Flat first or baby first?
A politician recently caused a buzz when she tried to denounce consensus that couples need a flat prior to having a baby.
Her choice of words? "You need a very small space to have sex."
Senior Minister of State Josephine Teo's response naturally attracted attention and was highly debated online.
What's going on?
It is no secret that the government is encouraging millennial couples to settle down at an earlier age.
Over the years, parents have received enhanced baby bonuses and most recently, monetary incentives for their children's Child Development Accounts. First-time married couples will also receive more ballots chances to increase their odds of getting a new flat.
However, Singapore still has one of the lowest fertility rates in the world, at 1.24 births per woman. The global average in 2015 was 2.5 births and the ideal fertility replacement rate to maintain a stable population is approximately 2:1.
Earlier this week, Ms Teo, who supervises the National Population and Talent Division, made the controversial statement when asked why some younger couples say they need to have a flat first before starting a family.
Most netizens disagreed with her. They said the issue is not about the space to have sex, but the space required to raise a child.
MANY FACEBOOK USERS COMMENTED THAT MONEY AND LIVING CONDITIONS ARE VITAL FOR STARTING A FAMILY.
Bank officer Nicholas Tan, 26, believes that having children is a big responsibility. Nicholas, who is currently engaged, feels that he and his wife-to-be are not financially ready for kids as they just bought a flat recently.
He added: "The cost of…starting a family is high. [Housing] happens to be our most expensive item to buy. Even if you did get one, it will be difficult to focus on raising a child when you do not have much money left."
Similarly, undergraduate Ho Min Min, 22, would prefer to get a flat before having children, as it is a sign of financial stability. It also provides a more conducive environment when she is ready to have a child.
"Getting a flat first would reduce the stress of looking for a home and dealing with the renovations during pregnancy or right after childbirth. Moreover, many couples tend to prioritise their career and other aspects of their lives over having children first," said Min Min.
RAISING CHILDREN REQUIRES A LOT OF MONEY FOR SCHOOL, MEDICAL COVERAGE, AND MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES.
PHOTO CREDIT: FIRSTREMIT
While flats are the priority for some, there are others who do not mind having a child before getting their own flat.
27-year-old teacher Siti Sahrinah and her husband welcomed their two-month-old son this year. The couple have been living with her parents since they got married last year. They are still waiting for their Build-to-Order flat, which will only be ready in three years.
"Age is the main factor for me. Since I'm 27, by the time I get my flat, I will be 30. I'm not sure if I am able to conceive by then," said Siti Sahrinah.
What's your take?
- Will having your own home influence your decision to start a family? Why?
- What are some other factors you would consider before starting a family?
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TEASER PHOTO CREDIT: MAMAWEARPAPASHIRT.COM