Nowaday kids are really rich
Originally Posted by http://www.straitstimes.com'If we can afford to spend, why not?'
Most teens with allowances don't think recession will curb their spending: Poll
By Lim Pow Hong & Seow Kai Lun
SINGAPORE'S school-going children seem unaware of terms such as 'recession' or 'economic downturn'.
To the average teenager, a budget meal costs $8 at a fast-food outlet and saving means putting aside money for a 'cool' $248 iPod nano. When they run out of cash, they just ask their parents for more.
The Straits Times polled 100 students - aged 13 to 19 - who received pocket money. Their responses showed most of them did not think the current recession here would affect their spending habits or that of their families.
The students who were polled received an average weekly allowance of $20 to $30 - in addition to extra funds for transport and mobile phone bills.
Almost 60 of those surveyed said they spent three quarters or more of their allowance. When their cash ran out, they asked for more, with as many as 86 per cent thinking that this was acceptable.
Xavier Ong, 14, gets $100 a week in addition to his transport and mobile phone expenses. However, he said that when he needs more money, he asks his parents.
Tiffany Li, 15, eats out at least four times a week, spending $6 to $8 on each meal. She dines at cafes and fast-food outlets rather than at school and eats only dinner at home because, as she puts it: 'If we can afford it, why not?'
Dr Brian Lim, head of communication at SIM University, who does research on youth social behaviour and popular culture, said many young people 'spend money like there is no tomorrow'.
He came to this conclusion after organising a focus group discussion with 30 teenagers aged 18 and 19 in early January.
He blamed working parents who do not spend enough time with their children during the week, and so 'compensate by giving money'.
It is a habit that encourages young people to think there is a never-ending source of money, and there is no need to save - except for the latest gadgets or for fancy meals and entertainment.
As Darrell Low, 16, defined it: 'My savings is the money that I put in a drawer. I take it out when I go out with my friends.'
However, parents say teens put pressure on each other to spend.
'They tend to compare what they have with one another and there is peer pressure when one teen is spending lavishly,' said Madam Athena Chong, 52, an administrator and mother of two, including a 14-year-old son.
'Peer pressure is something that happens as teenagers want to be part of a certain crowd that they hang out with,' said Mr Teo Tee Loon, 40, executive director of Lakeside Family Centre.
'Inevitably, it means having the same things, which they will try to obtain even if they cannot afford it.'
Mr Ryan Soh, chief executive officer of MoneyTree Singapore, a group that teaches young people how to save money, suggested parents work within their budgets when deciding how much pocket money to give their children.
'What needs to be emphasised is saving first before spending - a concept not reinforced by parents.'
Otherwise, the young will grow into adults without knowing the value of money, said Mrs Choo Jin Yi, who runs money management programmes for teens.
She is also the academic manager for the diploma in banking and financial services at Ngee Ann Polytechnic.
'The young will be overly optimistic about their ability to 'upkeep' their lifestyle, thinking nothing bad will happen to them. They could end up in debt, or worse, bankrupt,' she said.