Oluwatobi Popoola
What Does a New Tax Bracket Look Like Oluwatobi


As of November of 2019, I changed the course of my life, and my family’s life forever. But, as I sit here in this slightly dim room on a cloudy Thursday morning in January, I still don’t fully comprehend the changing realities of my situation.

Photo by Ravi Roshan on Unsplash

I had accepted a job offer for after graduation. An offer with a salary that will place me in the top ten percent of individual income earners in the United States. A job doing what I love, in the same city I’ve grown up and lived in my entire life.

This was the culmination of a computer science major, sleepless nights, the power of belief, and countless other factors I can’t recall at the moment. Am I excited? Yes. Am I scared? Not quite. Do I know what to do next? Yes and no.

Photo by Руслан Гамзалиев on Unsplash

People tell me I should relax and celebrate my accomplishments, travel after graduation, and fully enjoy the path to my upcoming future. I would love to. I just don’t quite know how to.

Simply put, I come from a low-income household, where wealth and cash are synonymous. There are no such things as “assets” or “investments” or “passive income” where I come from. Where many of us come from.

Photo by Kat Yukawa on Unsplash

The reality that my parents worked so hard to create for me is something that many immigrants have of their children. An advanced education, a decently paying, stable, corporate job, and enough money saved up for a house for me and my wife by the age of 30. How do I walk up to them with a bachelor’s degree and no girlfriend, and tell them that their 22-year-old son is now two tax brackets ahead of them?

I ask this because I respect them and their guidance, but I now have questions that they simply can’t answer anymore. Questions about financial literacy and diversifying streams of income. Concerns about whether or not I should tell people around me of my new circumstances, or if I should continue flying below radars. When should I get a financial advisor? Obviously, it’s safe to say I’m looking for new mentors in this next chapter of my life.

I’m sure my story is not new. If this piece comes across as self-serving, you are absolutely correct. I have chosen to sit idly with these thoughts alone for too long.

Income and wealth inequality is disgustingly real. However, what truly separates the rich from the poor is the intergenerational transfer of wisdom, knowledge, and assets.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

My parents can’t provide me with a loan of a million dollars. They won’t know if I should invest in ETFs or government bonds. They couldn’t tell me what a new tax bracket looks like. On the other hand, they’ve embedded with me a sense of ambition to figure out those answers for myself. With that, I’m sure I will.



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