10 Financial Issues Singaporean Parents Nag About
7 November 2017
Besides having hefty expectations of us achieving sky-high earnings and constantly comparing us to our peers, cousins and your neighbour Auntie Peggy’s son, Singaporean parents like to nag. A LOT. Nobody looks forward to coming home and being greeted by a barrage of nagging, especially after a hard day’s work.
But let’s face it – there is a certain truth to all the things our parents nag us about, especially when it comes to financial matters. After all, they actually have the hands-on experience of raising a family so you’d best heed some of their advice. Here are 10 financial issues they nag about that are all too real:
1. Not paying your bills on time
“Son, you haven’t paid your credit card bill this month? Later they charge you interest you know!” your parents would say, while passing you an opened overdue bill addressed to you.
When you politely ask why they opened your letters… ”I never! When I see it, it’s opened already!”.
Okay, so maybe Cai Shen Ye opened it, but even the Chinese God of Fortune can’t help you with the consequences of not paying your bills. Unpaid credit card bills can incur high interest if you continue ignoring them. And unpaid telco bills will lead to your phone line getting cut off. Case in point: http://bit.ly/2iARJTp
2. Constantly job-hopping
“Why do you keep changing jobs? How are you ever going to have a stable income?”, your parents would lament with disappointment, before proceeding to give you some talk on how, in the good, old days, they used to stay at the same job for years. Also, prepare for the transition into talking about not being able to get married without a stable income.
To some of the older generation, a stable job trumps constant upgrading. It doesn’t matter how many of their peers have already faced retrenchment due to the steady stream of younger workers entering the workforce. To them, loyalty to a company will pay off eventually.
While I can’t fully agree with their perspective, you should try to stay in a job for a minimum of 2 years. There’s a fine difference between job-hopping to build your resume, and just plain not being able to hold a job. And recruiters can definitely tell the difference.
3. A low paying job with poor career prospects
“How much you earning now? So next time can promote to what?” they’ll ask with much hope in their eyes. Then you shoot them down with a “Not much. I do this to accumulate experience only”. That’s when they’ll start throwing a fit, saying the company is exploiting you or advise that you find something with a better career progression.
They’re not wrong. Sadly, there are companies that are exploiting their more junior and inexperienced labour. So, before you sign that contract, make sure to read up on your employment rights. Also, make sure that you know what is the average market rate for your industry so that you at least have some negotiating power before you sign on the dotted line.
4. Not giving them (enough) allowance
“Now that you’re old enough to work already, you should be filial enough to repay us…” Dad would hint at you since the day you started getting your first pay check. Doesn’t matter if we have study loans to pay, a house or wedding banquet (they insist on having) to save for, giving them a high amount for allowance equates to love.
Communication is key here, and paying off your existing debt is certainly a lot more important at the start of your career.
But on the other hand, if you can afford it, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t. After all, you might not realise it now, but when you eventually do have kids, you’ll realise just how expensive it is to raise a child in Singapore.
5. Not knowing the value of money
“You ask me buy this potato chip, up till now haven’t eat you see expire already! You think money these days very easy to earn issit?!” your mom scolds with a slightly raised voice.
“Yes ma. We know la. Every cent counts right?” we’ll retort, sauntering into our rooms.
Except every cent does count. Especially when you have a family to feed and bills looming over your head. Costs do add up and you’ll realise that you could afford an overseas trip if you just cut down on your daily cold-pressed coffee, or that weekend alcohol binge, or that luxury meal. Speaking of which…
6. Spending frivolously on things we don’t need
“Wah! You keep going out to eat and buying things! Only know how to spend money hor?” your parents say as they look at your Topshop/Topman/Zara bags with disapproval. Because it doesn’t matter if you’ve already put aside money to save and are contributing to the household. Spending on yourself equates to unnecessary expenses.
…and those things we bought always end up in the trash or Carousell listings 3 months later.
7. Not having a capable partner (or any at all, for that matter)
“Why can’t you ever bring home a nice boy for ma to see?” Mom would say.
Forget how we were forbidden to have a relationship till we were 21. Or how that girl or boy “was not educated/good enough” for us. By 25 (this is especially true for Singaporean girls), we’re expected to find a human being that is not just reasonably good-looking, filial, and gets along with them, but this fantastical creature also needs to be earning an above average income.
Because with Singapore’s rising standards of living and stagnating salaries, you’ll need someone by your side that can help support the costs of raising a family.
8. Not having any savings
“Girl ar. You know a penny saved is a penny gained you know. When you start working must save,” my dad would often lecture me during the rare times I had a moment alone with him.
Ok fine, I’ll try to save, I would think. Until I met my friends for the weekend and all thoughts on saving went out the window.
It wasn’t until I started thinking of starting a family that I realized the importance of my dad’s naggings. Renovation for house: $40k, Wedding banquet: another $40k. No savings? Good luck.
9. Not being able to afford good housing in Singapore
“Boy ar, HDB nowadays getting more and more expensive, better faster save up get BTO!”
It usually starts off with some talk about the news or something government-related, then it’ll escalate somehow to increasing property prices and how you should get one ASAP. Planning for home buying means not just figuring out where you want to live, but also understanding what grants you can qualify for, and how you are going to finance your house and what you can afford.
If planned well, you’ll realise that actually owning a home isn’t as outrageously out of reach as some people like to make it seem. And if you don’t know the significance of living in a country with more than 90% home ownership, go speak to anyone from the US or Europe.
10. Not contributing to household expenses
“You stay under this roof all these years, never help out around the house or anything. You should at least start contributing to our utility bills.”
Paying for the utility and grocery bills or covering petrol costs are great ways to help financially. Especially since you’re still living under their roof. It’s really not too much of a stretch for you to contribute to the household expenses, especially given that your parents aren’t making you pay rent.
What other financial issues do you remember your parents nagging you about? Share them with us.