Black History Month: Interview with Jacques Opoku

Black History Month: Interview with Jacques Opoku

Back again with another post! I had the pleasure of meeting Jacques at a networking event a few months ago and have learnt so much from him in such a short space of time. I would be doing my readers a great disservice if I did not include him in my Black History Month series! Jacques is a phenomenal young professional currently excelling in his role and has a genuine desire to see the furtherance of the black community. Read on to find out more about his journey, business and some handy tips on financial literacy!

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JF: What is your name and what do you do?
JO:
Hi, my name is Jacques Opoku. I am a Black British, Christian male originally from Ghana. I work as a Fund Manager Assistant for an investment management company. I run my own business called JAXFinancial UK which aims to provides investment education and tutoring for individuals, professionals and businesses through workshops, seminars and 1-to-1 sessions. I am also a blogger and currently working on a new initiative called ‘Woke Finance’ – keep your eyes peeled!

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JF: Tell me more about JAX Financial School and other ventures you are currently undertaking. 
JO:
JAXFinancial is a relatively new company with the aim of essentially addressing some educational issues I know to exist. The first being investment education. We all know that investing is a good thing and that we should be doing but not many people know where to even begin. A lot of resources online are geared towards those in America. So whether people want to learn how to invest in the financial markets or understand more about the other means of investing, JAXFinancial aims to provide the relevant information as well as guidance. The second issue was how expensive relevant courses outside of work were.  As an investment professional knowing the trade lifecycle of an asset is important and you may not learn that on any professional course. As a fresh graduate, I understood this and started searching for classes to further my career development. There were honestly so many but at extortionate prices! JAXFinancial aims to provide these same courses but at a much more reasonable price. Courses include GCSE and A-Level Maths and Economics tuition as well as courses for those that want learn how to trade Forex and cryptocurrencies. 

JF: What is your vision for the JAX Financial School and albeit your other ventures?
JO:
For where my business is right now I think the most important thing is for potential clients to know that JAXFinancial exists. My main aim is to focus my time, effort and resources on effective marketing and refining the services that we offer. The long-term aim is for our services to be more than educational and obtain a regulated accreditation from the Financial Conduct Authority. On the educational side, JAXFinancial also provides a platform for anyone who may want tospecialise in any specific field but under the finance category, to deliver courses and of course, encourage our students to create a second source of income for themselves. We aim to grow a large network of tutors and clients who can learn from each other. I am an investment educator and I have professional qualifications that allow me to give investment advice to retail clients. I also have 5 years’ experience in investment management and a masters in Financial Economics. All our A level and GCSE tutors also hold a grade A in their relevant subjects. Our property speakers have a strong portfolio of property assets and have been on shows such as Homes under the Hammer. We aim to effectively transfer knowledge from our experienced professionals to our students.
‘Woke Finance’ is an initiative with more of a focus on personal finance. I would like to grow a massive following that join both myself and the co-founder on our personal finance journey and again the aim here is to learn from each other. We aim to venture into schools, churches, prisons, or wherever to share our knowledge and personal finance journey. 

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JF: What advice would you give to young millennials?
JO:
I think it is important to understand who you are and what you want from life first. Understand what your qualities are and areas where may need to improve or just use less. Self-discovery is a great starting point for anything and by that I mean really take time to know yourself and understand yourself. 
Career wise, it took me a while to understand what I wanted to do. As an Economics undergraduate, so many options were put in front of me with investment banking being a front runner, as well as other professions such as accountancy, professional services, and even becoming an economist. I would advice young people to take time to research areas in which you are interested in and decide sooner than later which one is for you.
Secondly, I would say try and find a mentor. Find someone who has been there, done it and also understands what you want to achieve. A mentor within your field will be great and remember, you don’t need just one - you can have a mentor for almost anything that you want to achieve!
Enjoy the process and don’t put too much stress on yourself. I know this is easier said than done but the process is easier and goals are attainable if you enjoy and endure the process.

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JF: Very good advice and I definitely resonate with your point about finding a mentor. It is so important for us to learn from each other on a lateral level as well as from those that are ahead of us. How important is it for young black people to be financially literate? How do you advise young black people to take control of their finances?
JO:
This is a topic I can speak about for days on end, especially if we are talking about the black community! There is a saying that ‘health is wealth’ and I agree but I also have a saying that ‘wealth is also health’. One of the main causes of sicknesses is stress and a lot of stresses stem from money, or the lack thereof! That alone should paint a picture as to the importance of being financially literate. In my opinion, the lack of financial literacy also leads to one of the biggest issues in London today, crime. For most of us, our parents or grandparents probably migrated from Africa or the Caribbean and in my opinion that was a brilliant financial decision but now it’s up to us the first or second generation to make the best use of the opportunities that has been presented to us. The financial decisions we make today will affect us tomorrow, and continue to affect our children and possibly our children’s children. Building wealth and increasing your financial knowledge allows us to solve so many issues in life today. Many of us young black people want to be rich or wealthy so that we can buy luxury goods and live a flamboyant life, unfortunately for most people that mind-set is unsustainable. In the short term it can serve as a motivation, but the thing about motivation is that is doesn’t last long time and for that reason I urge people to pay attention to being focussed and disciplined. It is also important for us to remain balanced - know how to save and invest but also know how to enjoy your money too. Finally, I think it is so important for individuals to pay attention to your friendship circle and how they behave when it comes to attitudes towards finance. In anything that you are trying to achieve having friends that are on the same journey, those that empower you, liberate you and support you is very important. 

JF: What do you think about ownership within the black community and how can we move from consumers to owners?
JO:
Until you own your own you can’t be free’. This is a lyric from one of the most successful black musicians and entrepreneurs, Jay Z. I totally agree, it is important for all of us black people to start owning various businesses and assets. We need to be the founders, the chairman’s, the CEO’s, the lenders, the homeowners, the landlords and so on. Not the just the tenants, the workers and the borrowers. We need to own assets. We need to own businesses. We need to invest, support each other and consume from each other. The only way we can move forward is through encouraging professionalism. Just because we are dealing with other black people does not mean that you should do things anyhow or consistently ask for ‘mate’s rate’. We need to get rid of stigmas such as ’black man timing’. They say time is money, and if this formula is to uphold then being bad with timing provides some sort of explanation as to why some people are bad with money. I am happy and excited with the growth of black owned businesses and I urge even those of us that have careers to also start a business in anything that we enjoy doing. Something that brings about a sense of fulfilment aside from your 9-to-5. 

JF: Any final words for readers?
JO:
As a young Christian man, I believe in love. If we all pay attention to love, loving what we do, loving each other and more importantly, loving God and approaching all situation with love then so much more can be achieved – that is the only way we can live a life of purpose and absolute abundance. We must also continue to educate ourselves. Education changes everything and honestly, this where my passion lies. I am lucky that my academic and professional background is directly in line with one of my passions which is teaching financial education. We must all continue to read, invest in knowledge and continue to grow.


Final Words:
It was an absolute pleasure gaining an insight into the world of financial literacy from Jacques. I hope you have taken away some key points and embark on your own journey towards financial freedom. Warren Buffett once said ‘The most important investment you can make is in yourself’ and on that note, JAXFinancial have some amazing courses available, be sure to check out their website for more information. Sign up for a course, invest in yourself and reap the long-term rewards!

Jacques Opoku
Instagram: JAXFinancialEducation
Website: JaxFinancial