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Mr. Paul See, a senior financial services director from Professional Investment Advisory Services (PIAS) joined I Love Children as guest speaker at Waterway Point on 16 July for the Know Your FERTILITY WELLNESS campaign.

Mr. See who has enjoyed 19 successful years in the industry and father of two young children had a key message for couples worried about how much money they need to have before starting a family...

On being questioned how much is enough to set aside when planning to have children. “Money is never going to be enough.” says Mr. Paul See

Many married couples feel that we need to save “enough” money before having kids. There is no magic number on how much you need to have. This misconception often leads to a delay in child bearing. Essentially, what is more important is the commitment you give to your relationship.

“The journey never starts with how much you have in the bank. It starts with how committed you are in your relationship.” – Mr. Paul See

This is because your commitment is the driving force that will help ensure that your family has enough. It is also this commitment that will help you to live within your means.

For the uninitiated, living within your means is vastly different from living within your income.

While the latter can mean spending $2,000 of a $3,000 pay cheque frivolously, the former means compartmentalising your income into different specific purposes.

Here is a proposed breakdown of how this will look like on a financial management tool called the FinancialRuler®.

 

Percentage of your incomePurpose
10%Retirement
10%Next major milestone such as having children
55%Necessities such as bills, property mortgage, food, transport, clothing and insurances 
5%Charity or Gift
10%Education
10%Fun Money

 

So instead of fretting and waiting for your savings to hit a certain amount before having children, Mr. See encourages couples to adopt the mind-set of living within your means.

He also recommends engaging the services of a financial advisor who can give tailored financial advice according to each couple’s income.

“Most of us have sufficient money to have children. The question we should be asking is how we can effectively budget our income so that we won’t feel like we do not have enough money.” – Mr. Paul See

The government also has several grants aimed to help couples with having children such as:

  • Enhanced Baby Bonus
  • Child Development Account
  • Medisave Maternity Package
  • Enhanced Medisave Grant for Newborns
  • Tax Reliefs and Rebates for Parents and
  • Subsidies for Centre-Based Infant & Child Care 
Money tips from a Super Mum

Married for 11 years, Mrs. Noeline Wong is a teacher by day and a mother to 4 young children by night. Currently pregnant with her fifth child, Noeline shares how she spends money on her children.

Toys and gifts…

As your children grow up, monitor how much money you are spending on gifts, toys and outings. Replace the habit of buying your children gifts and toys with spending quality time with them.

Having fun…

Instead of forking out a great deal of money to have fun, try to look for more affordable (or in some cases – free) events and activities held at parks or museums in Singapore.

Holidays

Holiday destinations can be nearby so there’s less traveling time which equates to less ‘cranky’ kids! Also avoid ambitious itineraries and go for kid-friendly stops!

Dinning Out

Try to eat in most days of the week and treat yourself and family with the option of eating out on Sundays. This could include food courts and nice cafes.  

Clothes

Accept hand-me-downs. It's interesting to see your younger ones wearing their siblings’ hand-me-downs; you get to reminisce how the older ones were when they were younger!

 

Mr See also brought up the point about extra classes for children; while a good education is certainly important, enrichment classes may not be necessary.

Instead, children should be intrinsically motivated to work hard for their grades. It may also be beneficial to spend more time with your children in their younger days than ferrying them from one enrichment class to another.

Furthermore, enrichment classes should cater to the interests of your child so that the money spent becomes a worthwhile financial investment.

And even then, do not make the mistake of paying top dollar for the first private enrichment centre you find. Do careful research by looking for classes at community centres and government funded organisations like Sports for Life before committing.

 

“I want more children but can I afford it?”

Here are some money savvy tips on how you can do it:

  1. Keep your needs simple
  2. Spend only on what is essential
  3. Have monthly budgets and do not exceed it
  4. Shop at places that have discounts and/or have goods that are more value for money
  5. Go on family holidays within Asia

 

I Love Children thanks Mr. Paul See, Senior Financial Services Director of PIAS and Mrs Noeline Wong for their valuable input. 

 

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