11 Dec 2018


How You Can Protect Your Monthly Salary

"n short, everybody is looking at your monthly salary and placing inexcusable demands to have a share of it! ...Such incessant demands from all quarters usually tend to cause psychological stress to salary earners."

By Alfred Geri Duku*
One of the most usual expectations by an employee working either in the public service or in the private sector at the end of each calendar month is the payment of a salary. Around such a time, paymasters or finance managers can be seen busy preparing the necessary paperwork for salaries to be sent either in cash to the staff members’ duty stations or to the banks where employees have been advised to open their salary accounts.      
Even before a month ends, it is usually common for some staff members to inquire from among colleagues when salaries would be paid. Those who are “brave” or “courageous enough,” usually find out information about salary payment directly from the “big” people. Others, on the other hand, usually engage in some mind-soothing speculation that the salary cheque would be signed on “such and such” a day – meaning staff salaries are more or less ready for posting onto their individual accounts... Often, employees wittingly refer to signs of imminent salary payment using figures of speech such as “rain.” Thus when you hear it is about to “rain,” it means salaries are about to be paid!
In the meantime, without even any clear information, uniformed staff members are busy thinking of how they would spend their salaries as soon as they can lay their hands on them… Phone calls start coming from all directions, with each caller asking for either a “help” or a “credit” (read loan). They would give such reasons as wanting to complete their child’s tuition fees, buy medication for their sick family members, travel to the village to visit a relative and settle the marital requirements of their son to justify their calls. Such calls, if genuine, are not bad for it is a good thing to help a friend, a family member or a relative in need.
However, such numerous and often unexpected demands can become quite overwhelming especially if directed to one and same individual in a family. Yet, such is what happens to many people in our societies month in month out. Before an employee gets hold of his or her monthly salary, somebody is already eyeing it and finding possible reasons of how to get part of it. The phenomenon is such that before you even think of when to get your salary, somebody somewhere is thinking of how to spend or use it. Such person could be your wife or husband, parents or relatives eyeing your salary...
Your in-laws are not left behind either; they also try to figure out how to get at least a dime out of your salary – not necessarily because you haven’t settled all your marital requirements, but such a practice now passes for a “culture.’ In short, everybody is looking at your monthly salary and placing inexcusable demands to have a share of it!    
Such incessant demands from all quarters usually tend to cause psychological stress to salary earners. For instance, a decade or so ago, the receipt of a monthly salary from my teaching job used to be a great source of distress to me. I used to have many needs, leave alone those of family members and relatives, all competing for my attention and money. This is what many salary earners usually go through. If they visit a bank to check for their account balances, they are usually frustrated to find out they are not making any meaningful progress at all. Sometimes, despite their salaries, they are heavily indebted and are unsure when or how to settle such loans. Matters are usually made much worse if you are the only salary earner in your family or among your relatives or clan members.
So, against this gloomy picture facing salary earners, what is the way forward? 
Good question! This is the point of writing this article, to create awareness on how people can make good use of their salaries. Your monthly salary should be a source of happiness for you, not a cause for your unending stress. Whether your monthly salary is small or big, it should enable you to cope fairly meaningfully with your numerous demands in life. Oh, I can see how unconvinced you are with my point...
In my opinion, employees have to learn how to “protect” their monthly salaries. One of the most important ways of doing so is by having a meticulous plan of the things you want to spend on. Such areas could include feeding, accommodation, education, medication, clothing, socialization and transport. If you live in your own house, you won’t probably spend on accommodation but you may still have to pay for utilities such as water and electricity anyway. Your expenses on such things would greatly depend on your family size and the priority you attach to each of them.
You could also engage in some secondary piece of work or a small-scale business besides your formal employment. If you take to agriculture, for instance, you’re guaranteed a steady supply of foodstuffs and some income if your crop yield is good. Is your family size so huge that some members are idle and have to depend on you for their daily living? Well, you have to find for them something for them to do – like working on a family farm or engaging in some activity that can fetch money to earn them a decent living. If you look at a family of bees, for example, you find that everyone is doing something that contributes to the general welfare: the drones, the workers and the queen all have their distinct roles to play.
Employees, regardless of the positions they hold, might not be able to satisfactorily meet the needs of family members or relatives through their monthly salaries. The best approach would be for them to support entrepreneurial activities being initiated by their family members or relatives. In so doing, family members and relatives become socially and economically strengthened.  These are but some of the ways through which employees can protect their monthly salaries...
*Geri is the Editor-in-Chief of the Brisker Connect magazine. The views expressed in this article are his own and do not necessarily represent those of the management of the magazine.         


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