A #NairaLife Of Enjoyment, Black Tax, and A Wild Income Jump

November 2, 2020

Every week, Zikoko seeks to understand how people move the Naira in and out of their lives. Some stories will be struggle-ish, others will be bougie. All the time, it’ll be revealing.


What’s your oldest memory of money?

Haha, I know this question from Naira Life. 

Hahaha, an OG. 

I remember finding some money in my aunt’s purse. She had just relocated to London, and she left some naira in her bag. I think she forgot it. Anyway, my siblings and I took it and didn’t tell anyone. I think it was ₦970, which was a lot of money in the early 2000s. We balled with it. . I was maybe 10 or 11. 

What were things like generally? 

We were okay. Our parents travelled abroad, but we never did. I lied to my classmates about travelling though. In hindsight, I wonder if they knew it was a lie and if I was one of those “armed robbers stole our pool” kids. 

Hahaha. I think we were all this kid to some degree. Anyway, what’s the first thing that ever paid you money? 

I was an intern at a PR firm in 2011. It paid about ₦15k at the time. I was 18, and in my second year in uni. The next time I earned anything was two years after: NYSC. All I got monthly was ₦19,800. The government TV Station I worked at didn’t pay me a dime. #EndBadGovernance. #EndEverything #EndWorld

Hahaha. So, just ₦19,800?

I’m not going to lie; because they weren’t paying me, I became a ghostworker. They didn’t care much about me or corpers generally, so they let me be. They were so uncool.

What’s the most uncool thing anyone there did?

One time they made me cover a story of one older American woman that came to see her Facebook friend. It was around the Chibok girls kidnapping, but they didn’t say anything about that. How is that Facebook story a priority please? 

#EndBadGovernance. What happened after NYSC?  

I became a banker. I joined a bank in 2015. In their training school, they paid ₦40k. After training school, my money increased to ₦238k. There was a compulsory car loan that put my net to ₦180k after I paid the monthly principal. 

I changed departments, but my last stop was Comms. I came tops in training school, so I chose where I wanted to be. 

The only time I come tops is when it’s time to finish food. 

Hahaha, I used to come tops in everything until I entered secondary school and boys started to distract me. My brain can’t mix romance with books. Anyway, I was at the bank for a little over three years. 

How did your salary grow while you were there?

It didn’t. That’s why I left. I was also beginning to feel stagnant. The only reason I stayed is because there was a two-year bond. 

How much did breaking this bond cost? 

Two million. E be like jail. Kai. 

Ah, the clauses. 

To be frank, they actually give raises. It just didn’t favour the average person. For example, you had to find someone to deposit a lot of money to get a raise. Tough times. 

That hustle. Where did you go after? 

I was jobless for six months, exploring other things. But when I exhausted my savings, I ran back to banking. Another bank this time. 

How much did you have saved up, and what type of safety nets did you have? 

I had about one million. My rent wasn’t due for another six months, and I knew I could always run back to my family if things went bad. 

Ah nice, so a new bank?

Yes. Marketing. Loved it. This was in 2018. The salary was ₦250k. 

How did your salary grow? 

It didn’t. I left after a year to take a consulting gig. Marketing too. That paid me ₦350k. This one lasted six months, till the end of 2019. Then I took on some consulting gigs for Detty December events. By the beginning of 2020, I didn’t have a job. But that was okay for me. 

Why? 

I wanted to travel. And that’s what I did. I did three countries; the UAE and two in Africa. I was going to do the UK, but COVID hit, so I came back home. 

How much did all of it cost? 

Ahhh, I dunno o. I wasn’t checking, just spending. Lol. 

Oya, how much did you have when you left, and how much when you got back? 

Maybe I spent about 2.5 to ₦3 million. Sorry oh, I can see my income at the time was not matching my lifestyle. I think this is a good time to mention that I had a boyfriend that was very financially comfortable, so I didn’t have to bother about a lot of bills lol. 

Hayyy, God when? 

When the lockdown started, I accepted a startup’s offer of ₦250k because I wanted to use work as a distraction from my anxiety about the impending doom. 

Strange times. 

When I accepted the offer, they told me they were going to give me a raise after three months because they didn’t have money. 

How did it go three months after? 

Things got interesting. First of all, they told me they were bootstrapping, but what I saw when I joined didn’t show any evidence of them being broke. I felt like I’d been lied to about them being broke. My boss didn’t take me asking for a raise well at all, and he said many awful things. 

I was like, you know what? I quit. So, I gave them a one-month notice. 

Ah, mad o.

Me that I already had another job where they were offering $1,700. 

Mad oooooooo.

One week before I was to leave, they gave me a better offer and increased my salary to ₦400k. I told them I was only going to accept it as long as I could keep my new gig. They agreed. 

That is interesting. 

I know I’m going to have to choose one eventually, but I’m going to drag it for as long as I can. 

What’s your dummy’s guide to landing a forex gig? 

Hahaha. LinkedIn. Once I see a White Chief Marketing Officer, I just send them the template message I’ve written. One paragraph stating intent. Another paragraph stating my experience. One paragraph expecting feedback.

What was the feedback like? 

Let’s say I sent 10. I got like 8 responses. Only 2 made an offer. Then I accepted one. 

How much enters your account every month like this? 

₦1,199,000. 

What does it do to a person? This kind of income jump?

Actually, it’s weird. Nothing. I keep saying maybe after I earn it for six months, I’ll see the difference but for now, nothing has changed. I’ve never really been a prudent person so it’s not like I’m spending more now. 

What does it –

I bought Hermès sandals, lol. 

How much did that cost? 

₦350k. I’m not doing this again sha. I have other things I could do with money, maybe a master’s programme or even relocating. 

What are your current monthly running costs?

This might not really be entirely accurate because I get a lot of passive income. 

How? 

People like to dash me money. 

Mad o. What do I need to do for people to dash me money? 

Hahaha, be a fine girl in Lagos oh. 

I… What’s the highest amount of money anyone has dashed you? 

Two million. I wanted to travel, told him to sponsor me and he did. We’ve been friends for a long time, so maybe that helped lol. 

I have people I’ve been friends with for over 10 years, but… Anyway, you have almost ₦900k left over every month, what’s going to happen to that?

I mostly just save it, but now I’m considering crypto. The space is pretty interesting, and we might be sleeping on it. I’m trying to learn as much as I can about it. 

Have you bought any crypto yet? 

Well, an insignificant amount. About ₦50k. 

Hmm. 

When you consider that 1 BTC is about five million, ₦50k is insignificant. 

Fair. How much do you currently have saved up? 

Right now, about ₦1.2 million. There was some financial trouble at home that ate into all my savings. So I had to help out. 

You want to talk about it? 

Nope. Not really. 

Is this the first time? 

Nah. I’ve pretty much been on my own financially while having to help out since NYSC. 

A moment comes when people realise that they’re no longer just children, but also financial support systems.

I think it came too fast. I used to resent my parents for it, but I help when I can. School fees and all that. They’re working to pick up a lot of that too, so I’m happy about that. 

Do you remember the first time you had to pick up a bill?

It was from uni. Sometimes I’d have to borrow from my friends till my parents could pay back. 

This strained our relationship when I got older because I realised they were just irresponsible with money. They didn’t have priorities straight, didn’t plan. It didn’t make sense to me.

Do you feel like you inherited some of it?

Yeah, I think so. But I’m not as careless. I don’t like getting broke, so I try to plan. 

Looking at your career, how much do you feel like you should be earning right now?

I think I’m earning what I should to be honest. Although if I use the normal Nigerian companies pay grade, maybe ₦500k because they’re users and slave drivers. 

What’s something you want but can’t afford? 

A better passport. And maybe a private jet, so I can japa at any time and pick one or two clothes. 

Hahaha. What’s an annoying miscellaneous that you’ve had to pay for recently?

Oh my God, you’re a wizard for this question. I recently got into a small accident and now I have to pay ₦50k for the person’s car to be fixed. I don’t even know how much they’ll fix mine yet. And my insurance ran out, so I’m pissed about it. 

Ouch. Sorry. Do you have any financial regrets? 

I don’t know if it’s a regret but I wish I didn’t have to support my family as much as I do. I’d be so much richer if I didn’t. 

Have you ever attempted to measure how much of your income is going to them?

Nah, I have not. But I know it’s a lot. At some point my dad became so entitled. I had to clear him. 

How did the conversation go?

One that I remember was I had given them some money to do some things around the house. I’d also planned to travel too, but I didn’t tell them that. After I gave them the money, he called to say he needed to buy his meds and I told him I didn’t have money for that. Fast forward maybe three days, I was on the way to the airport, and he called me randomly and I told him oh I’m actually about to catch a flight. 

Next thing he goes, “You’re catching a flight but you don’t have money for my meds?”

Hmm. 

That pissed me off cause I’m like, I just gave you some money a few days back, maybe you could have bought your meds with some of it?

And he has been using his meds for years now, so it’s not like it just popped up from nowhere. You knew you needed your meds. He does it all the time. Never saves for his meds or plans for it. 

And why this is so annoying is they’re not even that old. Barely in their mid-50s, and it’s been going on since their 40s. They still have sources of income. 

What’s a purchase you made recently, even if small, that significantly improved the quality of your life?

I bought another car about two months ago. My friend relocated and gave it away at a steal. It cost ₦1.5m, and everyone says the market value is actually ₦2.5m. 

Fair. On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your happiness level?

Midpoint-ish. I wish I was richer though. I want to have a million dollars by the first quarter of 2021, I don’t know how I’ll do it. 

If you get that one million dollars, I’m going to quit whatever job I’m doing and follow you. Bet.

Hahaha, put me in your prayers. We will all eat good. 



If you’re interested in talking about your Naira Life story, this is a good place to start.

Find all the past Naira Life stories here.

Fu'ad Lawal

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