SINGAPORE: In a post on social media, user Teh-O-Ping opens up about the financial challenges of supporting his parents and planning for his own family’s future. Hailing from a low-middle-income family, Teh-O-Ping shares the struggles many face in a similar position, grappling with rising living costs, stagnant salaries, and the impact of an increasing CPF cap.

Teh-O-Ping’s parents, in their 60s, have limited retirement funds, and the burden falls on him and his three siblings, who collectively contribute around S$3,000 monthly. This sum covers essential expenses like daily dinners, utilities, and food for two younger family members.

Despite these efforts, Teh-O-Ping expresses concern about the strain on his finances, stating, “The cost of living rising significantly in 2022/2023 coupled with stagnant salary and increasing CPF cap is starting to take a toll on my finances as well as my parents. I am currently already contributing 10% of my monthly income to my parents but still feeling guilty for not contributing more as my BTO, Reno, Wedding (including dowry expenses) and honeymoon are all coming next year in 2024. Probably a 100k hit to my savings.”

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To counterbalance these financial challenges, Teh-O-Ping said he’s “been trying to save.” He enumerated his efforts, sharing that he is:

  1. Saving on food and drinks, eating cheap meals, no Starbucks, no BBT
  2. Buy uniqlo clothes only when on sale
  3. Strictly public transport, no Grab/Gojek
  4. Weekend do window shopping, no purchases, no entertainment expenses
  5. Exercise at home, no gym membership, etc

However, even with these stringent measures, Teh-O-Ping admits to feeling the financial squeeze, asking others on social media who are in similar situations, “How do you manage your finances?”

In response to his plea for guidance, the community rallies with words of support and practical advice.

Redditor bluebuns123 offers solidarity, acknowledging the difficulty of the situation and encouraging Teh-O-Ping to view the upcoming financial strain as a temporary hurdle. He said, “Just think of it this way next year will be your worst year but if no bigger expenses coming your savings will grow back.. or find a way to save during those big expenses.”

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Huck22 provides a straightforward perspective, advising Teh-O-Ping to focus on securing a well-paying job, stating, “This is probably stating the obvious, but finding a job that pays well will ease your cashflow pressures much more effectively than pinching pennies.” Adding a piece of advice, he stated, “Also stop comparing your life with others who are better off than you are. There’s zero upside to this and you can do nothing to change how rich your parents are.”

Maddymadeline suggests another approach focused on budgeting, pointing out that despite the impact of the CPF cap increase, Teh-O-Ping still has a substantial monthly surplus. She shared, “If the CPF cap increase affects your finances means you are earning over $6k per month and if you only give 10% to your parents, there’s still over $4k for you every month. Depending on you budget your spendings. Saving $1-1.5k a month is possible. If you eat mostly food courts, coffee shops and bring your own coffees. That amount is definitely possible.” She also advised to try and “rebudget,” adding, “Go for a simple Reno, wedding and perhaps honeymoon another time?”

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Zidane0508 lightens the mood, jokingly suggesting, “Maybe cut down on the O Peng . Just kidding.” However, he added, “I guess you need to let your folks know of your situation. I think they would understand.”

On the other hand, Silentscope90210 questions why he’s choosing to extend financial support to his niece/nephew, stating, “Why are you helping to pay for your niece/nephew though? Personally, I’m grateful my mum has some passive income but I still top up a bit because it’d be hard for her to get through the month just depending on it. My pay isn’t high as well.”

Teh-O-Ping’s post on financial struggles prompts the majority’s reflection on what’s truly enough support, touching on the conversation about balancing family support and personal aspirations. /TISG