Recently the topic of Singaporeans being encouraged to have more babies is coming up again. The past 2 years during Chinese New Year when people saw Sophia (as a 1 month old and barely past 1 year old) the standard comment was “congratulations” and now when they see the 2 year old, I’m getting “time to try for more!”
I’ve been reading other bloggers write about how expensive it is to have a child in Singapore. The hospital bill for the delivery itself came up to more than $10k for my first child and something like $17-20k for all the medical expenses throughout pregnancy. True that I am more demanding when it comes to medical service standards and it is probably possible to keep it much lower but fact is I don’t want to save on anything connected with my child. Preschool fees alone will work out to more than $90k per child and that is assuming they don’t raise their fees (which is fat hope because Sophia’s preschool has already raised their fees by more than $100 per month between the time she registered a place less than a year ago and now). And all these before we even talk about proper schooling. Its a good thing primary and secondary education is virtually free in Singapore but then comes university. According to this projection, 4 years of local university education in 2030 is projected to cost approximately $152,162, and that is provided the child can and wants to go to a local university. If she were to go overseas either for better prospects or because she cannot get into a local university, the projected cost can be as high as $430,239. Add to that food, accommodation, clothes and other expenses for 20 year (potentially more given the trend that is already apparent now where young people are relying on their parents to buy them their matrimonial house, car etc. ), you are probably looking at a cost of a million a child, roughly.
The babybonus, CDA account and other incentives are peanuts compared to the cost of raising a child. The monetary incentives should not, therefore, be the motivating factor for having children. That’s not to say that people should not have children. They should. I did and may continue to, but it should be for the right reasons of loving children, wanting to raise a family etc. I do embrace the new paternity leave package and the message it is giving on shared parenthood responsibility though. I just hope the men don’t use it to play more golf instead of spending time with the new baby.