The Concept of ‘Vex Money’ as a Long Term Financial Strategy

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

June is celebrated as Caribbean-American Heritage Month, a time to honor America’s rich and diverse Caribbean culture. SamuelFields Consulting Group (SFCG) is focusing on the Creation of Generational Wealth in the Caribbean Community. Thisrefers to assets passed from one generation to the next that gives Caribbean families financial freedom, options and choices to pursue their dreams and the life that they want to live. The focus however, is on more than just the transfer of monetary assets but also intangible assets such as education, family, history, culture and customs that are handed down to help families better understand how to use money as a tool.

The term ‘vex money’ is used throughout the Caribbean to describe a small amount of money that women carry in their purse when they go out on a date. If things go awry, women have at least enough money to jump in a taxi and leave. It is a financial backup plan, so that you’re not left stranded.

In the broader context of money management, “vex money” can help mitigate against financial stress and uncertainty. When life happens, you’re not left at the mercy of those who can take advantage of you. Whether it emanates from a loss of work, escalating debt, unexpected expenses, or any combination of factors, financial worry is one of the most common stressors in modern life. When you don’t have financial options you can feel trapped and may make decisions that are against your own best interest. You may even yield control to someone else and this could have long-term consequences.

One of the strategies of women’s resistance under an unrelenting patriarchal system, is wives hiding money from their husbands. This has been a phenomenon in many cultures since marriage was invented. In Japanese societies, it is referred to as hesokuri, translated to “money hidden in the navel” and knipl, “a pinch or knot”, in Jewish societies.

For many Nigerian women, the secret stash of “vex money” is not liquid cash, neither is it so secret. It is, instead, boxes of gold jewelry. From a contingency fund to ensure women’s financial inclusion across generations, gold jewelry as “vex money” has been proven to be useful in many situations. It is equal parts a fashion accessory and an asset in a society that does not encourage financial equality.

Urban Dictionary’s explanation of ‘vex money’ confines it to the Caribbean term for the extra bit of money a woman carries with her on a date. However, Naomi Jackson, an award winning author of Antiguan descent, posits that the term encapsulates every instance of secretly keeping money for unfortunate situations. “Vex money” can be stashed on your person or in a secret place to be spent only in case of emergency brought upon by a once stable situation suddenly becoming “vexed” — usually, but not always because of a man.

As a strategy for financial empowerment or a contingency fund for survival “vex money” provides a critical avenue for financial stability and security. Saving money isn’t just about amassing wealth, it also has to do with being on top of the things within the locus of your control.

5 Reasons Why Everyone Should Set Aside ‘Vex Money’ Every Month

Little drops make an Ocean: It’s never too early to start setting money aside or saving money monthly. Keeping 5% – 10% of your income monthly in a savings account that won’t be touched is a good financial habit.
Compound Interest: Over time the principal amount of savings and the interest will keep compounding. The power of compounding amounts cannot be overemphasized.
Emergency purpose: Life as we know it is full of uncertainties and financial uncertainties are part of them. Having money set aside monthly can be a lifesaver in financial emergencies and can help reduce the stress.
Investment Opportunities: When you have reserved funds it gives you the potential to invest more when legitimate opportunities arise.
Financial Security and Independence: There is a certain amount of satisfaction and contentment that comes with knowing you are financially independent and have some amount kept somewhere. Achieving goals is one of the things that keep us going as human beings, saving monthly can also help you achieve your financial goals.

Although many Caribbean parents encourage young women to carry “vex money,” keeping monthly savings is also an important financial habit that should be embraced by everyone who is working towards having a better financial life. Start saving today, it’s never too late and it’s never too early. Consult a finance professional for guidance about how many months of savings you need ideally as a cushion. This will vary with the stage of your career, profession and the economic conditions. For a consultation contact us at SamuelFields Consulting at [email protected] or Tel: 268-464-0841.

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