The Costs of Raising a Child in Singapore

By Farhan Shah

Thinking about conceiving a bundle of joy (and hair pulling frustration) during SG50? Think about the financial and opportunity costs of raising a child in Singapore first before you proceed.


When it comes to the costs of raising a child until he or she reaches university-going age, multiple blogs, financial websites, and experts have thrown about a variety of numbers. They range from as little as S$190,000 (approximately S$10,000 a year) to as much as S$700,000 (which comes up to about S$38,000 a year).

Raising a child is indisputably expensive. According to the former CEO of a financial advisory firm Joseph Chong, it’s more expensive to raise a child in Singapore than it is in the United States – according to him, the difference is S$140,000 and is due to the bugbear of every school-going child, tuition.

Based on our own research, raising a child in Singapore can cost as much as a whopping S$1 million. However, you can also make do with just a quarter of a million and probably even lower without the extraneous costs, if you prefer that your child go without tuition and the like.

What most fail to take into account though are the opportunity costs. Perhaps you might have to take multiple unpaid leaves to attend a teacher’s meeting or to rush to school to pick your sick child up. Many mothers also decide to either switch to part-time work or become a homemaker, which reduces the monthly household disposable income. Those who still decide to continue with their careers tend to hand off parenting to the grandparents or a maid, which creates a significant, life-altering impact on the child. Demanding bosses might not see a person with a child; instead, they will see someone who is no longer focused and driven at work and will thus view him or her less favourably when it comes to appraisals, promotions or raises.

There are tons more opportunity costs – which we believe are equally as important as the hard financial numbers – you will need to take into consideration before trying for a child. However, if you’ve thought long and hard about it and believe that you’re ready to welcome a new addition into your life, here are the numbers you need to start preparing for in the handy info-graphic below.

Take note that the costs for raising a child in Singapore vary wildly, and is subject to change based on inflation. So, we’ve done the most accurate approximation possible, giving you the minimum and maximum amounts so that you can plan accordingly. For education, Singaporeans enjoy lots of subsidies that defray costs and we’ve reflected that in the minimum amounts.

This post was first published over at Dr Wealth on 8 January 2015. It is reproduced with permission.

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