The Money Wheel| Episode 13| Layo’s Poverty Linked to Husband’s Financial Recklessness

When the plane took off and Kosiso reclined in her firstclass seat, she convinced herself that perhaps she was wrong and Ayo didn’t mean all the things he had said to her. He had called her up, asking if she wanted to go on a surprise trip and she had said yes. She still hadn’t gotten over being unable to travel during the pandemic. Now that things were going back to normal, she just wanted to reacquaint herself with the finer things of life without wondering if she was going to die or not. Kene was asleep on Ayo’s lap while he watched her. Kosiso wished they could just be like this, a family undivided by secrets and other children. She turned away and sighed, knowing she had to let go of this dream. She needed to accept that Ayo would never leave his family. “Babe,” she cleared her throat. “How far with the trust for Kene. Have you already done it?” She laughed nervously, hoping he wouldn’t take her question like an accusation.“Let’s talk about it later,” he whispered. “I don’t want to wake her.” “Sure,” she whispered back. This was the second time she was asking him, and his response was the same as the first time,  to talk about it later. Is he leading me on? Kosiso didn’t want to believe he was lying to her and that he had no intention of setting up a trust fund for their daughter at all.

It had been a week since Ken had been showing Mr Kosoko’s house off to new tenants and Babatunde was demanding results. The young man looked weary. “If you can’t find me someone by the end of the week, I will find someone else myself. I need money, so I don’t have time to waste. And if you don’t find me someone, the rent is going up.” Ken finally settled on a young, responsible-looking man called Ebube. The young man was an architect at one of the top architectural companies in the country. He was soft-spoken and didn’t ask too many questions. He didn’t even negotiate the amount Babatunde had told Ken to charge. The only thing was he wanted to move in as soon as possible. Babatunde had given him the key immediately. Ken was thrilled. He had managed to make an extra ₦100,000 from showing people Mr Kosoko’s house. In high spirits, he decided to visit Mr Kosoko to find out how he was faring.The man was sitting up, smiling and talking. Ken stopped, shocked to see Mr Kosoko faring better than he’d hoped. What if he wanted to come home?

A middle-aged woman sat next to him, holding his hand and murmuring something. Ken cleared his throat to get their attention and smiled nervously. His throat felt dry with his betrayal. What would Mr Kosoko say when he found out that Ken had been instrumental in getting someone into his apartment? “Ken?” Mr Kosoko’s smile faded. “You’re here.” “Yes. I know I don’t usually come during the day, but I just decided to stop by. I took a one-day leave.” The lie rolled out so smoothly that he was stunned. “Hmm,” Mr Kosoko said, sliding his hand out of the woman’s. “How’s…family?” Ken got the feeling that he had interrupted something. The woman sat still, her back turned to him. She did not turn to look at him or offer a greeting.“Good afternoon, madam…”“Tell Babatunde to come. I’m ready to get out of here.

Doctors want to see him before discharging me.” As Ken walked out of the ward, he wondered who the woman was. Mr Kosoko did not want to see him because of her. He knew the man dated some women over the years, but he didn’t think anyone of them had been special enough to warrant the treatment he’d just received. This woman was special, and he needed to find out why.

In the beginning, Ken’s money habits hadn’t mattered. They only had their first born and their responsibilities were manageable. There were times when he would buy them goodies, only to say the next morning that he didn’t have any money for foodstuff. It hadn’t mattered then because, atleast, he was buying them goodies and Layo learned to save something from them. Things took a different turn when Ken started coming home with new suede shoes and cotton shirts. He always said he got them on credit, but then there was suddenly no money to pay the maternity fee. This was at the time of their second child’s birth. When Ken came home one night with a full stomach and no money to offer her for feeding, Layo decided to get a job.

Ken had been upset. He accused her of trying to prove a point and demanded her resignation, but Layo refused. After many family meetings and countless tears, he finally adjusted to their new reality. But Layo found that her meagre income only worsened her husband’s spending tendencies. Ken would tell her to “borrow” him the money for the children’s school fees, the rent, and other bills. One day, he even told her, “Thank God you’re working. Now I can borrow money from someone I can trust.” Layo knew it was not a compliment.

Presently, she sat staring at two boxes of shoes a church member had put in her hands. “Mr Ken said I should drop them for him.” Another thing he had not paid for. She checked her EasyInvest app for the fourth time that day, as though doing so would conjure up money she had not invested. If the way you’re saving is not working well, maybe youshould try another way. Everybody needs financial planning. Saheedat’s words echoed in her mind, but Layo did not want to believe she was not a planner. It’s not easy when children are in the picture and there are many things to do. It’s not easy to plan when you don’t have money. Layo resented Saheedat. Who was she to think that the way Layo saved was not working? What effrontery! How could she plan when life had been unfair to her, binding her to a financially careless man? As far as she was concerned, the only thing to do was to try and make more money, and at the moment, Sister Tosan’s suggestion on joining her bring-people-to-earn money business was the best option