Having a child is an exciting time in life, but it can be equally as challenging. The estimated cost of raising a child fluctuates widely from S$200,000 to S$1,000,000.
Of course this total will depend on your choice of several factors like method of prenatal care and birth, choices of education and general differences in lifestyle choices. While these numbers seem large and choices seem endless, simple budgeting can go a long way to help you reaffirm your grasp on expenses that tend to take a toll on your savings account. Outlined below are considerations every new family in Singapore should work through as well as a few tangible strategies to cut costs and maximize benefits available to you.
Job Security Is Number One
Before bringing another life into this world you should have established some certainty of job security and salary outlook, knowing that within reasonable doubt you will be able to meet the needs of your new family. As for an realistic income, this is to be interpreted by yourself, what makes ends meet for one family may not work for another, of course this depends on family size and lifestyle choices. It’s a sensitive subject but outlining a plan for your spouses employment, or termination of, is important to consider in order to understand all income sources. Naturally your priorities will change with your new family and understanding what these changes mean is paramount in reducing your financial stress.
Though your choice of prenatal care and birth should factor into your financing for your family, public hospital care is your least expensive option but it often means a long waiting period for doctor visits and checkups. Private hospitals, while significantly more expensive, do offer you some comforting luxuries that some find to be crucial for when the time comes. Opting for public hospitals will cost you around $5,000 compared to upwards of $20,000 for private hospitals. In Singapore, parents don’t need to pay much to send their kids to primary, secondary, junior college or other pre tertiary educations like polytechnic, or ITE. The real cost comes about at the university level. A survey conducted by HSBC on about 395 parents in Singapore concluded that “52% of parents are willing to go into debt to fund their child’s education” and the truth of the matter is tertiary education is becoming more and more of a standard for the average entry-level employee. Education and extracurriculars are completely up for individual interpretation, activities for your child like ballet, piano, or tennis classes, while undeniably important, it can be achieved without taking out a second mortgage on your house.
New Baby, New Endowment
As your family grows and your financial plan is adjusted, so too should your endowment and living will. Should anything happen to yourself, or your spouse, you want to be positive that your children will be properly cared for, both financially and physically. As uncomfortable as it is to imagine a world where you are not there to see your child grow up, it is standard practice in family planning to be prepared for that scenario.
Understanding CDA benefits
Surely everyone is aware of the Baby Bonus Scheme in Singapore, the government matches up to $6,000 for each Child Development Account (CDA) opened for your first and second child, then $12,000 for each third and fourth, and $18,000 for each fifth and sixth. The CDA can be opened at any OCBC Bank or Standard Chartered Bank branch location and money can be deposited up to the year end of the year of your child’s sixth birthday. Moving forward, your savings and projected income should be aligned with your new expenditures.
Matching the Tone of Your Portfolio With That of Your Family
Now that you have a family to plan for you may need tone down the amount of inherent risk you’ve accepted in the past. No need to overhaul your entire portfolio but realise that you cannot leave your wealth as exposed to the market as you may have had before. Another important point to consider is saving for your child’s education, the earlier you begin the process the more better the account will look when the time comes.