HOW TO BUILD WEALTH – WITH FRANKLIN ASANTE (A.K.A. THE URBAN FINANCIER

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Personal finance and wealth-building has long been a game of penny-pinching. Asante’s no fan of such an approach, and he’s keen to use his platform to dispel it: “This is what finance speakers in the past have done. ‘Let’s just preserve what we’ve got.’” Forget that, he says, and adopt a “growth mindset” instead. He goes on, adding that where your “next pound is going to come from”, is just as important as “when your next pound is going to leave.” 

That balancing act requires a whole lotta zeal. As such, he’s big on the current Gen-Z desire to “make their bag.” As far as he’s concerned, the drive of younger people to explore different ways to make and build wealth is a good thing. “There’s no shame in wanting to make more money”, he says – and the sooner you realise that, the better. From side hustles to building effective investment habits, dreaming up different ways to make more money is always a good thing.

The British need to maintain a ‘stiff upper lip’, which in turn means having discrete and abstract conversations about money, isn’t helpful. Across the pond, the somewhat loud and shameless approach Americans take to all things money, he says, gets better results: “they’re [Americans] much better at it than the UK. They’re all forward-thinking. I think there’s a British mentality of you don’t kind of expose the interiors of your jacket. Everything is very much ‘oh no, we shouldn’t talk about these things.’” Self-education is important, but so is being open to talking to others. That’s not to say you should go around revealing every last detail about your personal finance. It’s more of a push to open up a little if and when you need financial advice.

On the impotence of credit, The Urban Financier is in no mood to mince his words: “what [people] don’t realise is that because you’ve got bad credit, you’re spending way more money than you actually need to. Money that could otherwise go towards building a better future.” It’s no use you putting it off till later, either. Best to tackle bad credit head-on, he says – and the sooner the better. Putting it off means paying the consequences later – and at a much higher price.

The money game can be a hard one, especially if you’re starting out (like Asante did) with little to no knowledge or resources. It’s why he’s intent on making personal finance-related content, even if it means juggling it with a full-time job. Asante is fully aware of who his audience is, and as such sets about curating content he knows they’ll engage with. It helps, too, mind you, that he happens to be a young Black man at the forefront of personal finance-related influencing in the UK.  Deny it all you want, but representation matters – especially in fields and professions previously reserved for those from a certain background. What Asante’s doing is pretty big. He’ll never really know the true impact of his work – but a quick scan of the comments section on his videos, podcast appearances, and social media posts ought to tell you everything you need to know.

The global Gen-Z movement to figure out different, more sustainable ways to make money and build wealth needs people like Asante to help things along. The role of an influencer will always be somewhat controversial. Not controversial in the political or religious sense, but more in the ‘what do they actually do’ sense. For those firmly in the they do a lot camp, Asante’s a shining example of the good influencers can do using social media.

On matters of style, he’s a big fan of all things Tom Ford (he showed up to his interview donning one of his suits), admitting to loving his “simplicity and elegance.” If given the chance to dine with anyone – dead or alive – he’d choose his younger self. Why? “So I could tell myself to take his time again. I think there are so many things that I could have got deliberately right.” And before we part ways, he has a thing or two to say about financial literacy in schools. He’s of the strong opinion that enough isn’t being done. There’s a need to teach kids about personal finance “as early as possible”, he says, adding that most households “don’t talk about money.”

So what’s next for The Urban Financier? A super secret project that he’s not allowed to tell me about – but one he can barely contain his excitement for. He’s working with others on something that, he tells me, will make the wealth-building journey a whole lot easier. It’s on that note that we wrap up our chat. In 45 minutes or so, I got a front-row seat to Asante’s wealth-building show. The review is in: it’s pretty good.

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Contact details for Franklin Asante’s management: email.

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