With or without your parent’s prodding, you may have acknowledged how much they have spent for raising you, including the cost of your food, clothing, housing, and education. And not just financially, but also emotionally, physically, and mentally.
You wish to pay them back, and the customary way would be to give them your first paycheck – not just for practical reasons; it is more symbolic so you will not to be labelled walang utang na loob.
Regardless of the motivation, this practice is now being questioned because it is also perceived as an outdated way of thinking -- that parents consider the cost of raising their children as an investment and that their children should then serve as their retirement plan.
It’s not about the “how much,” but about the “why”
If parents expect to regularly receive a cut from their children’s salary, regardless of how much, then the whole setup may promote a vicious cycle of financial dependence that could lead to a more serious financial problem. Your parents might need to receive more from you than your first paycheck and you may be trapped in a position where your personal financial goals may be compromised.
The bigger problem
The problem is not about handing your first paycheck to your parents; the problem lies on whether it is part of your financial plan. If sticking with the practice will have you end up without enough resources to manage, then you may be off to a wrong start in your financial journey.
According to the survey conducted by Pru Life UK and Global Aging Institute, most Filipino parents, especially those in their retirement age, expect to receive financial assistance from their working children. 90% of Filipinos worry about their financial security upon their retirement, while 68% depend on their Social Security System benefits when they retire.
If you think your parents belong to those who rely solely on their government pension, then more than just handing them support money, you have to start planning your financial future and be more closely involved in managing your parents’ finances. Here are some tips to handle your financial issues wisely and sustainably.
1. Discuss finances as a family
Everyone in the family should be on the same page about your resources, your parents’ cost of living, existing financial obligations they have to take care of, and their future plans, among others.
Everyone should be open and honest. Your goal is to be able to help each other in managing the resources you have so you can arrive with the best course of action.
2. Set your limits
Oftentimes, your financial goals exceed your resources. With this, know your limits and prioritize the expenses that your family needs to have a sustainable lifestyle. As much as you want to give your parents a comfortable life because they deserve it, you also have to prepare for your own future. Be realistic and recognize that you can only do so much to help your parents with their financial concerns.
3. Seek professional help
Most Filipinos think that getting professional help especially in financial planning is a waste of resources, so they choose to play everything by ear – a typical bahala na attitude among Filipinos.
However, asking for professional help will ultimately benefit you, especially in developing the right outlook and attitude to build positive financial habits. Financial advisors can give you sound guidance on proper financial management so you can address your current financial concerns while gearing up for your future financial goals.
While setting aside your resources for your parents may be a way of showing them your respect, and appreciation, the wisest way you can make your parents feel that you care is to be responsible about your own finances so you and your parents do not have to worry about your future.