Are you financially ready for parenthood?
Sometimes the excitement of having children makes us forget about the cold hard practicalities. Ask yourself this tough question and do some soul-searching. The answers are not easy but the time spent will be worth it.
According to a recent news report, a survey done by the welfare group I Love Children (ILC) has revealed some surprising findings. Participants were aged 21 – 39 and childless but married for more than two years. The others were either single, soon-to-wed, newly wed, married with a child or married with two children.
According to the survey’s findings, finances are still a major concern and 50% of the participants said money still governed their decisions about whether or not to have children.
Such results do not shock the president of the ILC Joni Ong, who offered the following opinion: “When we were in school, we were told that having academic excellence is part of being successful... family was not even in the equation.” The ILC survey also states, that about four in ten participants said they would have children when there was support from the family, such as a partner or grandparents.
Mrs Ong also mentioned her personal experiences: “Living in a three-generational family has... allowed me to juggle my work and family,” but the mother of five said many parents would want to give their children the best that money can buy, which increases the pressure.
So what parameters must you think about before you can judge if you are financially ready for parenthood.
Don’t make a premature decision
Raising children can be very expensive, thus it may be seen as irresponsible to have a child before you can fully support the child. In considering the cost, it is also vital to plan for after your baby is born. If you are unable to build savings, you may not be able to afford raising a child. Financial assistance is available but it is not advisable for you to rely on it in the long term. If you and your partner are planning to have children, take action to financially prepare yourselves long before doing so. Perhaps you may have to work overtime or reduce spending on unnecessary items from day-to-day.
Look to the future
Mrs Ong sees that parents can still afford to raise their children with some planning:
“About 80 per cent of Singaporeans live in the heartland and send their children to (PAP Community Foundation) kindergartens. These children are doing well in school. It simply boils down to how you manage your finances.”
Finally, bear in mind that doing your very best as a parent counts in the long run. As long as you give your children as much love and attention as possible, it shouldn’t matter if you can't afford the latest smart phones or new designer wear. These things don’t last but your children’s wellbeing should endure.
Start planning and be prepared
In order to financially prepare to be a parent - you can try and earning more, cut down on unnecessary expenses, and look for family help to support you are, but these all are only part of the picture. Another necessary measure that you must take as parents to be is to think about financial planning -- and figure out how you can give your child the best future. Being financially prepared for parenthood can really ease the stress of being new parents.
The expenses don't begin after the baby is born - pregnancy itself comes with a set list of expenses. Of course then there are all the unplanned expenses - that we don't even want to think about because they can be upsetting - such as what if the pregnancy goes wrong. It is a thought that we all shy away from. But in the really unfortunate case that this does happen, you need to make sure that amidst all the unbelievable emotional stress, you are not under financial stress as well.
You need to look at financial plans that cover pregnancy complications, congenital illnesses for baby and also perhaps helps you get coverage for yourselves to enable building savings.
Remember before you decide on becoming parents, you must contemplate the questions: Are you physically, emotionally and financially ready for parenthood.
This article is part of series supported by AXA to help mums to be in their journey from pregnancy to motherhood.