Lately, a few finance bloggers wrote about the cost of raising up a child in Singapore. Some estimated that the cost might be up to $1 million while there were some who felt that $200,000 to $300,000 should be a comfortable range. Whenever I come across such articles, I always have mixed feelings. Whilst it is important to be pragmatic in a high cost society like Singapore, I don’t like this money culture whereby we view things in monetary terms and measure relationships in dollars and cents.
As a father of two kids, I always tell myself that my love for them must be unconditional and I would not expect anything in return from them when I grow old. By the same measure, my wife and I do not see the point of calculating the cost of raising our children. This is because we do not want our children to grow up wondering how much it would cost to support us when we are old and jobless. We feel that it is our mission to take care of ourselves and be financially independent when old.
My girl and boy are our greatest gifts and we would not trade anything in the world in exchange for them. Because of the little ones, my wife and I have also sacrificed a lot of personal times as our parents are unable to take care of them. My wife has to give up her banking career and became a full-time stay-at-home-mom. On a daily basis, after work, I would rush home to help out with the household chores and spend time with my children. Sometimes, we felt really drained out and wished that there was someone to help us out.
Nevertheless, our children have brought us so much joy, fun and laughter. Of course, we have also expended so much energy, time and effort to bring them up. Indeed, there were times of frustrations when they really got on my nerve, especially when they were naughty and threw unexpected tantrums. And not to mention the endless questions that my elder daughter always threw at me. But at the end of the day, we have no regrets on embarking this journey of parenthood because they have made so much differences to our lives.
Even if it means forking out one or two million dollars to raise them up. I would still do it. My children give me a sense of privilege, to be able to care for them, to provide for them, instill the right values and nurture them to be useful people to our society. No amount of money in this world can replace this feeling of privilege.
You may argue that financial planning is important and that cost of living should be a primary factor in deciding whether to have children. You may also point out that as adults, we are obliged to give our children a good standard of living and good education, thus the need to establish how much money is needed. Of course money is important but my point is: so what if you have really figured out the real cost of raising your kids? Would it have altered your decision to have babies? Bearing in mind that a child is a form of gift and sometimes, it is not something that you can control as and when you like it. Sometimes when you are financially ready to have babies, you may already have missed the boat.
There are certainly many priorities in life and at different stages, we would have different focuses. But we would never know what the future holds and so instead of dwelling on whether you have enough money to support your child for the next 20 years, seize the day and live in the present.
Money is important but just don’t use it as a yardstick to measure the process of parenthood. It is just one very small part of the whole equation. In the end, you would realize that its worth it.
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