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Opinions of Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Columnist: Roland Ofori, Contributor

So where did all the money go? The nine financial blunders young Ghanaian men commit

When a young graduate finally lands a job after university, it is such a big deal, even extended family members call to congratulate them????

Many of these men will go on to retire to a life they didn’t really want. Why?

It emanates from a series of blunders:

> 1. The Borrowed wedding:

A wedding is such a big deal in our society. The only problem is that most at times, the young man who is yet to establish himself financially will have to bear all the costs alone. Some can’t afford all the expenses and may be tempted to borrow some money to top up.

The wedding is done, people come and eat and drink and leave them to service their debt. The wedding gifts normally won’t bail you out????

> 2. The Borrowed House

After marriage, the young man often realizes his “chamber and hall” apartment is not big enough for his bride, he needs to get a bigger space, once again he borrows some money (say from a credit union)to pay at least two years to rent advance, compounding his debt.

> 3. The Borrowed Car

Then comes the pregnancy and kids, the young man realizes that a car is an absolute necessity to make life easier for the family. So when he is approached by those beautiful bank ladies for a cool loan deal, he jumps at this and buys that Toyota Corolla????. Repayment of the car loan alone can take up to 40% of his net monthly salary, whilst servicing the rent and wedding debts on the side.

> 4. The Family Savior Wahala

The young man soon discovers that the reason for the rejoicing of the family members. It is payback time. From siblings, parents, aunties, cousins, in-laws, including the distant relative who helped you cross the village river when you were five years everyone digs in to get their share of the young man’s fortune It is normally small tokens, but when aggregated is a big deal ( about 30% of annual salary)

> 5. The Seed Eaters Wahala

These are family, colleagues, and friends who borrow money from the young man with no intention to pay. They come up with all those emergency stories with the promise to pay the next month. They never pay. It normally ends in tears and ruined relationships.

> 6. The “Big Boy” Wahala

The young man would have hopefully made strides in his career at this stage of his life, which comes with more salary, but then the extra disposable income doesn’t go into savings or investments. Seeing themselves as “big boys “ they quickly elevate their spending, renting bigger houses with spare rooms hardly utilized, get bigger cars, family holidays etc.

> 7. The Two Masters Wahala

At this point in the man’s life, he would have secured a piece of land and started building his dream house normally with a bank loan whilst paying those huge sums of rent to his landlord on a yearly basis. Being indebted at the same time to the bank and your landlord is like serving two masters. In my view, it is better to serve one master( the bank)

> 8. The Strangling Wahala

The kids are growing, and so are their fees and other upkeep. Some may be ready to go to college, but Daddy didn’t have an educational investment. He needs to dig deep to sort out the kids’ education. There is still the ever-mounting family financial pressures. At this point in the man’s life, he earns a lot but has equally neck level expenses to match it

> 9. Where did it All Go Stage?

At this point, the man is in his mid-fifties, May still have college responsibilities to take care of. He may be putting finishing touches to his dream house( which took decades because of its gargantuan nature. It will later dawn on him that the kids will soon leave home and the six-bedroom dream house is too big for just the wife and himself

The bells of pension begin to sound louder as the days go by, only to realize that he had worked most of his years:

> a. For the banks servicing loans, he could have avoided with a lot more prudence,

> b. For landlords, paying unreasonable rent advance year after year for too long a time.

> c. Family and friends in his bid to becoming a one-stop solution for all their needs

He has worked for everyone except himself, without any financial plan set out at the beginning of his career, he will be at the mercy of his employer and loved ones at the end of his career.

Many men could enjoy a fulfilled retirement, if they had actively planned, instead they prefer to flow with the tide, unfortunately, some get sunk by the tides of life.

Get a financial plan the moment you start working, allow the power of compound interest to work hard for you, and make sure you enjoy retirement.

Remember that Joseph in the Bible had only 7 years to prepare for another 7 years of drought.

Ask yourself: After working for at least 30 years, If you are to live for another 30 years after your retirement, will you live comfortably financially or be at the mercy of others?

> #rolandoforispeaks #financialindependence #menmentalhealth #retirement

> (C)Roland Ofori( Author, Marketing Professional)

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