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First year – How Much Do You Have to Set Aside for Your Newborn?

In another post we discussed the cost of delivery and having a baby, but how about when you bring them home? What are you going to pay to take care of them? A money lender Singapore might be able to assist you in caring for your child during their first years. So, let’s see what you can expect as it relates to the costs of raising a child during their first year of life at home.

Consumables –

From the diapers to formula, you really have no idea how much things cost until you bring the baby home. So, let’s take a look at the breakdown.

1. Diapers –

Going through 6-10 on a daily basis, you are looking at a cost of $0.23-.30 per diaper. There are promotions and cheaper brands, so make sure you look for this when shopping. How can you save? Buy in bulk. Doing so will cost more up front, but greatly reduce the cost per diaper, so look for deals, and buy when they are on sale/promotion.

2. Formula –

With a cost of over $170 per month for some brands, you can truly see how costly this can be. But, there are ways to save. With NTUC programs you can save up to 20% for stage 1 or 2 formula. So, how do you save on Enfamil or Similac? Go with the generic brands. All are truly created equally and the price is much cheaper. As this is a regulated industry, your child is safe drinking any formula, regardless of brand.

AptaAdvantage and NTUC Plus are also saving programs. Also consider promos and other specials when available. Look for deals and you can really cut back on the cost of consumables in this category.

3. Others –

Hand sanitizers, baby wipes, food, detergent, all of these add up. In fact, you can spend between $70-120 a month easily on these items. You can find many freebies and giveaways, so look for these.

Breakdown –

With diapers running $600-720 for the year, formula being $540-1020, and other items running $840-1440, you can easily spend over $3100 a year for consumables alone. So, look for deals, promos,and know which programs are offered, so you can save.

Non-consumables –

But, wait, there’s more. As a parent, there is clothing, prams, carriers, and other safety items you have to invest in. So, you have to account for these costs as well. A pram or baby carrier alone can run $200; car seats, a crib, and clothing will easily run over $1000 for parents. You can expect to spend about $2000 for these items in year one.

Every parent is different and some will go with the costliest, while others simply look for savings. SO, it is tough to determine just how much you spend in this category, but there are ways you can save.

So, how do you save on the non-consumables? You can of course rely on promos, coupons, and sales. You can go with second-hand items. Hand me downs are also a great option if you have kids, or family members with kids. It is a simple way to cut these costs in half, or cut them out entirely as a new parent.

Medical costs –

So, you know how much it costs to deliver, but once you bring them home, you have to take your baby to the doctor routinely during the first year as well. With $200 per visit on average, and costs of vaccines, you can expect to spend more than $1000 during the first year alone.

How can you save on these expenses? Free polyclinics are great; you are only charged consultation fees in these offices. NTUC also offers various discounts and programs for families to take advantage of.

Infant care –

If you are going back to work, you have to find someone to take care of your baby for you. So, you have to account for these costs as well as new parents. For an eight month period you can pay between $4000-12500, depending on if you choose private care, at home, or taking your baby to a day care. The costs again are truly going to vary based upon the choice you make as a parent, so you have to decide upon the best route for care when you are determining who to leave your child with.

So, what are the total costs? –

On the lower end, you can expect to pay $7800 for the first year, and on the higher end of the spectrum, close to $19000 for infant care. Your newborn is extremely costly; with this in mind, there are many programs which offer assistance, and there are a number of ways in which you can reduce the total cost and burden, when it comes to caring for your child, without having to compromise on the quality of care they are going to receive during their first year of life.

Don’t overspend –

More doesn’t always mean better. In fact, there are programs which are affordable, and offer the same quality of care. So, take advantage of these. Look for savings, and know where you can cut back, rather than going with the most expensive. Make sure you give your child a great start.

Try certain formulas, try out different diaper brands, shop, and look for savings. You do not have to compromise on quality, in order to give them the best; in fact, you will often learn generic or cheaper alternatives are just as good, if not far superior than the most expensive. So, do your research so you can learn and save.

NTUC has many great programs. Not only for food and consumables, but for medical care. Make sure you take advantage of these programs as well. Families in Singapore have options; you simply have to know what they are and how to go about saving. When you take the time to learn, research,and find the right programs, you are not only going to pay less, but also receive the best quality and care for your child.

So, make sure you compare, find discounts, and rely on government funded programs, in order to save during your child’s first year at home.

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Healthcare Financing in Singaporeans

Many people hold on to the fact that their health is one of their greatest sources of wealth. There is so much truth to this since without good health, it will be impossible for you to continue managing your business or performing well in your job. Unless you are healthy in every way, your potentials are limited – and this includes your capability to increase your wealth and thrive in life.

In an expensive city such as Singapore, you cannot possibly allow yourself to be sick. Just imagine how a major illness can set you back financially. Taking a leave from work for several days, weeks, or even months will certainly put a strain on your finances, and it is even worse if you are the breadwinner of the family. With you sick in the hospital, how can your loved ones make ends meet without money coming in?

This is the harsh reality among Singaporeans who suffer from illnesses and unable to go to work. There are those who do not even have sufficient funds for emergency purposes, and they are left with a hefty hospital bill that needs to be paid immediately. Without money in the bank saved for such an emergency, they have no choice but to go to a money lender and take out a loan since their credit may be too low for them to even qualify for a bank loan. Now, with debts to pay, a failing health, and insufficient income each month, these all sound like a recipe for a disaster.

Healthcare in Singapore

Singapore is indeed a progressive country, and it is also known for its exceptional healthcare system. Researchers have found out that the country spent a total of $3,290 on healthcare per capita back in 2014, which was significantly lower than the US at $9,216 per capita. This is why Singaporeans are fortunate to have an efficient and world-class healthcare system that offers the best value for their money in terms of the services they receive.

It may be worth looking into the different components that all come together in ensuring the finest healthcare Singapore has to offer. As it is made of a multi-layered and complex system, Singapore’s healthcare is the collaborative effort of the government, the insurance industry, private employers, and every individual in the nation.

Let us learn more about the different healthcare schemes that make the country’s healthcare system among the best in the world.

1. Subsidies

Subsidies are provided by the government as based on the means-testing that cover the payment for healthcare. At the same time, this helps support the needs of Singaporeans when it comes to receiving a high level of healthcare no matter what their income may be. For instance, patients who make under $3,200 can receive as much as 80 percent in subsidies from the Singapore government during their stay at a Class C ward. This is applicable in a public or government hospital, which is quite a good amount of financial support.

In addition, subsidies are set in place to provide ample coverage for hospitalisation, primary care, day surgery, and treatment obtained at outpatient specialist clinics. There are also subsidies for intermediate and extensive healthcare such as nursing homes, day rehabilitation centre programmes, and home care. This is indeed a great help for people who require long-term help with their medical condition, which could easily cost them thousands of dollars.

2. Medisave

Singaporeans are entitled to a Medisave, which is an individual health savings plan that is mandatory and set in place under the CPF or Central Provident Fund. With this health savings scheme, Singaporeans can grow their savings for their medical needs in the future. Aside from covering their personal medical needs, Medisave can also support the needs of immediate family members. They also have the option to pay the premium cost for the Medishield.

The starting rate of contribution for the Medisave is at 8 percent. However, as person ages, it increases to 10.5 percent. The reason for the increase is due to the higher and more complex potential healthcare expenditures once a person enters old age. Keep in mind, though, the the use of Medisave funds has some limits, so it is important to be aware of this fact to avoid any hassle.

Then, there is the Medisave Grant for Newborns, and this caters to Singaporean babies in the country. At birth, babies are instantly CPF members, which means there is ample money to cover their premiums the Medisave beginning age 0 to 21. What’s more, this grant is beneficial as it can support various expenses on healthcare such as approved outpatient treatments, hospitalisation, and vaccinations from infancy to childhood.

3. MediShield Life

A compulsory and national basic health insurance for Singaporeans, the Medishield Life is designed to cover massive hospital bills accumulated from extensive medical treatment and procedures. The funds can cover outpatient treatments that ring up large bills including chemotherapy for cancer and dialysis. MediShield is regarded as “basic” health insurance because it only can be used to cover the payment for subsidised treatments performed in public hospitals.

Beginning birth, every Singaporean is already covered by the MediShield. There is also coverage for people who suffer from pre-existing conditions whether these are mild or serious by nature. The premiums for the MediShield Life may be paid in full from the Medisave. Moreover, the MediShield can be used for the mitigation of financial risks in the case of catastrophic illnesses, as well as for risk pooling.

Another thing worth noting is that Singaporeans may decide to supplement their basic coverage from MediShield with additional private insurance policies. The Integrated Shield insurance plans are easily accessible to Singaporeans with an existing MediShield scheme.

4. Medifund

For Singaporeans patients who are unable to pay for their medical expenses even after using their Medisave funds, private insurance, MediShield Life, and government subsidies may rely on the Medifund. This is an endowment fund by the government that serves as a safety net for these patients who lack the finances necessary to cover their hospital and treatment costs.

5. Pioner Generation Package and CHAS

The CHAS or the Community Health Assist Scheme is geared towards the needs of low to middle income Singaporean families. This includes varied amounts of subsidies offered at participating dental clinics and private GP clinics. In addition to this, Singaporeans may qualify for extra benefits from the Pioneer Generation Package.

6. Private Insurance

For patients who require additional financial support for their medical expenses, private insurance offers assistance when it comes to increasing their coverage needs. They also are eligible to claim insurance whenever they receive treatment in various private hospitals and clinics in the country. There are also varied coverage and types available to every Singaporean.

7. Corporate Healthcare Insurance and Benefits

Your employer can provide you with a group or corporate health insurance. This is a part of the perks of being employed, which offers some coverage to employees. The only limitation about this type of healthcare scheme is it ends once you are no longer employed in the company.

8. Preventative Healthcare

There is a new special healthcare plan provided to Singaporeans 41 years and above, as announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. According to this scheme, qualified individuals may receive medical checkups at a low fee of $5 – a huge discount, considering the regular price of $100. This is a way to support their health and prevent medical conditions from getting worse as soon as possible.

Indeed, Singaporeans have several options available when it comes to their healthcare financing needs. But at the same time, it helps to exert an effort to maintain one’s health and well-being to avoid hassles in the future that can impact their job and finances. After all, having good health is truly a way to inch closer to wealth as it impacts your performance in every endeavor you engage in.

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Financial Planning Tips for Flight Attendants in Singapore

For some people, the job of a flight attendant seems rather glamorous. After all, these people appear fashionably dressed and wheeling around their chic-looking suitcase at the airport. Not only that, but they have a chance to travel to various destinations all year round. Indeed, it is a job that is envied by jet-setters who want nothing more than to check out their favorite cities on the planet – and all for free!

It is true that the basic pay for a flight attendant is pretty decent. This is the case, at least, for those who work for Singapore Airlines. So, it does seem like a dream job for travel enthusiasts out there – to tour every single year and not have to worry about plane flights and accommodation budget. As a bonus, you are surrounded constantly by good-looking, sophisticated and young colleagues who are at the same time your companions during your travel. What more can you ask for?

Unfortunately, some flight attendants fall into several financial mistakes by not setting their purpose right from the start. Those who think that they will have this good-paying job for a long time tend to become more lax with their spending habits, until they find themselves concerned about accumulating so much debts over a period of time. They may even end up taking out one loan to the next from a bank or a licensed money lender because their funds have already run dry.

The “You Only Live Once” Syndrome

How would you feel about making $4,500 monthly, allowance included, and having a chance to fly and travel to multiple cities every week? Sounds like a dream, right? Not to mention the opportunity to go to different shops from various countries and buy luxury items at discounted rates. You can get yourself that 6-figure bag from Paris or an elegant and super expensive watch in Switzerland and who knows what else can catch your eye during all that shopping while abroad!

Then, there is the excitement an thrill of partying and bar-hopping at popular and posh clubs on the planet that the average Singaporean only sees on YouTube or hear about from their friends. There are just so many things to explore and discover about the world that flight attendants have an easy access to without having to pay a huge price.

Peer pressure may also be a thing that is likely to prevent you from saving some money and just blowing your allowance and income. How can you possibly say no to your travel companions when they all want to party and shop? Feeling left out is something no one wants to experience, so if they shop, wine, and dine, then so do you.

But think about this – the job of a flight attendant is a short-lived career. You will not always have that job, and once you lose it, so will all the access to shopping abroad, travelling, and your income. This is why before you end up regretting things, be sure to save up some cash and think about your future instead of just living in the current moment. It surely does not hurt to put away some money for the rainy day and for your retirement.

It Is Still a Job

You see, behind all the fun and glamour that flight attendants are exposed to, this is STILL a job. This means that you make a living for yourself and your loved ones. Without that job, you will have nothing to pay the rent, utilities, food, and perhaps even support the needs of your family. With this understanding, it only makes sense to realise that you should never even consider rationalising your decision to spend more than you have to.

It is also worth noting that even if you are overseas, this does not mean you are on a holiday. This is a part of your job, so it is not even practical to spend all that money while you are abroad. Spending more than what you earn does not do anyone good no matter what his or her job may be. Always remember that there are consequences for the things we do, so if you go beyond your budget, then the time will come for some serious money issues. Just think about what might happen if you suddenly lose your job, and you have hundreds or even thousands of credit card debts that you need to pay. This is a major disaster for sure!

Save Up and Feel More Secure

As we can never tell how our future might turn out, saving money is ever important to have some kind of a cushion once emergencies strike. Also, wouldn’t it be nice to someday have your very own HDB flat? A place that you can finally call your own does not only help boost your sense of security, but this is also a great investment for you. Then of course, if you plan to get married someday, having some cash would be great to fund this significant moment in your life.

Spending less means saving more. That’s just a simple equation that you have to remember if you are looking to find a way to increase your savings and secure your future. You can start by visualising yourself 5 years from now. Where do you think you will be, and how do you envision your life to become? Perhaps you want to have your very own home, a wife and maybe even a child or two. If these are your hopes for the future, then it is smart to begin your financial plans as early as now.

In case you are not very clear about what you want to become in 5 years, this does not give you any excuse to avoid saving. Keep in mind that you are still responsible for yourself – your health and safety. So, building an emergency fund is one thing you need to do with your salary. Try saving about 6 to 9 months of your salary’s worth in the bank, so you can have some cushion in case you suddenly need to deal with retrenchment or a serious illness.

Fast-Forward to the Future

Do you imagine yourself staying as a flight attendant for a long time? If you do not really plan on remaining in this job for too long, then you will have to start saving for potential new careers in the future.

Perhaps you want to enter a different field, and you need to acquire knowledge and skills relevant to a new career to make yourself qualified for it. This is why studying is necessary for this purposes, and it will definitely involve money. Whether you wish to pursue IT, interior design, or other fields, you must be able to fund your education and undergo training before you can make your dreams come true. In Singapore, a degree should cost you at least $25,000. But aside from that, there are living expenses to think about, which means it would be safe to assume that the total cost will reach up to $36,000 in addition to the schoo tuition.

Sounds like a lot of money? This is why it helps to start saving as early as now if you have this kind of goal for the future.

Aside from your hopes of shifting to another career, you will have to be prepared for the fact that other jobs may not pay as much. To prevent setbacks to your living expenses and savings, you should put away some money in the bank that could be used in case your income does not suffice. But at the same time, try to limit your expenses and eliminate debts as much as possible to avoid any shock that a lower income from a different job may give you.

The future may still seem a little far away, but it is a wise and practical move to be prepared for it no matter where you are in life right now. This is your best weapon against emergencies that may come your way, so you will no longer be caught off guard and still stay afloat even during tough financial crises.