Save or spend?

Chi­nese New year’s angpow windfall is also a chance to teach chil­dren about money.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FAMILY - By EVE YAP

ELEVEN-YEAR-OLD Mar­i­anne Tan wants to spend S$59 (RM155) of her angpow money on a 100ml bot­tle of One Di­rec­tion per­fume. Her brother, Max­i­m­il­ian, nine, wants to save his angpow tak­ings to buy a lap­top in three years’ time, so he does not have to bor­row money from his mother.

Each of them re­ceived about S$800 (RM2,100) in angpow this year.

Their mother, events man­ager Ann Tay, 39, says she has been sav­ing their angpow bounty in a bank ac­count for each of them since their first Chi­nese New Year.

“But they can use the money to buy what they want any time dur­ing the year, sub­ject to ap­proval. Pur­chases must make sense,” says Tay, cit­ing ex­am­ples of a One Di­rec­tion mug and a vi­olin bought pre­vi­ously.

Mar­i­anne, a Pri­mary Five pupil, gen­er­ally agrees with her mother. But she adds: “Par­ents should give their chil­dren a bit of free­dom to spend their angpow money. For ex­am­ple, to buy a birth­day present for a friend, so we don’t need to dip into our sav­ings.”

Mean­while, Tay ex­pects her son to be ask­ing for Poke­mon game cards. She is likely to oblige their spend­ing re­quest this year as she no­ticed more S$10 (RM26) angpow that her chil­dren re­ceived. Her ob­ser­va­tion seems spot-on. From an OCBC Bank study of “sub­stan­tial spikes” in de­posits in chil­dren’s ac­counts dur­ing the month of Chi­nese New Year over the past five years, and based on “fore­cast­ing tech­niques”, the bank es­ti­mates that each child may pocket about S$780 (RM2,048) this year on av­er­age.

Its head of group cus­tomer an­a­lyt­ics and de­ci­sion­ing, Don­ald MacDon­ald, 41, says the sum is the high­est in the past five years.

In fact, tak­ings have been ris­ing, from S$522 (RM1,371) a child in 2010 to S$715 (RM1,878) last year.

But kids who want to splurge us­ing their gen­er­ous bounty may have lit­tle luck.

Ten out of 14 par­ents in­ter­viewed say they squir­rel away all of their chil­dren’s angpow tak­ings, usu­ally for ed­u­ca­tion.

Tok Geok Peng, DBS Bank’s se­nior vi­cepres­i­dent of con­sumer de­posits, says: “Dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son, we open 60% more new kids’ ac­counts than in the other months of the year.”

Ri­mawati Hasjim says her son Reever, now 11, had been taught from young to pass his angpow money to his par­ents for safe­keep­ing.

The 36-year-old cost con­troller at Swis­so­tel Mer­chant Court ho­tel and her hus­band, self-em­ployed driver Ray­mond Kang, 37, then de­posit the full amount of about S$800 (RM2,100) each year into their only child’s sav­ings ac­count.

“There’s no need for him to have the angpow money and he does not need to bar­gain to keep any part of the amount,” says Ri­mawati.

Reever’s wishes for toys – for in­stance, a Gun­dam ro­bot – will be met by ei­ther par­ents or grand­par­ents on birth­days or at Christ­mas, she adds.

Even older chil­dren do not nec­es­sar­ily have more say about what to do with their angpow col­lec­tion.

Polytech­nic stu­dent Loi Yit­ing says she does not mind that she re­ceives only “loose change” each year from her angpow col­lec­tion.

“For ex­am­ple, if I col­lect S$106 (RM278), I get just the S$6 (RM16) and mum takes the rest for safe­keep­ing,” says the 19-year-old, the only child of an ac­coun­tant mother and se­nior sales man­ager fa­ther, both in their 40s. She col­lects about S$400 (RM1,050) each year. “Oth­er­wise, I may spend it on friv­o­lous things such as clothes, ice-skat­ing or movies.”

For 20-year-old Ryan Tan, his par­ents let him keep his stash of about S$200 (RM525) since he was a teenager. The polytech­nic stu­dent’s con­struc­tion man­ager fa­ther, who is a Sin­ga­pore per­ma­nent res­i­dent, has fam­ily in Malaysia and his Sin­ga­porean mother is a travel agent. They are in their 50s.

His par­ents let him and his sib­lings keep the money be­cause they feel their chil­dren can han­dle the money.

“I usu­ally leave all the money hid­den in some cor­ner and for­get about it un­til my wal­let is empty or if I’m too lazy to with­draw money from the ATM,” says Tan, a mid­dle child, with a laugh. “Then I look for it and feel slightly happy to know that I have money af­ter all.”

Par­ents may want to con­sider giv­ing their chil­dren lat­i­tude in man­ag­ing their angpow haul.

Vasu Menon, OCBC Bank’s vice-pres­i­dent of wealth man­age­ment Sin­ga­pore, says that while the bulk should be kept to fund chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion, par­ents “should al­low their kids to spend some of their money dur­ing school hol­i­days as an in­cen­tive for agree­ing to save most of their angpow for later years”.

He adds: “For par­ents with older chil­dren, it may be a good idea to in­clude their chil­dren when mak­ing de­ci­sions about how to use the angpow money and to ex­plain their de­ci­sions so as to im­part money-man­age­ment skills from young.”

In­deed, house­wide Ju­lia Teo lets each of her two older chil­dren, My­ron, 11, and Raeann, nine, keep S$350 (RM919) this year, which is half of each child’s angpow col­lec­tion.

The chil­dren also save part of their daily pocket money – S$1.50 (RM4) for My­ron and S$1 (RM2.60) for Raeann – and have about S$50 (RM130) to top up the angpow kitty by year’s end.

Teo, 38, says: “So, if they have S$400 (RM1,050) at the end of the year, they get half of that to spend. What­ever is not spent is saved, and we count their angpow afresh each cal­en­dar year.”

This prac­tice be­gan when they started Pri­mary 1 and may have wanted “things that their friends have”, says Teo. “We don’t buy them th­ese things be­cause the com­puter games will dis­tract My­ron from his stud­ies and you re­ally need only one Bar­bie doll,” says Teo.

My­ron does not in­sist on big­ger pay­outs from his mum. “Vis­it­ing seven homes is not hard work. So, I don’t think I should take all the angpow money back.”

While he and Raeann keep half of their visi­ta­tion col­lec­tions, his four-year-old sis­ter Kait­lyn has to give her angpow tak­ings – about S$700 (RM1,838) this year – to her mum.

Teo, who is mar­ried to se­cu­rity man­ager Teo Kee Kiat, 41, says: “The logic is that my hus­band and I have to come up with the money to give angpow, so we need to re­coup our out­lay.”

She adds with a laugh that she does not suf­fer “losses”, though, be­cause hav­ing three chil­dren means more tak­ings.

In Adrena Chai’s fam­ily, the 43-year-old also lets her chil­dren learn to han­dle their own angpow money as they get older.

While her nine-year-old daugh­ter, Faith, gives her tak­ings to Chai for safe­keep­ing, older daugh­ter Han­nah, 12, be­gan keep­ing her angpow money last year be­cause “she has ma­tured”. The amount Han­nah re­ceived last year was S$100 (RM260). This year, she re­ceived S$170 (RM446.50).

Her par­ents’ trust in her has not been mis­placed. She has not spent a cent of the S$270 (RM709), which she keeps at home, on friv­o­lous things. The Sec­ondary One stu­dent at Methodist Girls’ School says: “I like to know the money’s there, so I feel rich.”

The home-held re­serves have come in handy: Han­nah used the money to pay for school books and sta­tionery and Chai re­im­bursed her since those were school ne­ces­si­ties.

Chai, a trainer in a re­tail com­pany, adds: “Some­times, when I haven’t had time to with­draw money and don’t have cash on me, I bor­row from her to pay the laun­dry man when he comes around.” – The Straits Times, Sin­ga­pore/Asia News Net­work

Stay-home mum Ju­lia Chua, 38, and her se­cu­rity man­ager hus­band Teo Kee Kiat, 42, take back all of the S$700 (rM1,838) that her four-year-old daugh­ter Teo Kait­lyn gets in angpow.

ri­mawati, 36, and hus­band ray­mond Kang, 37, ex­pect their only son reever, 11, to give them all his angpow tak­ings, which they de­posit in a sav­ings ac­count for his ed­u­ca­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.