28 Jun 2012, 11.35PM
Dear DPM Teo,
Today, I chanced upon the online article, "Government reviewing marriage and parenthood measures" and feel glad that the government is constantly reviewing policies to boost nationwide population figures. Previously, I chanced upon the Channel NewsAsia online article, "Have Baby Bonuses been helpful?" and feel that the scheme HAS generally been useful in helping young couples "consider" having children. I was further gladdened that the govt would match dollar-to-dollar, the savings parents deposit in a special account for the child.
As a young adult of 26, l do believe a majority of young couples DO want to settle down in life eventually, and start a family. But I also feel that the financial constraints delaying the process doesn't just stem from delay caused by expensive housing or/and child care expenditure. But even before all that, the costs of a wedding.
Ask any young couple who intend to get married but are from middle to low income families, "Why don't you want to get married now?". The answers would usually be, "Not enough money and savings... (listen on)... TO buy a house, and PAY for my wedding, much less think about raising a family". The govt has implemented measures to provide priority housing to young couples. They have also formulated a wonderful Baby Bonus scheme. But what about the third component? The wedding?
Unfortunately, one cannot change the tide of culture and mindset that exists amongst the young these days. One could say, "why not just settle for a simple wedding?".
Huge weddings are really expensive in Singapore. But the "idea" of a dream wedding is what most young adults feel is a goal and dream that shouldn't be compromise. They'd rather WAIT to have the perfect wedding. So the need to SAVE (if you ask any young couple, is not because of BABIES... but because of 1) House & 2) the Wedding. And the "saving" will cause delay! Marrying younger than 30 is a challenge these days. A young couple will tend to wait an average of 2 years to start having babies. However, if the couple were able to hold their wedding earlier, they will eventually choose to start a family earlier as well.
In short, it might not be a bad idea to help young couples "defray" the costs of their weddings by formulating a marriage bonus scheme? Something like a grant and not a loan with high interest. This might encourage young couples to consider walking down the aisle without too much delay.
For your consideration,