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Build a family, then a career

While I agree that the cost of living in Singapore is high, it should not be the reason for couples to defer marriage ("Silver lining in deferring marriage" by Mrs Marietta Koh; last Sunday).

Cost of living is relative. In many other countries where the income level is low, people also struggle to make ends meet. But, they still get married.

My son is 24 years old and midway through his university education in the United States. He recently got married to a very lovely young woman. They rent a small one-bedroom apartment in a basement, work part-time to continue their education and financially support each other.

Tough on them? Yes. But it is probably the best education in life that they can ever receive.

There is a wise Chinese saying: First, establish your family, then, build your career. Unfortunately, this is no longer taught to many of our younger generation. Instead, we are teaching our youth to build a career first, have a house, a car and a club membership before thinking of marriage.

I know of many young people who lament that they can't save enough to get married, yet think nothing of spending hundreds of dollars every week clubbing, eating out in restaurants, or on designer goods.

If young couples are willing to live with their parents or start off with a smaller HDB flat, go without a car and forgo eating out too often in restaurants, they can easily get married earlier rather than later.

Unfortunately, many have got their priorities wrong. They are missing out on one of the most important moments in life.

Patrick Tan Siong Kuan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 07, 2016, with the headline 'Build a family, then a career'. Print Edition | Subscribe