Wise women write about aging, money and family

Wise women write about aging, money and family

/ 02:26 AM February 29, 2024

(First of two parts)

When a friend declared she has no more assets in her name, columnist Chit Roces-Santos says, “I find no pride—or joy or relief—in that.”

Her grandmother told of a couple who transferred their house title to their kids and had to live in the garage after. A friend’s son sold part of the family compound to a stranger and bought a condo. The stranger built a wall “before mutual discomfort degenerated into something more serious.” When the son’s marriage ended, he went back to live with his parents, leaving the condo to his wife and kids.


“The best way to ensure my financial security … [and] that of my children, is by upholding my own self-worth,” says Chit. “That begins with believing in myself, being comfortable in my wealth, and feeling truly deserving of it. Equally important is trusting in my children’s own capability to take care of themselves, so that whatever comes from me is just a bonus.”


Octogenarian Chit keeps tabs on stocks and other investments, mindful of her father’s dictum about liquidity: “It not only flows out easily, it sometimes leaks and, even as it sits there, also evaporates.”

“Money does not buy happiness but it can certainly buy a few neat substitutes,” women and children’s advocate Fe “Peng” Arriola says. “Hold it neither in awe nor in disdain.”

To daughters about to be married, Peng advises, “You and he will, naturally, ‘become one’ … Do not lose yourself in the oneness … Avoid the danger of becoming an extension of your husband, or a financial, emotional, or social dependent of his.”

READ: Next-gen CEO on mentorship and accountability

After her husband retired from advertising, Fe encouraged him to revive an old hobby, photography. “Manny finds B&W photography more creative [than color] because it requires discipline and precision,” she says.

Keep your mind active, I advise business founders who find it agonizing to retire. For instance, support the arts.


“Volunteerism was the silent force that propelled my life for six dynamic decades,” says the late Rita Ledesma, who led the Metropolitan Museum of Manila revamp to display the Central Bank’s precolonial gold collection. “It opened my world to beautiful friendships, fundraising ventures and artistic challenges that awakened a deep, quiet fortitude.”

In the meantime, to prepare heirs to assume responsibility, parents need to stop micromanaging adult children.

‘Resigned from mothering’

Peng “resigned from mothering” her daughters. She stopped “cleaning their apartment because I happened to be in the area, or sending them meals from home … Neither do I check on the sort of man they are going out with, nor whether or when they are getting married, or giving me grandchildren.”

“Letting go ripens into Divine Surrender,” says holistic health leader Mariel Francisco, on the final stage of “being an ancestor.” “We shed our incorrigible hang-ups and bad habits, for [we] hope not to become mean and cranky old people … We are ready to practice unconditional love.

“We were too emotionally invested in our children, thinking they were a reflection … of us. We were still caught up in our worldly pursuits and unresolved issues. Now, more relaxed and wise, we have learned how to be in the moment … fully present to our grandchildren in a way their parents cannot be.”

A last observation on business: When an explosion killed 11 people in a mall years ago, Mariel hoped for “a simple, dignified ritual to acknowledge that spot … has become hallowed ground … [with] lighting of candles, laying of flowers, and offering of prayers … People did this spontaneously in New York, Bali, Madrid, London. But here, the only Catholic country in Asia, it is considered bad for business.”

Brought together by the late cultural icon Gilda Cordero Fernando, these women join writer-friends Karina Bolasco, Melinda Quintos de Jesus, Elizabeth Lolarga, Edna Manlapaz and Lorna Kalaw-Tirol in the scintillating anthology “First Draft,” where they tackle aging, family, widowhood, politics, love and more with verve and grace.

(To be continued next week)

“First Draft” (edited by Lorna Kalaw-Tirol) is available at www.tahananbooks.ph. Contact 8813-7165 or 0916 3837238.

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Queena N. Lee-Chua is with the board of directors of Ateneo’s Family Business Center. Get her book “All in the Family Business” at Lazada or Shopee, or the ebook at Amazon, Google Play, Apple iBooks. Contact the author at [email protected].

TAGS: All in the Family, Women

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