On 8th of April, I became a father for the second time! My little bundle of joy came slightly earlier than expected and my wife and I were a bit unprepared because incidentally, my elder daughter happened to fall sick during this period. But thank goodness, my mother-in-law and mum were around to help out. I really appreciate for what they did.
Everyone has the right to procreate and pass on his legacy. Nobody can take this right away from him. But I think most Singaporeans have the wrong mindset about raising kids in Singapore. They always associate money and the high cost of living as two key factors that deter them from having babies. Most Singaporeans want to establish their careers first before having children. Of course money is important, and we need good incomes to support family needs. But then again, how much is considered enough and when is the right age to be considered financially stable to have babies? Before they knew it, many Singaporeans could be well past their child-bearing age in no time and would regret not conceiving when young and healthy.
For the past three years, my daughter had brought us so much love, joy, tears, laughter, anger and frustrations. Everyday, she never fail to amaze me. All these memories are priceless and I wouldn’t trade any amount of money for them. I hope I would have the same experiences with my son.
Of course, there had been trade-offs and sacrifices made. My wife and I had agreed that she would be a stay-at-home mum. This was because if I were to concentrate in my career, then I would have less opportunity to spend time and bond with our children. So its better that at least she is at home to bond with them. In turn, with only one source of family income, we had to downgrade from a five-room HDB flat to a three-room flat.
Actually, the most financially challenging period of my life was in 2011 – 2012. Back then, my wife had to quit from her job to look after my father-in-law, who was warded in ICU for stroke. He went on to stay there for three months and incurred huge hospital bills. Incidentally, that was the period when my wife was conceived with our first child and we were financially strapped because we had spent most of our monies in our house (down-payment and renovations) and wedding banquet. My wife has also used all her bonuses from her last job to pay off her university loans. To make things worse, my income was not that high back then and all salaries went into paying off living expenses, furnishing loan, electrical appliance installments, parents’ allowances and in-laws’ allowances. On a monthly basis, we were living from hand to mouth, with zero savings. Everyday, I looked unhappy and was often in bad mood over money issues.
On looking back, I feel quite guilty that there wasn’t money to buy good food and supplements for my wife during her first pregnancy. But I am glad that my wife didn’t complain. The $4000 Baby Bonus also came in handy as it helped to offset the hospital bills and immunization jabs when my first baby was delivered in 2012. My only frustration back then was that the money was disbursed over two years and we needed the monies for our newborn’s expenses.
Thankfully, that dark period was well and and over. My family is now in a much better financial position because my income has risen significantly for the past four years and I have also built up our saving funds. But I will never forget those financially stressful days, which really pushed me to the edge of my mental cliff. That feeling of desperation and penniless instilled a grit and resilience in me but I am glad that my financial framework did help me to pull through that lean period.
For my family, those hardship is definitely worth it because I love them so much. I would do it all over again for them if time is rewind.
SG Wealth Builder