Archive for November, 2009 – Million dollar kids

Million dollar kids  

Australian study found that the average child now costs A$1 million (S$1.3 million) to raise. -Reuters

Fri, Nov 27, 2009

SYDNEY – Think your children are costing you a lot? You’re right, with an Australian study finding that the average child now costs A$1 million (S$1.3 million) to raise, taking into account toys, holidays and other activities.

A study on Generation Z and the cost of parenting by social analyst Mark McCrindle found a government estimate that it cost A$384,543 to raise a child to 18 was way off as this did not include private education, holidays or “non-essential” items.

It also assumed that children would leave home at 18 but this was no longer the case with Generation Z, those born after 1995, as the costs of accommodation and bills were a deterrent to moving out.

“In today’s Australian families the majority of young people stay in the parental home and rely on their parents for some of their expenses until their mid 20’s. Therefore the cost per household to raise children to age 24 is A$834,000,” McCrindle from McCrindle Research said in his report.

He said then you had to add the “non-essential” yet “usual” child rearing expenses such as toys, holidays and travel, dining and entertainment, private tutoring and education, sport and activities, furniture and household equipment dedicated to the children’s use.

This boosted costs by another A$3,000 per child per year.

“This takes the total parental cost to raise the average number of children (2.7) in Australia to A$1,028,093,” he said.

McCrindle said parents now do have more money to spend on children than their parents did, making Generation Z the most financial endowed generation of children ever.

McCrindle’s research, based on a survey of 4,500 Australians, found the average Australian child had more than 100 toys but that parents threw out or gave away only five toys a year.

Almost all Australians admitted spending more than A$100 on toys per child each year, with a small portion saying they splashed out A$500.

Girls stopping playing with dolls at the age of six compared to their mothers who played with dolls until age 10 and over half of children’s toys are powered or electronic.

“The 21st Century has ushered in a new lifestage: the tweens. Such is the growing sophistication, marketing influence and…..that these pre-teens are fashion aware, brand conscious and peer influenced as much as yesterday’s teenagers,” he said.

The A$1 million price tag was broken down into food costing A$206,000, housing and utilities A$165,000, recreation and entertainment A$157,000, health and other services A$153,000, clothing and equipment A$129,000, transport A$123,000, and education and child care A$95,000.


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The magic of creating something from nothing – university fees

Have been researching and thinking hard about how to raise the money for our little girl’s university education. Six-figure sum is a big deal and we are starting from zero, but thankfully we have the benefit of time. 18 years, to be exact.

Looking at what I am putting aside every month (not a lot), the only way is through investment growth. Not endowment plans (<3% annualised p.a.) and definitely not savings (0.125% p.a.). Based on assumptions, simulations and this website, I need an aggressive 9% (before inflation) compounded and annualised rate of return per annum. To achieve this, there are only 2 asset classes – equity and property.

Property? Who are we kidding here? These are big ticket items! Which leaves only equity.

The next few months will be spent identifying the (hopefully) correct unit trusts to buy. Maybe ETFs too. I will also need to shop for a low-cost insurance plan to protect this investment. Likely to be level term insurance.

Image credit here.

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Straits Times – Network to help dads bond

Nov 17, 2009

Network to help dads bond

Fathers Action Network to organise activities that help dads build ties

By Theresa Tan

MANY Singaporeans see fathers primarily as the guy who brings home the bacon. But a new movement wants fathers to do more than that.

The Fathers Action Network, funded by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS), has been set up as the latest effort to get men more involved in their children’s lives.

Mr Richard Seow, father of four and chairman of health-care service provider Parkway Holdings, is heading the network of 16 members.

They include Mr Alfred Tan, executive director of Singapore Children’s Society, and Mr Wong Suen Kwong, co-founder of the Centre for Fathering. Both are active advocates for good parenting.

The new group aims to organise activities that help dads build stronger relationships with their children.

Mr Seow, 47, whose children are aged 11 to 17, said: ‘Few things are more important to a man than being a father and loving his wife, but this is easily forgotten in this very materialistic world. Someone once said it is easy to become a father, but hard to be a father.’

Hope I don’t need any network to bond with my child(ren). Article or not, survey or not, barring any unforeseen circumstances, I intend to be a hands-on father. Parenthood is a joint effort, and I don’t want to be missing out on the fun!

Moreover, I’m the one with all the 大道理.

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Foetal Anomaly test

I was really excited yesterday because I was due for a foetal anomaly (FA) test. And that meant Papa and Mama will be able to see me!

I tried to put on my best behaviour initially, allowing the doctor to assess me. But as the scan proceeded, I got restless and must have fidgeted a lot, because I heard the kind doctor said “Wah, very active, ah!” Yes, I was that excited!

On the whole, I am really healthy and growing very well, within the statistical average. However there’s one area that the doctor said Papa and Mama have to monitor.  I don’t think the both of them want to talk about this.

The next detailed scan will be in 10 weeks’ time.

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There has been much discussion recently on the language standards and proficiencies of the school kids nowadays. They (wrongly, in my opinion) point an accusing finger at SMS-ing, Twitter, Singlish and the like.

Everyone is capable of speaking good English or Mandarin IF THEY WANT TO. My siblings and I grew up in a dialect-speaking environment. Our formative years – and in fact, right till this day – were spent conversing in Teochew with Mum and Dad and Hokkien with Grandma. This didn’t stop us from scoring As in our language exams. I suspect the kids nowadays are too lazy to form their sentences properly, or simply give in to peer pressure in order to fit in.


The purpose of this post? That we have decided thus – Papa will speak Mandarin to Baby, while Mama will converse with her in English.

Dialects will also form part of the core curriculum. 



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It struck me last week that, with a new family member coming onboard soon, some of the household responsibilities will be reshuffled.

What that means is, yours truly will be tasked with MOST of the household chores. Laundry, ironing, floor-mopping, toilet-washing, etc. My only response to all this?


I’ve always hated housework! While I find a quiet corner to mope, can someone please explain to me what all these buttons on the washing machine do?


Image credit here.

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