7 Common Taboos Surrounding Money

January 8, 2020

Growing up, there was a lot of secrecy surrounding money. Our parents spoke about money in vague terms such as: “Grow up, get married, and make money.” No one sat us down to explain how to make money, how to talk about money, or even how to multiply it. So, here we are, all grown, tired, broke, and clueless about how money works. In light of some of this frustration, we compiled some of the restrictions that seem to come up whenever money is discussed.

1. Asking friends how much they earn

See, I am just here wondering who came up with such a rule. You’ll be going to interview for the same role as your friend and you can’t ask them how much they earn because of courtesy. Many times people get underpaid for the same position as their friend all because talking about salary comes off as uncultured. I want to violently throw hands with whoever came up with this idea.

2. The love of money is the root of all evil

This blanket statement sounds like a religious marketing scheme aimed at making already poor Nigerians part with their insufficient income. The stereotype is now furthered by many Nollywood movies that exaggerate the reality of things. As a result, many of us grow up not being able to negotiate better wages or even demand pay commensurate to our skills/talents because we have been conditioned to think that asking for more money is the slippery slope to eventually becoming ritualists.

3. Spending your first salary on yourself

Well, not to sound ungrateful or anything to parents who sacrificed so much while raising us, but, if I give all my first salary to you, how am I supposed to go to work the next month? I know people say that parents return the money and all of that – but in this Daddy Bubu’s economy?- It’s too risky. Let all of us answer our father’s name. Wait, what?

4. Don’t offer people money with your left hand

I sincerely do not understand why this is a thing that exists, but it does. It is mostly seen as a thing of disrespect, especially to older people if you don’t offer them the first salary. I doubt anyone would refuse one million naira if it was offered with the left hand. With the way my bank account is set up right now, I don’t mind being disrespected with some left-handed money.

5. Inspecting the bill at a restaurant

Many people will crucify you for scrutinizing whether the meal you ate matches the bill presented. I don’t know what people have against doing this, but in such a low trust environment where we work hard for every kobo, it’s only fair to confirm.

Man looking through a magnifying glass

6. Asking for the price of things

Your friend buys something amazing that you like but because of social conventions, you can’t outrightly ask them for the cost. You either ask them for the vendor’s contact, location, or price range. Why can’t I just outrightly ask: “how much e cost?”

7. Don’t pick money from the floor

Let me just come out and say this: I don’t personally know anyone who turned into a goat from picking money on the ground. Neither do I know anyone who knows anyone that it has happened to. If I see money on the floor right now, I am definitely picking it and declaring clean January for all my guys.

What are some common money taboos that you have experienced? Don’t be a stranger in the comment section.

Find Zikoko
wherever you are

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.