When choosing your 20% NSSF beware of community erosion of our culture
It is good that finally some NSSF savers can access 20 percent of their savings. It will offer financial relief, especially in the face of the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic and the deep financial distress the population is going through.
In our society, today’s working class has a moral obligation to care for the elderly; their parents and other family members, especially those who have been involved in the education of these working class people. It is shameful, at unfathomable levels, that one’s parents are not provided with one level of financial capability. It is a source of shame to find your parents’ house with a leaky roof while residing in a tiled mansion. When his parents get sick, they have to be taken to the hospital and paid for the medical bills and care in any way possible. Simply put, it’s our tradition that we take care of our own as they get older. The exception of course occurs when the parents remain financially wealthy, sometimes being more capable than their offspring. Even then, it is good behavior to give them and a lot of our people are trying to do it. Sometimes this kind of assistance from the working class can extend to the extended family, if possible. As such, paying cousins’ tuition fees, reaching out to uncles and aunts, are common practices in our society.
The above state of affairs, where culture emphasizes the needs of larger groups such as the traditional extended family, is called collective. Collectivist cultures place a strong emphasis on the interdependence of people by playing roles in the lives of individuals. Social and individual bonds are very strong in such cultures. It is our African culture. It is a rapidly changing culture. Like many other aspects of our traditional culture, the collective is fading away. It is overtaken by individualistic tendencies and preferences. When you are old and retired, your own children may no longer feel any moral obligation to help you financially. When you’re sick and they don’t go out of their way to cover all of your medical bills, they won’t behave badly. They will just be living in another culture at that time. Such things have always happened in our society, but they may not happen again in the future.
Some who have been so interested in the changing trend of African culture, and researching it, have made revelations that confirm that our culture is rapidly eroding. Ibrahim Kawuley Mikail and colleagues, in 2017, pointed out that the effect of globalization on African culture indicates that the integration of Africa through globalization has infused African culture, retarded economic and educational systems. African societies and makes Africans vulnerable to Western ideology. Even from observation, those who have been around for some time know that our society is no longer as collectivist as it used to be. While many of us were still young, it was common for an adult stranger to find you misbehaving and punishing you for it. They didn’t even have to know your parents to do that. If you dared to report the scenario to your parents, you risked receiving additional punishment for the offense that your parents did not witness themselves. The assumption would be that the stranger could not have punished you for nothing and as such surely you deserved the warning, which the parents were forced to give extra blows with the cane or something similar.
Such a society has fostered a strongly cohesive approach to tackling challenges. In old age, it provided a collective social security system for the elderly. They were taken care of, provided, protected and defended by a collective effort. Their children and young family members were held socially responsible for all of this. It is for this reason that retirement homes are still non-existent in Africa. It’s strange for us to have your own parents and grandparents brought into a nursing home. You can’t be too busy to take care of those who raised you, and they can’t be treated as an inconvenience to keep away. However, this is regarding today. In the future, Africa could adopt the same retirement homes. On the way to this systematic way of dealing with the elderly in designated homes, before it realizes it, there may be a generation that will suffer disillusionment in their old age. And since we have an upward trend in life expectancy, many may find themselves in such a dilemma.
As a result, your social security may be entirely your responsibility as you get older. When you access your NSSF savings at a younger age, use them with this in mind.
Raymond is a Chartered Risk Analyst and Risk Management Consultant