Asked by Anonymous

My GF and I want to get married soon. Our combined salary is $3,800 after CPF. I'm worried that we cannot afford the wedding or the BTO, as her parents take 1k from her monthly. What should I do?

Her parents (both retirees with close to no savings) and she $700 per month to live on every month It is almost an impossible request for me to tell her not to give that huge sum of money to her parents monthly; Her parents mentioned they use this sum to pay for household expenses/credit card bills/insurance/medical consultations etc.. I am in a difficult position to tell her to stop/reduce the amount to be given to her parents and she needs to play her part in our marriage plans financially.

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  • Steph Yeo
    Steph Yeo, Auntie Uncle Whisperer at Agency for Integrated Care
    Level 5. Genius
    Answered on 13 Nov 2018

    It is difficult to reduce allowance given to parents who are not working and have little savings. So maybe lets settle that another way by helping them plan out their monthly expenses and reduce where possible. Are her parents eligible for CHAS to lower medical bills? Are there some recurring expenses like telco bills that can be combined into some family plan that could be cheaper? Could they maybe be overpaying for insurance? Could a regular JB trip help lower costs of household items? These are some things that she can look into and help to apply and lower cost, so it may potentially be easier to lower the allowance. If her parents are comfortable sharing how much CPF payout they are getting each month, that could help in understanding the base "income" her parents have without the allowance.

    Wedding-wise I would suggest to have a simple wedding instead of anything large and elaborate.

    BTO shouldn't be too hard due to loans and grants. Perhaps get a smaller unit first? And live near one side's parents for extra grants.

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  • Brandan Chen
    Brandan Chen, Financial Planner at Manulife Singapore
    Level 5. Genius
    Answered on 13 Nov 2018

    Firstly, how old are her parents? Do they have CPF balances, or own a fully paid up HDB?

    My take is that your gf really needs to sit down and have a conversation with her parents. Yes, it may be tough, cos谈钱伤感情 but i do think its a good time to have a discussion instead of living in unhappiness.

    The discussion topics should revolve on the following:

    1) How much do both parents require a month? (Go through all the expenses in detail)

    2) When is CPF Life starting for them?

    3) Are there alternative sources of income their parents can obtain? Such as renting out a room now or in the future?

    4) Highlight the fact that you intend to get married, and that you are also intending to BTO. Show them your current flow, and the potential cost involved in your wedding and BTO plans.

    Honestly, S$1k a month is seems a little too much for her to bear. With a combined income of S$2,800 after that, it is really a strain on both of you for the upcoming costs that you may have to bear, BTO, Wedding, Ring, Renovation, etc

    Like what most of us suggested, perhaps you and your gf can consider taking up a side gig/ part time job to increase your current income!

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  • Alvin Teo
    Alvin Teo
    Level 3. Wonderkid
    Answered on 13 Nov 2018

    No logical answer to be given in this case, as a guy to another guy, most important is what’s your gf point of view on this matter? Your life and your stand will be firmer if your gf is on your side, if not just go Fort Canning register and pay $50. After that go Clarke Quay haidilao. as for BTO get 3 rm flat with plenty of grant or rent from gov.

    CPF part don’t really work given their mindset towards money.

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  • Jayden Ng
    Jayden Ng, Engineer at ABC
    Level 2. Rookie
    Answered on 20 Nov 2018

    simple answer would stay at your house first after married to save money money... if want to get a flat, then choose the most affordable BTOs... anyway you are still young.

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  • Tiffany SQ
    Tiffany SQ
    Level 3. Wonderkid
    Answered on 13 Nov 2018

    If $700 to live on every month is little.. 1k for both parents to live on is also v hard for them.. instead of focusing on the 1k that is given to her parents.. think of other ways to earn more extra income such as taking up a side job..

    As for the wedding make a small one.. most important is u guys can live happily and not a once off dream wedding that cause financial strains on both parties..

    As for the bto.. u should have about slightly more than 1k going into ur ordinary account.. talk to hdb to see what is the comfortable lvl of bto housing u can afford.. including the grants, etc.. than work backwards to see what kind of bto u guys should get..

    As u grow older your pay will increase or u can change for a better pay job..

    Life is not always smooth sailing.. it is a good step that u take to ask for suggestions.. think of other methods to work things around n be the guy that ur gf knows how fortunate to be with.. all the best!

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  • Loh Tat Tian
    Loh Tat Tian
    Level 6. Master
    Answered on 13 Nov 2018

    (1) I can only say, try to maximise CPF-SA money of 5-6% interest for her parents. Giving money directly (which has no interest) doesn't seem to help financially.

    (2) Credit Card bills. This is kind of weird, because people seldom use credit card if they are not well off. Something is amiss here to me though.

    (3) She need to find a higher paying job if possible. Whatever arrangement in the family, no choice. you want her, its the family that needs to be taken care of too.

    (4) unpopular and likely unable to succeed method: Talk to the parents and budget expenses ba.

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  • Stephanie Huang
    Stephanie Huang, Administrative Executive at Chevalier Pte Ltd
    Level 2. Rookie
    Answered on 20 Nov 2018

    I do agree that it is difficult to request your gf to reduce the allowance for her parents. I am sure there are ways to work around it. My then bf was in debt when we were planning for wedding. We had other issues; like his parents were divorced and he's renting a room and also giving his parents money monthly. Our combined income were $3500 after CPF.

    What we did was:

    (1) We had church buffet wedding; which was much cheaper and able to allow us to invite more people. (it depends on your "beliefs" of course)

    (1.1) Or even better, just ROM will do. My parents said we should have done that but we didn't

    (2) We had a joint account and a joint MSA to set aside every month for the wedding (it's important to set a workable time frame for the wedding and a target amount to work towards to)

    (3) I got my parents' permission to allow him to stay in my house aka living room to save on the rental

    (4) Limit the spending

    (4.1) what kinda food we eat on a daily basis (we cook to work everyday)

    (4.2) cycle to work or walk one to two bus stops more to save on transport

    (4.3) explain to friends that we may not be always going out with them for dinners or activities for the time being to save for wedding - i am sure those friends who are really close with you will understand, at least thats what i did for a year

    (5) I also took up part time job almost everyday to supplement my income

    For BTO, can always take advantage of the grants by staying near your parents. Or buy smaller unit at non mature area

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  • Yk Lai
    Yk Lai
    Level 3. Wonderkid
    Answered on 14 Nov 2018

    Combined nett income at $3800 is very challenging esp. after married, then come to consider housing and kids. Need to consider to take up a job with prospect and work from there to increase income. There are many jobs are with career advancement, so increment is very limited. Then cut all unnecessary spendings to tide over. Need both husband and wife to work together.

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  • Elsa Goh
    Elsa Goh
    Level 5. Genius
    Answered on 13 Nov 2018

    Have a very small wedding since it sounds like you cannot afford a huge one. If the parents make noise, tell them you want to save money for a flat.

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