How much parental allowance should I give?

An asian kid's guide to finding out how to give back that filial piety. Is 10% of your salary really enough?

An asian kid's guide to finding out how to give back that filial piety. Is 10% of your salary really enough?

Need help with finances?

Here's how we can help you:


Growing up, I was often reminded by my parents at every opportunity that they are waiting for me to “give back” once I started working. I believe that my experience is not very different from an average Singaporean kid.

In Singapore, there is a cultural norm of giving our parents a monthly allowance once we enter the workforce. Even though it is a common expenditure among Singaporeans, it can be a rather awkward topic to talk about. After all, it has become a symbol of how filial one is. But how much to give greatly depends on each household and individual.

In this article, we will be looking into some statistics on the median amount that Singaporean children give their parents as well as share some insights on how you can derive an amount that would make sense for both yourself and your parents.

How much do other Singaporeans give their parents?

Thanks to we now know how much other Singaporeans give their parents. As of now, the survey has gathered close to 7,000 participants with the median result being 10% of salary. This serves as a good starting point on your thought process of how much to give your parents as well.

How much should you give?

Beyond statistics, when it comes to how much you should give your own parents, things can be much more complicated. There is definitely no right amount to give, so we can’t and won’t be telling you exactly how much you should give. Instead, we will give you a set of questions that you can ask yourself to guide you along to find a comfortable amount.

Know how much you can afford

You can’t take care of others if you can’t take care of yourself. It is the same when it comes to parental allowance. Before doing anything else, we believe that you should first have a talk with yourself. Be true to yourself and find out how much your monthly minimal expenses are. Your monthly minimal expenses basically refer to the cost of all your needs; your non-negotiables. Thereafter, you would have a better understanding of what is the maximum you can give to your parents without limiting yourself.

For example, if your take-home pay is $2,000 and your minimal expenses are $500, the maximum you can allocate to parental allowance is $1,500. If for whatever reason, the expenditure you have to spend on your parents is more than $1,500, that is when you’ll have to rethink your situation.

Purpose of parental allowance

🌟 Join our community and stay up to date!

The purpose of giving parental allowance differs with each family. For some, it may be because you act as your parents’ retirement plan. In other words, your parents need you to provide for them to survive or to live their ideal retirement. For the more fortunate ones, the parental allowance may just be a symbol of giving back.

You are your parents’ retirement plan If this applies to you, things may be a little tougher. But with the right planning, it is not the end of the world, even with a small earning capability. There are also different severity on how dependent your parents are on you for their retirement. For the purpose of ensuring this guide is useful to most people we will be assuming that your parents have no CPF, no savings but own a house.

To get started, you’ll have to figure out their finance story on how they ended up to where they are today. This is an important step because it determines how much you can trust them with managing their own finances. Assuming that they have bad personal finance management then it might not make sense to hand them money blindly. However, if that’s the case for your parents, here is what I would do:

  1. Takeover any of their fixed recurring expenses (from bills to instalment plans)

  2. Calculate their minimal expenses

  3. Minimize the cash given to them (e.g. topping up a Kopitiam card for food instead of giving all cash.)

  4. Ensure that they have basic hospital insurance

After doing the above 4 things, you may realise that you’re pretty tight on cash. There isn’t any easy way out of this but to look for ways to either increase your income, decrease expenses or even delay your parents’ retirement. If the situation allows, you could also consider downgrading your home or even renting out a room temporary to improve your cash flow. Aim to allocate at least a minimum of 20% of your income for investing and saving for your own future goals as well.

If your parents have some form of savings or balance in CPF, aim to look for ways to maximize what they currently have so that they will not be too reliant on you for retirement. We will be coming up with the content on ways to do it soon and keep this article updated, so stay tuned!

**Parental Allowance as a symbol of filial piety
**If your parents are well-prepared for their own retirement, consider yourself lucky. Even then, be sure that they have the right insurance in place so that any medical condition will not change this circumstance.

Once you are certain that there won’t be many possibilities that might change their financial status, you are ready to set an amount. Since parental allowance is just a symbol of filial, you can first look into your own personal goals and identify how much you’ll need. If you need help with that, you may book a slot to try out our Financial Pathway Software. After identifying the amount you’ll need to have to meet your goals, you will be able to give generously with the remaining amount.

Other ways to show Filial Piety

Yes, our parents have love languages too. Love languages describe how a person receives love from others. There are a total of 5 love languages— Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch.

We are not psychology experts, but we suppose that parental allowance falls under receiving gifts. If you are able to identify your parents’ love language, you may find out that there are many different ways to show your appreciation towards them in a way that they appreciate too. Not everything is about money!