Parents who are planning for their child's financial future might want to think about putting some money into their Child Development Accounts (CDA), Straits Times deputy business editor Aaron Low said yesterday.
While the payouts might not be as high as the maximum promised by some endowment funds, they do guarantee a tidy return of 2 per cent per annum.
The CDA is part of the Government's Baby Bonus Scheme to offset the cost of raising children. Deposits are matched dollar for dollar, up to a cap.
This was one of the tips from Mr Low at a talk yesterday which shed light on a hot topic for many Singaporeans: How do I save enough for my children's future?
Around 150 people signed up for the free talk, which was held at the library@orchard. It is the second in a series of 12 talks under the askST initiative, where readers can engage correspondents from the newspaper on topics from finance to healthcare and education.
The series is a result of a partnership between The Straits Times and the National Library Board.
Mr Low, 36, who has two children, also stressed the importance of making practical financial decisions and differentiating between wants and needs.
For instance, he said, it is unwise to put yourself in the red just to finance your child's university education overseas.
"You have got to think about your own retirement," he said.
"Some people say that your children can support you later, but in this day and age, it is unlikely. They will have their own families to think about, and you have got to be self-sufficient."
In the question-and-answer session that followed, participants took the chance to ask for advice on other investment-related matters, such as picking the best unit trusts.
Mr Low said that he would make such a decision based on the sales charges and annual fees.
"You can't tell based on past performance, as there could be a range of factors behind it," he said.
Among the audience yesterday was 39-year-old development engineer Albert Quah, who is expecting his first child soon.
He plans to look into the CDA. "It is time to really start planning for the future. You really have to be very conscious of and do a lot of budgeting," he said.
The next talk will be on July 29, by ST's senior education correspondent Sandra Davie, who will give parents tips on how to pick the best schools for their children.
The talk will also be held at the library@orchard. Registration will open a month before the talk.
Readers can e-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or submit them at www.straitstimes.com/askst.