How will your kids remember you?
I used to feel so embarrassed about my dad’s car. He actually drove the same car for 10 years! Once I tried to speak to him about status and he looked at me and said, “My child, the car I drive does NOT give me status. I give status to a car”. We never spoke about his car again. Now that I have kids of my own, I finally understand and I am actually glad Dad made the sacrifices he did so he and Mom enjoy a comfortable lifestyle in retirement. They can afford everything they need. When one of them is not well, they go to private hospitals and they even go on a good holiday once a year. It is such a relief to have parents who are so financially independent in old age. I know some of my friends who have to support their elderly parents and it is not easy.
Oh, how I loved my dad’s cars. I looked forward to him buying a car every few years. Each new car was bigger and better than the previous one. I used to think, when I start working, I will drive smart cars too. What I didn’t know was that my dad used to cash his pension every time he changed jobs so he could afford to buy those fancy cars. When he went on retirement a few years ago, the truth dawned on us. Dad had very little pension and not only that, he had used the little pension he had to secure some of his debts. So his pension went into paying off his debts. It is so painful to watch him and mom struggle in old age. Sometimes I try to help out but it is not easy with a wife and young children and the cost of life is so expensive. The most painful thing is when they have to go to a public hospital and spend a whole day just waiting to be seen by a doctor. Sometimes I give them money to see a private doctor but it is not easy because I’m also helping them with some of the monthly costs e.g. water, electricity and food. I wish Dad had not cashed his pension every time he changed jobs.
Is your car driving your destiny? To find out, please answer the questions on page 73 of the book From Debt to Riches.
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Happy Father’s day
Phumelele Ndumo is the author of the book From Debt to Riches available at Exclusives bookshops and will be available at CNA from the end of June at R134 a copy. Visit www.thuthuka-sa.co.za for more on ThuthukaSA.