Let's run through some of the expenses involved:
1. Housing - $750
2. Insurance - $500
3. Parents - $500
4. Food - $500
5. Transport - $200
6. Entertainment - $200
Total : $2,650
|Riddle: How many kids do you see in the pic above? Answer: two|
That amount of money is based on a typical single with housing (4-5 rm resale), with no cars and no kids. Let's just round it up to $3,000. I've no idea how much you need to raise a kid, but my guess is that at different levels, different sums of money will be needed. Initially you'll need cans of milk powder and diapers, then you'll progress to toys, books, clothes and shoes, then it'll be tuition fees, school fees and enrichment fees and so on. I don't even know how to begin calculating.
But I think a safe guide will be at least twice the amount of money calculated i.e. $6k for household income. I think with $6k as a household income, it'll be a life where you can afford to spend a little now and then, but on big purchases, you'll still have to deliberate and think if your year end bonuses allow for it. The occasional trip overseas will be to nearby SEA countries (think thailand, M'sia, Indonesia) instead of lofty places like Europe, Australia or USA.
What about retirement? With 6k combined income, I think there's not much left for retirement in the CPF account. I think most would have to be spent on education for kids, as well as for the mortgage payment for housing loans. Is a car possible? Maybe...a small family car, nothing luxurious, nothing fanciful, but it'll be extra load to the family. Better make sure both are gainfully employed because if anyone got retrenched, then the hardship will be felt immediately. I doubt there'll be much savings that can be made based on a 6k household income.
Since both parents have to work, then a domestic helper is necessary. Supposedly there's no family support to help out on the caring part, then a maid have to come into the picture, which will add in an extra few hundreds to the expenses per month. No choice I guess, unless either the husband or wife is a high income earner who can earn more than the combined total of the household, perhaps like 8k or 10k, then one of them can stay at home to take care of the family. Then again, such arrangement will raise the risk of the family as a whole because when the economy downturns and jobs starts flying off, a retrenchment exercise is going to introduce a lot of stress to the family. At least for dual income family, one can still stand while the other retreats.
Is it a wonder then, that Singaporeans delay having kids, or don't even want to have kids? I think any responsible parent will think twice on their ability to shoulder the financial burdens of having 1-2 extra members to the family before heeding the calls of the government to drop the perfect conditions to have a kid. It's not just adding an extra pair of chopsticks to the dinning table...if only it's that easy.