Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Baby Bonus Increment: Yay or Nay?

It's good to know that the government is stepping up to encourage couples to try for more babies but how much is enough? ah...that is the question!

As a working mother of 3 kids, I can tell you straight in the face that life is not easy to balance between work & family. To manage my work, I have to put all my children through childcare so that I am able to earn more money to supplement for their enrichment classes, their outing expenditures and etc. Nowadays, dual-income families are very common but I'm not saying we can't rely on single-income to survive. Of course, there will be a lot of things we have to forgo in order to survive on that minimal amount of money each month. 

Problem #1 - Childcare subsidy & fees
With the increase in childcare charges, the slight increment in Baby Bonus is not going to help me in the long run and what will happen if the childcare charges continue to increase years later? Probably it would be able to help me tide over the 1st year of the childcare fees but what about subsequent years?

Problem #2 - Medical fees
Through my experience, my bill can amount more than 2k each year based on the medical fees my 3 children accumulated. A visit to a PD can cost me more than $100-$200 plus if we don't pump in more money to buy extra medical insurance for them, probably we might need to pay even more for their hospitalisation fees.

Of course, these are not the sole reason we are stopping at 3 & I'm not discouraging people from having more babies. For families who are trying for more kids, good for them. Personally I felt with that little help, situation is not going to improve in the long run if the standard of living is going to increase every year (property, maid, childcare...the list can go on). 

Anyway, the new incentives can't please everyone (including me). I felt that we should know our limits & abilities to plan how many kids we are able to have & not because of some short-term benefits to entice us to have more. 

So what are your thoughts?

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  1. Exactly! They should do more ground work with the young families and work out a better scheme for all to benefit. Not just a one time bonus and only for newborns.

  2. After years of calls from the public for childcare and preschool to be nationalised to bring down costs and better ensure minimum standards, the government is still not moving. For healthcare, Singapore continues to spend the least publicly among developed countries, pushing the burden onto the shoulders of individuals instead, not only for pediatric treatment. For housing, the government has turned public housing into an investment asset that appreciates so quickly that new couples are already saddled with huge mortgage payments for the next 20 years of their lives even before they think about having children. The crowdedness on trains and buses and everywhere in general is trying on a daily basis and many people do not want to have children for them to also go through the stress and discomfort. And all these without even looking at unfortunate circumstances that may happen e.g. loss of job, child born with congenital issues etc. The increase in baby bonus is welcome but it does little to address the main issues.