Love & Other Funds is a monthly PiggyVest series that explores how Nigerians are spending, thinking, and dealing with money in their relationships — romantic or otherwise.
Oreoluwa Shonibare, founder of WiiCreate, and Oreoluwa Macaulay-Shonibare, a performance poet and lawyer, met on Twitter in 2017 while they were both students. Within a few months of talking, they started a relationship, and in April of 2022, they got married.
For Love & Other Funds, they talk about managing class dynamics, dating right out of university and how they complement each other financially.
How did you two meet?
Oreoluwa Macaulay-Shonibare: We met on Twitter. I followed him because I saw that he had a keen interest in poetry. It was cool to see a young man write poetry so well, design it, and do that consistently.
We got familiar over interactions on the timeline, but in December of 2016, he put up a tweet about Pastor Adeboye, and I found his perspective interesting. I sent him a DM to ask why he thought that way and things just progressed from there.
Oreoluwa Shonibare: I have a different recollection of events, and it wasn’t Pastor Adeboye. I think the first conversation we had in the DMs was initiated by me. I sent a DM saying “I’ve never been here before,” along with a Kermit The Frog gif. She said I was funny, and then I introduced myself. Things progressed nicely from there.
Did having the same name contribute to the attraction?
Ore S: It did cross my mind, and I thought it would be cute, but that was all.
Ore M: Same for me. I’d thought about how cute it would be if we ended up together, but it wasn’t more than that.
How did it go from the DMs to a relationship?
Ore S: I took a Twitter break for about a month to prepare for exams, but by the time I returned, it looked like someone had missed me. She asked if we could move our texts to WhatsApp. She asked for my number, and as a benevolent king, I thought, why not?
Ore M: We started talking properly in 2017, getting to know each other as friends. After about four months of talking to each other almost non-stop, he told me that he really likes me and he’s hoping to marry me. I was 19, and he was 20.
Ore M, what did you say?
Ore M: I ran, really. And that was out of fear of what was before my eyes; what I had no control over. I had a warped mindset about relationships, and that impacted the way I handled it. I realised I liked him too, but I didn’t know what to do with all of that. My focus, at the time, was to finish school, do excellently well, start my career and be the successful woman that I was raised to be.
Only after all of that would I even consider a relationship. But he was offering a relationship in the hopes that we would get married. He saw a future that I hadn’t pictured and that scared me. I like to be in control, and this felt out of my control.
After six months of thinking everything through, I said yes and agreed to be his girlfriend.
Oreo S: I should point out that the whole time, she was in Birmingham and I was in Bowen University.
What were your financial backgrounds like?
Ore S: I come from a family of civil servants; my mum and dad work for the government. We were not ballers, of course. All my siblings went to federal universities. I am the only one in my family who went to a private university, and that was because I got a scholarship.
In Bowen University, I started delving into entrepreneurship with graphic design. That got me on the path of financial independence.
Ore M: I won’t say my parents were very wealthy, but we were sort of comfortable. My parents were very conservative spenders, though, and that was impressed on us from a very young age.
I went to private schools from the beginning of my education, and then I had my university education in the UK; it takes quite the resource to afford this. I used to help my mum sell in her shop from when I was 10, so that gave me an early appreciation for money. Then when I turned 14, I started getting pocket money — my parents thought it would be a good way to teach me money management.
Ore S: I think one of the comments I got a lot from my classmates when we started talking was that she was out of league, and I was like ‘God punish league!’ I think, more than anything, I trusted my ability to manage and multiply resources.
Money was never a tool of attraction for me, so I had to actually learn about human relationships, emotional intelligence and kindness. Ore isn’t materialistic either, so I never had to focus on the difference in our finances. It also helped that we didn’t see each other face-to-face until she returned to Nigeria, after we had started dating.
When did money start being a major subject in your conversations?
Ore S: We started talking about money pretty early. Since we couldn’t meet face to face at the beginning of our friendship, our conversations were pretty much all we had. So we explored practically every topic.
Ore M: When we met, Ore had started making money from graphic design, so he would always share money milestones with me. Sometimes, it’d be that he made ₦10,000 from a gig, and we’d just celebrate that moment.
After his first exposure to my parents’ status, he sent me a message reaffirming his love, telling me that he might not be able to afford all the best things for me, but the one thing I could bank on was the genuineness of his love.
Ore M: I understood the value of what he was saying because I wasn’t looking for someone who believed that my satisfaction with him was in his wealth or status. And that was one of the things that made me say yes to him.
I was initially scared that when he saw where I came from, he would start to feel like he wasn’t good enough for me. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case.
I imagine that dating in Lagos is expensive. How did you guys manage that, having just left school?
Ore M: Today, I went to Ice Cream factory and got muffins for Ore and I. While we were there, I remembered how Ice Cream Factory is one of our favourite places. It holds many memories because it was a budget-friendly place for our dates, and a lot of our dates were budget-friendly.
After university, I went to law school and money would be tight sometimes because we were practicing delayed gratification and learning to prioritise our needs over our wants. For some time, I didn’t even have airtime, and someone kept anonymously sending me money.
I would get alerts for ₦5k, discuss with him, and we would even pray for the person. I suspected it was him, but I didn’t have any way to prove it. The third time, I just asked him directly, and then I knew it was him.
How did that make you feel?
Ore M: After discovering he was the one sending me money, it made me very uncomfortable and I resisted because I didn’t want to owe him or give the impression that I wasn’t able to fend for myself. I also didn’t want him thinking I wanted his money or depended on him. Somehow, this whole episode improved the financial transparency in our relationship because I had to sit with myself and interrogate why I was so averse to what was clearly a genuine show of love.
So I did the internal work and let go of my fear and discomfort. I allowed myself to believe the truth — that I was not just emotionally, mentally and physically safe with Ore but also financially safe.
Ore S: We were always very intentional about what she had and what I had and how much we wanted to pull together. Our thinking was always that we were planning for a future together, not necessarily debit alerts together.
The first time we ever went out together to buy things, I gave them my debit card at the counter, and she asked why I wanted to pay for both of us. That’s when I even learnt about going dutch. And of course, I liked it. But more than that, it felt like this person was looking out for both of us.
What’s one financial goal you’ve worked towards achieving?
Ore S: One of the goals I had in my head at some point was to change her phone. And I saved towards it.
Ore M: I actually cried when he bought it.
Ore S: She was swept off her feet. But I wanted to also take responsibility for making her happy. We didn’t compare ourselves with each other and with others. We determined the places we wanted to go, and how much we wanted to spend.
Ore M: Our dates were cute and they were a reflection of us — our contentment, our satisfaction with one another and a good awareness of our status. There was no point to prove. We understood what we were building towards and how to get there.
You guys seem to have achieved openness within a short span of time. How did you pull that off?
Ore S: I was the one who opened up first, letting her know how much my allowance was, how much I got from gigs, etc. And this is as far back as when I was being paid ₦5k for design gigs.
When I’d tell her about these gigs or income, she would be so excited. And that encouraged me to keep going. If one person doesn’t open up first, the relationship can’t be open.
Ore M: I think we also knew very early that for the sustainability of what we were trying to build together, financial transparency was key. And the earlier we got there, the better for the relationship. So we just made the relationship devoid of pressure.
How did you guys plan for what happens after marriage?
Ore S: The moment we started the relationship, we had almost all the conversations within the first 18 months — how we’ll manage money when we get married, structures we have in place ahead of a wedding, how much we should have in the bank etc.
I wanted my company to grow to a level where it could take care of me, and she also wanted to get a job. So once we crossed that line, we started taking savings really seriously.
Did you have any structure around your savings and investment as a couple?
Ore S: I mean, joint accounts were created for a function, even though I know people have abused it. So we’ve always worked with the structure of having each person give a percentage of their income just for the family. And even out of that, there’s also a percentage given to savings and investments.
Because there are so many bills — rent, feeding, water, power, etc — having that account everyone has given into just works. If we’re going out, we know our spending account and our spending budget.
Ore M: And we’ve always tweaked that at different points, in line with what works for us. I guess we work from the knowledge that marriage is a pooling of resources, and we take joint responsibility for managing the household. Everyone has their personal costs, which they’re free to spend on, just with the knowledge that we have goals we’re working towards as a family. So no Ferraris. Except of course, the Ferrari brings in money for the family.
The success of the structures for saving and investment which we adopt in our marriage relies heavily on transparency, togetherness, supporting one another, chipping in, knowing each other’s excesses and creating healthy boundaries around that, agreeing on financial thresholds for expenses (and revisiting as often as possible), and jointly working towards financial milestones for the family and for ourselves as individuals.
What’s a practical way money problems are solved in the family?
Ore M: Money problems are firstly always solved from a place of togetherness. From jointly brainstorming and agreeing on how we want to solve it and when.
If it’s a lack, we discuss why there’s a lack and if we need to meet the lack or want to. It may involve deprioritising other plans or moving some resources around. Money problems are always approached from a safe, loving, wise and solution-focused perspective.
What’s a financial trait you love about each other?
Ore M: It’s his foresight. His ability to spot high-yielding investments and his knowledge about the market. I don’t have to worry about our finances — he’s proven himself to be trustworthy when it comes to them.
He’s the one who basically taught me financial management. From when he was about 21, we’d sit on calls for hours and he’d teach me about investments, returns, savings, investments and even Safe Lock on PiggyVest. Majority of all the financial tips I know in my day-to-day life are because of Ore, and it’s one of the reasons I married him.
Ore S: I struggle with intentionally enjoying my life because I’m always thinking about the future. She teaches me to chop life a little.
Ore M: That even shows we complement each other.
What’s a financial hurdle you’re hoping to cross for your partner?
Ore M: Short term, I want to get him a playstation. I know he likes gadgets ,and I want to invest in that. Long term, I want to put together a huge amount of money and just give it to him.
Ore S: I want to buy her a ticket to an African country.
This is so beautiful. Thank you so much for speaking with me.
Ore M: The pleasure is ours.