Different generations may not have a lot in common when it comes to aspirations for work, life and play. But these two parent-child relationships reveal that close family ties can shape everyone in a family towards a common understanding of savings, investment and retirement.
Imparting family values today for a financially secure tomorrow
Mother and son – (RIGHT) Jissy Poulose, 49, Housewife (LEFT) Paul Poulose, 23, Student
When Jissy moved from India to Singapore with her husband and young son in 1994, she left more than just her home country. Without a license to practise in Singapore, she had to leave her medical career behind as well. However, she knew that the move would help her husband build his own medical career. That sacrifice – though great – meant that she could devote herself to raising her two children and impart important values to them.
Keeping it simple
The family takes a very pragmatic approach when it comes to money. “My own parents taught me not to be greedy,” says Jissy. “I like to be thrifty and don’t feel that I need luxury goods to be happy. What is important is investing in my children’s education, having sufficient health insurance and of course staying healthy,” she concludes. Jissy finds that having MediShield Life and opting for government-subsidised healthcare will ease her healthcare expenses in the future.
Her son, Paul, has also learnt a lot from his mother’s financial prudence. “My parents lead a very humble life and do not spend lavishly on material goods. But, when it comes to my education, they have been very generous and supportive,” he says. Learning from his mother, Paul keeps unnecessary expenses to the minimum and plans to save monthly when he starts working.
Planning for the future
Inspired by his parents, Paul has started training for his own medical license. “Having doctors as parents gave me an early insight into the field of medicine,” he shares. “It is inspiring to see how passionate my mum still is about medicine.” Jissy, who worked as a research fellow from 2008 to 2013, is now pursuing the necessary qualifications to return to practising medicine.
Having accumulated her CPF savings which will provide her with a steady stream of income in old age, Jissy feels free to pursue her passion for medicine. “To be honest, I don’t really want to retire, I would want to work as long as I can in palliative care, to go back to becoming a doctor and also volunteer to give back to society,” she says.
Echoing his mother’s thoughts on retirement planning, Paul has already developed a checklist to ensure his own financial security in future. He adds, “I don’t have a specific plan for retirement yet; I intend to work for as long as work is meaningful and to save as much as I can.”
Family comes first
Father and daughter – (RIGHT) Yeong Wai Kong, 52, Welder (LEFT) Yeong Siew Mei, 23, Business Development Manager
For over 30 years, Wai Kong worked as a welder, starting at the crack of dawn and putting in long hours to support his family – initially to raise his six siblings and then to support a family of his own.
Providing for the family
Wai Kong continued working so that he could provide for his family and be financially independent during retirement with his amassed CPF savings. These days, he is finally taking a long-overdue break from work due to poor health. He is thankful that he could use his Medisave savings to pay for his medical expenses, without having to rely on his children.
His daughter Siew Mei, who recently graduated, is aware of his sacrifices that have paved the way for her to fulfil her own dreams. “I am always thankful to my dad for putting food on the table and supporting us,” she says.
Although her job in a local start-up keeps her busy, she makes sure she sets aside time for her family. “My family definitely comes first before anything else. No matter how busy I am, I will try to squeeze in a family meal once or twice a week”. Realising that retirement planning not only affects her, but her family too, Siew Mei has started planning for her needs. She has opened a home savings account that, together with her CPF savings, will go towards purchasing a HDB flat in future.
Common views on saving
The family – because of the close bond – shares similar attitudes to money matters. Wai Kong and Siew Mei both believe in the importance of savings whether for education or for contingencies. Being well aware of the potential costs associated with healthcare expenses in old age, Wai Kong has budgeted for any future health-related emergencies. For instance, he recently supplemented his Medishield Life coverage with an Integrated Shield Plan to cover any additional hospitalisation needs he may require in future.
Learning by example, Siew Mei sets aside savings for her private health insurance and her retirement needs. She budgets money for necessities and splurges only on special occasions. Echoing her father’s sentiments, she too aspires to be financially independent in the near future.
As for investing, Siew Mei believes in having a diverse portfolio to cover her varying big-ticket expenses in the future. She credits her belief in the value of investing to her parents’ wisdom in investing in an education plan, which has helped cover a large portion of her tuition fees.