In my last article, I shared about the challenges of parents’ today. In this one, I am going to attempt to explore what we can do about these challenges.

The most obvious one, the most cliché suggestion that can come from me (a financial planner) would be to tell you to do your financial planning early, save more, live within your means. *snore* But do you really need to hear that again? It is not like you do not know that already. What I am going to try and do is to share with you examples I have encountered from my clients, friends or acquaintances.

The prerequisite of my suggestions would be that you need to know or be willing to build your worth and value and that you must be willing to explore outside the box. I believe once you know your own value, you can negotiate your wage with what you can offer.

  1. Reinventing Your Work

Based on a 2017 research by MSF (Ministry of Social and Family Development, there was a significant increase in the proportion of establishments offering at least one formal flexible work arrangements, from 38.1% in 2011 to 47.0% in 2016 mainly through offering part-time, flexitime and staggered hours arrangements.

Below are the real-life examples that I have encountered:

  • My client works for a government agency. She has three lovely daughters, with whom she would like to spend more time. When her daughters were younger, she negotiated with her superior to be able to work from home twice a week. In 2018, she renegotiated to work a reduced load of 60% for a prorated pay. She enjoys taking her children out of childcare early and going for outdoor adventures with them.
  • I have a friend who worked in a bank. Couple of years back, she wanted to quit her job to focus on taking care of her child. Her boss counter-offered her for a part-time role. She asked for a 3-day work week, with the option of working one of those 3 days from home.

My point is IT IS POSSIBLE. A caveat: sometimes, your pay may be prorated, but the expectation is to complete a full-time job on lesser time. It is important to know who your boss/organisation is like before you embark on this path.

  1. Build Multiple Sources of Income

This portion is not exclusive to working parents. I actually think everyone should consider building multiple sources of income considering the instability of jobs in recent years. Below are a few ways you can consider doing so.

  • Start a business

A friend turned her passion into a part-time business, which eventually outdid her job financially. She transited to running her business full time. She enjoys her work, gets to spend quality time with a daughter. She is a happy working mum.

  • Consider a side career

A friend was working in an MNC, brand manager for a well-known cosmetic brand. She decided some years ago that she wants to build her wealth faster. She became a part-time property agent on the side. And after two years, she quit her job to conduct her property sales full time as it no longer made financial sense to keep her job. Now, she is a mother of one with the flexibility to spend time with her child.

  • Be an Influencer

My friend’s wife is a SAHM with three children. Her husband is in the armed forces and his work takes him away a lot. She has been running a successful blog detailing the activities she does with her children, she reviews products, staycation/vacation venues. She does this on top of caring for her three children and running her household with no helper. I admire her tremendously. I don’t think I can do it but there are certainly people who can.

Life is seasonal. There will be time for us to sow, there will be time for us to harvest. Money needs compounding interest to assist it to grow, starting early is key. Relationships need time and effort to deepen. Our parents will pass on, our children will grow up. Time is precious to us all. Use it wisely. Enjoy the process.

Author: Tina Liem-Ho