The Money Wheel | Episode 17| Ken Confronts the possibility of getting fired.

Kosiso walked into a room full of young and middle-aged women facing a screen projector. No one noticed her as she took a place in the back row; they were watching the screen

and listening to the speaker as if their next breath depended on it. She was late, but she didn’t care. Her mind was on the baby growing inside of her. She was only here because

Saheedat wouldn’t let her be.

Saheedat had insisted that she call her financial advisor friend, Victor, who had invited her to this information session he hosted every month. Victor wasn’t good-looking. In fact, he was quite ordinary in appearance. But there was a confidence in his steps and gesticulations (even though he was wearing a custom t-shirt and jeans) that Kosiso admired. He seemed in control, and she wanted that.

“So let me recap what I’ve been explaining the last fifteen minutes.” His eyes held hers, as if he was trying to say that this summary was for her. “I’ve been talking about the 50-30-20 rule. It is a budgeting rule that divides your income into three segments: wants, needs, and savings. Obviously, your needs are expenses you can’t do without, like your rent, food, transportation, and so on. This should ideally take up 50 percent of your income.

Your wants are expenses you choose to take on. You don’t need these things to survive. Examples are vacations and membership fees. This can take up 30 percent of your income. Finally, your savings is income not spent; money you set aside for a rainy day. This category takes up the rest of your income — 20percent. “Your income should be spread across these three categories. So, say you earn ₦100,000 monthly. ₦50,000 of this should go into needs, ₦30,000 should go into your wants, and ₦20,000 should go into your savings.

If you’re new to budgeting and financial detailing, this is a quick way to account for your income. “Now I want us to go into the practical aspect of this session. I want you to take the piece of paper in front of you and make three lists of your expenses and put them in

these categories: needs, wants, and savings. In one corner of the paper, write your monthly income and then divide it in three percentages: 50%, 30%, and 20%.

After you’ve done that, put each percentage on top of the lists: 50% on needs, 30% on wants, and 20% on savings. When you’ve done that, I want you to look at your lists again and ask yourself how you’re doing. Does your 50% take care of your current needs? Can you save 20% of your income? We’re going to discuss your findings.” He looked at Kosiso and nodded at her. She looked at the piece of paper and began making her own lists.

Ken had been hearing some fearful things at work. Things too scary for him to tell his wife. Inflation was affecting sales, and the management had brought in new consultants.

These consultants had suggested halting some of their products to focus on the ones that were doing well. Some of these products were the ones Ken sold. The handwriting on the wall was clear: people would lose their jobs. His goal was now to confirm if his name was on that list. His gut told him it was. At 47, all he had was his BSc. He had no certifications or professional development or achievements he could use to wager his continued existence at the company. But this was not the worst part. If he got laid off, he could hardly see himself being employed at any of the big breweries. Not when there were twenty- and thirty something year olds with MBAs and several certifications.

The idea that he could be out of a job gave Ken palpitations so strong that he would stop, lean back, and breathe deeply. His first concern was his car. With no means to pay, he would surely lose it and be left with no choice but to hail okadas and molues. But Ken wasn’t one to stay down for too long. He began to think of businesses he could do to maintain his present lifestyle. The perfect business came to mind — he would go into the real estate business as a real estate agent.

It suited him well; he loved talking to people and could sell anything. Ken smiled, seeing himself selling houses in Lekki, Ikoyi, and Banana Island. He was sure this would lead to opportunities for him to own a property in Lekki.

Mrs Durodola sashayed into the staff room with a new dress, smiling as if something delightful had happened over the weekend. Layo shifted in her seat. This woman was the source of all her present grief. If she had just paid her loan when due, she wouldn’t be so far from her financial goal.

Mrs Durodola was talking about buying some jewellery for a wedding and how good her negotiation skills were to get it at a fair price. The nerve! Layo thought.

Right there and then, she knew who would be first on her list. Let’s see how many aso ebis she’ll buy when she has no job. It felt good to expend her anger about Mrs Durodola’s nonchalance to her debt, but as the day advanced, the weight of her task was so heavy on her mind that she didn’t stop to bid anyone farewell at work. She couldn’t bear to look anyone in the eye. At home, Ken was going on and on about his new business adventure and how much money he would make from selling million-dollar homes.

Layo didn’t have the energy to ask him serious questions like how much he really knew about the real estate business or how he would get people to trust him to sell their homes. She also didn’t have the energy to ask him why he had been staying away from Mr Kosoko. She expected him to pay the man more visits and cheer him up, but he’d found every excuse to avoid going to the landlord’s house, and she knew why. He was ashamed of what he’d done with the man’s sons, and instead of apologising, he was burying his head in the sand and pretending that all was well. Her energy was focused on getting home lesson jobs.