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Deb Is Still Figuring Things Out, But One thing is Clear… Paying Black Tax is What Motivates Her to Do More

There’s a kind of satisfaction I get sending money home. It’s indescribable, really. That’s the best thing.

BellaNaija.com

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At the beginning of 2019, the BellaNaija Features team resolved to pay closer attention to the younger demographic of its readers. With stories and feature series that focus on young Nigerians between the ages of 25 – 35, we hope to provide a platform for young people to tell the stories that affect them – within a society that handed certain norms to them. Paying Black Tax is one of those norms. Young people across the country, and even beyond the borders of Nigeria have to send money back home. The reasons for this concept varies, but the recipients are constant – parents, siblings, cousins and sometimes, even friends.

We started a conversation about this in this essay here, and it was a subject that resonated with a lot of our readers. We invited you to share your Paying Black Tax stories with us, and you ever so kindly indulged is. For this, we are eternally grateful. 

Over the course of the next few weeks, we will share a series of stories with you. People with different economic backgrounds and status describe their situations. We hope that you are inspired by the stories, and maybe realize that you’re not alone. In addition, we hope that this series helps you find a way out of any sticky financial situations you may be in.

We kicked off the series with D’s story. {Click here if you missed it}. Today we’re sharing Deb’s experience with Black Tax. Deb is a fresh graduate who is just rounding up her NYSC year. She writes about how paying black tax is easy for her because she does it out of love, and how she knows she won’t always be able to meet her family’s or her expectations, and that’s fine.

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How was it like growing up?

I would describe us as lower middle class. Dad was an industrial generators marketer, while mum was a teacher and later a school head. For the most part, we had just enough to cover necessities, but not much for frivolities. Things are a bit better now. I’d say it’s considerably better than when I was growing up. My sister and I both have good jobs, so we are able to contribute substantially to our family’s needs.

How’s it like, paying black tax?

I suppose it’s a mix of love and obligation. Ultimately I want to make life comfortable for my family, especially my parents, so sending money home for me is out of love. At the same time I feel responsible to help out since I’m now earning my own money.

I think it was just witnessing my parents struggle to give us the best, especially the best education, that made me decide to help out. From a young age I wanted to do something to help out. In fact, this was one of the major factors driving my performance in university and law school. And I support five people, excluding my older sister who is self-sufficient. They’re all aware of how much I make, including my elder sister. We’re very open with each other about money. That’s just the way we were raised.

I like that it has made me a bit more selfless than I probably would have been otherwise, because in taking any financial decision, I have to think not only of myself, but of the persons I support. Sometimes though, it makes it a bit hard to do things for myself. I think, also, that it taught me to grow up. I mean, even before I started earning, I knew that I had to, and wanted to, support my family. So I grew up a bit quicker than I otherwise would have, because I knew people were counting on me. But I don’t think it sets me back from the achievements of my parents at this age. If anything, I’m probably ahead of where they were at my age. Paying black tax actually motivates me to do more, be better in my career. And whenever I receive a financial boost, one of the first things that comes to mind is to split it and send some home.

So, the black tax that you pay, is it a fixed figure, or is it anywhere belle face?

Anywhere belle face oh! Haha! I try to pay an amount reasonable enough to cover expenses for a substantial part of the month. Of course, since my older sister does the same, it goes a long way. If a big expense comes up, such as school fees, everyone tries to pitch in, and I would have to tax myself more. I don’t demand any responsibility with the money, but I expect that it be used prudently, and it always is, so no issues arise there. I trust my family, especially my mum, with money, so I generally don’t question the expenditure.

Unless it’s totally out of my control, I would feel so guilty not sending anything, especially knowing that it might make things a bit tighter that month. There was one time I was supposed to send money home for something, but had overspent that month, so I ended up sending about half of what I should have. Mum was upset and I got an earful. In the end it worked out fine, but I had to learn to be more prudent with my earnings.

How are you combining adultin’, making a life for yourself, following your dreams, and paying black tax?

I’m still figuring it out to be honest. I’m basically entry level, because I left school barely a year ago. So this adultin’ thing is new to me. I’m fortunate enough to be in a career I enjoy, and to have supportive extended family members that make life easier for me. For instance, it would probably have been difficult to pay for an apartment on the island where I work, but I’m able to stay with extended family there, so that’s one less thing to worry about. I take each day at a time. I do what I can and leave the rest to God. The most important things to me are God, career and my family. Because, really, there’s a kind of satisfaction I get sending money home. It’s indescribable, really. That’s the best thing.

Some things I’ve learned are: Paying black tax is easier for me because I do it out of love, so I’m not resentful about it. Sometimes I have to put myself first and do things for myself; and, I won’t always be able to meet my family’s or my expectations, and that’s fine too.

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If you enjoyed reading Deb’s story and you’d like to share your story on Paying Black Tax, please reach out to us by sending an email to [email protected].

1 Comment

  1. Franca

    October 22, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    Deby, great girl. so proud of you.

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