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Growing up, our parents are our role models, we emulate what our Dad or Mum does.
If we do not agree with what our parents are doing, we might strive to do better when we become parents ourselves. Be it good or bad examples, we all learn through mistakes and experiences.
Is there an instruction menu for Parents?
I truly appreciate the challenges of parenting after I become a Dad myself.
Looking back, my sibling and I must have driven my parents up the walls with our antics.
Subconsciously, we tend to pass down values from our parents to the kids.
To my kids, I always encourage them to be adventurous and follow their dreams.
If they should falter, just climb up and try again.
With enough nurturing, I do hope they will be there to take care and cherish each other.
Even with four kids, we are still learning and improvising our parenting skills everyday. Every child is different and has his or her own individual character.
Let us share some of the important virtues and milestones which I pickup from my own parents.
1) Spiders and Enrichment, which childhood memory sounds more fun?
I lived in a Kampong before moving to a HDB flat when I was around 5 or 6 years old.
Childhood days in a HDB neighbourhood were fun and memorable.
I know the importance of a happy childhood, and we make an effort to ensure our kids' childhoods are memorable (and not all about tuition).
My Dad would bring us hiking and fishing whenever he had free time. Although he might not say it, but I now understand he wanted us to enjoy the great outdoors and be more "rugged and independent". I am now encouraging my kids to take up sports (hiking, jogging and cycling) in the hope that they will improve their mental resilience.
No xBox and Gameboy, no problem.
We just improvised our own games such as police catch thief, marbles and hide & seek.
As long as we were "adventurous", our curiosity (and mischief) knew no bound.
Yes, we stole mangos from neighbours' trees and dropped water bombs onto unsuspecting pedestrians too!
2) Brother, you can count on me
As my parents were busy with work, my younger brother and I needed to "take care" of each other from young. Besides looking out for each other in school and around the neighbourhood, we were forced to rely on each other for support. As a result, we became more street-smart and resourceful.
Unfortunately, kids nowadays are more pampered. They just need to shout "Mummy, Daddy can you help?" whenever they hit an obstacle. As for me, I always encourage them to do some research (among themselves or even Google) before they approach us for answers. We discourage spoon-feeding in our home.
As the saying goes "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime".
3) Kids grow up too fast, and preparing for the future
Play aside, my parents never failed to relay the importance of "saving for a rainy day".
And just like our parents, we encourage our kids to start saving from a younger age.
Their "ang pow" money (bonus) are all deposited into their own bank accounts.
Their balances from their daily pocket money need to go into their own piggy banks.
I always joke that we parents are like CPF, we enforce compulsory savings for the little ones.
They might be too young to understand retirement planning now, but (like CPF) cultivating a good savings habit would be the first step towards financial prudence. And talking about the future, if there is something else which I can do for the kids, it would be for my spouse and I to take care of our own retirement needs, so that our kids need not be burdened with our aging.
The fact is Singapore is growing older with more senior citizens, and smaller families.
This mean lesser abled-bodies to support the economy and support their parents.
As such, it is important that we need to plan for our own retirement expenses now.
As I was going through the options available when doing retirement planning for my family, I came across
It is an annuity scheme that provides a monthly payout from age 65 onwards. As my mom just turned 62 I got her to apply for CPF LIFE.
Under this scheme, my Mum can choose to stop working and still have a steady payout for life when she turns 65. With the monthly payout, there is more stability and assurance for her golden years.
Likewise, when I reach retirement age, CPF LIFE will be part of my retirement plan. It does give me the flexibility of deciding how I wish to spend (or grow) my money. The two images below will share more details.
Here is a short summary of CPF LIFE. Based on our desired CPF LIFE monthly payout and CPF balances, we can choose from a range of payout options that suit our retirement needs.
The CPF LIFE
Standard Plan gives you higher monthly payouts for life and a lower bequest, while the
Basic Plan offers lower monthly payouts for life and a higher bequest.
We have chosen the
Basic Plan for my Mum as she intends to work for as long as she can. When I reach my sixties, living expenses should be higher. I might wish to work longer to keep myself mentally alert and earn some pocket money. Either way, I would prefer to leave more money in the pot for my kids.
And apart from relying on my monthly payout from CPF LIFE, I have my investment plans to ensure my retirement expenses will be adequately covered.
The above parenting list is never exhaustive as there are always more things to learn and adapt. Do share with me what are some other values passed down from your own parents, which you wish your child can inherit?
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