came to realize that I had just been avoiding money and dealing with money and letting somebody else take care of everything for me because I feel that money is not necessarily a woman’s thing to do and so having come to the realization to the fact that I was giving up my financial responsibilities just because I got married made me wake up and realized how many other women, especially from my background, just give up on their financial responsibility because they got married.

So I wrote a book just to show people my story, first of all to share my story and how I was coming into terms to taking financial responsibility and owning up to the fact that even if you get married, even if you get somebody who can take care of your bills and take care of you, it doesn’t mean that that’s the time to give up in your financial responsibility. You still owe it to yourself to take care of your finances and make sure that you’re building wealth for yourself, for your children as well as for your family and leaving a legacy behind.

[00:12:40.8] JH: I’m so glad you bring that up because I feel that is so true and that’s one of the things that I teach about, it’s just making sure that especially in a relationship that you’re both in the know. Not both of you have to sit there and pay the bills together, one person can do that but I think it’s like you mentioned and it’s so critical to have clarity as to what’s going on with the money.

So for example, when you didn’t know, when you weren’t aware of the money before your husband went to training, if you had known I would think that you would had made better decisions, let’s say grocery shopping, all those things, especially if you knew the whole big picture of what was going on with the money and if you all had discussions of financial goals right?

[00:13:30.6] PO: Exactly.

[00:13:31.8] JH: I think that is just so critical and that’s one of the reasons why I am doing this podcast. It’s just to make sure, it’s not because money is a gender issue. Everybody has to know about it but I want to make sure that women are empowered in this area and are not afraid to manage it, are not afraid of it, are just comfortable and confident with personal finance. So that is so great and you even wrote a book about it and what is the book called?

[00:14:05.8] PO: My book is called Overcome & Thrive: Lose the Fear Around Money and Create the Life You Really Want.

[00:14:13.0] JH: I love it so I’ll make sure that I’ll link that up in the show notes. So those are some great challenges that you talked about. So now, tell me about a little bit about how you manage your finances. Do you use cash? I know checks are antiquated but I still use checks from time to time or do you use credit? What is your favorite way of paying?

[00:14:37.5] PO: My favorite way of paying is cash so that I am aware of how much is leaving and how much is really coming in, but for the big bills like rent and utility bills, I use checks. That’s what I use.

[00:14:54.2] JH: So checks and cash.

[00:14:56.1] PO: Yeah.

[00:14:56.9] JH: Perfect and would you consider yourself a saver or a spender?

[00:15:01.7] PO: I am definitely a saver. I’m all about having that security and when I see that my savings account’s growing, I feel more secure than when there’s nothing going into my savings account.

[00:15:17.2] JH: And is your husband the opposite or do you guys balance yourself out or are you both?

[00:15:21.6] PO: We balance. I’m the saver and he’s the one who has to remind me that even though we are saving, we also have the balance of spending some of the money that we make because I’m all about, “Let’s save for this and let’s save for that,” and he’s all about having a little bit of fun even though we are saving.

[00:15:42.4] JH: Okay, so you have a good balance there.

[00:15:46.0] PO: Yes, we do and also the good thing is that ever since I wrote my book, now I’m more comfortable to have those money conversations with him. It’s not something that I’m scared to talk about. We talk about money all the time and it just makes me feel so at ease that I don’t have to keep secrets or be scared to talk about money with him and that’s a really good place to be in a relationship.

[00:16:14.3] JH: So prior to the book, would you say you had difficulty in having those conversations and the book helped you overcome it? Or, tell me a little bit more about that part?

[00:16:26.1] PO: Prior to that, from how I was brought up I just thought my money is my money and his money is the family’s money and so I was very uncomfortable talking about my money like what’s going on, how I spend this money, where did the money go and then I started writing a book because I wanted to help other young women who had just become mothers or going through a difficult transition.

And when I started really looking deeply into my life and being honest with myself, what’s going on with my money issues, it made me start talking to my husband more about money, about what he thought, how I was acting and how we were going to manage our money and with that, with the process of writing the book, with the process of being open and honest and vulnerable about my finances, I found that it’s become very easy to talk about money because I already wrote a book about it and I’m all about writing and teaching what I do in my personal life.

[00:17:31.7] JH: That’s beautiful.

[00:17:32.8] PO: So that has just continued to help me and writing my book, the process has enabled me to make those money conversations very easy like any other conversation that we have.

[00:17:45.5] JH: It is interesting especially in the life entrepreneurship and what we end up doing is something part of our journey that we’re going through at that time because even though I coach people and teach people around finances, it doesn’t mean I have everything all perfectly. There is some things that I have struggled with in the past that I don’t want people to struggle with currently.

So it’s a part of that, it’s part of things that I’m still striving for to achieve and with our personal finances, so it’s interesting just the dynamics of that with entrepreneurship, we kind of embark on a journey that’s aligned with what we want to achieve in our personal lives. So it’s pretty interesting.

[00:18:31.0] PO: Yeah, it is.

[00:18:32.5] JH: Now tell me a little bit, if you don’t mind, so in the past your husband was always the one doing the money and now, you mentioned you use a cash system but for bills you pay checks. So tell me a little bit on a month to month just strike it down a little bit how you all manage your personal finances?

[00:18:52.4] PO: So we do weekly money meetings. We sit down mostly on Fridays because both of us take time on Fridays. He’s off and I am working on my stuff so I’m home most of the time. So we take time on Fridays and just come down with a budget of what we need for the groceries and then that’s when we’ll do the shopping on Saturdays for what we need in the house.

As well as what bills are coming up and how that is going to be paid so we divide and keep each other accountable in both of our calendars. So we know this bill is coming up, it’s not just my responsibility or his responsibility to make sure that the bills are paid but it’s both our responsibility and we keep each other accountable to remember which bills are coming up when, how much is coming in, and how much am I spending and investing in things in my business.

What do I need, what do I need to do better or differently financially to bring in new income. So we definitely have those weekly meetings and we plan out our budget and see what’s coming in and what’s going out for that week.

[00:20:11.8] JH: Perfect so weekly, that is awesome. What would you say is your proudest money moment?

[00:20:19.1] PO: My proudest money moment was in my last year of college, I was able to pay for my mom’s entire trip for her to come to the US to attend my college as well as spend a month’s vacation in the US. That was the very first time and it was really a proud moment because I had really worked hard for a long time to save up that amount of money for her to just come and see what the US is like and that was such a happy time.

[00:20:54.1] JH: That is awesome and your parents are still in Kenya?

[00:20:57.5] PO: Yes. Most of my family is still in Kenya.

[00:21:00.8] JH: Okay, well yeah that is definitely something to be proud of because that’s a long trip.

[00:21:06.9] PO: Yes.

[00:21:07.7] JH: To be making over, that is awesome and who would you say influenced you the most in the area of money? I know you mentioned Suze Orman was that, I think it was called Women and Money. The book has some good advice for you, would you say her or is there someone else that has influenced you the most?

[00:21:27.0] PO: I think indirectly, my father influenced me when it comes to money mostly because in our culture, having a boy is considered that it makes you man. So my mom never had any boys and my father was blessed with five girls and all his brothers really laughed at him because he didn’t have a legacy to leave behind but he could have chosen not to educate us or not to invest in our future because we are girls.

We are not supposed to have any value in my culture, but my father went above and beyond to make sure that we got into the best schools. Even when he died, he left behind education money insurance to make sure we still were able to complete school each and every one of us and that is a big influence for me when it comes to money.

Because he did everything he could to make sure we were empowered financially to have our own way of making a living not just to depend on anybody else. And so to me, that’s somebody that I would say is my biggest influence when it comes to money because he empowered me from the time I was little to just make sure that I could be financially independent.

[00:22:51.7] JH: Right, well that’s beautiful that he took it upon himself to do that especially in a culture like you mentioned where girls aren’t necessary invested in for college or education so that expresses his love for his family. That is beautiful and I’m sorry to hear about his passing, so that is beautiful. I mean that is his legacy. He left a legacy of empowerment, of confidence, of education in your hands and your sisters’ hands so I think that is, I would consider that.

[00:23:29.3] PO: Yeah, thank you.

[00:23:31.6] JH: I know you mentioned again the book, Women and Money by Suze Orman, would that be your favorite money book or do you have one that you want to mention?

[00:23:42.4] PO: My other favorite money book is Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad. When I read that book, it was very eye opening and it taught me about becoming an entrepreneur. It gave me the idea to become an entrepreneur and to just find a way that I could take control of my own financial destiny. So I really love Robert Kiyosaki’s book.

[00:24:09.8] JH: That is definitely a good book, I like that book. That’s wonderful. Well this has been great Priscilla. I really appreciate you being here. I know you know this podcast because you are a listener. So it’s so great to interview a listener and you know that this podcast is all about making money simple and taking control of it. So how would finish this phrase: Her Money Matters because ____.

[00:24:33.6] PO: Because money is not a financial plan.

[00:24:38.5] JH: Okay, perfect. Well thank you so much for being here and tell us, where is the best place where the listeners can find you?

[00:24:47.1] PO: You can find me on my blog and website,

[00:24:59.6] JH: Okay, perfect and I’ll make sure to link that up in the show notes. So thank you so much for joining me. It was so wonderful getting to know you and so interesting hearing your story, your background, all that you’ve accomplished. So I appreciate you sharing all of that.

[00:25:15.4] PO: Thank you so much for having me Jen.

[00:25:18.0] JH: No problem, thank you.


[00:25:21.6] JH: Wasn’t Priscilla amazing? I really had a lot of fun talking to her so I hoped that you enjoyed it as much I enjoyed chatting with her. Honestly since I was a little girl, well actually growing up in Columbia, literary the only diversity as far as culture was my dad. We were in Columbia and my dad was the “gringo” because he was from the US.

So when we moved to the US, I was really fascinated by meeting people from all different cultures, different countries and it still fascinates me to this day, which is why I really enjoyed speaking with Priscilla. So for me, in this episode the biggest take away was the shift that she had when writing her book. It was a really growing experience for her.

It was a journey where she went from growing up in a culture in Kenya that didn’t talk about money, that for the girls education wasn’t a priority to give the girls education and then she went from moving into a new country and at that time becoming independent. And during this time, she definitely had some lessons that she learned and she had to learn how to manage finances and she met her husband.

Her husband’s in the military, he went away and that’s when it hit her that she was pretty much dependent on him and she had to learn how to manage the finances. But the book really helped her be able to just draw upon that experience and also be able to talk more about money which is why I bring this up.

So if you have difficulties speaking about money, if this is something that challenges you, you definitely want to — you don’t have to write a book but a journal about it because sometimes when money frustrates us and we don’t know what’s going on, it’s just frustrating, it’s overwhelming, it’s stressful, if you take a moment just a few to write some thoughts down and ask yourself the key question “why?” and continue digging on that.

So for example, let’s say you’re overwhelmed with your money and you write in your journal, well why are you overwhelmed? Well you don’t want to look at your budget because you know you spent over what you decided what you’re going to spend on, and then you ask yourself why and you continue digging and that’s going to help you and that’s going to help you better understand yourself, your relationship with money, and by doing that, that’s going to give you confidence.

Therefore from that, you’re going to be able to speak better. You’re not going to have that fear when you’re talking maybe to your spouse or to whomever about money because you’re going to be confident and you’re going to be clear as to your sentiments around money, why you’re having those feelings and all that good stuff.

So before we wrap up, I wanted to challenge you if you have difficulties in speaking about money to journal. To definitely take some time to journal why that and I also wanted as I usually do give a shout out to our community and this week’s shout out is to Danielle. She is a part of our Her Money Matters community and she’s also a member of our Fearless Money Sisterhood.

So let me tell you a little bit about Danielle. She’s really hard working, she’s balancing motherhood with the little ones at home while becoming an entrepreneur and in all of that, she’s supportive of others, she participates in the group and she’s just positive. She’s a go-getter. So I want to acknowledge you Danielle to keep up all the great work and everything that you’re doing.

So that is a wrap. Remember, I challenge you if you feel weird talking about money, journal. You don’t have to write a book like Priscilla did but definitely journal. Write out from a journal, even though it might feel weird at first it’s going to help you. So just do it even if it feels weird and keep at it and you’re going to evolve. You’re going to grow from this experience.

Also, don’t forget to join us over in our community for the Her Money Matters listeners. It’s as simple as going to I really hope to see you there. We’ve got a fantastic group, women from all over the world and I really hope to connect with you there because there’s something beautiful about putting the “ear”, if you will, with the face on Facebook. Just connecting with you on a whole other level, I enjoy it and I hope that you enjoy it as well. So I hope to see you there.

So that is a wrap for today’s episode. Be sure to tune into next week’s episode and episode 46, we will continue with the debt conversation because remember last week in episode 44, we talked about debt. The layers behind the debt, the realities hidden behind them so we’re going to continue that conversation and talk about how not to get hooked back into that debt cycle because that can happen, that happens and it’s frustrating for a lot of people.

So I want to personally thank Priscilla for joining us and being transparent, sharing your wonderful story Priscilla, really appreciate it. You can be sure to check out more about her, where to find her at So thanks again for joining and we will catch you next Thursday.



P.S. THANK YOU for listening!

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