Let’s face it — Nigerians don’t like talking about their income. Whether it’s because they don’t earn a lot or because they’re scared of being billed, discussions about money are treated like taboo. It’s also no secret that many Nigerians hide how much they earn from their parents. Is it because of black tax?

We asked five young Nigerians how much they earn and how much they tell their parents they earn. The responses were interesting.

“I send my mum money every month, so she needs to know where it’s coming from.”

— Florence*, 26

I work in client support and earn ₦120k monthly. I don’t hide how much I make from my mum because I send her money every month, and I want her to understand that it’s coming from my ₦120k salary. I need her to not expect too much because I have other things to do with my salary. 

“I don’t think they bill my siblings, but I’m not taking the risk.”

— Semi*, 24

I earn ₦300k monthly working as a project manager. I’m the last born, and I know my older siblings earn more than I do. My older brother told the entire family when he started making almost ₦800k monthly, but my older sister advised me to keep how much I earn a secret from my parents. So I lie and tell them I earn ₦200k. In my head, ₦200k is still a pretty big deal for my age, and I expect them to start asking me for money, but they haven’t.

To be honest, I don’t want to be independent yet. I live in my father’s house and work from there. I want them to keep feeding me and dropping money every week. They’re doing that right now, but what if they stop? I’ll now start taking care of myself? With my own money? The absolute ghetto. 

“I tell them for accountability purposes. I don’t want to do stupid shit with my money.”

Seriki*, 23

I work from home as a content writer, and my monthly salary is about ₦900k. My entire family — mum, brother and sister — know how much I earn. There’s no reason for it to be any other way. What are they going to do? Say, “Oh no, don’t spend your money?” Nope. 

The main reason I let them know is for accountability purposes. I’m young and can easily hide how much I earn so I can spend it on foolish things. Forget what Twitter people say — ₦900k is a lot of money. If I decide to keep it for myself and spend it anyhow I like, I’ll most likely make stupid decisions, and I don’t want to do that. But now that they know, it’s a way to keep me in check for me. 

“My parents are rich. Why should I hide my salary from them?”

— Ekaete*, 25

I earn ₦200k, and I’m honest with my parents about it because I have no reason to hide how much I earn. My parents are rich so they’ll never ask me for money. I’m not even worried about them not giving me money because they stopped doing that when I got my first job. My mother still gives me money for small things once in a while sha.

“I don’t like black tax, please.”

— Kenny*, 23

I earn $65k a year. That’s about ₦3 million month with the current dollar to naira rates. My mum thinks I earn ₦250k, my dad thinks I earn ₦120k.

My dad thinks my salary is ₦120k because that’s how much my first job paid, and I never updated him about the jobs I had after. My mum thinks it’s ₦250k because when I left the ₦120k job, I got a ₦500k job, but didn’t tell her the exact amount because of black tax and some comments she’d make when I was at my first job. For example, I could never say I was broke without getting advised to “always save o”, and “what are you even using money to do?”. I wasn’t even spending recklessly at that time. 

When I left the ₦500k job for the $65k job, I did not inform either of my parents about starting a new job. I plan to tell my mum my company has increased my salary from ₦250k to maybe ₦350k, but I haven’t done that yet. I’ve been procrastinating.

The babe in this Naira Life also tells her parents exactly how much she earns — Naira Life: From Internships at 14 to $93K a Year at 24



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