Introduce your workers to life of saving

Sunday March 29 2020

Like any other workers, househelps too must

Like any other workers, househelps too must save for retirement. NMG PHOTO 

By Desire Mbabali

Domestic workers are a significant part of the informal employment sector. When I say domestic workers, I refer to the people that work as housemaids, nannies, caretakers, cooks, drivers, ‘askaris’ and even gardeners, in most homes.

They work for households either part time or full time. Usually, they help us at our homes with any work as listed above.

Domestic workers dedicate a lot of their efforts to improve our well-being by ensuring that our homes are kept in perfect conditions.

This gives homeowners plenty of time to focus on their careers, work and/or education without any stress. Some domestic workers grow together with us from childhood to old age and become part of our families.

Therefore, they play such a great role in the growth of our society that cannot be argued against.

For all the years of their service to our families and homes, do we really take care of them and their immediate needs, the way they do for us?

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Do we know what happens to them after they leave work? Do we take the time to listen to them and speak with them on important matters such as financial matters and social matters? I believe most of us will answer ‘No’ to these questions.

Here’s a short story: there is a housemaid who left her village to find work and she landed one at your home.

She works hard every day including Saturday to make sure the house is clean and maintained in a perfect condition throughout the week.

She does this day in day out for a small wage of around Shs150,000 per month or less.

The salary she gets is spent to buy food, shelter, clothes, education and the basic necessities for her family and herself.

She makes no savings because she does not know where to save, does not see the importance of doing so and her salary does not allow her to save.

Old age
One day after years of working for you, she becomes really old to work anymore and goes back to her village.

She finds out that she has not made any savings for her old age and is now seeking help to live a life at old age.

If we track back to the two years after the housemaid landed a job at your home and you took the time and liberty to ask her what happens after she leaves work, ask her whether she saves or faces financial or social problems then, would the life story of the housemaid been different?

If the housemaid was shown the importance of saving at least Shs20,000 per month from age 25 then she would have accumulated around Shs8.4m at 60.

As her employer you could top up savings with 10 per cent and this would make the life story of the housemaid different?

Painful disappointment
I am hoping you said “Yes” to the above three questions.

It is time to act and give our housemaids, cooks, drivers, gardeners or domestic workers back for all the work they have done for us by taking care of their future.

The first step is start speaking with them about the importance of saving (or investing) for their old age and planning for the future that is inevitable (old age) because when it comes it can come with a lot of disappointment.

Increase your savings
There is no denying that setting aside a portion of one’s salary can be a challenge.

Many people want to contribute the maximum permitted by their plans but find it takes a huge chunk of their salaries.

This challenge can be surmounted either by increasing one’s contributions over time, especially upon receipt of a pay rise. By doing this, you’ll be taking home a higher salary while your retirement nest benefits from increased contributions.

Ultimately, the benefits of saving early for retirement cannot be overstated.
Some people live longer post-retirement and may find themselves running without money.

Secondly, to avoid being a burden to your children in retirement, you should strive as much as possible to have your own regular income, through a pension scheme.

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