Neala and her husband Micheal.

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A path to financial security

By By Ayanna Alleyne

When you think about your financial status, what is the first thing that comes to mind? "I am so financially secure that I can retire right now?" Or is it, "can I just win the lotto already!" The lotto is the dream we all wish we could have but never attain.

But there must be a better way than living from pay cheque to pay cheque, balancing bills, and making ends meet.

According to one woman, you can make sure that you are debt free, or if you are in debt, there is a way to make your life a little easier and stop running, and avoiding phone calls, for fear that it might be a debt collector.

Neala Okuromade has been helping people manage their money for the past 14 years. But don't let her petite frame fool you. From the time the subject of money comes up, she goes into numbers-crunching mode and is determined to help you get your money back into your pocket and steer you away from making bad financial decisions.

Okuromade comes with very high credentials. She was born in Trinidad and Tobago, left at the age of 21 to study accounting and then decided to pursue her accounting career in England. She became an avid researcher for financial news, economics and investing institutions. She has managed finance departments and for a large property company where she financed a multi-million pound project setting up the finance systems and procedures. She was a financial controller of a property exchange service company which was later bought out by Nasdaq, and the associate Director of Finance of one of the fastest growing charities in England and Wales at that time.

This former El Dorado Secondary School pupil is the personification of success, drive, determination and the willingness to make a difference.

This passion has also allowed her to give one-on-one financial sessions to individuals needing budgetary and money management advice. She has counselled individuals on debt management and helped many out of debt to handle their money more effectively. She has also lectured at colleges and local communities and has received tremendous feedback.

With the success and experience she has gathered dealing with the people every day Neala, has decided to impart her knowledge in her book What's Your Financial Gameplan?

Her book is a guide and a foolproof strategy for any financial situation. It is very inspirational and is targeted to reach young people and start them on a course towards efficient money management. She uses two characters, Brad and Adam, who both work in the same environment, earn the same salary and end up at two different ends of the financial spectrum. "You go through Adam's life and Brad's life. They also have a few friends — Sally and Jennifer — who come along and become part of this journey. With great enthusiasm and desperately needing to change my own financial situation and also with the bewilderment as to what went wrong in my wallet, I asked Neala, "Is this book one of those complicated ones where I have to do advanced calculations before I get the gist of it?"

She said, "It is not only easy to read, but it goes straight to the facts and points; a money-management handbook that is recommended for every home and school. This is not a 'get rich, never have to work in your life' book; not even close, but it is guaranteed to help you utilise your money, encourage you to save and look at different levels of debt."

The glossary is very informative and explains exactly what is an Investment Fund, One-off Expense Fund, Surplus and Western Society just to name a few.

"Prevention is better than cure, and even a 70-year-old woman has read her book and realised that her retirement money was being poorly managed.

This is the first in a series of four books, the next being "What's your Investment GamePlan?" and two other books to follow. She is also bringing Brad and Adam board games which will soon be introduced. "I want this book to reach as far as the third world countries," she says, and together with her husband Michael who has been one of her biggest motivators in her pursuit of her financial journey, she is sure to succeed.

Michael Okuromade is also a lecturer. He began developing his talent in 1996 and got into rap music from the age of 16. He has since continued to flourish in his distinctive style as a motivational speaker and a rapper. Yes, a rapper. Not the 2Chains kind of rapper but, like Neala, he also wants to reach the young and young at heart, and is determined to show that not all rap has to be about throwing up money, the ladies, and the bling. With his comedic nature and ability to get the crowd pumped, he has created a new type of rap that can be "cool and hip" and can also inspire and educate. Neala and Micheal would love an opportunity to go into secondary schools where they can motivate and inspire young people with a half- or one-hour group sessions.

Micheal goes under the name 'Hiddenman', a name that was chosen from the Bible — 1 Peter 3:3-5 to be exact — and has stuck with him. He has worked with young people through his lectures, workshops and events. He visits prisons and youth groups and teaches how to make the best of a situation. Through his music, he has been able to build a rapport with young people. His CD, also titled Hiddenman, is filled with songs with catchy beats and high-impact lyrics. He has performed at Soul Survivor, New Wine and Lark in the Park festivals. After hearing it, I recommend the song "Good News" for your listening pleasure.

This couple is on a drive to reach every child, every adult, every home, every school and beyond, to let everyone know that there is a way to not only get out of debt but also to inspire a person through music. Michael and Neala are humble people, but talk about money and motivation and you see the passion and fire light up in their eyes. Their aim is to ensure that everyone gets the message; that the world opens its eyes through her book and opens its ears through his music.

You can visit her website bradandadam.com or email her at neala@bradandadam.com and Michael's at Hiddenmanmusic@gmail.com, on Facebook at Hiddenmanmusic, youtube: Hiddenmanmusic and Twitter: Hiddenmanmusic.

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