The “Fruit of My Labour” Mentality

Fruit of My Labour


In many African cultures, it is common for mothers (and fathers) to believe that they do not need to save for retirement because their children will take care of them in their old age. This is known as the “fruit of my labour” mentality.

This mentality is becoming increasingly dangerous as life expectancies in Africa continue to rise. According to the World Health Organization, the global life expectancy for women is 73.8 years which means that many women will need to support themselves for over a decade after they retire. Interestingly, studies have also shown that women are 80 percent more likely than men to be impoverished during retirement. With the cost of living increasing and life expectancy seemingly increasing as well, the viability of “fruit of my labour” as a retirement strategy is questionable.

A few months ago, a discourse arose on Twitter on financial responsibility for aging parents. They argued on whether it is a requirement for children to be financially responsible for their parents in old age. The majority of the contributors, who were Gen Z, argued that the world is changing, and it is neither fair nor realistic to put the burden of caring for elderly parents on their children, especially if the children have their own families to support. They mentioned they simply cannot commit to the financial responsibility as the current state of the economy has put a strain on their finances and they struggle to take care of themselves, let alone their parents.

Most controversial was from a Twitter user who expressed that parents who choose to have children inadvertently commit to being responsible for their care. They argued that children did not ask to be born, and therefore should not be ‘automatically’ expected to return the favor.

While these opinions could cause an outcry in the moral court of opinion, legally, children are, in fact, not obligated to cater to their parents. Hence, it is a hazard for parents and mothers, especially, to hinge their retirement plans on the coattails of their children. The “fruit of my labour” mentality is a dangerous concept that can have serious consequences for African mothers. There are already so many factors that hinder the earning power of women in the world – gender pay gaps, lower level of education, career breaks due to maternity, and so on. So, by not planning for retirement, African mothers are putting themselves at a greater risk of financial insecurity in their old age.

If you are an African mother who is not saving for retirement, I urge you to start planning now. There are many resources available to help you, including the United Capital Wealth for Women Fund. This fund is designed to help women invest long-term for retirement. It invests in high-yielding fixed-income instruments and carefully selected quoted stocks from the Nigerian Exchange. You can start investing with as little as N10,000.

Investing for retirement now is the best way to ensure that you will have a comfortable and secure retirement. Take matters into your own hands and start investing today.

To get started, visit: #ThisGirlInvests

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