Should kids financially support their parents?
This story is from an episode of Business Daily on BBC World Service. It was presented by Manuela Saragosa and produced by Vicki Broadbent. To listen to more episodes of Business Daily, click here. Adapted for text by Bryan Lufkin.
Lamees Wajaha lives with her parents in the Ontario suburbs in Canada. She’s in her twenties and works as a content creator. And, since neither of her parents have a job, she has been the sole earner in the shared household for four years. A decade before, Wajahat’s parents – who are originally from Pakistan – moved from Dubai to Canada in search of a better education for their kids. But finances got tight: Wajahat says her mum doesn’t work, and her dad hasn’t been able to find a job.
She said she was around 18 or 19 the first time her parents asked her for money. “It caught me off guard,” she says. At the time, she was working a part-time job scooping ice cream. “’No-one else works in the house’,” she says her mother told her. “’You can see how the house is. You should contribute when you can’.”
Wajahat says she started out giving her mother $100 Canadian dollars ($77, £58) here and there. But now, Wajahat blocks out $450 every month for her parents. At first, she felt resentful of having to give up some of her income. “I was so used to the Dubai lifestyle. I was naïve and thought that my parents would always have that. I felt hurt – it’s nothing I ever saw myself doing.”