Every couple wants to live happily ever after, but the realities of having limited resources and infinite expenses can get in the way. So before you say “I do,” sit down to discuss these important money topics, which are seldom talked about at home:
Singapore has one of the most efficient, reliable health care systems in the world. We have more than 8 public hospitals and several private health care institutions run by thousands of doctors, many of whom received training in Europe and North America.
With government support, plus Medisave or Medishield included in most health insurance products, health care costs in the country are well-subsidized and meant to cover both outpatient and inpatient needs.
However, that doesn’t mean you can afford to relax about the costs of healthcare. A Medisave fund, for example, can only be used for a couple of acute emergency admissions. In one of the Mindshare surveys in 2012, more than 70% of Singaporeans believed they cannot get sick due to high hospital bills. Add to that, the average lifespan has increased to 82 years, which means you and your family have to be sufficiently covered with insurance for a long time.
Raising a Family
To have a baby is a conscious decision you two will have to agree upon. Should you decide to raise children, it’s good to know what you’re getting yourselves into. On average, you have to spend $340,000 from infancy until age of emancipation—and that’s for a single child alone.
With careful planning, you can control the expenses that come with raising children. You can:
- Start saving even before your firstborn arrives
- Enjoy a simpler lifestyle
- Get adequate insurance to cover for medical expenses
- Work closely with a family counsellor or gynaecologists to plan your family
We Singaporeans are enthusiastic shoppers, and it’s hard to resist a little retail therapy when there’s always something new and exciting to buy.
In fact, our shopping habits are not limited to Singapore alone. According to the 2014 Consumer Payment Attitudes survey by Visa, we are the largest online shoppers in Southeast Asia. At least 30% of Singaporeans use mobile phones to buy something online at least once a week, whether locally or abroad.
Yet 1 in every 5 of our cardholders pays only the minimum sum, thereby simply allowing our credit card debt to accumulate. And we know huge debts are more likely to figure themselves in a couple’s argument.
Credit cards are not the bane in the story here but how they are used. We say pay attention to what our credit bureau suggests: as much as possible, pay the entire debt due for the month. You can also use a money management tool to help you find credit cards with more practical features including easy zero balance transfers, which allow you to reduce your debt while taking advantage of lower interest rates.
Marriage is all about balance and, most of all, compromise. It’s the same thing with developing your financial goals together. Keep in mind that from hereon out, whatever financial decisions you’re going to make affects not only you or your spouse but both of you, and the impact may extend all the way to your present and future children.