It’s an extreme pleasure to have my friend Papatia Feauxzar join The Muslimah Mommy Expert Insight panel and share her financial advice and tips with us. I met Papatia through WordPress and we have become great e-buddies since, she really is a beautiful person from the inside out! Here’s more information on who Papatia is:
“Papatia Feauxzar is a published author living in Dallas, Texas with her son and husband. She is addicted to love, romance, life, laughs, and always having a good halal time, her goal is to serve Allah first and foremost. Above all, she is annoyingly always in a good mood ;). Visit her at her blog or at her self-publishing house at http://www.djarabikitabs.com . You can also follow her on Amazon here to read her published works. Finally, she is the Love and Relationship Editor at Hayati Magazine. Check it out!”
When and how did you start your career in Finance, and what is your educational background?
Good question. Before I came to America, I had a business major in head. When I arrived here, I changed my mind. I wanted to become a Pharmacist. Even though I excelled in science subjects, it wasn’t enough. The quota and ratio of African applicants compared to the actual numbers of students accepted is below 1%. It’s very ridiculous and frustrating. Because I was tired of spending money in applications all over the country which would be rejected, I decided to go for another major which would provide me a bachelor in a reasonable amount of time and way to pay for my bills pronto! Accounting seemed attractive enough because I received four scholarships from the school I applied to, so I went for it.
I already had my associate degree in my pockets as I transferred to the University as a precaution because schools tend to make you repeat classes if you don’t have that degree. They like to say, “Oh, you already took this class? Ok, we teach it a little different here.” I didn’t have any money to waste as a broke college student so I made sure to secure my associate in science degree first.
So like that, I fell back on my original business major. I have never been the patient or slow student type. In 18 months, I finished my Bachelor in Accounting. And two years after that I started my Masters in Accounting with a concentration in personal Finance. I finished my Master in one year and it was a challenge!
Did you find many Muslimah’s working in your field? Was it difficult finding a job as a hijab wearing Muslimah? Where there any struggles that you had to overcome?
My first job in Accounting was in a corporate firm. I worked there for almost five years. I was the only Muslimah at my job so I stuck out like a sore thumb! The people liked me though and I genuinely enjoyed being there. When I started that job, I wasn’t wearing hijab. I started wearing hijab six months into the job. Allah is the best of planner and I’m grateful masha’Allah.
Yea, I had to do my best to stay clear of office gossip and drama even if people tried to involve me. I also had to put up with interesting female supervisors. In all that, I did my job with a lot of pride, professionalism, wits, and efficiency knowing Allah had my back and would always provide me the knowledge to excel and surprise them.
Please share any tips or advice you have for families who want to start saving for their children’s future, is there an Islamic way to do this?
Yes, I do. If we want our children to be born with a silver spoon in their mouths, we need to know what financial planning is and take it seriously! Now is the time to open an account for the children where we can and must chip in small amounts of money weekly to monthly for their college and future expenses. It adds up in the long run.
Let me give you a simple example: Let’s say you save $20 a week for one child. That $20 becomes $80 or $100 depending of the months since some have five weeks. At the end of the year, you have close to $ 1,000. Now, multiple that for 18 years, you get $18,000 plus. That could be a good dough for college and pocket money masha’Allah. Of course with inflation and all, it might not be anything for college in 18 years but if you put that money in a savings account or invest it wisely in a low risk investment, this money will blossom to a good chunk of money insha’Allah.
As a Financial Expert, what is the top mistake you see families making when it comes to money in general?
I see many families buying unnecessary things. Food is necessary. Simple clothes for daily usage are necessary. Nice clothes for the ‘Eid are necessary. The latest brand names clothes, cars, and gadgets because it’s the trend or everybody has one is not necessary. Buying a house with rooms you don’t use is wasteful. It stems from envy. It doesn’t elevate your status but rather elevate your debt and inflates your ego! Soon, your ego will deflate and depression will kick in. Of course, we must reward ourselves and splurge every now and then but not on a regular basis. That will make you go broke.
Consolidate your debt and make good plans to pay them off very quick. Bring the whole family into this because the whole family needs to be on the same page when savings plans are taking place. Always look for bargains and ways to buy durable things for less.
Do you have any tips for women or men who decide to stay home after having children (i.e becoming a stay at home parent) and using their spouse’s income? How do they overcome the fear to ask for money their spouse is making without feeling guilty?
Allah has made it okay for women to rely on men. Now, a stay home spouse shouldn’t abuse of that privilege. That said, our conscience often intervenes and Shaytan whispers these uncomfortable thoughts in our ears. Sometimes, we feel entitled to the men’s assets because it’s our right but sometimes we can’t just shake that feeling and we feel like we have to step in and help if he allows it.
A guilty spouse can remediate to that feeling by showing her spouse that she’s frugal. There is a difference between cheap (stingy) and frugal. One aimed to annoy and the other aim to be accountable.
In my experience for instance, once the hubby dreaded a getaway long weekend because he thought we would spend close to $500 in hotel and food. I spend some time on the net and finally, we ended spending a fourth of that in lodging for 3 days at a decent hotel at the very last minute. It wasn’t even a motel. It was a major chain too!
Above all, Allahu alim and He is ever forgiving and understanding of ALL our actions.
A huge thank you to Papatia for sharing her knowledge and advice with us! Make sure to read her financial article in Hayati Magazine issue 13 about finances, and to check out her blog. Also, don’t forget to follow Papatia on Facebook and Twitter!