Black tax to the majority of the black workforce is really the norm. If you did not know it, BLACK TAX is real and many people pay it – for generations and generations. Black tax describes when young black people (sometimes who have graduated from university who have well-paying jobs) share their salary with their immediate and extended family while trying to make ends meet for themselves. This is the case for the majority of the black workforce when they graduate from university and get a well-paying job as they see it as their responsibility to take care of their family members who are in a financial crisis. Black tax is actually a burden which has resulted in sandwich generations where the sandwich generation supports the generation above them and the generation below them as well. This black tax is then further passed down to the next generations because of failure to create a wealth of the sandwich generation as they will be drowning in the black tax with a fixed salary.
The sandwich generation has very little to no savings at all. Most of the times they end up failing to live within their means and this has a negative effect on their future. Although thousands of young black people have become agents of change through assistance from innovative individuals, scholarship trusts, business philanthropists and political actors for them to fully assist their family members in the form of black tax and maintain their status, this is not always the case with the majority of the population. There are ways in which wealth can be created for people drowning in black tax however, they have to acknowledge first that they are living above their means. This acknowledgement will enable them to make the decision to create wealth and change their lives because change only comes from within.
Signs that you are drowning in black tax
You are working really hard, you are earning pretty good but you are in a financial crisis. Even though you accept the responsibility of helping and taking care of your family, evidently it is overwhelming. The irony of it is that one’s financial success is on hold because of the financial responsibilities he/she has. There are signs that show you are currently drowning in black tax which are:
- Every month you save less than five percent of your net salary or nothing at all
- Every month you actually spend more on your car (if you have one) than on rent
- You spend more than thirty percent of your net salary on a home loan or family responsibilities
- You need a credit card to survive
- You have unmanageable debts
However, the key to not drowning in black tax is acknowledging that you are currently drowning in it and you really need to make some adjustments to your lifestyle with a budget plan that leads you to financial freedom. Learning to say no to your family helps improve your financial position and also assist in managing your family’s expectations.
Investing in your family means future financial success for both them and yourself however black tax affects the majority of the youth’s aspirations. You’re persuaded that your family’s monthly tithe is fair and reasonable and that you can afford it. Until the day you have an important meeting with your manager and new customers, your car breaks down in the middle of a busy intersection – and you remember the questioning “Are you sure you can handle this account?” by your boss. As the tow truck drives off with your car and you remember that you had to pay for the gas to drive family members to a funeral for the money that it would cost you to fix it. We have been taught that every extra money that we have should go to support our families and if you are lucky with a job it is seen as your duty to take care of everyone.
How to generate more money – Road to financial freedom
So since you are not earning for yourself alone but for your grandparents, parents, siblings and your children, this means that you cannot fully decide how to spend your money which can seriously impact your lifestyle and your ability to create wealth. To overcome this and balance between family expectations and your own needs we have created the following list to assist you to generate money:
- Do not share with anyone your actual salary – telling people how much you earn is too much information to pump out. Your income is your business and it is your right not to share this with anyone. This gives you room to do more budgeting and financial planning without getting much pressure from the family members.
- Do not be the family’s ATM – have some rules and grow a thick skin. Be able to stand up for yourself and say no sometimes. This will give you room to pay for what you can only and stick to that. Have open conversations about money with your family without disclosing your payslip, telling them your financial goals and showing them your current expenses so that they understand that you cannot afford to pay for everything for them.
- Live within your means and create budgets – do not live above your means and go into unmanageable debts. Set financial goals and budgets which you stick to always. Use free tools that can help you achieve this and demonstrate healthy financial behaviour to your family and children.
- Enjoy your income – make sure in your budget you include yourself and not neglect yourself. Neglecting yourself may result in feeling desperate to find ways to break free about family unity just for you to do something for yourself. Try building a legacy for your children to break the sandwich generation.
Setting boundaries and choices are very important in life. After all, it is your money, even though the family helped you to get to where you currently are you can still help them and make room for self-improvement and financial freedom. Learn new skills and look for side hustles to ensure you do not go in debts for other people and bridge the gap for the money needed to make ends meet. If you do not set these boundaries, you might get to the point where you feel resentful towards those very members of your family who helped you on your journey to success. Be true to yourself and your needs and feel in control of yourself. At first, it may be difficult, but long-term, it will earn you some respect, and you will feel a sense of achievement in your own life and family life. Finding a balance between your financial responsibilities and taking steps towards your own financial goals will give you peace of mind. Never be a victim – you alone can take control of yourself.