Iya ‘Riyike is 56 years old and has had a catering business in Nigeria for 25 years. What started out as a small gig out of her kitchen on random weekends here and there has grown to employ twelve full time staff. Now she gets tons of bookings several months in advance for corporate and owanbe social events.
Iya ‘Riyike is obviously successful, and is not lavish in her lifestyle. With her income as a single mother, she cash flowed Ariyike’s school fees in the United States. Matter of fact, Ariyike has since graduated and now works a mid-level investment banking job with Wells Neargo in New York city.
There’s just one problem – neither Ariyike nor her mom have much saved up for retirement despite having a successful career and business, respectively. I’ll tell you why…
2 months ago, Tito, was admitted to the hospital for blood clots. Mama Tito is a stay-at-home mom, even though her husband’s salary doesn’t leave much after their routine expenses. So Mama Tito came running to her reliable emergency ATM, Iya ‘Riyike, who is too kind to say “no” to paying Tito’s hospital bills. “Sebi omo mi ni Tito, how can I say no? she said. So she paid it all; every single dime of the bill.
Last month, the women’s ministry at Iya ‘Riyike’s church had a week-long conference, and they decided to feed everyone at the finale event. Since the church couldn’t fund this charity gesture, they put the burden on the six successful women in the church. “Well, ise Oluwa ni. I can’t say no to doing the work of God,” said Iya ‘Riyike. So she gave all she was asked to contribute; every single dime of it.
Meanwhile, from far away America, Ariyike just called her mom:
“Mom, I just booked my ticket to naija for Morayo’s wedding in December.”
“Inu mi dun oooooo! I’m so happy I’ll get to see you soon. Just tell me what kind of food you’d like to eat when…”
“Mom, I’m not coming until December! I haven’t even figured out what I’m having for dinner tonight.”
“Hahaha don’t mind me jare. I’m just excited, that’s all.”
“Mom, you should see the long list of wedding items Morayo sent to me to purchase for her. She better pay me back oh!”
“Don’t think that way, Ariyike. It’s good to help others when you are in the position to do so.”
“Mom, “help” bawo? She even included her wedding veil too! Kilode? As per there are no more veils in Naija, abi?”
“That is what friends are for, Ariyike. Just do what you can. I too, am supporting her mom. Your day will come too, and we’ll need others to support us.”
“I hear you, mom. So what is it you’re doing for her mom?”
“Well, I was just pricing around for wedding souvenirs when you called. I also agreed to cover the cost of drinks for the traditional wedding. You know they don’t have much, eh? Iya Morayo is a nice woman; let us support them. Nkan rere ni.”
Last month, Ariyike got invited to a Paris vacation for her friend’s 25th birthday. Even though she had just returned from a trip to Bahamas with another set of friends, it was a no-brainer that she sure was not going to miss this Paris trip for anything in the world. Brittany, who was also invited on the trip, suggested it was a good idea to surprise their friend with a Louis Vuitton bag. “OMG, she’s gonna be soooo surprised!!!” Ariyike texted back. She paid every dime of her contribution towards the LV bag.
These are only a few of the countless scenarios where Ariyike has spent what should be her retirement savings, on irrational things, while her mom has sent away what should be her retirement savings on charity missions. It all comes down to these reasons:
- Ariyike, like many of us, feels that she is still young and has the rest of her life ahead of her to make the big dough, so she spends without a plan and only contributes 5% of her salary, the barest minimum that will earn a match from her company, to her 401k account.
- I’ll bet you that more than likely, Iya ‘Riyike’s retirement plan is Ariyike. “Omo a toju wa,” she says often, and leaves no legacy and no inheritance for her only daughter after working so hard all these many years.
My famous adopted uncle, Dave Ramsey, always says, our spending falls into three categories – giving, investing, and spending – and there must be a healthy balance between them.
We all know that it’s a problem if you spend all you have and don’t give or invest. But what about when you give all you have and don’t spend on yourself or invest for your future? Or what about when you invest all you have and don’t spend on yourself or give to others? Those too, are a problem. The key is balance, and you know when it’s right because you follow your written plan AKA budget.
Uncle Dave recommends investing 15% of your income for retirement after paying off your debt. How are you doing with that?