A friend of mine who is “seriously” searching for a wife got introduced to a beautiful “87” model (that is, 24 year old girl) who is in her finals in a popular university in Lagos. They got talking and the girl politely asks “please where do you work?” …..and my friend cockily responded “I’m a banker”. And then she goes “banker ke?, abeg oh”….”they are too stingy for my liking”. The guy replied “why do you girls always say this all the time?”. Apparently this wasn’t the first time.
So, I decided i’d attempt to find out why most girls have this perception. To start, I had to figure out what the pay structure and take home pay of an average banker is. Lets imagine a certain Francis who has worked in a bank for 3 years and earns a salary package of N2.4m annually. Arithmetically, that comes to about N200k a month right? Wrong! A Bank’s salary package like most others are made up of a lot of benefits that the staff never get to go home with. For example medicals. It will also include items that are not paid monthly such as leave allowances. Consequently their salaries also gets hit with deductions such as payroll taxes, pension contribution, statutory deduction and sometimes up fronts. “Upfronts” are bulk salary advances paid to employees to enable them meet personal needs that often require huge cash flows. It could either be 3 or 6 months salary paid upfront.
Back to Francis, his monthly salary of N200k probably gets reduced 20% by taxes and other statutory deductions to N160k. The information I gathered is that banks typically pay between 10 to 20 percent of a staff total salary once every 6 months. If we then use the lower of 10%, then he gets 10% of N2.4m every 6 months being N240k. Since the Upfronts are repaid in monthly equal installments, Francis’s salary is deducted by another N40k bringing his net take home pay to N120k. From N200k Francis now suddenly gets to take home N120k
This might still seem a good take home pay for anyone considering the amount already deducted. But then, people who earn N2.4m should be able to afford a nice 2 bedroom apartment costing around N300k per annum, drive a car of at least N1.2m and have several other dependents. So assuming this causes a further monthly deduction of N20,000 from his salary, he is now left with N100k as his disposable income. From where he gets to spend for his wardrobe (as is expected of a banker), food, fun, family etc. Considering their high taste, where they eat, have fun etc can be quite expensive. This cycle is across the spectrum of their pay structure, as the more you earn the higher your taste and hence your expenses.
Therefore, the first impression you have of Francis is, he is a young, smart, “okay” guy that can take good “care” of a lady. Based on that, you expect him to buy you a blackberry phone or afford to change your wardrobe or even put you on some “reasonable” pocket money on a regular. How is that to happen when Francis actually takes home N100k monthly? If he buys you a blackberry bold of N80k that’s taking almost all his salary. How often can he then afford to buy you all the nicely things you want considering how little the disposable income is to maintaining his lifestyle.
This model is not alien to employees of other companies, but the misconception that bankers take home a lot more money is basically because of their access to finance. Giving them the leverage required to purchase things that people on their salary scale in other organizations probably can’t. However, this more often than not leaves them in a perpetual cycle of very little disposable income as every time the upfront is paid, there is one major personal project waiting to be funded. This may also be the reason why they’re constantly changing jobs as each change attracts a higher salary package.
So, for the university chic, you may want to cut my friend some slack as the guy isn’t stingy. He is leaving his dream which comes with a price. Part of that price may well be the blackberry that you so wish for.