Love is priceless but for everything else, parents please make more money
Deciding to have a child should not be a money matter but the sad truth is parenting in Singapore is definitely not a walk in the park for low-, middle-incomers.
Here are some major cost items to take note (and the fact that parenthood is not a one-time affair but a commitment of at least 17-18 years until a child is financially independent, maybe 21-25 years if higher education is included):
- Cost of pregnancy and childbirth
- Cost of baby care, vaccinations
- Infant milk powder and diapers
- Education and higher education
My boy in hospital due to lung infection
Rising cost of parenting in Singapore
Fact #1 – Cost of living is measured by the Consumer Price Index or CPI available from Department of Statistics Singapore.
Fact #2 – The Consumer Price Index measures price level of a basket of consumer items according to a weighted average. A persistent increase in prices is called inflation.
Fact #3 – Inflation tends to be uneven; in Singapore, there is persistent inflation in the prices of transportation, housing and healthcare according to the CPI.
Fact #4 – Where children are concerned, the most significant cost items are healthcare and education.
Table 1 – Price indices of Education and Healthcare, Source: Department of Statistics Singapore
Table 2 – Price of 900g tin of infant milk powder from 2006 – 2012, Source: Department of Singapore Statistics
As we can see from Table 1, inflation in Education and Healthcare is just astonishing. Meanwhile we can see from Table 2 that price of infant milk powder nearly doubled over 6 years. Quite unthinkable until one becomes a parent.
Our personal encounter
Dear wife who handles household finances informs me that my son consumed 2 tins per month when he was one year old. No need to say that until the day he is weaned from milk, this expense item will continue to grow. Healthcare-wise, children require special attention. They are rather prone to fever and diarrhea which grownups sometimes take for granted because we dose ourselves with off-the-shelf medication. I consider a visit to a paediatrician (who naturally charge more) a must. Unfortunately by the age of 4, my boy also required treatment in hospital twice – once for an infection after an overseas trip and the second a day-surgery for a minor condition.
Babies are bundles of joy, and cost centres
Pardon me I could not resist. Parents, go make more money.
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Soh Tiong Hum is Director of TerraSeeds Market Technician Pte Ltd. TerraSeeds is a trading educator in Singapore since 2005.
Soh's Twitter account @sohtionghum
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"I do not have a financial advisor's license. I am not qualified by any regulator to give financial advice. I do not know you the reader. Your investment means and motive may be different from me. My posts here are based on observations and meant for education. I am not responsible for for any consequence from your actions."