Thoughts on Black Tax (Family Contribution)
You may be wondering what black tax means? I also wondered about it myself the first time I came across the words. According to NewswireNg, “black tax is the extra money that black professionals are expected to give every month to support their immediate and extended families.” This could range from the pocket money you are expected to send to your parents, allowances for your siblings, friends or other relatives.
While I understand what it refers to, I do not really understand why it is called “tax” even though the source of the definition says that it is called tax as there is some form of entitlement to the request and some form of emotional blackmail which may be involved if request is not met.
Tax to me refers to something “compulsory” and as much as I welcome the idea of “black tax”, I think calling it "family contribution" is much more appropriate.
For the purposes of this blog post, I will refer to “family contribution” as “black tax”. This topic came up within a group I am a member of and there were some very noteworthy contribution and ideas about it from other members which I felt to share here. I will be concluding with my own thoughts on the subject.
Charles had this to say:
“I've had my own share of black tax and looking back, I choose to see it as me being in the position to help someone in my family else it would have been a different story altogether. How can I have peace of mind if I have 2M in my savings account and my sis needs 300k for school fees?
Family always comes first. That's why when you're successful and you don't have your family behind you, you feel a vacuum.
Also, I believe in paying yourself first. Bro, sis, you don't wake up by 4am every day, enter traffic, lose your mental health and happiness at work, enter traffic back home, fight with lastma and agbero and then at the end of the month you go home with 10 percent of your salary.
My recommendation is to only pay black tax where it’s a matter of life and death and it’s a core need e.g school fees, food and Co.
All that said, don't feel bad for paying black tax. It’s a privilege. Tables always turn and it could be you in need tomorrow.
Also don't feel bad for saying no to unnecessary black tax. Example Money for wedding, phone and Co. It’s your money. And the more you say No, the more they'll know that you're serious about being Conservative.
Satisfy your conscience always.
My two cents. Constructive criticism allowed please.”
I liked the fact Charles mentioned the vacuum one feels when one if one becomes successful and leaves his or her family behind. Highlighting the importance of each one of us seeing how being connected to family and seeking to help out family helps us feel fulfilled and find some meaning in life. Now family is not just about blood relations alone. As much as you should assist blood relatives when you are obliged to, also be open to helping friends, associates or even strangers who you can. They are also family in a way, when you see the bigger picture of existence.
I also like that he also mentioned that you should not feel bad for saying “No” sometimes. While it is a great privilege and virtue to be able to help out, sometimes you may be in a situation where you cannot help for the time being. And at such moments, you may have to say “No”, except when something is a life threatening situation, which may lead you to encroach into your investments. You should know when to pull back.
Another member and a friend Joseph Okoroafor shared his opinions in response to the previous:
“Mostly my position. I’ve shared these thoughts with you before.
Only that I’d add that it is important to have family do well even when it causes you more pain now. Pay for the wedding, if you can, and the phone. Most importantly invest in their education.
It will free you up later. If it does not, you’ll still continue to do your part. Shebi na God Make you Black man from that family.”
Joe also added:
“The God that has brought me to my own small family did not plan to kill me oooo.
It is so hard and sometimes I want to run away, run mad or take a pill. But that is antithetical to God’s Design.
I have also learnt that he provides for us things we need for now…
God does not give us crosses that will kill us. His Grace is sufficient.
… black Tax may slow us down from buying bitcoin or making ‘generational wealth’. It has saved us from getting burnt... Again, invest in education and skill of people under your care for the time you are better placed.
This will ease you up a lot.”
“Of course this are mostly thoughts, some of them are already in action.
I do not know who needs to this. But you will NOT die because of Black Tax.
Also do not forget to invest in yourself while you’re building your family. Take vacations, get married (tell the woman your plans, let her see the vision and buy into it), get a Masters. Go abroad to increase your earning power and send more money home.
You’ll be fine.”
Joe made the point about building generational wealth and that if you build the capacity of people you are in a much better position than, it will ease you off the burden because these people themselves have become empowered to build wealth just like you or even much more.
He highlighted the importance of doing our best to help even when it inconveniences us to a point. I really get his point. And I know there are levels of inconvenience we should be able to tolerate for a greater good. But of course, such inconveniences should not put us in an incapacitated position, for even the ones we would want to make such sacrifices for wouldn’t want us to lose everything we have because we want to assist. I believe you get my point.
Here is my take on the topic:
I believe we are wired to be of assistance in our respective families. And that is why one begins to feel a vacuum when one starts becoming too distant or not contributing in any way to the families they are a part of. Naturally, we all were created to solve problems; our problems and assist others in solving theirs. No man is an island, this is natural law.
While black tax may seem tasking and offensive to some, being able to contribute positively and support one’s family in any way, has a great measure of fulfillment attached to it. And that’s why we must not be completely averse to it.
However, we must also be very conscious of our own lives and not lose ourselves in the process of contributing to the lives of others. When it may be very inconvenient for us to support, we have to politely let our dependents know the situation we are in instead of just saying “No” to them.
A lot of parents from struggling homes gave everything they had to ensure their kids get a good education and become relevant to society, and when these children are able to earn a living, they are strongly expected to support the family and contribute to taking care of others during the old age of their parents. This is not a bad thing. It’s part of why you are in that family. And in taking up such responsibilities for others, you put a smile on their faces and find your fulfillment through those things.
Mother Theresa said and I quote, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” It’s such a simple quote, yet highlights the importance of family in the world as a whole.
Black Tax which is family contribution is a great thing and a privilege some us should be glad to have. While this should not be understood by others as being entitled to your money, it should be seen as an opportunity to make life better for your family and build their capacities to earn just like you. You must not run away from it, rather in situations where you cannot do some things, explain to your dependents and still show your support no matter how little in such times.
Like Joe said, “God’s grace is sufficient.” Being in a better position to support your family is such a great blessing that should not be toiled with... there’s happiness, fulfillment and great sense of meaning attached to it. But you should know your limits and also invest in your own life while fulfilling this obligation.
Cheerfully contribute to your family and keep winning!Ike Nigel