I’ve been mulling over this topic for a while, but haven’t managed to get around to blogging about it.
When you get a form that asks how many dependants you have, you’re generally expected to fill in the number of children you have… not right?
Well, I don’t think that’s entirely accurate.
Just think about it, it’s not just your kids that are reliant on your income for survival, is it? Well, it’s definitely not in our case.
To start, our income has to pay for our living expenses including housing and food for ourselves and our children. So that’s 4 people. And that’s all we normally think about when we calculate things. But there’s a load missing from this equation.
We have a full-time domestic working in our house, and she’s the breadwinner in her family (well apart from her one son that now shares the rent with her) and she has 5 dependants… one useless husband who hasn’t worked in 7 years, 2 sons (one of which is now working and the other one is still at school) and one grandson. In addition, I know that some months she sometimes has to give money to her grandson’s mother who often ends up in shelters because of her circumstances. So that’s another 6 that we provide for.
Then there’s our gardener who only works for us on Saturdays, so the money we pay him isn’t his sole income, and I know he lives on his own, yet I also know that he sends money home to support family there.
Then there’s Lance’s mom who we also support.
So, our household income actually has to provide for 12 people on a good month.
That’s a lot! But I also know that that’s not unusual, and it’s also not something that we normally think about.
Have you ever worked it out for your household? How many people do you support directly without monthly donations etc? I’m assuming that this is a South African phenomenon, primarily because the average home in the ‘burbs has some kind of full-time or part-time home helper or domestic worker or gardeners in our employ. But it would be interesting to hear from non-Saffers in the comments