Use CDA to give your child what he needs most: You
Parents read this article to learn how you can use the Child Development Account wisely to give yourself the flexibility of spending more time with your child in his early years.
Congratulations on becoming a parent, you could not have asked for a better country to have a baby in! Singapore is one of the best places in the world to bring up a child.
It has excellent healthcare, one of the best education systems in the world, and plenty of opportunities for maximising potential, personal growth and development for children of all ages.
As a parent, you will want nothing more than to give your child the best future that you possibly can. This means that you will try your hardest to make every possible opportunity available to your child, so that he or she can have a head start in life.
However, being able to provide your child with all that you want comes at a cost – and the cost is not just a financial one.
Giving your children the best of everything — enrichment classes, trips to the zoo, sports training or just a fun family day out – all come at a price.
The financial cost is of course apparent. The cost that is not evident immediately is time cost.
The fact that you will have to work harder and longer to be able to provide the resources necessary to give your child access to many of the opportunities, mean that you will have fewer hours in the day to spend with him.
In fact, studies have shown that Singaporeans work the most number of hours in a year. So the cost of giving your child the best is significantly reduced family time.
Given a chance, this is not a tradeoff that any parent would want to make. A survey conducted amongst Singaporean parents revealed that most parents regret not spending enough time with their kids, especially in the early years.
However, giving up your job to be able to spend more time with your children is not a real choice for many parents.
The alternative option then for many parents is thoughtful financial planning.
By saving and investing wisely you can allow yourself a certain flexibility, or at least give yourself the option of a choice. If you have savings in place, you can opt to take a couple of years off work, to devote to your children in their formative years.
As a new parent, there is no better time to start than right now, when your little one’s growing years are still ahead of you.
The Singapore government has in place the Baby Bonus Scheme to support couples in their decision to have more children, by helping to lighten the financial costs of raising children.
The Baby Bonus Scheme explained
The government’s Baby Bonus Scheme has two parts to it:
- Cash Gift
Parents receive a one-time monetary gift of $8,000 for their 1st and 2nd child and $10,000 for the third child onwards. Parents can expect to receive the cash gifts within 7 to 10 working days of their child’s birth registration and this can be used to pay for their newborn child’s expenses.
- Child Development Account (CDA)
This is the savings linked element of the Baby Bonus Scheme. Under the CDA scheme, the government will match any sum of money that you save, dollar for dollar, up to the following cap amounts.
- First child: $6,000
- Second child: $6,000
- Third child: $12,000
- Fourth child: $12,000
- Fifth child and above: $18,000
That means if you deposit $2,000 into the CDA, the government will give you an additional $2,000 the next month, doubling your savings. But parents need to remember that they are only allowed to keep the CDA open until their child turns 12 years old.
As part of the Baby Bonus Scheme, the Child Development Account (CDA) is meant to help parents get more out of their savings for their kids which can, in turn, allow them to make the choice of working fewer hours and spend more time with their kids.
As parents who have not benefited from this CDA government dollar-for-dollar matching scheme before, you ought to know that in order to receive it, you must open a CDA with one of the selected banks such as UOB and deposit money in it, to start receiving this benefit
Read on to find out how opening your CDA with UOB could help you stretch your dollar more. For latest updates of the product, you may visit our page.
Parents can use the CDA savings to pay for a variety of services for their children, including medical visits.
Clearly, most parents open a CDA to take advantage of the Baby Bonus Scheme, and choosing to open the CDA with UOB can help you stretch your dollars.
At UOB, parents can enjoy 2% p.a. interest on your UOB CDA with no deposit cap on all balances.
With the government’s dollar-for-dollar matching, you may manage to save quite a significant sum of money in the CDA.
However, you are not allowed to withdraw the savings amount to invest or spend as you wish; you can use them for purposes defined by the Government.
But neither are you limited to using the CDA savings to pay only for your child’s medical expenses as some new parents believe. While it is correct to say that the money in the CDA can only be spent on your child or his/her siblings, it does cover a lot more than just medical costs. Here is a list of services that can be paid for using your child’s CDA savings:
- Child care centres
- Special education schools
- Providers of early intervention programmes registered with NCSS or Centre for Enabled Living
- Providers of assistive technology devices (eg for hearing aids)
- Hospitals and clinics
- Optical shops
- Dental treatments
The range of services that can be paid for by the CDA savings include all possible early childhood education and health needs of your child. So here is something to think about: if you save in your CDA wisely you will be able to maximise the government dollar-for-dollar matching till your child is 12 years old.
In addition, because your child’s education and medical needs can be covered by the CDA, you give yourself some financial room to be able to cover the costs of other experiences that you may want to offer your child.
But do note that in order to pay using your CDA savings, all service providers must be registered with the MCYS under the Baby Bonus Scheme.
Parents do make sure that the service provider is an approved institution, otherwise you will not be able to use the money from your child’s CDA to make payment. For the full list of Approved Institutions and permitted expenses, please refer to www.babybonus.msf.gov.sg.
Open the account now and let your money grow faster, so that you have a tidy sum of savings. As long as you, the parents, can make sure that you manage these gifts and grants wisely, you will find that your dollars stretch more to give you a real choice of taking a break from work and spend time with your children in their formative years.
In addition, UOB is also offering all parents an adorable limited edition Kung Fu Panda gift set* for your little ones.
* Terms and conditions apply. Insured up to S$50k by SDIC.