Hi, we're Ken & Mary
We are Ken and Mary Okoroafor, founders of The Humble Penny®.
Learning how to take control of our finances, grow our money and develop healthy money habits has transformed our lives since our early days as a young couple with little money having started out as immigrants. It enabled us to become mortgage-free in 7 years and also achieve Financial Independence aged 34!
Today we live purposefully to help others achieve Financial Freedom and ultimately create meaningful lives of Financial Joy.
The story goes –
Millennials are screwed financially with mounting student and consumer debt, no savings, no pension and no financial hope for the future.
Migrants face a torrent of challenges, not least because they typically have no ‘trust funds’ to inherit.
Minorities (we're Nigerian by heritage) typically face an uphill struggle generationally, compounded by huge gaps in financial literacy.
Such is “the danger of a single story”.
Going by the above, we and our generation are supposedly doomed. It doesn’t have to be so!
We believe the steps we take today will help us tell positive stories tomorrow.
The Future is Bright and Desirable and you can design and live the Life of Freedom you want.
Welcome to the Home of the growing generation of Fearless Dreamers.
I’m here to help bring you to higher ground so you can Master Your Money and take charge of your future today.
This will not only make you happy as you worry less about getting by daily, but it will bring you joy as you feel confident about the future and begin to have influence over other people’s life circumstances, which is what wealth is all about.
We can tell you the above confidently because in our mid 30s, we’ve been able to:
- Become mortgage free in 7 years from a 25 year mortgage to become 100% debt free.
- Achieved Financial Independence aged 34 with Ken having began life as a first generation immigrant with £0 aged 14.
- Quit our corporate jobs to focus more on fun and family life, pursue our passions and truly live our best lives.
We’ve achieved the above as a young family with 2 children whilst having fun and enjoying our lives (although doing it smartly).
We know it’s possible for you (with planning, hard work and creativity) and we’re here to show you how
About us more
We're happily married (about 11 years) and we have two great sons – Joshua (9) & Elias (7).
Family means the world to us. We're also Christians (although we share this so that you understand our core values).
Here is a video of a Day In Our Lives as a family since we quit our corporate jobs.
An optimist with a deep appetite for winning and becoming successful at anything I commit to.
I grew up in the bustling City of Lagos (Nigeria) for most of my formative years and this has not only taught me great Resilience but also given me a creative approach to solving problems as well as a healthy appetite for risk-taking 😎.
This all sounds great today, but the truth is, life wasn’t always like this.
I started my second life as a first-generation immigrant to the great City of London (UK) at the age of 14 in 1998 and began the next stage of my life adventure.
Those who have trodden this path will know of the many challenges one experiences. Mine wasn’t helped by the zero assets and minimal rights I had access to.
I would spend the next 10 years of my life in survival mode, living predominantly in the Faith Lane.
Those years (filled with trials & errors, failures, regrets, desires) were the makings of the Me you see today.
I continue to be a learner and deep down, I am shifting from thinking of myself as someone who aspires to be a ‘person of success’ to become a ‘person who creates value’.
Hope, Faith and the application of learned Wisdom have been and remain my driving forces for change.
I hold a First Class honours degree in Economics & Accountancy from City, University of London.
I’m also a Chartered Accountant (ACA, ICAEW) and an Executive MBA holder from the University of Cambridge.
I have experience of setting up, building and selling businesses, and have worked with high-growth small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) over the last 15 years, including extensively in Investment Management.
Before running this blog and my personal investing activities, I served as a Chief Financial Officer for a Venture Capital Investment Management business in London, with a focus on backing entrepreneurs in the Creative industries.
In my spare time, I enjoy music (I love Hans Zimmer and Afrobeats!), reading, writing, working out, traveling, video creation and hanging out with my peeps!
I also mentor young people with a desire to find their path and stay out of trouble.
I am one of four children, the last born child and the only girl in the family 🥰.
I was born into a tough neighbourhood in Hackney, London and lived there for 27 years of my life until I met Ken and we got married.
I attended Brunel University 🙌🏾, where I did a degree in Multimedia Design and Technology.
During my placement year, I got a taste for business and designed websites and created brand elements for clients.
I went on to work in media within production creating multimedia resources for the education sector.
After a couple of years, I moved on to work in a large corporate for a Top 5 accountancy firm as an E-Business Analyst.
All these experiences have kept me fascinated by tech. I'm a creative at heart and skilled at all things digital.
When I became pregnant with our first son, I took the big leap to retrain in childcare and managed one of our family nurseries.
I got thrown into the deep end and for 5 years, learnt everything there is to know about how to run a nursery business.
Those business skills coupled with my digital skills have given me a solid skillset now working from home in charge of all creative work for The Humble Penny and our sister brand, Financial Joy Academy.
Life today looks very different to my childhood having been born not too long after my parents emigrated to the UK.
I was born into a low income and hardworking home and have always had to fight for my place.
I've grown up a dreamer and always wanted a totally different life from the one that I grew up with.
Today, I'm thankful to be living a version of that life I always wanted and that continues to drive me and inspire our children.
Seeking wisdom, leaning on my talents, having a positive life outlook and believing in a better future have helped to shape the life that we enjoy today.
One of the best things about being Financially Independent is having the location independence to live life the way we want.
We work 20 – 30 hours per week from anywhere in the world as a result of creating multiple income streams that support us from various investments.
I'm honoured to be helping others to create the same lifestyle.
Why I started this Blog:
In the late Summer of 2016 on a flight from London to Philadelphia, I stared out of the window in deep reflection about my life, where I had come from and where I was heading.
Something about being up 40,000 feet not only made me feel helpless but also made me marvel at how glorious the world looked from up there.
Something bothered me about living life primarily for my own self-interest. I felt I wasn’t making enough of a meaningful contribution to others. I also wasn’t doing all I could be doing and wasn’t firing on all cylinders.
The first one challenged me to approach my life problems by Design, whilst the other honed in on discovering my Passions and Talents.
I’d never really thought deeply about My Passion. It was defined as “something that makes your heart sing”. I loved this definition. Talent was defined as “Something I was Really Good At”.
So the challenge was to list:
1) 10 things I was Passionate about.
2) 10 things I was Really Good At.
This was TOUGH and here are my actual answers from that flight after much thinking:
1) 10 things I Am Passionate about:
Helping Others, Mentoring/Coaching, Family/Faith/Relationships, Education, Enterprise, Teaching Others/Learning, Travelling/Life experience, Immigration, Managing Money, Volunteering/Charity.
2) 10 things I Am Really Good At:
Being Resourceful, Being Organised, Being Empathetic, Communicating Effectively, Investing/Deploying Money, Taking Calculated Risks, Planning Ahead, Accounting & Finance, Solving Problems (Creatively & Innovatively), Winning/Resilience.
The idea is that if you can combine a Passion of yours with a Talent, mixed in with the right Associations, Action, and Faith (belief), then you will be unstoppable in that pursuit.
What I didn’t know was that this little exercise would lead me down a path of self-discovery. For days I mauled over my Passions and Talents in various combinations.
I wasn’t getting ANYWHERE in terms of what I needed to do next.
Then I decided to send a WhatsApp message separately to 5 of my closest friends/family. I asked them what they thought about me in terms of my Passions and Talents.
The answers were remarkable. Something about their answers gave me validation for what I needed to do next. Here is a sample from my Brother, Kingsley:
“Focus & Resourcefulness. In terms of talents that are not learned, these stand out to me about you. When you want something, you are able to FOCUS on that one thing without distractions; you achieve these things through RESOURCEFULNESS. I remember when you were young and wanted to buy your Merc. You researched and researched and even pinned up the exact model you wanted on the walls and subscribed to magazines about them. That is focus and resourcefulness in action; same as your first job, first house purchase, choice of a partner, etc. Your passion is in giving advice/mentoring/learning; these things I have noticed you do tirelessly, you are always willing to relay back to people who are going through a journey that you have already been through”
I knew instantly that I needed to do something that involved helping people live their lives better.
At this point, it was no longer something I SHOULD DO, but rather something I MUST DO.
It would involve me working tirelessly to Give and possibly without Receiving. Even the thought of that brought me great Joy.
I knew this was in my sweet spot and I was getting closer to what I desired next.
One day, whilst having dinner with my wife, I told her that I am quite good at gathering information and able to rally people for a Cause. I told her I was considering some form of an educational platform.
A repository of quality information that Anyone from Anywhere in the World could access for FREE. With a goal of “taking everyone along”. Giving anyone who needed it the Tools to get to a Good Place in their Financial Life.
Mary paused for a second, looked at me and literally said the words “the humble penny“. I made a mental note of that phrase and thought that would be an excellent name for a blog.
But there was a small problem.
I got a ‘C’ grade in GCSE English and I typically avoided writing anything on the internet; I had primarily been an observer of other people’s great contributions. In addition, I had ZERO online skills.
My wife challenged me to learn new skills and as such, every aspect of this blog you see is the result of leaving my old ways behind and learning the skills for tomorrow.
I have literally had to put one foot in front of the other to get to where I am today with producing Great Content for You.
So the fact that you’re reading my blog is a GREAT ENCOURAGEMENT to me.
Blogging has been TRANSFORMATIONAL for My Life for many reasons, one of the biggest benefits being that it has made me more FEARLESS.
I loved this journey so much that I’ve written a Free 7 Day How To Start A Successful Blog Course.
I believe that Everyone in a position of INFLUENCE should start their own Blog. And that includes You because You have a Voice and a Unique STORY.
It has never been cheaper or easier to set up your own blog and begin telling your story whilst having fun and influence online today.
We are very excited to have you onboard and look forward to getting to know you as we will learn from each other and tell better life stories as a result.
It is our desire to serve you 3 times a week with great content, which we hope will transform your relationship with money, and take you from where you’re today to where you want to be.
One post will be on this blog, and two will be on YouTube.
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