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Navigating Parental Allowance: How Much Should You Give?

Hey there, fellow Singaporeans! Growing up, my parents always reminded me about the importance of giving back once I started working. I guess my experience isn’t much different from yours. As someone who grew up in a single-parent household with just my mother, sister, and myself, I understand the significance of supporting our loved ones.

So, let’s talk about parental allowance, a cultural norm here in Singapore. It can be a bit awkward to discuss, I know. But it’s become a symbol of how filial we are. However, determining the appropriate amount can be a challenging decision. 

In this article, we will explore the factors to consider and tips for setting a reasonable allowance for your parents while fostering financial responsibility and emotional connections.

How much do other Singaporeans give their parents?

Answer.sg has done a valuable study on how much allowance Singaporeans give their parents. Currently, the survey has attracted nearly 7,000 participants, and the median result indicates that 10% of their salary is the average parental allowance given. This data serves as a helpful starting point for your own thought process on deciding how much to give your parents as well.

Parental Allowance Singapore
The question sparked a lively discussion on the thread, as many Redditors weighed in on the matter.

How much do I give my parents?

I am dedicated to supporting my mother and ensuring her well-being. Growing up in a single-parent household alongside my sister has instilled a deep sense of responsibility towards my family. 

Presently, I contribute $300 monthly to my mother as a gesture of filial piety. 

If I earn a monthly income of $4200 before taxes and CPF contribution, following the median result of 10% salary as the average parental allowance given, I would need to give my mum $420.

Monthly Income$4200
CPF Contribution (20%)$840
Monthly Expenses$1500
Investment and Savings$1000
Parental Allowance$300
Remaining Disposable Income$560
Simple breakdown of my salary

In my context, the 10% benchmark is currently not achievable. While prioritising my mothers’ needs, I am also focused on building my emergency fund, striving to save at least $1000 monthly. With monthly expenses at $1500, I aim to strike a balance between providing for my mother and securing my financial future, ensuring a stable foundation for both my family and myself.

Factors to Consider when Deciding the Parental Allowance Amount:

1. Financial Situation:

Okay, so here’s the deal. assuming I currently earn $4200 every month, and I have to say, I’m pretty fortunate. But before I could decide on the right allowance for my mom, I had to make sure I could still take care of myself and my future goals.

I knew it was essential to assess my financial capacity. I carefully looked at my income, savings, and existing financial responsibilities. First, I calculated my monthly minimal expenses, which include all the essentials and my savings contributions. It turns out my minimal expenses are around $1500 per month. So, I had a better idea of how much I could allocate to my mother’s allowance without stretching myself too thin.

2. Individual Needs and Expenses:

Understanding my mothers’ needs and expenses played a significant role in deciding the allowance amount. My mother was retrenched to the COVID pandemic and took up a new job which did not pay as well. She is still paying off loans incurred by my dad and housing costs to consider, along with her daily living expenses. By considering these factors, I could come up with an allowance amount that adequately supported her lifestyle and financial requirements.

3. Cultural and Family Norms:

Being raised in a close-knit family with strong cultural values, I understood the expectations and practices related to providing allowance to parents. Filial piety is highly valued in our family and community, so giving back to my mother was not only a financial obligation but also a heartfelt gesture of appreciation.

Setting a Reasonable Parental Allowance:

1. Open Communication:

Open communication with my mother was crucial in setting a reasonable allowance. We had honest discussions about her financial situation, needs, and preferences. This mutual understanding helped us reach an arrangement that worked well for both of us.

2. Budgeting and Financial Planning:

I actively assisted my mother in creating a budget to manage her finances efficiently. My mother was not financially literate and I was afraid that she would not have sufficient savings for her retirement. Earlier, my father had squandered all our savings through gambling, and I feared a similar situation might recur if my mother didn’t handle her finances prudently.

By setting financial goals and understanding where her money was going, we ensured that the allowance was utilised wisely for essential expenses and savings.

Teaching Financial Responsibility:

1. Encouraging Savings:

I encouraged my mother to save for her future needs, just like I did for myself. We agreed that a portion of the allowance would be set aside as savings to prepare for emergencies or unexpected expenses. This empowered her to be more financially independent and secure.

When it comes to building an emergency fund, I have a comprehensive resource that provides a step-by-step guide on how to do it effectively. If you want to learn more about creating a safety net for unforeseen circumstances, check out the Building an Emergency Fund: Why It’s Important and How to Get Started

2. Understanding Expenses:

Educating my mother on tracking her expenses allowed her to gain better control over her finances. This helped her make informed financial decisions and gave her a sense of empowerment and confidence in managing her money.

Addressing Common Concerns:

1. Feeling Obligated:

At first, my mother felt hesitant to accept the allowance, fearing that it would burden me. I reassured her that it brought me genuine joy to support her and that I considered it an honour to give back to her after all she had done for me.

2. Sibling Comparisons:

My sister and I have different financial situations, so we decided not to compare our allowance amounts. Instead, we focused on what we could individually contribute based on our capacities, ensuring that each of us supported our mother in our unique ways. 

3. Balancing with Personal Expenses:

Striking a balance between supporting my mother and managing my own expenses was crucial for my financial well-being. By carefully budgeting and prioritising my financial goals, I ensured that I could contribute to her allowance without jeopardising my own financial stability.

Embracing Filial Piety: Beyond Monetary Gestures

In the journey of deciding how much allowance to give our parents, we find ourselves at the intersection of love, responsibility, and financial planning. It’s a thought-provoking process that challenges us to balance our filial piety with our personal aspirations and financial goals. 

As we navigate this path, let us remember that the true essence of giving lies not only in the monetary value but in the depth of our care and appreciation for those who raised us. 

FAQs:

Should I give a fixed amount as an allowance or cover specific expenses?

It depends on your parents’ preferences and needs. Some may prefer a fixed allowance to manage as they wish, while others may appreciate direct support for specific expenses.

What if I cannot afford to give a substantial allowance?

Every contribution, no matter how small, can make a difference. The key is to communicate openly with your parents about your financial limitations and find a reasonable amount that works for both parties.

Is it common to give an allowance to parents in all cultures?

The practice of giving an allowance to parents varies across cultures and families. It is more prevalent in some cultures, while others have different ways of supporting elderly family members.

How can I ensure my parents are using the allowance responsibly?

Regularly check in with your parents and ask about their expenses. Encourage them to create a budget and offer guidance on managing their finances.

Can I provide non-monetary support instead of a financial allowance?

Absolutely. If you are unable to give a financial allowance, you can offer other forms of support, such as assisting with household chores, running errands, or spending quality time with your parents.

Eugene Chai

Eugene Chai is a seasoned financial expert with over 4 years of experience. His work has graced the pages of prominent Singapore Investment sites. He has also been featured on Channel News Asia - Money Talks. With a passion for simplifying complex financial concepts, he empowers individuals to make informed decisions about their money. Whether it's investment strategies, personal finance, or market trends, Eugene's insights are a beacon of clarity in the world of finance.

Comments (2)

  • Jsays:

    January 16, 2024 at 1:12 am

    It depends on individual financial situation. For me i am financially free already. Now i am in my earls 30s, i give my parents 20% of my gross income so it’s $7k per month. How they spend, i never ask and don’t care.

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