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Hey Jack Neo! Babies and Money Not Enough!

July 27th, 2008 by Wai Loong (2 Comments)

Are you stuck up with recent inflation?  Even Jack Neo is making a comeback – “Money Not Enough 2”.  Money seems to be never enough, be it 10 years ago or now.  But for now, let’s take a look at a more pressing to-do priority for the Government of Singapore – how we are going to encourage couples to get married and make babies.

Pardon my crude language… indeed, this was a heated discussion on radio quite recently.  According to an expert in socialogy, there are primary several reasons why married couples delayed their big plans…

Reasons why women defer giving birth:

1. Immediate opportunities to advance their career.
There are countless cases where women who found themselves pragnent, only to discover a once-in-a-life opportunity in their job to go for advanced training and thereafter greater advances in their career.

2. Mentality of abundant birth opportunities in the future.
Did you know that most women here in Singapore do not feel in a hurry to bear their first children?  This surprised me initially, but all is now clear.  For women in the age group 22-30, they want to have fun, travel all over the world and do not like to get tied down with screaming at their kids.  For many women between age 31 to 35, they are too deep in crafting their careers.  The truth is, many women in this age group are making more money than their husbands.  Some men are particularly concerned about this.  This may cause some men to feel inferior and financially incapable.

Reasons why men defer having their first child:

1. Actually there is only one primary reason.
And that is money.
Men are more rational creatures.  They look at what they have, and what they have not, and make straight and simple major decisions in their lives.  Some men are more easy going and decisions are usually determined by the wife.  Does this sound familiar if you’re one of them?

The problem don’t just end where the above problems are overcome.  The next phase, perhaps the longest time frame of a couple’s 20 years journey, is the mental stress of society’s pressure.

Fact: Making babies is easy.  Sustaining one or more child, and maintaining a reasonable comfortable lifestyle however, is challenging.

How many couples can afford a full time career as homemakers?  With the raising pace of urban life, it’s challenging enough to keep one’s job.  As I’ve learned many years ago, no school ever teaches us how to manage our finances and craft our dream careers.  Along the way, men and women have lost their dreams.  It’s now about survival rather than a fulfilled destiny.  Arghh… you get the point!

Back to the topic of babies: A quick survey shows that milk powder and diapers are the top expense of today’s parents.  Just look at the content of these powder… DHA/EPA.  No wonder little children these days are so smart!  Imagine if these so called “essential” food are sponsored?

I’m sure you can still remember your childhood.  I didn’t have these luxury stuffs back then.  Neither have my parents heard of DHA.  Both my brother and I were indeed stupid child.  Sure, I wasn’t topping the classes, but I didn’t do too badly though, counting from the bottom.

Fast forward 20 years…

Singapore children are learning almost every conceivable stuffs on the planet – even before attending primary one.  So if your child is not feeding on DHA/EPA enhanced food, you’d better watch out!  Your neighbor’s children will surely humiliate yours (intangibly).   Oh, and did I mention you should too?  It’s good for both your brain and heart.

If you haven’t, don’t get too depressed though…  I haven’t found a reason yet to get started myself.  Stupid child!  Did I ever tell you that Albert Einstein is my idol?  Not being disrespectful, I felt that he could have missed out on these essential food too.

Education in Singapore is getting so competitive that parents must plan strategically.  Not only do you as parents have to buy a home near a neighborhood school and hence qualified for a chance in the long queue of many other parents, you have to clock significant community work as extra qualifications.

Even legendary investor, Jim Roger, who is looking for a decent school for his daughter (Hilton Augusta Parker Rogers, born May 30 2003), is not spared from school’s community work.  Well… maybe he might be discounted and do less.  It buffers me how Singapore’s education system have changed so drastically.

The single most important piece of advice for you: Teach them Chinese. My baby girl is perfectly fluent in Chinese. I got a nany who only speaks Chinese to her. People think she is native, until they see her.
– Billionaire Investor, Jim Roger

Reflecting on Jim’s words, children these days speak far worse English and Chinese than my time.  We cannot ignore the powers of social pressure.  If you’re teaching your child, do you speak proper English or Chinese, or mixed languages (aka Singlish = broken English+Chinese+Malay+Chinese Dialects combo).

If you’re with your colleagues or business associates, do you speak perfect English or Chinese?  Not only will you find it awkward to speak fluently without breaking into Singlish again, peer pressure will force most of us to look completely like an idiot, if you ever attempt!

If you’ve understood what I mean, it’s best sumarrized by the principle of the pelicans.  It takes tremendrous effort to go against the norm.  It’s something not many people have understood well, let alone to act against the norm.

Inflation For All

A general survey shows an increasing pressure for grown up children to battle with the cost of inflation.  In the cooperate world, what do companies do when the economy turns down and reduced earnings?  The first thing companies do is to axe their staffs.  As a parent, you can’t axe your child.  Neither can you cut your child’s living allowances.

Now, before this becomes a heated debate, let me put things in some important perspectives.  If you’re currently a student, do consider how hard your parents are breaking even at work and at home.  Few parents come to the conclusion to become full time homemakers to keep you in check (which you may disagree).  No parents would like to shortchange their children in their education.  However, every expenses you incur must be well considered.

For parents out there, do consider a reasonable budget for both your child’s expenses and education plan without risking out on your own retirement.  Cut down drastically on all your unnecessary expenses.

For exampe, begin a savings plan for your child and encourage them to learn the importance of savings.  This way, your child can learn the virtue of frugality and help cushion your financial load.  Children brought up this way will be more responsible adults and take better care of their own finances.  Surely you don’t want your children to dip into your retirement savings because of your unintentional foresight to miss out teaching them about their relationships with money; something that is still missing out in today’s education system?

If you’re an adult, it’s about time to get started to relinquish your relationship with money.  Learn as much as possible about your own finances.  Brush up your financial quotion (FQ) if you haven’t by now.  The best sources are found in books written between the first world war and until 1990s.  Find a trusted mentor, whenever possible.  Have your long term plans crafted out carefully and center them around the support of your wife/husband and children.

Stay hungry, stay foolish, and live a life with passion!

Zemanta Pixie

Posted in Investment, Life

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::Comments::

2 Responses:

1
Michael on August 25th, 2008 at 12:50 pm

Gracias. Good idea. I’ll become your constant visitor and RSS subscriber.

2
Wai Loong on August 26th, 2008 at 1:13 am

Thanks Michael! Which of my writings do you enjoy most?

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About Insights, Inspirations, Tranquility, Peace and Harmony

Ng Wai Loong

Wai Loong is an electronics engineer by profession. He currently resides in Singapore, a thriving hub at the heart of South-East Asia. When he is not so stress out on the computers or laboratory, he enjoys value reading, jogging at his own pace and blogging in his spare time. Other times, he likes to catch up with some close friends over a cup of latte or teh tarik. As a gift from this friend, you are invited to interact freely with him on his personal blog.

PS: May the person reading this blog transforms his/her businesses, finances, relationships and life for ALL to WIN!