They've taken care of you all your life; now it’s your turn. But what is the right amount of money to give your elderly parents?
Filial piety is a huge part of Asian culture, which is why plenty of adult children are expected to support their parents as they grow older. “In Indonesia, it’s expected that you spare some for your parents,” explains Putri, 30. “When my parents were still alive, I used to give them 20%.”
36-year-old Vee from Thailand echoes the same sentiment. “Here, we give our money to our parents to express our gratitude, even if they don’t ask for it. I give my parents around 5% of my salary.”
But with the rising cost of living, is this still a practical way to approach these things? Here are a few things you should consider when deciding how much to give your parents.
Not all parents expect their adult children to take care of them. “My parents are financially self-sufficient, but if they ever need financial help, I would not hesitate to give it,” says Nalika, 43, of Sri Lanka.
However, not all parents have a fund that can sustain them in their senior years. If your parents need your support, it’s only right that you give it. Take a look at how much they’re getting from their retirement funds and how much more they need to stay healthy and maintain a decent lifestyle.
If you’re an only child, supporting your parents can seem daunting, but with siblings, you can spread out the cost of your parents’ care so it doesn’t hurt your wallet too much. 26-year-old Fitriyani from Indonesia has two older brothers and a younger sister who help her support her parents, but she also has three younger siblings who are still students.
“I always give my parents 20% of my salary every month,” she says. “It’s how I show my love and gratitude for raising me. It makes me happy because I can help them pay for my younger siblings’ school fees. It gives me a sense of purpose to go to work every day.”
“I give about 15% of my salary to my parents,” says 25-year-old Claire from Singapore. “I'd like to give more, but to be honest, I’m not earning enough. I also take them out for dinner about once a month too.”
If your parents aren’t retired yet, consider starting a fund so that you can have a nest egg for them later on. And because your parents will have more health issues as they age, it’s also a good idea to invest in health insurance while they’re still strong and healthy.
The government has plenty of benefits for senior citizens that can lighten your load, whether it’s additional income or subsidized health care. Explore all your options so that you can save more money for yourself and your own future.
“My dad has savings and his CPF so he told us they have enough,” says Stella, 31, from Singapore. “But my sisters and I have discussed it as well and when he retires next year, we will have to start giving a little every month so that it’s not too tight on them.
Our parents have taken care of us for all our lives, and when they get older, it’s our turn to take care of them. Whether that’s in the form of financial or emotional support, we have to be there for them in their senior years.
While we take care of our parents, we shouldn’t neglect our own future. As early as our 20s and 30s, we should be planning for retirement. That way, we won’t have to depend on our kids to support us when we're older.
“Apart from my government social security fund, I also have a fund I’m maintaining with my partner,” says Reese, 31, from the Philippines. “Life is unpredictable and we owe it to our future selves to save.”