Financial stability and a home first for some

A couple taking their wedding photos along the Marina Promenade.
A couple taking their wedding photos along the Marina Promenade.PHOTO: ST FILE

Young people today may not hold the same views of marriage as their parents, said family and marriage counsellors.

FaithActs senior social worker Michael Tiew noted that some of them - in their 20s and early 30s - see the union as a step to companionship rather than having children.

"They want to build their own sense of identity and family culture first," said Mr Tiew, who conducts marriage preparation and parenting talks. "In the past, you get married to have children, to pass on the family name. But today, women are more independent. Having children is a personal choice and responsibility."

Ms Jessie Koh, head of Reach Counselling, added that most young people want to complete their tertiary education first before marriage. "By the time they finish a degree, they are older," she said. "While they do want to start a family, they also want to be financially stable in their careers first so that they can provide for their children."

Some couples said they want time to build a stable home of their own even before thinking about babies.


Ms Eunice Chew, who is engaged and whose Build-To-Order (BTO) flat in Telok Blangah will be ready next year, said: "Having kids isn't on our radar yet... The home is the first thing we wanted to settle even before getting married."

The 28-year-old, who works in the aviation industry, added: "It's difficult to settle down without a private space. And we want to be more emotionally and financially stable so that it will be better for our family in the future."

Ms Hazel Tan, 28, who got married in 2013, said: "Bringing up a child is an immense task and I want to make sure that I can be a good parent first."

The housewife and her husband lived with her father before moving to their own flat last year. "Many young Singaporeans live with their parents all the way until marriage and they don't do housework growing up," she said. "We are learning to take care of household chores, pets and paying the bills."

Counsellors said medical advances in fertility have also given hope to couples who want to wait to have children. Said Reach Counselling's Ms Koh: "Progress in technology and methods like in-vitro fertilisation gives some reassurance and makes (young couples) not so fearful of having children later."

Some couples agreed, saying that they are not overly concerned about the complications that might come with conceiving later.

"Science is quite advanced now, and I know colleagues in their late 30s who have been able to get pregnant... So, it doesn't seem to be a problem," said Ms Chew.

Amelia Teng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 16, 2016, with the headline 'Financial stability and a home first for some'. Print Edition | Subscribe