The cost of raising kids

me kids

I was out last night with my girlfriend to do something for the next chapter of our life (which will be revealed soon enough) when we decided to do some last minute shopping. It was a school bag for Big E and it cost RM 168. (!!!)

It wasn’t a particularly expensive label – just a practical one with an Angry Birds image which Rovio certainly didn’t know about (if you catch my drift) and a set of wheels, which seem to be a necessity nowadays. She’s just 7 years old and already carries such a huge load of books. I was commenting about how expensive it is to raise a kid nowadays.

I want the kids (including my own in the future) to have a good education. I was sent overseas to Christchurch, New Zealand when I was 15 in 1996 to do my high school and completed my Bachelor’s Degree after 4 years of college and university in Melbourne, Australia. I can’t imagine how expensive that was for my parents but I can guess.

Kids nowadays are very lucky. I was talking about the PTPTN study loans with Arthur when I was in Sibu last time and both of us agreed that PTPTN is a great help for anyone who needs the financial support for their tertiary education.

I want the kids and my future kids to have a good education but I was calculating how much it costs and it truly staggered me. I don’t dare to think about tertiary education, just getting by would cost a lot of money nowadays with tuition fees being as high as they are.

I like the idea of the PTPTN study loan. It allows everyone to get an opportunity for a tertiary education provided they meet the academic requirements. I don’t think that’s a problem for the kids or my future kids, with liberal application of the magic wand. smirk

I’m kidding, I don’t believe in corporal punishment.

However, it does make me feel better to know that there’s the chance to go to university for all citizens up thanks to the PTPTN study loan.

I believe that a good education is necessary to survive in life. That’s what my parents taught me and what they strongly believe in. I want my kids to at least have a Bachelor’s Degree so they can have better opportunities in the future – studies have proven that a university education is not just the key to higher salaries and such but also important personal qualities like critical thinking.

I don’t think most taxpayers would agree with the abolishment of the PTPTN or allowing students to default on their loans.

No matter what your political leanings are, it’s just not fair to do that. What about the people who have already paid it back partially? PTPTN study loans allows for an affordable method of payment for new graduates.

The topic came up during a dinner recently – I strongly believe that if you take a loan which the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines as:

Something lent usually for the borrower’s temporary use (emphasis mine)

That means it should be returned. You’ve been given a chance at higher education and defaulting on it shouldn’t point north on anyone’s moral compass.

I want my children to be responsible and pay back loans which they have taken. Of course, I hope for a scholarship if they turn out to have the academic aptitude to do that, but if they can’t qualify for the cream of the crop requirements, that’s okay with me too. :)

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22 thoughts on “The cost of raising kids

  1. HB, even you raise your child as best you can still they will follow some kids that are bad. They just want to belong in a group with them. I was told to listen teachers and parents since little but still follow some bad kids and ended up becoming a bully also since I was a very tall child. Got in trouble in dept. store with my so called friends for shoplifting. Mom help drop charge on me and I worked many hours babysitter to paid 300.00USD fine at store. I learned after to listen parents and teachers.

    • Hmm…I believe if you raise them right, they will have enough self confidence to resist peer pressure. :)

      I know it’s a problem especially with kids going into their teens, and the need to belong and associate with a clique but I’ve seen people who doesn’t give a damn what other people think of them (this was when I was 15-17), which I hugely admire.

      There’s this one girl that stood out in my mind, she wouldn’t do anything against her family values and she plain doesn’t care what other people think (there are some mean spirited girls who would verbally bully her for it). She’s not an outcast too, people just admired her for her principles at such a precarious age.

      I sure did.

  2. I know what you mean. I wanted to have 3 kids. Thrn after no. 2, I did the maths and realised that I couldn’t have another one with no compromise to our current lifestyle. Also, I figured I would not have enough attention for a third one as well. Sigh.

    • Yeah, I think that was how my parents did it! :x

      My parents just worked hard and sacrificed a lot to get the two of us an overseas education. It was important to them since in their generation, there were not a lot of university graduates. They’re both graduates in hard science (mom was Geology, dad got an Honors in Chemistry – first Chinese to do so) and their attitudes towards education shaped mine too.

      I imagine giving the proper attention for a third kid would be quite hard as well, two can be quite a handful already. :)

      It’s a good thing that the ages (will be) staggered far so it won’t be so bad since the kids would have grown up and be in school by the time ours come out.

      All the best Mela!

  3. Each kid’ll cost you about RM1,000 a month on average. If you were to put the same amount of money into an annuity bearing 6% interest, it’ll come to around RM700k a kid. Add in the education, and you’re looking at RM1-1.5 million a kid.

    Hope that doesn’t scare you off.

    • Yeah, I remember the Simpsons opening sequence where Maggie is scanned and the cash register came up with USD 847.63.

      That was the *monthly* cost of raising a kid back then, it’s wayyyy more now.

      I reckon it’s around that region too, I remember asking my dad once and it sounds about right. It sure requires a lot of savings but it doesn’t put me off.

      It just makes saving up all the more important, and I’m more than willing to do that for the existing and future children.

      Cheers mate!

  4. Education certainly not cheap nowadays. Another will be the kids insurance. Both of these expenses can simply take up half of the earnings. Well… We will hard work it, aren’t we, dear….hugs

    • Indeed! No worries dear, we’ll make it! :)

      I don’t really see a problem as the kids will have grown up by the time we have our kids so having an age gap like that will help since having a new baby is expensive (diapers to healthcare).

      Education is important – I’m in favor of an overseas education (Australia would be my choice) but ultimately up to them to choose. It’ll cost a lot though, but a scholarship or study loans will make it easier.

      No worries dear, it’s just make the simple things like vacations more special. <3

  5. Yes, that’s true. In those days, poor parents have to work hard to send their children off to college/university without scholarship or financial help. Speaking of that, I have many friends who have been or is still under PTPTN, but we all believe that as long as the folks behind PTPTN are fair towards the applicants, there’s no problem in keeping it around.

    If our education system has been improved over the years, I think the parents wouldn’t ask their children to do their undergrad abroad no matter what. That’s what my family and I feel…

    My parents are already sweating at the idea of sending me abroad for studies. It’s going to bleed half of their salaries combined, that’s for sure.

    • Yup, that’s how my parents put us through New Zealand and then Australia – by saving up! :)

      PTPTN didn’t exist back then – I was born in 1981 and the study loan was established with National Higher Education Fund Act in 1997. I was already in NZ doing Form Six in the 1995/96 school year. I think it’s a good thing, it’s how I plan to send the kids overseas when they’re old enough.

      I agree with you, as long as the people behind PTPTN are totally transparent and fair to all applicants then it’s all good. I’m all in favor of keeping it around.

      I am in favor of sending the kids abroad though – even if our education has improved a lot over the years, nothing beats actually *living* in another country and interacting with different people and cultures – it really puts a perspective on things.

      That’s also why I don’t favor twinning program, 1 year is just too short a time, maybe I’m biased coz of the way me and my sister was educated but I want the *entire college* and university duration to be done overseas so there’s no discrepancy between the quality of education, and more importantly, the life experience they’ll get.

      Ultimately though, it’ll be their choice to make – whether they want to go or not. I’m just in favor of Melbourne coz every parent secretly hopes their children to go to the same alma mater they went to. I just want the best for them.

      I’m already worried about my kids, and they’re not out yet. The kids are also starting to worry me since the biggest one is already 7 years old!

      No worries though, we’ll make it! :D

      Thanks Ciana!

      • You are so right, HB! Can’t agree with you even more! My time in Auckland really broadened my mind and shaped me into the person that I am today.

        I don’t blame you; I’d love to send my future kids to Auckland, too. =)

        I guess you’ll have to start saving for their education now… =/

        • Yeah, I noticed that about most people who went abroad to study too! :)

          They tend to be more understanding and accepting about different things and cultures. You’re right, it really broadens the mind.

          That’s why I’m very much in favor of sending the kids overseas.

          Haha! We’ll save together, I’m going to start saving for that too (after one important thing – will blog about it when it’s done).

          Insurance can be a good way to save too! :D

  6. Agreed!! I’m okay with getting my education in Malaysia. After all I’m not from a well to do family. I appreciate PTPTN loan for helping me on the education fee. At least I have lessen my parents burden, cos I got a full loan. I’m still settling the loan debt…but many people did not repay a single cent oso T_T

    • Yeah, it is a great thing to have – eases the burden of parents and allows students to get into university. :)

      I’m all for that. I didn’t get to have PTPTN though (born too early) but a lot of people I know took the loan and finished university when they otherwise couldn’t.

      I know a lot of people who don’t pay back the loan too! I know people who do though, paid it back in full, and some who partially paid it. It’s up to the individual really.

      I am counting on this to lessen the education burden too. Cheers Mel! :D

    • I hope for free education of course, but on PTPTN study loans, it has helped a lot of people and I do hope it continues and is available for my kids in the future if the former doesn’t work out. :)

      Cheers Tiffany!

  7. HB, topic like this..I am speechless. Too expensive and I am glad I have one child only. Like you, I believe in good education for my kid, and you won’t believe the amount of money I spent from his Grade 1 to Grade 10 now. After conversion to MYR is about half a mil. Two more grades to go before graduation and then off to Uni. Chiam ah…

    • Yeah, that sounds about right! :)

      Education is so expensive nowadays, with tuition fees etc. There’s also daycare and activity classes for children, kids nowadays have so much to do to stay competitive.

      I don’t want to have 1 child only though (personal preference haha) coz I come from a family of 2 so I’ll like a boy and a girl. I already have two inherited ones though so family of 4 children sounds about right.

      Cheers Yvonne! :D

  8. you’ve got some good points, but i feel they’re not solid enough. It’s true, PTPTN offers some sort of motivation to students so that they’d work hard to convert it to a scholarship. That’s the only thing good about it. However, why put the student in debt? when you can afford to pay for them. Let me put it clearly. Say, you have a child. You’re a rich tycoon. Would you apply for a loan and put your son in debt? even if you did, you’d have the money to back him, if he can’t pay. Free education provides opportunity to poor families. With monthly income below 1000 MYR. it’s not about pampering students, rather providing them opportunity without incurring thousands MYR of debt.

    You may worry that students will take tertiary education for granted. However, i believe free education will only further strengthen the education quality. With a larger pool of students in university, competition rises. Meaning, like it or not, students will have to workhard and strive to be the best. Meaning, there’s no easy way out.

    You say the best things in life dont come free…but that’s because you’re trapped in the rat race of life that you forget.. ALL THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE,IS INDEED FREE! The air we breath is free. The beautiful views we see is free. When was the last time we appreciated the beauty of the things around us? You see my friend, you can’t put a price on everything. Education is enlightenment. We all need it to illuminate ourselves. In this age, education is one of the most important investment a government could make. If you can invest billions in every other sectors….why not 6 billion on education? Sure, the reward is in the long term, but it’s WORTH IT!

    • Well said Krishna! :)

      Education is important and I’m all for giving it to everyone as long as they don’t take it for granted – it is after all, taxpayer money. I do think you’ve got a good point there about strengthening the education quality by having a larger pool of students but the inverse can happen…

      e.g. look at some of the high schools nowadays – people are just getting by, taking education for granted, rote memorizing, and there’s very few *real* quality students with the necessary skills to survive instead of just “pass exams”.

      However, I’m thinking worse case scenario and you’re thinking best case scenario. I hope for the future’s sake that you’re right.

      I still think there’s a place for PTPTN study loans (or something similar) for excellent students who wants a higher quality education and is willing to work for it. A fast track scholarship of sorts, for people who’re academically gifted.

      Cheers mate!

    • Yeah, free education would be good of course. :)

      …but on PTPTN study loans, I feel it has helped a lot of people (lots of my friends who were younger than me took it – I went to NZ dy before it was established) and I do hope it continues and is available for my kids in the future if the former doesn’t work out.

      Cheers!

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