Wedding reception are supposed to be an exciting and happy moment. At the end of what is inevitably a long day of preparations, travelling, and location changes, by the time it comes for the reception everyone is happy to sit back, relax, and enjoy the hospitality of the bride and groom.
As is customary at such events the parents of the bride and groom, for those fortunate enough to have both with them on such a momentous occasion, take seats of honour. Their support, encouragement, love, commitment and sacrifices traditionally toasted… unless they are the worst parents in the world.
In the almost five-minute long video above, made by BBH Singapore for insurance firm NTUC Income, wedding guests are shocked when the groom, ‘Adam’, commences his speech with a photo overlayed with the words ‘the worst parents in the world’.
He then proceeds to list the tragedies and injustices of his childhood. Those at the wedding reception are left with little impression that throughout his young life Adam has enjoyed a frugal upbringing compared that of his contemporaries. Even worse, the gathering hears how Adam’s father rejected the customary allowance gift from his first salary.
To a totally hushed room Adam calls out his parents. “Why can’t you be like other parents?”, he demands. When his father stands, and fronts his son, the viewer is left with little doubt that this wedding reception is not going to end well.
Unexpectedly his father reaches out, grabs his ‘son’ by the head and ruffles his hair. The video playing in the background cuts to show similar scenes from throughout the young man’s life.
The tension breaks and smiles and laughter begin to erupt from the gathered ‘guests’ at the realisation that they’ve been played. Rather than animosity or bitterness, it quickly becomes apparent that the father-parent bonds are deeply intact.
Claiming he “had an amazing childhood”, it’s not until the last 1.20 minutes that the message becomes clear. “Had you had given me everything I had wanted back then”, Adam says, “I wouldn’t have everything I can have now”.
Planning for the future and restraint are the clear messages from this latest ‘sadvertisement’ out of Singapore, with the punchline being: The best gift for your child is a retirement plan for yourself.
It’s a very poignant message. articularly in Singapore where retirement benefits are scant (except for politicians) and where an increasing number of the aged population have difficulty meeting day-to-day living expenses (See: Poverty and caring for the aged: Singapore’s dirty little secrets (video))
According to NTUC Income, research has found that 66 per cent of parents are concerned about having inadequate funds in retirement, but they still give up their retirement planning in order to spend on their children.
“Parents spend a lot of money on their children so they can enjoy the best possible life now and in the future”, Thomas Wagner, BBH Singapore’s planning director told Mumbrella Asia. However, in doing so, they sometimes forget about themselves and the impact their own financial future has on the life they want their kids to have. This is the topic that NTUC Income wants to start a conversation about and help solve.”
Singaporeans love to spend
And it’s not such an unnecessary message. Singaporeans love to spend. According to figures from the Singapore Department of Statistics (SDS) credit card debt made up about 4.2 per cent of all consumer loans in 2015.
From an average of S$300-S$400 (about US$219-$291) per month in the 1990s, the average monthly credit card statement in May 2018 reached S$555 (US$404), while the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) reported that banks wrote off some S$128.3 million in bad credit card debt in the first four months of this year.
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In an attempt to wean Singaporeans off credit card debt and its accompanying high interest rates, the Singapore government started capping the credit limit on credit cards in 2015.
From 24 times a cardholders annual salary, the limit will be reigned in to 12 times in June 2019.
A personal finance comparison website has also been setup enabling Singaporeans to check and compare the various finance options on offer from the country’s various banks and finance institutions.
Speaking with Mumbrella Asia, NYUC Income’s chief marketing officer, Marcus Chew, said the worst parents in the world clip was aimed at encouraging Singaporeans to think more deeply about their retirement plans and thereafter take a step towards securing their own financial future, if they want their children to be future-ready.
Feature video: NTUC Income
- Are Singaporeans being crushed by credit card debt? (Business Insider Singapore)
- Young people in Singapore worry their parents do not save enough for retirement – with good reason: Survey (The Straits Times)
- Singapore placed 28th in retirement security (Singapore Business Review)