How to escape being your family’s ATM

How to escape being your family’s ATM

Dealing with personal and family members and loved ones is tricky at the best of times. Throw money into the mix and things can get complicated very quickly and the burden of helping out can definitely become tricky

Saving money has been identified as one of the biggest challenges that we face as Nigerians, due to the existence of the “family tax” system where an individual serves as the breadwinner or sole contributor to the expenses incurred by his or her family. The black tax as it is usually referred originated from the South Africans and is a tradition so common even in Nigeria today.


The main concept behind the “family tax” system is that a person’s salary is usually portioned off to support older parents or an extended family while the particular individual tries to balance his or her own finances. This puts one’s responsibilities in a ‘sandwich’ making it difficult for the individual to save money, invest in beneficial business opportunities. In many cases, this tax system has been passed down to future generations, preventing the possibility of creating generational wealth.


The consistent trend of difficulty with savings due to this “tax” can lead to a vicious cycle of generational dependency if not well managed.

When does sharing your earnings with your loved ones become harmful?

When you find yourself not being able to take care of your necessities because you are too busy helping others, a line needs to be drawn. You need to balance yourself to be able to sustain the help you lend out to others.

As sharing from what is not properly managed can only make things worse for the one who is being the good samaritan. So the big questions are:

  1. How can you manage your personal finances better?
  2. How can you effectively juggle your needs and the needs of your loved ones who matter to you?


To help answer these questions effectively, we have a few suggestions:

  1. Understand that even though the “family tax” system is unavoidable, you have a right to keep the total value of your income to yourself. In other words, make your income your personal business.
  2. With you in control of your income, you can commit to saving part of your earnings and tracking your spending using a budget. Your savings over a 3-6months period, can earn you an investment spot with a secured and sustainable platform like FinAfrica.

You can learn more about FinAfrica Investment plans here. (

These two steps are critical to achieving success with the next steps.

On juggling your needs with those of others you love, you should consider the following suggestions:

  1. In your budget, set out a particular amount for the family tax and stick to it. How do you stick to it? Pay yourself first and place up your savings and investments in a secure platform such as FINAFRICA, then channel your monthly return on investment to your loved ones. Finafrica can help place your loved ones on a “salary” this is one effective and practical way to manage the challenge of over dependency by your loved ones.
  2. Set a necessity test: People find a way to move to other people when they can’t get money from you. ​T​ake care of your own necessities and see yourself as number 1 on your priority list. This will help guide what you spend your income on. Necessity items include survival needs — feeding, housing, schooling and health.
  3. Learn to say “no”: This is probably one of the most important tools for preventing unplanned spending. In life, challenges will always come up, if the situation is not life-threatening and doesn’t pass your necessity test, you can easily turn down the request. Saying no is a lot easier when you have this mentality.
  4. Help others become rich: If you are the only rich man in your family, then there’s a problem, you can teach others how to become rich, train them and monitor their progress. This will help reduce the level of dependency other people have on you.

A choice to manage the family tax mentality will not only help you do better with your savings and build wealth, but it will also prevent you from becoming dependent on your children when you get older also. Do them a favour by making the right choices today.


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