News and views from an unique perspective

Young Singapore mother struggling to make ends meet

Posted by temasektimes on August 17, 2012

I can said I am lucky to get a left over BTO 4 room flat from HDB 4 years at $200+, my monthly loan from my CPF is $700+ for 30 years for both me and my husband. Which we just started working then. My salary then was $1.8, my husband was $2.6 and my husband just started working, there isn’t much $$ in our CPF. End up we got to pay some cash for the10% down payment. Where did we get this cash from?? Parents, saving.. than what about renovation? Now, 4 years later, our combine income is still less than $7k. We have a 2 years old daughter, another to be out next month.We don’t dare to own a car, we have to support our elderly, pay our study load, infant care/ child care/ nanny. We don’t have much saving left.

Now a BTO 4 rooms flat is selling for at least $400k and you can only get the flat 3 years later. Family planning will also be delay. alot of my friends are paying like more than $1k or 2k for the HDB load monthly. which their CPF contribution did not even have that amount every month, they have to top up cash for it.

FYI, raising a child now is about 1K per month. all the milk powder, diaper, paying for the caregiver, food, medical (touch wood), etc.

This is reality, I am also trying to accept it. If you can’t accept it, you may want to choose to leave the country.

Seeing my friends stress up on Primary 1 registration.Over registration of Pri 1, having to ballot becos of lots of New citizen joining, taking up the Pri 1 vacancy. Raising up cost, Education cost, competition, etc. All this add up to the consideration of people having children. It’s not easy living in Singapore now.


*The above was first posted as a comment on Facebook.


33 Responses to “Young Singapore mother struggling to make ends meet”

  1. Calvin said

    This is the same struggle that we all have been through since 1980s …. albeit the initial 5R executive M was @ $114k then .

    All effort must be put in by both to grow your wealth and career path .
    I was away when my son was born and sacrifices be made and shared by the family nucleus .

    With inflation , everything is expensive .
    Live within your means and have more children if you can afford instead of asking for our govt to assist .
    We do not have any assistance in our early years and still be contributing to society and living happily .

    I been hearing so many complains and none offer to help .
    Compare to any other countries and you will find the best values and governance in Singapore .
    You guys have not experience poverty and corruption of the largesse .

    • Citizen said

      Agreed with you, ‘live within your means’ is the key here that so many people cannot understand. They go for 5 room HDB/EC/DBSS, hire maid, buy car, dine at restaurants, splurge on branded handbags and then kpkb no $$ for their kids and insist govt should give FREE education for their kids.

      Budget for FREE education dun drop from the sky unless you are asking teachers dont collect salaries. Alternatively, taxes will shoot up and when the time comes, people will kpkb again. Just sux it up man, every era has its challenges and its up to you to adapt.

      • Lim said

        Free education by our government is possible but expect PAP to tax our income at least 30 to 50%.

        U wan free medical benefits also can. But PAP will tax your income 40-50%.

        You want government to do something on the rising COEs so that u can buy an affordable car, PAP will tax u 40-50% income

        Now what do u think

    • oldguard said

      Friend, please lah, time have change, char kueh teow was 20c 30c at that time, I have was from that era.I bought my 4 room at 21K, now 300k to 400k, Salary $500 in the 60 = to 5k now. Can you imagine those earning 2k now, after CPF 1.6k. Don’t boast, though I have a comfortable life, I still sympathise the new generation.

      • Gen 1980 said

        Agree with you. I do hope more parents realised this on how our generation going thru right now. Wish more people are aware of this…

      • pete said

        Oldguard speaks the truth.
        My 4 rm HDB in Marine Parade costs 24K, while a 5 rm costs 36K in 1976.
        I was earning $900 as a engineer and my 2nd hand small car costs 2K,
        At that point in time we could not use our CPF to cover the housing loan but it was affordable. ( thanks to GohKS and LimKS )
        I am semi retired now and I truly sympathise with the current generation.

        Right now, the cost of living is way too high in relation to average take home pay. The other point is my school fees during secondary school was $6 pm, dental was free, innoculation was free, medical was either free or highly subsidised, bursary and books on loan, etc. This was the era when Spore was not considered rich but the PAP oldguards took care of the country and its people. But from what I see now, I am puzzled why things have gotten worse under GohCT and LHL, especially when Spore has Billions in reserves and with superior infrastructure than what I experienced in the 50s, 60s, 70s..etc
        Why must our defence budget be so high, 12$Billion ?
        Do you know what we can buy with just half of this money ?

    • Independent said

      Agree. I’ve experienced poverty whn a kid that I strive hard in life to avoid earning 1 or 2k salary. This starts fr doing well in sch. I even know that a 3k salary is nothing. Some naive ppl still think 3k is a lot and push the blame to govt and inflation without acting on it. My fren whos a diploma holder works v hard as a property agent, owns a condo, drives a car and have two kids. These ppl can continue to complain and leave the opportunities for us to earn more $.

  2. CWS said

    You think government don’t know abt this case.

  3. Demnis said

    How can this happened? I thought we are ranked the first richest country in the world! Can our govt pls enlighten us, we are confused….

  4. Jack said

    Jessica, We understand and experience what you have described, having 2 young children myself.

    This is something that puzzled me a lot when our minister who said earning $1k would be enough and able to own a flat.

    • oldguard said

      If our Minister medical bill for heart by pass is $6, and we citizen are entitle to the same I would think so. Normal cold and fever should be $2. Rental for hawker centre less than $100 a month, food prices will be back to the old good day, maybe char kueh teow will be 50c. So 1K maybe enough, housing will be less than 50K, hahaha, dreaming lah

  5. Sad to be Singaporean said

    I fully agreed!

  6. GT said

    A duty is a duty. Shut up and have a kid for the sake of our glorious nation.

    And its leeders.

    Cars, retirement savings, parent’s retirement savings, all are unnecessary. You want houses to be cheap and our population small, just so you can own a car?

  7. patrick eng said

    thanks for voicing out. please don’t leave singapore otherwise we have more new citizens who will
    replace you. appreciate that your voice be heard and matters where it counts.

  8. Chee Kok Wing said

    Aiyah why complain so much? In life who no need to struggle? When your ancestors landed on Singapore soil in the 20s, 30s 40s and 50s they also got to work their fingers to the bone mah. not only that some family got 10 children to feed all because that time no condom to wear also they got along and grew up. now got 2 kids only got 1 ton of complaint. if you can find utopia after leaving Singapore let me know i also want to go.

  9. FIP said

    People complains must listen. Otherwise no one will know the problem. After hearing the complains summarize and do the necessary things to make things right again. This is the simple way to improve. Nvm the past. S’porean need to find back confident from gv again. I m sure there will be a policy that will help us to clear this current obsticle.

    • Julie Ong said

      FIP, I agree.

      I fully understand the financial challenges facing young families today. However, we can adjust our spending (sometimes difficult) and use our money on the essentials first. Patience also. If we cannot afford it now we can still save till we have enough to buy it. Simple common sense.

      Next, we can put the pressure/heat on the government. If life is getting increasingly expensive and difficult then the government is not doing their job. It is really ‘criminal’ for the government to drive wages down, ramp up prices and at the same time reward themselves with million dollars pay. Do not think that your complaints get you nowhere. The government certainly wants to get re-elected and stay in power and they will, unless they are really fools, look to address some of your concerns.

      Ms Jessica Ang, please don’t leave Singapore. You are an invaluable part of Team Singapore. Together I’m confident that we can make our homeland better and our lives Happier and More Comfortable. For ourselves and also for our little ones.

  10. Richard said

    Free to ask the Minister $1K income can buy HDB Flat.Only in singapore our one thousand dollars like millions dollars as they collect every year. Talk is very very cheap.Income gap is like fxxk.

  11. Given the insane cost of living, why did she get married in the first place?

  12. Gen 1980 said

    Very true.

    Most parents now in their 40s to 60s will think that our gen is better, no war, have all the latest mobile gadgets, can buy flat, enjoy the fruits of labour.

    For us, we do not think that way. I personally believe that the golden years are those who is now in their 50s or 60s. Flat fully paid up, have some reAsonable retirement savings ( author have said that the real Singaporean couples with babies in their 20s and 30s have no savings, this is TrUe!), things are very cheap back then noodles cost a few cents??? so saving up money is very easy, can get CPF money Somemore ( younger gen like us? Retirement age to get CPF money will be way above 80s by then!), have son and daughters that will give allowance to them ( our kids in future will be even poorer cos of sky high inflation in future).

    For us? It will be a up-hill battle, with the high influx of immigrants, our salary will be stagnant. With salary stagnant, paying 30 years HDB loan, tuition fees for kids for this extremely competitve Singapore education system ( remember our parents generation they are less stressful in education ), CPF retirement age that we can draw out age is getting higher and higher, do you know our generation is the “new poor”? New poor meaning, new urban poor, slave to the system to work and work and work.

    I regret our 50s and 60s generation never think carefully about this before they vote. They should vote for our generation, not in their time. Now it’s irrecoverable, irreversible. We have to keep working and working to pay only for HDB, with so much things need money to pay, how can we even think of having babies?

    If I will to vote, I will vote for my “next generation” sake.

    • Independent said

      U think it’s true just bcos the author says so? I have one kid and still have substantial savings and I’m not even born rich and was fr neighbourhood sch. Author most likely had a great time in sch and at work so her pay is totally justified. With that pay, she is also likely to meet and marry someone earning ard her pay so combined income is low. Nothing is east to get in this world. U work hard and smart, u get a better life, whether the govt sells u cheaper flat or not. Given their income, they shld just stay with parents, work on earning more first before having kids or moving out.

  13. Daniel said

    Marriage is about compromise, Parenthood is about sacrifice, unless u are super rich, every middle class parent here and everywhere else has to sacrifice alot for their children, this is a fact.

    • really? said

      The average house in US costs $200k. An average new sedan costs $14k. And they earn about the same as us.
      Their politics is screwed up but then again, ours’ seem to be heading that way.

      So tell me, how is the author wrong is saying that if we can’t accept the high prices in Singapore, then we should move abroad.

      • Independent said

        Not very useful to just note the housing and car pricing in US. U may like to inform us here on how much an average US citizen earns a month and how much taxes they have to pay. What other govt subsidies or grants do they enjoy for giving birth, for education, purchasing of flats etc.

    • Gen 1980 said

      Please… Everyone knows this… All parents make sacrifices…
      Put your thought in Singapore perspective, why things happen this way? Why we have one of e lowest birth rate in the world? Other countries also have middle class parents but why Singapore have one of the lowest birth rate?

      Aihuh… Got it?

    • John C said

      Super rich and for some reason you do not have to sacrifice for your children…. I would like to understand the reasoning behind such a sentiment.

  14. solaris8899 said


  15. It is a sad state in Singapore. There are group that are struggling to make ends meet.
    On the other hand, there are lots that are very rich that keep buying houses, cars, etc.
    Its a tough situation for our government to manage. But, since you are so highly pay, you better manage it well.

  16. seah said

    Jessia now your kid havent start schooling,the main problem start when tuition came in,that where the money go

  17. Zam said

    Is this a struggle? You must visit other countries. People dont have food to eat there.

    You must thank GOD for this good life

  18. Jay said

    Sometimes, I try to understand, most of the time I can understand what fellow Singaporeans are complaining about, the cost of living, housing costs, COE prices, transport problems, etc.

    What I cannot understand is what they these Singaporeans done to alleviate their situation? Singapore is a country full of opportunities, and if you are willing, and have the hunger, and drive, you will succeed.

    I wasn’t born to a rich family. In fact, mum and dad are lower middle income earners. But now, I’m the proud owner of 2 condo units, a new BMW 3-series convertible, and happily married. I’m 30, and take home about $15k per month. My income is comfortable for me. And yes, I also fly Business Class for my holidays nowadays (not company pay, I pay with my own money) I’m working as a wealth advisor, and a true blue Singaporean.

    My wife and I chose not to have kids, as yet because they are a financial burden, and take away our time working. We are making these sacrifices to attain, and improve our standard of living, so we can have more money to fulfill our dreams. I start work at 9.30am everyday, and don’t finish until 11pm at night. I also work on weekends and public holidays. Every now and then, when I commute by trains between my appointments, I see Singaporeans rushing back from work at like what, 5 or 6pm? I’m just about going to meet my client for the evening…..

    Singaporeans only know how to complain and complain. They don’t realise we all work hard to achieve our dreams, and money. We make a lot of sacrifices to achieve them. Singaporeans want many things but don’t want to work very hard. If you choose to have so many kids, then your sacrifice is you have to make do with lesser money. You can’t have your cake and eat it, isn’t it?

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