Yesterday a friend of mine read the article I published on black tax. Since she was part of the crew that never really understood what black tax was , she revisited the first article so she can gain some background into the concept and then came back to finish the article.
She gave feedback of how this was insightful for her and how she could not believe what a difference there is when compared to their Afrikaans culture. She hails from a not so wealthy family. Her parents are relatively “low paid” salaried employees , nothing out of the ordinary but what surprised me is how things are done at home.
Unlike my family, where as an educated child I am expected to help at home, her story slightly differ because her parents are educated and have money of their own. Despite that the followings came to my surprise:
- When she moved out from home, her parents gave her furniture, linens as well as some of the kitchen items. This is to just help her start a new life on her own. On the contrary, I would probably be expected not to take staffs from home since I now work and I supposedly have money of my own to purchase the items.
- She studied and worked part time because her parents did not have money to send her to university full time and did not want her to take a study loan because they did not need her to start her career with a mountain of debt to repay. This is actually a sound option but rarely have I heard that in my community. Either parents are too poor to qualify for a loan, or they just do not think of the financial implication of study loans or simply the child does not have the financial knowledge to assist the parents in making the right decision.
- She worked for over 9 years without a car. Found a place close to work so that she can just walk or maybe gets lifts from friends if she need to go far. Not that she does not qualify to buy a car with the bank , she simply decided she could not afford. After her studies were done, she started saving for a car and after reaching a decent amount, her dad added a bit so she could buy her Jan-japan Nissan march. With us, if you work for that long without buying a car, people will think you are stingy. If you buy a not so good car, then they are not impressed. It’s a mental thing.
- If her gyser breaks in the middle of the month, her dad will probably chip in to help with the costs. I hardly even think of asking my mother money even if I know she might have. It just feels like reverse thinking.
- And to seal it all, when you decide to get married- the wedding costs are mainly covered by the parents. Hardly done in my community and hence why people wait to get married late. The weddings are just way too expensive and one must save in order to be able to afford.
I write this because I want to shed light on how things are done elsewhere differently. In this day and age, we need to start learning from other cultures, understand how others do things and see what good we can adopt and what we need to let go. And most importantly I write to you to start thinking about the choices you make:
- You do not have to move out day one when start working. It’s ok to stay at home and save for somethings. ( That’s if you have a choice)
- You do not have to study full time- I have friends that went to do police training and worked for a few years before they can save and study. Do not force your parents into study bank loans. A degree is not even equivalent to a job these days. if you can, work and study part-time. ( probably just be prepared to earn less)
- A car is not a must. There is no shame in using public transport. If you cannot afford it, let it be.
- Do not be ashamed to ask your parents for help. It need not be monetary wise but even words of wisdom can help you make the right choices.
- Be mindful of wedding costs. If you are taking out a loan to get married, you are living on “borrowed happiness”. It’s a matter of time before things change at home and that loan is all you argue about.
What are some of the norms putting you under unnecessary financial dilemmas?