The Ghanaian Cultural and Religious Barrier to Young Couples’ Financial Freedom and Savings
When I was pursuing my first degree in Law in London, almost all my classmates were in a relationship and majority of them lived with their boyfriends or girlfriends.
I was dating a Ghanaian girl then, and even though she would have loved to live with me, basically so we can spend more time and fortify our relationship as well as save a lot of money, the fact that she believed in an obsolete Ghanaian cultural and religious convention which demands not to live with a man or woman not married to you—made a push for this impossible.
Meanwhile, a lot of our other classmates lived together in the same rooms with their partners and shared a lot of things, including cars and savings.
In doing so, several of our mates made good use of their student loans and incomes from work and invested in shares—while others bought their first properties, together.
It’s always good for two people to pull their resources together. It’s cheaper to live with a partner than both of you living independently and having repetitive costs.
This is something young couples should embrace and use the opportunity of sharing to save towards their future or becoming financially independent. But once again, culture and religion have become an unreasonable bulwark to the concept of cohabitation, which is immensely beneficial.Let me give you a practical example to make you understand this well.
If my monthly expenditure was 1200 pounds when I was living alone, now that my wife has come to live with me, my expenditure is let’s say about 1500 pounds( just about 300 or less increase) —there has just been a slight increase. My water bill, accommodation, TV licence, Internet and my other things remain unchanged in cost.
If we were living separately, she would have had almost the same monthly expenditure as mine, doubling our expenditure if added together.
But with both of us living together, we have a less total expenditure.
When it comes to income: if I was making let’s say 5000 pounds a month when I was living alone, now that my wife has joined in, she is adding a different layer of income, let’s say 1700 pounds.
This means, our income as a couple has increased tremendously, with our expenditure remaining very low, in comparison.
That’s a clear picture of one of the great financial benefits in “living with your partner.”
A lot of young Ghanaians are in relationships but they live separately. They f**k anyway, and if you are one of those who see this as a sin, then these people are already sinning. So what stops these people from living together and cut down on cost?
You work in a bank and makes 800 GHS a month. Your girlfriend works as a teacher and makes 800 GHS a month too. Your monthly expenditure is about 500 and it’s almost the same for your girlfriend. If you both decided to live together and share the bills, you would save a whole lot of money and build a great financial future.
But this is largely impossible in Ghana because a lot of Ghanaians have bought into a stagnant and obsolete belief that do not reflect the changing economies of our world—that unmarried partners should never live together.
When I look back at my finances a year ago when I was living alone and compare it to today that I am sharing income and expenditure with my partner, it’s undoubtedly beneficial to pull cost and income together as a couple—when weighed against footing the bills independently and not sharing incomes.
Financial planning is really important in life but in Ghana, conversations about minimising costs and boosting incomes hardly get any attention.
I know a lot of couples in the West who are not married but have bought properties together and have several investments together. In Ghana, I know none.
People are afraid to financially bond with their own chosen girlfriends and boyfriends. If you cannot trust your boyfriend or girlfriend with money, why do you trust such a person with your heart or body? That’s absurd!
Young Africans need to ditch the unfounded prohibition surrounding unmarried cohabitation and examine the real benefits such lifestyles bring—and embrace it.
Would you love to live together with your boyfriend or girlfriend? And why is it not happening?