BLACK TAX: FAMILY LOVE OR BURDEN?

Time and again we hear talks about the black tax and how it affects the average Nigerian youth. Right from childhood, people are made to understand that they shouldn’t forget where they come from when they make it in life. Children are made to carry this thought into adulthood thereby putting unnecessary pressure on them even before they start working. When these individuals eventually start working they are given no breathing space as billings come from all corners. Sometimes, these requests are ones that cannot be avoided because of unnecessary blackmails and guilt-tripping. Individuals end up not climbing the social class ladder because of unending expenses.

What exactly is the black tax?

Black tax is a term used to describe the compulsory duty of a child to support his parents when he starts earning. He is expected to help lift the burden of the parents by assisting financially in some areas of the home. Back in the day, it was meant to uplift the family when one child makes it. It was a positive move to bring the family out of poverty by empowering siblings and parents such that everyone is able to stand financially on their own. Helping your parents or family is not a bad thing but where it becomes an issue is when they try to offload all the burden on you which would definitely be a lot for you as a young hustler.

Peter, a 35-year-old man said, “I was the first son of my family and so, naturally when I began to earn money the responsibility to assist financially fell on me. I gave a lot that drained me and I had no finance of my own. I couldn’t achieve any personal or financial goal because of the pressure to provide for my family. I had to sit down and talk to my parents to allow me to breathe”. According to him, he had to beg them to allow him to fly so that he could help them”. It seemed like he was still finding his footing and struggling to fly because the family kept holding his wings. He was even expected to train his siblings. Thankfully, his parents were understanding and allowed him to fly. Today, Peter sends not less than 100k to each of his parents every month.

Family love or burden?

While black tax is a way of helping your parents in the little way you can and showing them that you appreciate all they’ve done for you, it could be a burden when parents decide to push all the responsibilities to you. The responsibilities can include paying for your siblings’ education, providing food, paying house rent, and so on. All this could be too much for someone that is still finding his/her footing. Hence the question of whether children are their parent’s retirement plan. The answer to this question is dependent on the individual as there is no right and wrong answer. While it would be good to help your family or establish your sibling, it shouldn’t be a case of parents relying solely on their children for survival. After all, rich people rarely expect anything from their children as they already have plans put in place for retirement. As earlier said, it’s not a right or wrong answer but depends on the individual.

How to make sure black tax isn’t affecting your finance

Analyze your finances

First of all, you have to know your income inflow and outflow; how much you make in a month, how much goes out, how much you spend on yourself, or how much you spend on others. By knowing all this, you can easily determine how much you afford to send to family without being at a disadvantage.

Determine how much you can afford for black tax

By analyzing your finances, you know how much you can afford to give for black tax. If it would make anything better, create a budget for strict accountability. Fola, a 28 years old man said, “To create discipline, I set aside an amount each month to send to my parents. I’ve also made them understand that it is what I can afford. Anything that does not involve someone dying will sort itself out. I’ve decided to be intentional about my finances because of past experiences”.

Set your priorities

Setting priorities is important in creating a budget and paying black tax. You need to know what is important and what is not. Your financial and personal goals also have to come into play. In paying black tax, you also have to consider what is more important. For example, consider if it would be better to take care of your sibling’s school fees or provide food for your parents so that they don’t starve. You also have to state your terms of satisfying any of the above needs clearly so that there is no misunderstanding. That is, you could make it clear that you would only pay the school fee without extra expenses or you would send money for staple foods only.

Help must not always be financial

We must not always lift people up by helping them financially. Just like the popular quote says “knowledge is power”. You can help your siblings be financially independent by sending them important information and opportunities (job or school) they can leverage. Instead of giving them the fish, you can show them how to fish so that they are not dependent on you. You can also show your parents how to make money passively or show them businesses to start to be financially independent.

Wrapping up

Helping people or family who contributed to your development doesn’t have to be detrimental to your finance. Sometimes saying no is the best answer you can give if it won’t be favorable for you. In addition, creating a budget and sticking to it is a great idea to control how much you spend especially towards black tax.

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