How to Give Back to Your Parents without Becoming Their Retirement Plan

Venus Zoleta

Venus Zoleta

Last updated June 17, 2016

How to Give Back to Your Parents without Becoming Their Retirement Plan

Isn’t it nice to treat your parents out regularly or gift them with an experience or an item they’ve always dreamt? What about giving back to your parents by taking them out on a dream vacation? It sounds like a dream rather than reality.

The real picture is that it’s still common practice for Filipinos to live at home until marriage, and full-fledged independent 20-somethings are only a minority. Then, as the years go by, it becomes even more difficult to take your parents out on their dream vacation because you’re neck deep in other financial responsibilities. For others, not only do they have a responsibility to themselves, but they also have a responsibility to their parents like becoming their retirement plan.

Is it possible to give back to your parents and thank them for all those years of raising you without funding their lives completely and putting your own on hold? The answer is yes; it’s possible. interviewed two Filipinos who were able to give back to their parents.

Norman Brito works as a Landscape Architect, and last year, he was able to take his parents out with him on a vacation to sunny Singapore. Through Norman’s hard word and frugality, he was able to give his parents an all-expenses paid trip (pocket money included).

Karlo*, on the other hand, works in the Construction industry as a design-and-build contractor. Instead of flying his family out overseas, he did an overall renovation of his parents’ house to create a modern abode and a living space they’d be excited to come home to.

So what did Norman and Karlo do to be able to save enough to treat their parents? What personal finance tips and tricks did they use? How can you too give back to your parents?

Start with the mindset

The truth is there’s no magic trick when it comes to saving the money to take that vacation or to renovate a house from top to bottom. The reality is that it takes discipline and proper money management. For both Norman and Karlo, they didn’t spend their first few years out of university spending their salary up to the last centavo. Even better, they learned proper money management skills even while they were in college.

Both Norman and Karlo worked part-time during college and paid for their own expenses.

Karlo says, “I had a part-time job while I was studying. I felt how hard it was to earn money, and because of that, I learned to value what I was earning, and so, I set my priorities straight. All my savings back then were used for my thesis which I spent Php 20,000 on. I didn't have to ask money from my parents.”

As for Norman, he had the responsibility of putting himself through school in UP-Diliman. “When I was in 4th year college, I worked part-time and paid for my own tuition fee and school expenses. Earning my own money, I learned the value of a peso.”

As you can see, it was both through their experiences in which Karlo and Norman learned the importance of personal finance and proper money management. When they started working, they learned that money doesn’t come easily, that you have to work for it, and that’s how they shaped their mindset to realize the importance of budgeting and saving.

Execute the mindset

It’s one thing to know the value of money; it’s another to put into practice that lesson. So how was Norman able to save enough to fly his parents and himself to Singapore? What money tips did Karlo practice to be able to renovate his parents’ house?

Aside from saving 40% of his salary, Karlo socked away his bonuses and extra income from his freelancing jobs. He says, “I don't treat my bonuses and extra income as an extra reason to splurge. I just keep my expenses as they are and do not increase my lifestyle in proportion to my earnings. Also, when I do splurge, I splurge only on essential things which I consider as an investment. One recent splurge was a high-performance laptop. As a designer and contractor who uses modeling software, a high-performance laptop helps me in my profession by increasing my productivity and efficiency by getting more work done in lesser time.”

Norman also saves 40% of his income, and he does it by being extremely thrifty. When asked about his common practices, he says, “The word SALE is not true. You can always buy better clothes in ukay-ukay. Aside from saving on clothes, eating wisely has large monetary benefits as well. Working in Makati, the temptation to eat in a nice restaurant is great, but I prepare my own lunch or buy food in the Jolly Jeep.”

As you can see, saving almost half of your salary can be done either by becoming more frugal or earning more through part-time work. What’s even better is if you can do both: be disciplined with your expenses AND find ways to earn more.

Give back

There’s a saying, “it’s better to give than to receive.” Who better to give to than your parents? It’s best to note that treating them out is different from funding their retirement. The former is usually done out of the goodness of your heart, while the latter teaches them to become dependent on you, and it may end up feeling like a ‘responsibility’ rather than a gift. For Norman and Karlo, they gave back to their parents for different reasons.

Norman says, “It was actually a last-minute decision to bring them to Singapore. I’m a traveler myself, so I decided to bring them along with me. Since I just bought them handheld tablets for mother's and father's day, I decided it would be a good idea to let them travel instead of buying them more material things.”

As for Karlo, renovating his house contributes to his career. “I thought that renovating the house will not just appraise the value of the house but also our quality of life. A better living space will let my parents and I have a better outlook on life. In addition, the house renovation showcases what my father and I can do as design-and-build contractors. Hence, when we have guests come over the house, they are impressed with the house and become our potential clients.”

Do you want to give back to your parents just as Norman and Karlo have? As you can see from their experiences, it takes hard work and discipline to be able to save enough for an overseas trip and house renovation; however, once you build the habit of saving your income, it becomes easier and almost automatic. Of course, there are other ways to show your parents that you love them. Aside from taking and treating them out, you can make time for them amidst your busy schedule.

*Name has been withheld upon the request of the interviewee.

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Venus has almost 20 years of combined experience in content marketing, SEO, corporate communications, and public relations. Most of her career was spent creating informative articles on personal finance and digital marketing. She also invests in stocks, mutual funds, VUL, and Pag-IBIG MP2. Venus graduated cum laude with a Journalism degree from the University of the Philippines Diliman. A hardcore Hallyu Tita, she loves bingeing Korean shows on Netflix while bonding with her cats. Follow Venus on LinkedIn.


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