Sandwich Class Worker Struggles To Make Ends Meet

This piece was submitted by a contributor and does not reflect the views of Wake Up, Singapore

Hi, My name is David Toh, I am a struggling middle-income 30-year-old man who lives with his retired parents with no siblings.

I am writing to you today because I am quite worried about the cost of living in Singapore.

My parents and I live in a fully paid 3 room HDB in Clementi. I am not a sandwich class yet but I am planning to get married to my girlfriend of 4 years soon. I am really stressed and worried about the cost of living because of this. The thought of having children, BTO and the affordability to take care of my parents when they grow older really stresses me out. They are currently in their late 60s now. They wanted to continue working as they do not have sufficient CPF but was forced to retire early due to the retirement age. Now they can barely provide for themselves as their CPF payout only pays around $300 for my dad and around $220 for my mom. How can anyone survive like that?

My take-home pay is $3200 after CPF. However, I have to give them $1500 a month as an allowance to supplement their living expenses. After giving them allowance, I have barely enough to cover my own expenses as I am also trying to scrimp and save for the simple wedding and wedding ring to propose to my GF.

Moreover, my mom doesn’t know how to cook. We always eat out. As you know, hawker food sold outside is rather unhealthy compared to home-cooked food. The government always encourage Singaporeans to eat healthily to reduce the cost of healthcare. But it is quite hard to eat healthy as you know, healthy food sold outside cost more than regular hawker food. How can my parents eat healthy with the amount they received from CPF when it cost more than regular hawker food?

The worst part is, eating unhealthy food contributes to ill health. My parents’ health isn’t very good. Slowly day by day seeing their health deteriorating worries me. They do not have any insurance. What if something serious happens to them? If they get any terminal illnesses or any long-term illness, I wouldn’t have enough money to take care of them.

I am sure there are many Singaporeans like me stuck in between their own family and parents worrying about such costs. It is daunting to know the costs would suffocate me like many Singaporeans.

I don’t know if there is any way to lower the cost of living because everything seems to be increasing day by day. The future seems gloomy. I am very worried about these impending costs.

Something has to be done.

David Toh.

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