You and your spouse might be ready to have another child, but you should think about the sacrifices that you and your family would have to make.
Dr Lim Boon Leng, a psychiatrist at Dr BL Lim Centre For Psychological Wellness, says you must be sure that you have the time and energy to devote to your new child, especially in the first few years of his life.
“Your personal time, your job and your time with your other child might be affected as a result,” he explains. “You should also decide if your first kid is physically mature enough; if he’s at least three or four years old then he might not need that much attention and you’ll have more time to see to your newborn.”
Dr Lim says that once you’ve considered these factors, weigh them against the joy of having another child and see how you feel. It’s also a good idea to talk to other mums who have more than one kid – learn from their experiences and ask them if they have any regrets.
There’s also the financial cost of growing your family. If you still have your other child’s clothes, books, toys, milk bottles and strollers, then your new baby could probably reuse them. Otherwise, you’d have to spend a good amount of money on these items right away. On top of that, you’d have to factor in insurance deductibles, hospital bills, diapers and childcare services.
According to Freddy Meindertsma, a senior financial adviser with a financial advisory firm, having another child can cost around $18,000 a year, excluding delivery and prenatal charges, or $360,000 over 20 years, excluding inflation.
Freddy says that the only way to know if or when you can financially afford another child is to evaluate your family budget. He suggests an early review of your family insurance plans.
“Your family might need a combination of a hospital, accident, life and also a saving plan,” he points out. “Without insurance or subsidies, a one-week stay at a private hospital might cost up to $10,000. A comprehensive hospital plan will take care of this. Complicated procedures and on-going medical care costs can snowball very quickly, making it hard to estimate the cost for medical bills.
“Non-Singaporeans and non-permanent residents also have to be mindful of maternity cover and waiting periods. Accident coverage will take care of illnesses like dengue fever or HFMD and a consequent stay in hospital, while a life plan would ensure your child is protected for life from a young age,” he continues.
“A saving plan would set the stage for your baby to have adequate funds when he’s ready to start university. All that said, the most important part of planning is still protecting you and your spouse, since you are your baby’s providers.”
To alleviate the financial burden of having another child, you should also check out the various government grants, subsidies and incentives available to parents, such as the Marriage and
Parenthood Scheme, the Baby Bonus Scheme, the Medisave Maternity Package, the Grant for Newborns, Medishield Life coverage from birth, and Medisave for assisted conception.
When considering “extras” such as enrichment activities for your next child, you could probably get away with being more selective about what you sign him up for, says Lee Chee Kian, senior client adviser at Providend.
“He may not even need enrichment classes in his early years if you can do those activities, such as art, reading, music and sports, with him. Of course, that also means spending more time with your child, but you’ll save money and he’ll probably be better for it.
“Think about family holidays, too. You’d have to fork out extra money for one more person, so I suggest looking at your current income and cash flow to see if you can afford it.”