After bringing you into this world, they made sure that you had a good education, dressed in the best clothes and gave you the best that they could manage. Anyone would want their parents to live a good life only that as days go by, you realize that your income is starting to shrink by the day as your needs increase.
It is worse for first-borns who may have to take care of their parents and also their siblings who are still in various stages of schooling. Once they are done with schooling, you may have to host some of them, and this can really strain relationships with your immediate family, and your pocket will not be spared either.
Some parents who belong to the older generation may find themselves having to depend on their children because they have always been peasant farmers who may not have much money to cater for their needs. Some may have mismanaged their finances, and now they find themselves without a retirement kitty to help them.
In some cases, life’s misfortunes such as chronic sicknesses, accidents that maim people for life, the death of the main breadwinner may affect the finances of a family and cause them to depend on one person for sustenance.So many people are finding themselves in this precarious position, and it does not help when they get an urgent call from their parents that one of them is unwell and urgent medication is needed,or that two of their siblings have been sent out of school and they are both candidates fort that year..
Sometimes they may need to buy farming inputs for their farming, and they do not want the planting season to get them off guard. It is worse if there is more month left in the money than the other way round. People who come from big families may also face the problem of uncooperative siblings, and you may just end up doing everything, and having perennial fights with your siblings and confronted with a hostile environment when you go back to your spouse and children.
Most people find themselves in this situation and resign themselves to their fate, having to live from paycheck to paycheck, in debt and finally retire with nothing to their name. This then becomes a vicious cycle, and no one gets to rest. There is, however, a solution to this problem.
In an interview with Afromum.com, Susan Catherine Keter, a financial consultant, and Trainer at Financial Independence Africa says, “I believe in fighting the culture of dependence that is widespread in Africa.” So what is the root of independence, I wanted to know
“Over protecting people, taking over their responsibilities when they hit rough times instead of letting them struggle and grow,” she said.
She added that to empower people, we do the opposite of making them dependent.
“We let them exercise their muscles and grow strong no matter how many times they fall and rise again. The parents should not be taught a culture of handouts.”
“It disempowers them, makes them weak,” she concluded.
Keter is right, but you need a good game plan to start the journey of empowering your family, and ensuring that by the time you are done everyone is happy and your financial future looks bright. Here are the steps to follow
- Talk with your spouse and siblings
If you are married, you may have to sit down with your spouse and paint the exact picture of what is going on and what is expected of you. Ensure that you are on the same page and that you discuss the boundaries that you should have in place. This will help in preserving healthy relationship in marriages. Your siblings should also be brought on board, and here, you should discuss how much everyone is willing to contribute to the welfare of your parents.
Some siblings are insensitive, and as long as someone else is doing it, they will be happy to keep their money which is very unfair. As siblings, you have different abilities, and at the preliminary meeting, you should look choose people to handle the emotional aspects of the arrangement, the practical details and those who can host the parents in their home. If any of you is unable to host, you can discuss having them in a facility. These conversations are necessary to meet your parents so that there are no gray areas when you finally talk with your parents.
- Speak to your Parents
Approach your parents for a candid talk as well, and here they will need to lay bare their needs. Compare the needs against the budget that you have for them, putting into consideration their needs and goal. If they can engage in business or just simple farming they can give you their budget for capital, and you can start from there. Those who are more advanced in age can choose to stay in their house or choose a facility that appeals to them. You can give some of the suggestions you had before based on your conversation.
Anyone with aging parents knows that they often have some conditions that often require medical attention. Make sure that their National Hospital Insurance Funds (NHIF) and other insurance payments are updated. This will prevent you from running around in case someone falls sick.
4 Backup Plan
We all know about the best-laid plans and yeah sometimes things may not work out as expected. A business may fail to flourish, someone may get incapacitated, and a good backup plan should help cushion you from financial ruin.