For this episode of MoneyRise User Story, we spoke to Charles and Yemisi, a brilliant couple helping brands and individuals build profitable businesses on managing their finances and investing as a couple. This is their story.

Can you tell us a little about yourselves?

Yemisi: My name is Yemisi, and I work with people to build profitable and impactful businesses. With my business, Triift Africa we finance and empower businesses making 5 million naira or less in a year. My other business Cirkle labs is a Consulting Firm that enables SMEs, big corporations, governments, development partners and others execute successful enterprise support programs. We also provide training and onboarding solutions as well as  strategic advisory such as business plans, pitch deck financial projections and so on . I also work with a number of accelerators and incubators, providing access to market, digital transformation and access to finance advisory to founders across Africa.

Charles: I’m Charles, probably half as adventurous as the lovely woman who is my wife. I’d say I am a storyteller at heart, and this has made its way into much of everything I love and do. I am a marketing and communications professional as well as a startup growth advisor. Ultimately, I help brands use stories to connect meaningfully with their customers and audiences, build and reinforce reputation, and put money in the bank while at it. I’ve done this across a number of industries notably Financial Technology (Fintech), Banking, Agriculture, Political and Economic Think Tanks, Development Organizations, and Governments.

Away from the boring stuff that pays the bills, I love good history and so you’d always find me reading obscure things and boring my wife with the details. I love a good podcast episode by my favourite preacher, Dr. Timothy Keller. Finally, the weekends are for Formula 1, and obsessing about driver, car and team performance in my own corner of the universe.

How long have you two been married for? 

Both: We’ve been married for three years and a few months, crossing our fingers for more.

At what point did you two start talking about money? And was it ever uncomfortable?

Charles: From the start of our relationship, I found out that we were completely comfortable and honest with our finances. My wife has always been very responsible, and money was simply a by-product of that discipline. Maybe there’s something about being firstborns that knocks some sense into your head early on. 

We aligned very early on about our money and money values. You know there’s this confidence you get with anything, when you know that the person you are doing it with has their head screwed on tight, and so ultimately even if you make mistakes, you are making them with a friend? This was us. I knew somehow that I could be wholly confident in her when it comes to money. We have always been financially accountable to each other.

Additionally, we didn’t have anything to prove to each other anyways, and there was just this unspoken truth that if we break ourselves trying to impress each other or even others, we were simply ‘doing ourselves’. Her ability to poke into details to get a sense of how I was doing financially was always a blessing, and I could always go to her when I was flat out, and she could do the same.

My wife and I have always had a future view of money. We always considered every big financial move deeply and tinkered hard on how we should invest our resources. This has played out in a number of businesses that we have done together, and in how we think about our lives in general. Something my dad used to say is, “Don’t try and keep up with the Joneses; the Joneses may be opulently rich, but they desperately want to be like you with nothing to prove to anyone.” So we are consistently looking at the numbers (well, she is smarter at this stuff than I am), and finding more and more ways to put investable resources in our future; money, time and relationships. It’s been an adventure.

How do you both handle your finances as a couple? Do you invest together?

Yemisi: First, I feel like I need to say that there is no one-size-fits-all with finance and marriage, as with most things, there’s just no template. Even with regards to conversations that people have widely around money, a lot of it can be influenced by their own experiences, expectations, personality and partner’s personality. I remember reading a story on Twitter where someone shared how he never lets his partners know what he earns because he grew up seeing his mom steal his dad’s money. He believes that if he lets his partners know what he earns, they will always want to take from him. But for a relationship to succeed, there has to be radical honesty and vulnerability; you simply can’t run away from it. There’s just no wiggle room if you want to do it right.

That out of the way, when it comes to managing our finances as a family, I don’t think that we do it the traditional way. We both earn our individual incomes and do our best to push each other to take advantage of wealth building opportunities. At the start of every year, we create a budget based on how much we had spent the previous year, as well as what we hope to achieve that year. We factor in macroeconomics. For example, if there’s going to be an increase in fuel prices, it means transportation costs will go up, food costs will go up, rent will most likely go up as well. All of these influence the budgets that we create. 

I do most of the household spending but the bulk of it often goes to food and transportation, while Charles takes care of the big ticket items. We have a percentage that each of us have to contribute towards certain things, but it is designed in a way that it is never a burden on the other person. Also, there are some periods when either of us has to handle certain things on our own completely.

We also try to diligently keep track of where our money is going to or coming from, and this really helps us to make better buying and investment decisions. Sometimes, at the end of the month we reconcile and compensate each other . For example, let’s say that I do 40% of food and Charles does 60%. Some months, I’ll likely spend 100% on food, and then at the end of the month, we reconcile that he’s supposed to send me the 60% I spent. You’d likely win at this method if you love record keeping; I do. Again, make your own rules, and make sure they prioritise you and your partner, not the money.

This year, we’ll probably consider having a joint account for putting in those percentages so that we just spend directly from there instead of doing it out of pocket. But so far, that’s how we’ve been doing it and it has worked for us.

Also, we prioritise using money to buy more time for ourselves, spend on the things we like and invest in our future. So there are day to day household activities that we have not done in years because we have delegated that to domestic staff. This also gives us time to rest, think and invest in our business, careers and in each other. 

Charles: A lot of the time, whoever has the cash actually does the spending. We also both invest on a monthly basis because keeping money aside is a non-negotiable for us. We try to live significantly below our means, so that we are not pressured to maintain a lifestyle that is simply killing us. This way, we open up a lot of money to save and invest in our future. We also make sure that we manage home expenses as a unit so that no one is under an extreme burden to take care of things all the time.

There’s this thing in the Bible about being unequally yoked? You simply don’t want to kill your partner. Marriage is a partnership built on love and trust and so more than percentages and excel sheets, just making sure your partner is okay and isn’t dying under the pressure of pulling their own weight is more important than percentages, excel sheets and formulas. Please note, I didn’t come to this understanding naturally; I had to learn from other married couples who had posted good lap times, see what I did there?

I did, and that’s amazing. Let’s talk about Rise, how did you learn about it? 

Charles: I think it was at the start of the pandemic, early 2020— one of those days I was holed up at the office. I’d downloaded this dull teal-looking app, and I came to like how managed it was and how I didn’t have to think too deeply about how the money grew— it just did. I remember being a bit sceptical about it because of the transparency of the assets, and the process at the time. But validity for me came after I found out that I knew some of its investors and a couple of respectable names who were using the platform to grow their investments. Even though my income was not significantly high at the time, we were prioritising investing in foreign assets as a couple. I made my first investment on Rise in 2020, when the dollar was about 400, then consistently started putting more money there.

It is also important to add that it was a beautiful step in the right direction. I’ve asked Eke a number of times how else Nigerians would have had access to global dollar-denominated investment assets if Rise didn’t exist? Because I look at a number of global platforms, and realise that most times, if you’re not from that country, you simply cannot invest with them. Plus investing is a full time job, and I am happy to leave it to the experts. The Rise team has done a lot in making this accessible for everyday Nigerians. So thank you; you deserve all the flowers in the world, but save some for my wife.

Thank you! This means a lot. So do you both invest as a couple on Risevest?

Charles: Yes, we invest as a couple, and then individually. In my context, more than 95% of my income actually goes into investing for our future needs, serving as a family investment. My wife does as well. Additionally, as a dad and husband in the Nigerian setting, what other priorities should I have other than actually making sure that money is kept aside to secure comfort for my family in the long-term?

I totally understand it. What plans do you have on Rise?

Charles: For us, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. So for investments, we default to stability over short-term quick wins. We invest in the real estate and fixed income plans for now. However, we’re considering playing around with stocks sometime this year. I’ve been reading very deeply about buying valuable companies early and at great prices. This experiment will likely be between 5 and 10% of our portfolio just to see what performance would look like over the long term.

That’s fair enough. Is that what Yemisi also invests in? Just real estate and fixed income? 

Yemisi: Yes. I am very risk-averse, so to a very large extent, I play it safe. Getting back a fixed amount in returns is better than money I’m likely going to lose even if the returns may be higher. Fixed income and real estate gives me just that.

Haha. That’s very valid. So how has Rise helped your investing journey as a couple?

Yemisi: The most obvious reason is that it has helped to protect our money from inflation, considering our investments are in dollars and how much value the naira has lost over the years. Imagine all you invested was $100 four years ago, it’d be worth more now than it was at that time. It also feels like a way to motivate myself. For instance, when I compare how much I had in 2022 to 2023 and the returns I have made, it makes me happy and pushes me to do more. 

Charles: With Rise, we are able to have a full view and even project what the next 10 years should look like. Also, when I open the app and see what we have invested, I am humbled by what the future holds if we keep up the consistency. Rise keeps me financially disciplined and responsible, and this is unintentional because I have forgotten to turn off the reinvesting feature. 

Additionally, compound interest is a wonder to behold. Seeing our returns yield returns and those returns yield more returns is absolute gold. Our dream? To wind down active work in the next 10-15 years, and trust Rise to help build that future.

What’s your favourite thing about using Risevest? And how likely are you to recommend Rise to people?

Yemisi: That’d be the customer service. I remember one time my friend was trying to set up her account and I spoke with someone on the team via Whatsapp who walked us through. It’s second nature for me to share wealth-building opportunities with others, and Risevest is one of those.

If you loved this episode of MoneyRise User story, and want Rise to help you build the financial future you want like Yemisi and Charles, click here to sign up or log in to your Rise app to fund your investment plan.