part one: are you ready to retire?

about a month ago, father handed in his resignation to their HR department. that sealed his twenty two years working as an OFW.

contrary to most impressions, not all OFWs are paid well but that mediocre salary is not easily achieved within the Philippines as well. father works in a ship as an ordinary seaman and though the pay was not that much, he was lucky enough to have stayed with an employer who provides a gratuity pay for any employee who resigns from the company. the gratuity is not that much, either (not by my standards anyway) but father has been working for them for 19 years- and it is still better than nothing.

without any alternative source of income back in the country though, that gratuity will only last close to about three years. in three years time, father would be 57.

i recognized this risk two years ago when i was pressing him to retire.  my reason for wanting him home was emotional, more than anything else.  i have memories of father growing up (he left home when i was 12 years old) but my younger siblings do not. i still remember his letters about how lonely it was out there but how grateful he still is for the opportunity to be able to send us to school and make better lives for us.  i watched the rest of the family evolved- influenced by the radical opinions i have developed while father remained as traditional as i have known him- and how that sometimes created a gap between us and him.  i have watched people who have spent their entire lives abroad and only retire when they were too old to work and could not enjoy the fruits of their labour. father has done so much for us and he deserves to spend the next 30 years (and more) reconnecting to us and for us to make it up to him for whatever it was he missed because he has to provide for his family.

but father – like most OFWs who sends all (if not most) of their salary back to their families- is aware that his gratuity is not enough to finance his and mother’s old age (their financial responsibility to us is already done; four of us siblings are working now and i have already set aside funding for the remaining two siblings who are doing college at the present).  and like most OFWs, he has no idea how to handle the financial side of his retirement.

it was of this that i spent a considerable amount of research for possible alternative sources of income for father when he retires.  it was also of this that a lot of my conversations with my banker are spent on.  stock market is not an option- his profile cannot afford that kind of risk.  the money market is out of the question- even putting his entire gratuity into it will not provide him returns of more than three months worth of his salary. and i am not even going to start talking about insurance- he needs a vehicle that earns him money while he is still alive.

fortunately, about the same time i found out that father will have a huge problem when he retires, i was already working on my retirement plans.  perhaps it is luck (i call it grace), but a year ago, i found the answer to his problem.

there is one thing that will give him about the same amount of income he generates from his current job now, using the gratuity he will receive from the company.

agriculture was the answer. and about a year ago, i started that preparation for him.  i shall tell you all about it on my next post.

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