I have often thought about retiring. At one stage while I was still in college I had the idea that I want to be different and retire at 45. It seemed like a fair distance away. But I didn’t have a set plan that saw me retiring at 45. It was just an idea. As I grew older and as the years went by I adjusted that figure to 55. Along the way some where I just lost the idea of retiring. I realised that its was not so much retiring completely that I was interested in but in doing more of what I enjoyed and less of what I didn’t enjoy.

The idea of retiring and just living off my retirement package didn’t appeal to so I guess that also shaped my perception of my later years. There are aspects of my profession I love and enjoy and if I am paid to do them well into my 90s then I will continue. So I don’t even see myself retiring in the traditional sense of the word.

It reminds me of our gran mothers and fathers who basically didn’t retire, when it was rainy season they would be off to the field to sow and harvest time they would be out again. And in between time they kept themselves busy. Way into their old age they continued with this routine and finally till their death bed. They didn’t retire but they reduced what they could do because of they physical challenge. If you took them from their home to come to yours so they can relax, they would stick it out a few days then they would be restless and want to go back to their routine.

The nature of our African extended families automatically mean that our parents are part of our retirement plan. In fact as soon as we are independent of their financial support most times they become dependent on us, and we begin to support them. And if you are married that will be two sets of parents who become part of your life. A lot of our plans in general always consider our plans whether its building a cottage on your property so they can also live there they are a part of our lives now and even when we do retire they will always be a part. If we have a funeral policy plan they are automatic beneficiaries too. So our lives are so intertwined that whatever comes they will always be in the frame of things.

One thing I don’t agree with is sending my folks to an old peoples home to retire there. I think thats a punishment of sort and I am a firm believer that old people don’t want to be around other old people all the time. So with no retirement year in the horizon we continue to live each day as we have been living with our parents as part of our present plans and walking together into the future.


Day 5 – Are your parents included in your retirement plans?

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