【英語エッセイ】Breathing Retirement Fund(生きている退職基金)

    この記事は、Brighture の講師が書いた英語エッセイです。

As a Filipino, I have heard countless stories of children as young as teenagers quitting school to fend for their families, working two jobs only to make ends meet, essentially assuming the role of being breadwinners for their whole lives as if it were a chest of gold they must inherit. While it is often viewed as a testament of bravery and selflessness, this situation is undoubtedly as problematic as it is inspiring. Let me shed a light behind what seems to be an act of heroism and spell out what it is in reality: Filipino children carrying the burden of their parents’ retirement.


This has been going on for as long as we can remember. While it is true that it is not the case for all the families in the country, we would be lying if we said this was not the truth for most. “What is it exactly?” you might ask.


To paint a picture, it is when parents substantially or even fully rely on their children to take care of them in terms of finances before or after becoming seniors. It is when the latter pays for all the medical bills incurred when the former gets sick because they don’t have insurance. It is when they ask for money to buy groceries and gas. It is when they ask them to pay for their siblings’ education because there is literally no funds for it. While admirable, this is essentially glorifying overworking. Personally, I have heard some parents say “Mas daghag anak mas maayo para nay mubantay inig ka tiguwang”, which translates to “The more kids, the better so they can take care of us when we grow old”. To make matters worse, this is happening in a country where people earn as little as Php 300.00 (around 6 US dollars) a day.

    私は個人的に、「Mas daghag anak mas maayo para nay mubantay inig ka tiguwang」、つまり「子どもは多ければ多いほどいい、私たちが年を取ったときに面倒を見てくれるから」という親御さんの言葉を聞いたことがあります。

Although there is nothing wrong with asking people, let alone family members, for help, having your own children sacrificing their future for you is where the line needs to be drawn. This creates the very cycle of poverty and suffering most Filipino citizens desperately want to get out of. And since people are what makes a society, both inevitably have to suffer its consequences.


For the children, this means a growing chance of not being able to fulfill their dreams and goals in life. Some may want to become lawyers or engineers, while others picture something as simple as starting their own family. Sadly, many cannot even begin their first step in achieving these things as they are stuck in this could-have-been-avoided phase in their lives. The money that could be used as tuition for their master’s program ends up at the pharmacy or hospital. The travel fund they plan on spending for their much needed vacation ends up being paid as rent to the landlord. The thousands they have been saving for moving out of the house is now used as petty cash for the family’s daily needs. (Yes, moving out at 18 is not a thing in the Philippines.)


This may sound extreme to some, but this burden strips them of the joys in life. People in their 20s and 30s are meant to be exploring life, meeting people, and taking advantage of their youth. Instead, they are always exhausted, unhappy, and unable to make romantic commitments. Of course, there is no guarantee that without these issues, Filipinos, or anyone for that matter, will have the best lives, but having this additional responsibility does not make it any easier.


For the Filipino society in the future, this could mean having a workforce that will not be as mentally, physically and emotionally capable. No matter how much they try, people cannot just drop whatever issues they have at home and act normal at work. They are bound to get confused, get sick, and get tired. And when they are, the quality of work they can put in will not be the same. A study entitled “Work-Family Conflict Impact on Psychological Safety and Psychological Well-Being: A Job Performance Model” has concluded that poor job performance is associated with a lack of psychological safety and psychological well-being of employees. Filipinos take pride in being very resilient, in their hard work and in their creativity, but people cannot expect for all of these to not go down the drain when faced with more pressing matters – their parents and responsibilities at home.

    “Work-Family Conflict Impact on Psychological Safety and Psychological Well-Being: A Job Performance Model” と題された研究があります。この研究では、仕事のパフォーマンスの低下は、従業員の心理的安全および心理的幸福の欠如と関連していると結論づけられています。

To be clear, no particular generation of parents is to be blamed for the sad and unfortunate predicament that is our lack of retirement plans. Factors such as financial literacy, government programs, and a more progressive way of thinking are present too. As future parents, however, we should try our very best to be able to stand on our own as much as we can. This is easier said than done, but no effort is going to be too little. If our parents were not able to do this for us, then let us be the first of our generations to liberate our children from this seemingly unchanging destiny, and let them enjoy financial freedom and the perks that come with it. Our children should be anything they want to be, but not a breathing retirement plan.