Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Why people are not having babies

They have been married for three years but have no plans to have children yet.

Financial planners Amanda Bandar-Tay and Bandar Tjetty, both 28, together earn $15,000 a month, but even so, they feel that they are not financially ready to have children.

The couple's parents, who have been bugging them for the pitter-patter of tiny feet, might have to wait a while.

The couple live in a resale five-room flat in Tampines with Mrs Bandar-Tay's parents and sisters.

Says Mrs Bandar-Tay: "You want the best for your children and good quality early childhood education is so expensive.

"It's $1,500 for half a day and $2,000 to $2,500 for a full day every month for a good pre-school." Mrs Bandar-Tay should know.

She graduated with a degree in early childhood education and taught in a private childcare centre, Brighton Montessori, for four years .

"The teacher-student ratio at a private childcare centre is much lower and the qualifications of teachers tend to be better. (But) so is the cost of education," she says.

"You want the best for your kids because the system is so competitive. You want them to go to good schools and a good pre-school will give you a good foundation."

Being financial planners, the couple have worked out their sums.

By their estimation, it will cost them $3,000 to $4,000 a month in fees for enrichment classes, pre-school, wages for a caregiver and a maid, and the cost of diapers and food to raise a child.

"Don't forget you also have to save for their education - you can't rely on CPF because most of it will go towards housing," says Mrs Bandar-Tay.

Mr Tjetty estimates that by 2023, the cost of local university education will amount to $150,000, while an overseas education will cost double of that. The couple do want to have kids, just not now.

Said Mr Tjetty: "I wanted to have five, but after doing the sums, anything more than two will be a stretch."

For now, the couple's game plan is to save as much as they can, so that in about two to three years' time, Mrs Bandar-Tay can stay at home and look after the children, Mr Tjetty tells The New Paper on Sunday.

The couple say they're aware of the risks of having children at a later age but say there's always in-vitro fertilisation.

"Don't forget, we're self-employed - we don't get CPF - so we have to put aside savings each month," he says.

Being a housewife would mean spending "quality time" with the children, says Mrs Bandar-Tay.

"One of the reasons my mother and I are very close is that she was there for me and my two younger sisters at home."

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