Baby1′s Savings Plan 30 May, 2010Posted by dear1dear2 in Baby, Dear1, Dollars & Cents.
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Preparing for Baby1′s future is definitely high on our priority list. And when thinking about the future, finances will easily be amongst the first things that come to mind. We too, have decided to start planning for Baby1′s finances early.
Before we talk about our plan, let’s step back in time a little bit to talk what our parents did for us when we were young. One of the things that I think most of our parents in their generation did for their children was to purchase an endowment plan for their children. Typically, such endowment plans will mature in around 20 years. Therefore, parents of their time will easily succumb to the cheap sales talk by insurance agents of their time to purchase such 20 years endowment plan which will mature when “their child turns 20 years old and needs a large amount of money for tertiary studies”.
To our best knowledge, both our parents had bought such plans for us. Not that we discourage such plans, but to us, endowment plans are far too illiquid and the investment returns aren’t really great. Endowment plans are great for parents who do not know how to control their spending habits as it forces them to save on a regular basis. But we feel that we’re relatively prudent people and we can manage our regular savings plan on our own. Furthermore, we’re likely to earn better returns than what those endowment plan offers with far more liquidity.
Now, let’s see our plan for Baby1 so far.
- Start off with a baby savings account. All gift monies (i.e. ang baos) for Baby1 will go directly into this account. So that means gift monies from baby shower, birthdays, Chinese New Year, and scholarships will all contribute to this account.
- We will save all our 50 cents coins for Baby1. Currently, we’re saving 1 dollar coins in our piggy bank as a lifestyle habit. So, we’ll extend this idea and start saving 50 cents coins too for Baby1. And when she grows older, we’ll teach her to save her coins in her piggy bank as well.
- We dedicated one of our endowment plans to Baby1. Dear1 started an endowment plan several years ago (before realizing how much we dun need it). It’ll mature some time when Baby1 is ready for tertiary studies, so it’ll come in handy to pay off the school fees. Any excess will be our gift to Baby1.
Next, things that we will be doing but have not started yet.
- Invest in gold. This will take the form of gold coins for Baby1. The plan is to buy gold coins for Baby1 as birthday presents every year. We’ll start off with small 1/20 oz coins which cost less than $100. As she grows old, we may increase the size of the gold coins. Hopefully, these will appreciate in value over the years.
- Start a regular investment plan. We’re thinking of unit trusts or some kind of index funds. No concrete plans yet, but the aim is for some kind of long term investment that can ride the economic cycles with Baby1′s long investment horizon.
As parents, the goal of all these is of course to enable Baby1 to realize her dreams; to be able to support her until she’s able to support herself; to kick start her journey of life. Hehe… Sounds a bit early to start thinking about such things, but it’s never too early to start planning and saving for the future. And we hope that with these, we’re setting a good example for Baby1 so that she’ll led a financially responsible life as well.
病从口入，祸从口出 29 May, 2010Posted by dear1dear2 in Dear2, Slice of Life.
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病从口入，祸从口出. How true this is!!
You are what you eat. This was further manifested when Dear2 eat and eat and eat during the 3 months at home on maternity leave. Breastfeeding somehow make lactating mummy very hungry all the time, so it was breakfast, early lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, evening snack and a cup of milo and 2 packets of Julie’s butter crackers as supper during the wee hours when Dear2 woke up to breast feed Baby1. The result – the un-shedable 8kg 3 months after delivery. Even the 5 sessions of malay lady massage cum spicy wrap cannot shed that flabby tummy….
You are what you eat, and the more you eat, the hungrier you feel. 2 hours after breakfast at 9am and you feel that you can do with an early lunch. Barely until 3pm and it’s hunger again so time for some cakes. Dinner at 6 is definitely not a problem cos the stomach is growling again. By 9pm, your mouth itches again and it’s half a loaf of curry bread. And the day is not complete without at least 1 cup of hot steaming milo dipped with 6 pieces of the yummy butter crackers. Can I have another packet please?
Most days, Dear2 was always hungry so Dear1 was constantly at the market dabao-ing food for Dear2. And on some nights, Dear2 even got so hungry that it was maggi mee or biscuits milo cos it was impossible to fall back asleep with a roaring stomach….
But… Once Dear2 got back to work and reality set in, it was just-eat-normal- meals. Oh, that protruding tummy is really very ugly indeed, not to mention the despair at being an L/XL versus the old M. *Groan*
The first 2 days was hard, there was the constant growling in the stomach. But hey, suddenly the body adapts to the fact that there’s no more in between meals, and that nudging growl in the stomach was becoming bearable.
Slowly, the less you eat, the less hungry you feel. Amazing!!
You are what you say. How true this is too…
Are you one who says more kind words than bad ones, and are you one who is at ease with things rather than being angry at everything and anything all the time?
Beware!! What you say speak a lot about yourself, your personality. Your loved ones can get bowled over by what you say, yet the same mouth can cause distances to build up. Don’t think that simply being nice to a person alone but nasty to all and you will still gain respect from that person. Your words to others too tell what kind of a person you are…
病从口入，祸从口出. Be selective of what you eat, and be thoughful of what you say.
McLunch Weekends 23 May, 2010Posted by dear1dear2 in Around the House, Dear1, Food & Beverages, Slice of Life.
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Since MacDonalds extended their McLunch promotion to every day of the week, Dear1 and Dear2 is having McLunch for lunch nearly every single weekend. Haha…
We’re getting kinda bored with the food at our market downstairs. There is the usual variety of local delights such as chicken rice, roast pork rice, wanton mee, hor fun, hokkien mee, youmian, etc. But after eating more or less the same things for the past few years, Dear2 is getting really really bored with the food. That’s the main reason why we’re eating McLunch every weekend.
Without the discounted McLunch, meals at MacDonalds are really too expensive. With McLunch, it’s $4.50 for a simple Fillet-o-Fish meal or McWings meal; or $5 for a McSpicy or Big Mac. Each meal comes with a burger (main course), fries (side snack), and a drink.
Consider if we were to eat out at the coffee shop, a plate of wanton mee would cost $2.50, a snack of some nyonya kueh would cost around $0.70, and a drink would cost around $1, that’s about $4.20 in total. I know it’s not a fair comparison but you get the idea.
Dear1′s favourite meal is the McSpicy becos it has a big chunky piece of chicken and makes for the most filling meal. But Dear2 thinks that Dear1 is boring becos Dear1 also eats the some meal over and over again. So recently, Dear1 decided to alternate between the McSpicy and Fillet-o-Fish.
Dear2′s favourite meal at the moment is the McWings. But it’s not very worthwhile getting the McWings becos Dear1 will sometimes ask for a piece of the McWing and Dear2 will be left with only 3 pieces. Gee… Occasionally, Dear2 will also order the McSpicy meal for the extra meatiness.
However, we do note that McLunch isn’t very healthy. First, there’s the high salt content in the fries. Second, we like our fries with curry sauce, so that’s another source of artificial food flavouring/colouring/etc. Third, there’s next to zero fibre in such a diet except for the very few pieces of lettuce in the McSpicy.
Despite it, we still enjoy munching down our McLunch meals becos they’re selling at such a great discounted price. We refuse to eat there otherwise. McLunch is the only way we’ll ever eat at MacDonalds.
Let’s see when we’ll start to grow bored of it and start going back to our local delights.
Look Good, Feel Good 2 May, 2010Posted by dear1dear2 in Dear2, For Him For Her.
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Now I understand why some girls like to have many LV bags and wear new clothes everyday.
Dear2 is not looking good right now. With 2 more weeks to the end of maternity leave, how to fit into all the pre-pregnancy clothes when I have bloomed from 33″ to 38.5″ at the hips. Don’t even ask about the waist when the favourite skirt cannot even be pulled up and will get stuck at the hips. Seemingly big-enough clothes too get stuck at the sleeve such that Dear1 had to ‘rescue’ Dear2 from the tight predicament. And not to mention that tummy! Dear2 still looks 5 months pregnant lor. Ya, perhaps people who know will empathize, but I seriously will hate it if anyone offers me a seat on the MRT now. Urgh!!
Dear2 is not looking good right now. 1, 2, 3, and growing more and more by the day, big pimples seem to erupt all over the face after giving birth to Baby1. Is it the hormones at rage, or is it because of the hot weather? Urgh!!
Dear2 is not looking good right now. Eczema outbreak seems to favour me a lot now. Hands, legs, waist – they are itchy itchy and leave ugly patches all where they strike. Urgh!!
Dear2 is not looking good right now. Long gone was Dear2′s long hair when Baby1 was n the womb. The shoulder length hair has also now gave way to ear length hair and it was no-need-to-comb everyday. Alas, it also means that Dear2 spouts a messy hairdo constantly. Urgh!!
Dear2 is not looking good right now. Dark eye rings from the lack of uninterrupted sleep and a puffy eye (from what cause, I dunno), constant tiredness and stress and Dear2 is looking more and more haggard right now. Urgh!!
Dear2 is not looking good right now. With all these manifestations, Dear2 is just looking very bad right now. But lucky Dear2 has Dear1 as such a dear.
Dear1 has booked a facial session for Dear2 to go for a facial next week. Yeah, hopefully the face condition can improve so that Dear2 can step out of the house radiantly.
Dear1 has allowed Dear2 to engage a Malay massage lady to do the tummy wrap. Hopefully the tummy condition can slim down drastically so that Dear2 can board the train confidently.
Dear1 has also gave the go ahead for Dear2 to buy 2 clothes online and of course the nice little Coach bag so that Dear2 can go out happily.
Women are vain creatures. We need nice clothes and we need to look pretty so that we can feel good. For all the husbands out there, show more love to your wife and pamper her!
Thank you Dear1 for being such a wonderful laogong. Muck. :)
Baby Bonus 1 May, 2010Posted by dear1dear2 in Baby, Dear1, Dollars & Cents.
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Let’s talk about the Baby Bonus today and we will share how we intend to execute our Baby Bonus plan. For starters, you can find information on the Baby Bonus from the official website.
Let me summarize the whole Baby Bonus thing in a nutshell. There are 2 components, the cash gift and the child development account (CDA) dollar-for-dollar matching. For #1 and #2, the cash gift is $4000 total per child, paid in 4 installments of 6 months interval; CDA dollar-for-dollar matching is $6000 per child, paid 1 month after the parents deposit the cash. For #3 and #4, the cash gift is $6000 total per child, also in 4 installments of 6 months interval; CDA dollar-for-dollar matching is $12000 per child. And I doubt any Singapore family will have a #5, so let’s stop here.
Note, you will not get the Baby Bonus monies automatically. Instead, you have to fill up an application form and submit it to MCYS to start receiving the Baby Bonus. Luckily, the process is streamlined and can be done at any major delivery hospital, for our case it was TMC. We submitted our application during one of our return visits to TMC for postnatal checkup.
We received our first cash gift payout of $1000 from MCYS pretty quickly, around 2-3 weeks after submitting the forms. Next is the CDA component which was offered by 2 banks, Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) and OCBC. We decided to go with SCB for 2 reasons.
First, we are quite pleased with the customer service provided by SCB through our Manhattan Card. Second and more important reason, we wanted to make use of the Family Saver scheme which allows the parents to open an e$aver account and enjoy the same 1% p.a. interest as the CDA account. Compared this to the miserable 0.1% p.a. for DBS Savings Plus (or any other normal savings account with any banks) and you can see that the Family Saver e$aver account is really a fantastic savings account with high interest and is completely liquid. It will be a useful place where we can park our spare cash (and rainy day funds) to earn high interests without any constraints to withdrawal.
Back to the CDA account. For Baby1, the Baby Bonus will match up to $6000 dollar-for-dollar in the CDA account. There are a few ways to do this. We can deposit a lump sum of $6000 on day 1, or we can do a regular savings thing and deposit $100 per month over 60 months. Remember that the money in the CDA account can only be used at approved institutions so it may not be wise to input a large lump sum into this account especially if the parents are tight on cash after paying for baby and gynae related expenses over the past 40 weeks as well as the hospital delivery bills. Furthermore, a lump sum of $6000 could potentially yield higher returns if it is properly invested.
For us, we did something in between. We decided to channel the cash gift that we will be getting from MCYS towards the CDA account. That is, we will deposit $1000 into the CDA account on the 1st, 7th, 13th and 19th month immediately after we receive the cash gift component. That’s a total of $4000 in the CDA after 19 months, but we’re still short of $2000 to maximise the $6000 dollar-for-dollar matching. For that, we made a lump sum deposit of $2000 to the CDA account using the ang bao money we received from Baby1′s baby shower. And that’s our $6000 in the CDA account without straining our finances since all of it came from extraordinary sources. We made the initial deposit of $3000 (cash gift + baby shower ang bao) in March and have since received the dollar-for-dollar matching in April.
So let me summarize again how we utilized the Baby Bonus. All the cash gift of $4000 goes towards the CDA account. Further top-up the CDA with $2000 of ang bao money from baby shower to maximise the $6000 dollar-for-dollar matching. Sign up for the Family Saver s$aver account to enjoy the high interest rate of 1% pa with full liquidity. Hope this is useful information to fellow parents. =)
15 Dec 2012 Update: If you have 2 kids, you may want to consider opening one CDA account with StandChart and one CDA account with OCBC. This way, you can get the benefits from both bank. Remember, the CDA card is also eligible for some discounts and privileges with some retail stores. For us, we opened both with StandChart so that it’s easier to manage the accounts at a glance, and also because I didn’t think I will use the benefits from the OCBC CDA card.