Parents should invest for their old age

The Rhodesia Herald, February 6, 1970

INSTEAD of bestowing their generosity on their young married children, parents would do better to wisely invest their funds for their own old age. Another column from Henriette Kish for the over-fifties.

A letter, characteristic of several others, has come to my desk. The woman who is in her late 30s writes: “Perhaps it’s a sour note to strike, but it might be helpful if you would talk about aging parents who expect more financially than their middle-aged children are able to give.

“Who drained them physically and emotionally. Who won’t do without anything themselves, but expect the family to make all the sacrifices.”

This is a recurring complaint. And as a new year gets underway, this may be as good a time as any to discuss the problem, always remembering that there are two good sides to every question.

“When I was 60 and widowed,” a woman wrote recently, “I could see I was going to have less money and poorer health as time went on.

“My children were all approaching middle life, with their own budgets to live by and their own plans for the future. I was determined not to be a drag on them, barring a real catastrophe.

“Now, 12 years later, I am still meeting my own problems. I have learnt to live on a much-reduced income and have never whined about it. I have tried to keep as healthy as possible.

“If ever I do need a few extra rands, I believe that my children will be much more willing to give them because I have neither asked nor expected anything so far. Nobody has ever had to say, ‘If it weren’t for mother, we could do so-and-so’”.

It is not always possible for anyone to remain completely independent. Life does unexpected things.

There may have been times in grown-up children’s lives when parents had to sacrifice for them. There are always such times in small children’s lives of course.

A man wrote: “My wife and I made the down payment on my son’s first home when he married. We helped the children’s education.

“Now that my retirement income is depleted by inflation and we have more medical bills than we used to, we could do with a little help.”

“As I look back, I realise how unthinking we were. Parents should not expect to lean on middle-aged children, everyone cautions. But then they should have looked out for themselves better than most of us have.

“My advice to the middle-aged is to let the children start out in life on their own. Invest any money that you are tempted to give them in your own future instead.

“Let them stand on their own feet when they are young and you will have a better chance to stand on yours when you are older!”


  • Everyone gets old and it is important that people come up with their retirement plans and action them early so that they amass as much money as possible to live on once they retire.
  • Having a retirement plan will help you calculate the rate of return you need on your investments, how much risk you should take, and how much income you can safely withdraw from your portfolio.
  • Some of the key issues that the elderly requires financial resources for after retirement are health services, food, clothing, accommodation, and mobility.

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