12 November 2017

Rwanda: Dear Rich People


Chances are you won't read this because you're too busy doing things rich people do, like closing your umpteenth deal, mulling your next big investment or flying off to your favourite vacation destination. Still, I'll try to get a few things off my chest regarding your status, so to speak.

I don't begrudge anyone for their wealth, especially those who earned it legitimately and if by some stroke of luck or miracle I became wealthy too, I wouldn't appreciate broke people lecturing me on how to best spend my money but since I don't have that problem, I'll go ahead and do exactly that!

In my opinion, if your net worth is a million dollars or more, you're rich. It means you can afford a couple of good cars, a house and still have enough money to set aside for your children's Trust Fund or some other cause.

If your priorities differ, then please excuse my assumptions but I think the average person's aspirations aren't that far off.

In light of the recent Paradise Papers exposé , I just don't understand why successful companies and individuals with more millions than they know what to do with would go out of their way to evade and avoid tax.

I know most people are generally not enthusiastic about paying their taxes, understandably. There's always something you wish you could spend your hard-earned money on, emphasis on "hard-earned" instead of PAYE, VAT and other forms of tax.

When I first started working, I felt cheated because I earned so little and to watch it further get cut hurt. I reasoned that since my parents had diligently made their contribution and their parents before them, then maybe I should be exempted.

There were also times I secretly wished and prayed that whoever was in charge of making the deductions would somehow forget or the rate would be lowered so I'd pay less but after a while, I reconciled with it, albeit begrudgingly and now I just check to make sure they didn't cut more than they should.

I wish those with more money had the same attitude instead of going to great lengths to hide their millions and in some cases billions in tax havens.

Instead of cheating the system, why not give back and help elevate others? It's this incessant obsession to make more money that will ensure the gap between the rich and poor never closes because the rules differ when it comes to money.

If you don't fall in the super-rich category, you hardly have a choice but to pay or risk getting in trouble with the law. Rich folks on the other hand often exploit loopholes and stash their money in offshore accounts and usually get away with it.

The few who get caught can always hire the best lawyers money can buy. Thank God for hackers or else we would never know what really goes on. Not that it changes anything but at least we have an idea about who's doing what.


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