You’re your parents’ retirement plan in Africa

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By Adetokunbo Folu Ayoade

It is very easy for some of you Nigerians to want to sound posh and say “Plan for your retirement, your children owe you nothing.”

Do you know that after the age of 18 years, your parents owe you NOTHING? Well, now you know.

1.A parent can actually kick his or her ADULT child out of the house if he or she so wishes. It is assumed that as an adult, you should be taking care of yourself.

At the age of 18 years, I was yet to get into the University. I was still in my parents’ home eating their food, spending their money, and living in their house. They owed me NOTHING but they allowed me.

When I was 20 years old, my father borrowed his one whole year salary (in advance) to pay my first year university tuition fees in the UK.

For more than a decade, my parents used a much larger percentage of their earnings on our education. So, how were they supposed to save for old age? Did I hear you say “You didn’t ask them to give birth to you, so it’s their responsibility?” That means you still don’t get it.

My siblings and I were over 18 years old. We were ADULTS and the law in Canada permitted my parents to kick us out of their house. But they didn’t anyway; they kept spending on us.

2.
Nigeria does NOT have a working welfare system. In the UK, Canada, USA and most developed countries, even though you don’t have a child and you never worked your whole life; as long as you are a citizen, the government is responsible for taking care of you at old age. The government guarantees you the following:

  1. Food.
  2. Shelter.
  3. Clothings.
  4. Healthcare (as needed).
  5. Protection.
  6. Security.
  7. Basic Human Rights.

Ladies and gentlemen, who guarantees you all these things in Nigeria? Even you who is an able bodied earning person in Nigeria, are you guaranteed all that?

Stop watching Hollywood and seeing SOME white people say they owe their parents nothing and start to copy. Your situation, orientation, background, socialization, upbringing and reality are a billion miles apart.

It would make sense if an average British or Canadian says “I’m not my parents’ retirement plan.”
You know why it would make sense?

Here is the answer: while you were still eating your parents’ food and watching TV in your father’s room; the Canadian or British person probably left high school at 16 or 17 or 18 years of age and started working because her parents expected her to at least contribute to the house bills or move out of their house and get her own apartment.

Go to McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC etc and see high school leavers working as employees. They start work and start taking care of some of their bills as soon as they are 16 years old and after high school.

A typical British or Canadian who is 18 years old considers it a PRIVILEGE, & not a right, to still be allowed to live free of charge in her parents’ home.

While in Nigeria, 18 to 35 year olds are still in their parents’ homes living free of charge and even collecting pocket money in some cases. Even up to January 2019 when I got sick and had to get out of work for a while, I still collected money from my mum and Dad. At my old age o o.

While my parents were borrowing their salaries to pay our tuition fees, some of my Canadian and British mates were signing their ways into hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt for college/University loans.

Some of them who don’t like the idea of college loans have to work a few years after high school to save up for University. And you Nigerian whose poor mother sold akara, sold her wrapper to train in school is saying you are not your mother’s retirement plan?

Are you sure everything is alright with you?

I have seen people whose parents used their retirement gratuity to send abroad or sponsor their education or start up businesses for them.

My cousins who came to Canada in 2015 were fully sponsored by their father. Their father received a retirement payout of about N20 million and used N15 million to sponsor his two children to Canada for further studies.

They have graduated and got good jobs. Would it make sense for these my two cousins to open their mouths and say that they are not their father’s retirement plan, even after their father used his retirement money to set them up in life?
Many parents gave up career to raise their children.

How many government-funded Elderly Care Homes do we have in Nigeria?

Nigeria is NOT a country where you can say you are not your parents’ retirement plan. Except of course you are one of those unfortunate people whose parents were deadbeat.

But as a Nigerian, if your parents actually played their roles in your life, sacrificed for you, went wide and beyond for you, you’d be an insensitive child not to consider yourself part of their retirement plan.

Just like my father was before he died, my mum is in a career that will pay her good money in gratuity, then pay her her pension till she dies.

She really does NOT need our money to survive at old age. But even at that, I’m still her MAIN retirement plan.

Whenever I want to buy a house here in Canada…. I mean my mortgage, I’ll spare a room downstairs for my mum because she doesn’t like it upstairs or basement.

Yes! My mum will have a room in my house. I was planning same for my Dad but he didn’t live long enough to see me get to that stage of my life.

See ehn… if you were born by nonchalant parents who cared very little or nothing for you, or who were deadbeat, or if you saw your father driving big cars while you were being chased out of your school for small school fees or if you had to struggle your way through life with very little or no assistance from either or both of your parents, then maybe it would make sense and be easy for you to say you are not their retirement plan.

However; try to understand that some of us saw our parents borrow, deprive themselves of the good things of life, sweat, work day and night, only to use EVERYTHING to fund the future of their children.

It is difficult for any child who came out from my type of background to say he or she isn’t her parents’ retirement plan.

Personally, I feel that if I can’t be my parents’ retirement plan, then I’ve failed in life.

PODIUMMEDIA

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