Emmanuel Asuquo [JR1] is fast becoming a familiar face on our television screens, sharing his expert advice on financial matters on various TV shows – whether on the BBC, Channel 4 or ITV. He has also amassed a large social media following on Instagram – 43,000 at the last count – where he talks all things financial, with a bit of the twists and turns of real life added in. Such is Emmanuel’s impact, his debut book, ‘Get Your Money Right’, has sold thousands, and people across the country are using the book to learn how to make the most of their money.
Emmanuel is one of a growing number of millennial believers making their mark in the world of finance and business. A qualified financial adviser, he was the youngest person to be appointed to the role when he joined Barclays Bank 15 years ago. He is now their ambassador and, aside from his TV work, he is a businessman, speaker, and event host. He is also a husband and father of four. Emmanuel spoke with Keep The Faith about his life, his work, and his plans for this coming Christmas season.
KEEP THE FAITH (KTF): Everyone uses money, everyone needs money, but there seems to be so much ignorance about money and wealth creation, particularly within the Black community. Why do you think this is?
EMMANUEL ASUQUO (EA): I think the main reason is because that’s how it has been designed. I think, as a people, structures and/or systems have designed us to be people who are workers, at the bottom of the pile, who maybe feel they don’t deserve ownership. So, we have been pushed into consumerism. If you look outside, you’ll see that, when it comes to fashion, music and culture, we are very much at the forefront. But when it comes to the people who own the fashion brands, the music labels, who push the culture, have ownership of the culture, or make money from the culture, that tends not to be us. And so, what’s happened over time is that we have got comfortable not having ownership and almost believing that we don’t deserve ownership, that ownership is not something that is for us.
KTF: It’s obvious, from your social media platforms and your debut book, ‘Get Your Money Right’, that you want to enlighten people about financial matters. What has inspired you to help people understand money?
EA: What has inspired me is my work as a financial adviser. When I started, I was the only Black person in my team, and when it came to clients, none were Black, and there weren’t many working-class people who were around in that environment either. Over time, I started speaking to my clients and learned how they’d made money. I found a lot of it had already been in the family, or came from working with other people and collaborating. I realised this information was missing in our community, and there was a gap where people needed to learn about money, but in a voice they could relate to.
KTF: Your book came out earlier this year. How have people responded to its content?
EA: The response has been phenomenal. People are using the book to have family discussions about money, to learn and build together. I tried to make Get Your Money Right humorous, easy to understand and digestible, so that people wouldn’t feel left out. My book is also available in bookshops and online in South Africa. It’s going really well. For me, it’s about spreading that message about financial education and getting it far and wide.
KTF: You are currently one of the few Black people who can be seen on national TV sharing your views about money matters. How did you become a media commentator on those issues?
EA: It wasn’t planned at all. It was just me doing what I felt was my calling, doing what I felt God called me to do, which is touching lives, and focusing on helping people. Channel 4 saw my videos about money on Instagram and invited me to audition for a show in 2019 called Save Well, Spend Better. That was the first show I got. We then had lockdown in 2020, and people were talking about money more. Then we had George Floyd, and media companies became conscious that they needed a Black voice to speak about money and that’s where I came in. I always tell people, don’t wait for the opportunity; go out and do what you’ve got to do, and the opportunity will find you.
KTF: Can you tell me a little bit about your upbringing, like your parents, where you were born, your siblings, and what you learned about faith and money during your childhood?
EA: My mum and dad came over from Nigeria to the UK. I’m the oldest with two sisters. My dad went to an Apostolic church in Nigeria, so when he came over here, he found an Apostolic church branch here, and we started going there. He is a church elder and accountant. He has always done the accounts for the church. When the offerings were collected, my dad is always part of the team that counts the money. So, we always had to stay behind at church. Sunday was a whole day. Faith was very important.
My dad is a strong Christian. Even when I went through my rebellious stage in my teens, I would come back late at night, and I would hear my parents praying for me. It’s those prayers that have carried me through. I really believe the reason I’m here today and have been successful is because of my parents’ prayers.
KTF: And what about your mother?
EA: My mum was a dinner lady at school. She chose that job on purpose to make sure she could be at home when we came from school. And that, again, was something that maybe kept me from being outside on the streets, like a lot of my other friends. Their parents weren’t home; not in a bad way, they were out working to support their family. That was a blessing and that’s a sacrifice my parents have made for me and, you know, I hope I’ve made them proud.
KTF: What made you decide to follow the faith of your parents and become a Christian?
EA: Number one, my name is Emmanuel and, from a young age, I’ve been told: “Your name means ‘God with us’.” I’ve gone to church my whole life. Was raised in Sunday school. My closest friends up until today are those I went to Sunday school with from childhood. I’ve always been in and around the Church. But when I accepted Christ for myself was when I got baptised as a teenager.
KTF: What have you learned from following Christ?
EA: The biggest thing I’d say my faith has taught me is to love God, but also to love myself. My validation doesn’t come from the car I drive, the house I live in or the clothes I wear. I already know that God loves me, and I know who I am in Christ. I know how Christ sees me and I know the gifts I have and who I am. I think, because of that, I’m confident to walk into all kinds of rooms and have that boldness to put myself in spaces where maybe other people feel like I don’t belong, or I shouldn’t be in. I have that faith in God and so I feel like that separates me.
KTF: You are a man of many talents, so can you share some of the other things you do?
EA: I’m an ambassador for Barclays Bank. I’m also Co-founder of Belvedere Wealth Management, which is a financial advice firm that’s FCA-regulated. I also have The Eman Effect, a financial education company where I do talks around the country and teach people who maybe aren’t ready for financial advice. I get them started in their learning and developing about finance, to get them on the road so they can start investing and so forth, because financial education is so important. Then I do a lot of brand stuff, with content for other companies, other brands, and so forth.
KTF: Can you tell me a little about your family?
EA: I’ve been married to Miriam for 12 years and we have four children. She has really encouraged me to not just keep my voice in the Church, but to put it out there into the world. Sometimes it’s so important, the partner that you have, because I never thought about social media before. I was so focused on just giving talks at church, and she was just like: “Don’t wait for church. You can do this.” Because she’s my wife and I trust her, her saying: “Go,” I just said: “OK, let’s do it” and look where we are today. I would say my wife is the biggest inspiration to why I’m on social media.
KTF: Christmas is a special time of year for many Christians. How are you planning to celebrate this special time of year?
EA: I’m hoping that we can go away for Christmas. I’d love that for my family, but at the same time, I would never kill the budget. I’m like: “Whatever we’ve got is what we’ve got, and if there’s not enough, then we’ll go away at another time.” Christmas for me is more about family, celebrating the birth of Christ and all the sacrifices God has made for us, and being appreciative of what we have. I’ve grown up having many Christmases where all we had was family and food, and that was OK. I’m not going to allow consumerism and presents and gifts to overtake the fact that Christmas for me has always been about spending time with your loved ones, taking time out from our busy schedules to make time for one , and just enjoying the things that are priceless.
KTF: What special message do you want to leave with Keep The Faith readers?
EA: I really want people to know this: aim to be intentional and good things will happen, and to have faith. Sometimes, as Christians, we can talk about faith and we can speak it, but sometimes we don’t believe it. You might not be where you want to be in life, and that’s for a lot of us, we want more. But at the same time, have faith. Be intentional. Do your prayers, but then also do the work. I think sometimes we’re doing the prayers and we’re going to church, and we’re speaking in tongues and we’re fasting and praying, but are we doing the work? It’s so important that we do the work and be consistent. I promise you that consistency over time will lead you to achieve whatever it is you want in life.
[JR1]Name checked online