The other day, I was asking the kids to guess how much it would cost to raise a child and they thought for a moment before Truett said, “Um…5,000?”
“Not even close,” I told them.
“30,000?” Kirsten suggested.
“More. A lot more.”
Finn decided to go with all of the numbers. “I know!! 100 million gazillion thousand billion!”
“Hahahaha, I like the enthusiasm but no, not that much.”
When I eventually told them each kid would cost an estimated $500,000, they were incredulous, like “WHATTT??? And you still have so many babies??!!! WHY?? THEN HOW???”
Before I got to the “then how” part, I had to explain to them that as with most things in life, we jumped headfirst into this whole having babies situation without really thinking about how much it would cost or how were going to come up with it. We just happened to really like babies and after we had our first one, we thought he was ridiculous adorable so we went and had another 4 more.
Yeah, and that’s the story of how you wake up one day to find out that you now have to pay for 5 of these very expensive tiny humans.
They started to look very worried so I told them that the $500,000 is just a suggested amount and it’s entirely possible to be perfectly happy with much less. Besides, we would have the next decade or so to figure it out. “Don’t worry! Worst case scenario, we’ll just have to eat less food and you guys will have to start getting a job during your school holidays,” I added, helpfully.
I don’t think it made them feel any better.
It’s a good thing that these days, Truett has learnt not to take me seriously all the time, so he was like “You’re kidding, right? Aiya, mom is just kidding, we’ll have food to eat lah. They have a plan or something.”
And he’s right, because here’s the good news: you don’t need to have gold bars stashed away somewhere to have 5 kids (or even 1). All you need is smart financial management.
What kind of smart financial management? I’m glad you asked. Here are some basic steps to get you started:
1. Build a stash of savings
Step one is to make savings a regular habit. It’s great to save a lot all at once, but there’s a case to be made for developing the habit of stashing away some savings every month, even if it seems like a small amount.
That’s because when you add all those small amounts together, you get a decently sized amount and if you keep at it, soon enough, you’ll have a nice big amount, that’s how math works.
We’ve been trying to teach this to Truett and Kirsten since they started Primary School and I think they generally understand how important it is. Whether they’ve been consistently successful at it is um, debatable. In fact, Tru was just trying to pitch me the idea that he should have a 50-cent increase in his pocket money for Primary 4 next year.
I was like, “You need a 25% increase?? WHY?? What are you planning to buy with it?” and he immediately said “Oh, so that I can save more.”
2. Stash those savings in the right place
Now that you’ve accumulated a nice little stash, the next thing is to make sire that you put it in the right place.
Okay, enter the new UOB Stash Account®, a bank account that makes your savings work harder for you. I’ve just signed up for it and here’s how it works. Earn up to 1% p.a.1 interest on your Monthly Average Balance (MAB) when you: a) maintain or increase your MAB compared to the previous month and b) maintain a MAB above S$10,000. That’s about 15 times* the interest you’d be earning in your basic savings account.
3. Have access to those savings just in case
With kids, you’re always one emergency away from burning a hole in your pocket. Flu season can quickly escalate into bronchiolitis and a hospital stay, an afternoon at the playground can turn into somebody’s fractured arm, and at any given point, somebody will probably need new glasses, new shoes, new school bags, which can all add up.
With the UOB Stash Account®, there’s no lock in period so you’ll have quick access to your savings if you ever need it. You just need to make sure to top it back upto enjoy bonus interest.
Setting aside a stash of savings for the kids is one of the most important decisions we’ve made as parents. Not only does it give us a headstart in being prepared for the future, we hope that they’ll also grow up adopting this habit of saving.
As an added bonus, earn 1.2% p.a. on your savings for the month of November if you sign up now here.
But wait, there’s more! UOB is having a special promo for the festive season:
//If you are a new UOB customer, get an extra $80 cash credit when you apply for your UOB Stash Account. Sign up now here.
//Terms and conditions apply.