Financially fit for life

Dec 2006    

Part Two of the series on the Methodist Welfare Services highlights programmes that help individuals and families become financially savvy. We witness the life journey of Jin Han and Susanna as the former walks down memory lane in his love letter to his wife.

DEAR, I never told you this, but for three months after I learned of your pregnancy my head was up in the clouds even though you were struggling with morning sickness.

I could not get over the fact that you were heavy with child on our sixth anniversary. Imagine, just the year before we were having counselling sessions on our wedding anniversary!

The day your water bag burst and I sent you to the hospital was the most exciting in my adult life. And when our
little Charis finally emerged and the nurse put her in your arms, I saw tremendous love and gratefulness in your eyes. God has been very kind to us.

Children, indeed, complete the family (“even as they rob us of our sanity”, I am sure you would have insisted that I added this). You used to accuse me of spoiling her and that she could twirl me round her little finger. Well, I adore our little girl and I did not have the heart to refuse her anything.

Do you still remember how we both cried on her first day of class in the neighbourhood pre-school? I vowed that would be the first and last time I would cry for her. I was wrong. On her first day in Primary 1, I insisted on sending her myself because I was afraid you would chide me for crying. You roared with laughter when I told you she acted like she was the grown-up.

But seriously, dear, our child has been a great blessing. I will always remember how at Primary 2 she approached her school principal to ask if she qualified for financial help after I got retrenched at work and could not find another job for almost a year. But at that time, I was more embarrassed than thankful and I scolded her for telling others about my job loss.

She said she overheard a church-mate talking about the MWS Bursary Awards, yet something tells me it was her godma Margaret who had been speaking to her.

I was still a bit embarrassed when we accompanied Charis to the MWS Bursary Awards ceremony but I felt proud of her. Later, we signed up for a financial workshop at Daybreak Family Service Centre. During the workshop, we were taught about money management and given tips on saving.

I started to feel more hopeful about our situation, especially after learning that it is possible for a low-income family to have savings. Sure enough, a few days after the talk, God blessed me with a temporary job. I was ecstatic! To top it all, the boss sent me for retraining and employed me permanently after three months. When I got my pay cheque I set aside $100 from my salary and I have never stopped saving.

I am thankful we always have some money in the bank to fall back on. We can even afford to take short holiday trips to Malaysia now. Most importantly, our Charis has learnt from our example of spending wisely. And you have stopped nagging me for pandering to her whims and fancies.

Mel Lee is the Senior Executive, Communications and Fund-Raising, of the Methodist Welfare Services.

Editor: The story of Jin Han and Susanna will continue in the February issue of Methodist Message. Although theirs is a fictional story, it reflects many of the situations encountered by our Family Service Centres. Any similarities to actual persons, places or situations are purely  coincidental.

Methodist Welfare Services centres

Family Service Centres offer professional advice and support to couples and families in distress. Core programmes include casework and counselling, information and referral, preventive and developmental programmes, among others.

* Covenant FSC Tel: 6282 8558 Fax: 6283 6361 admin@covenant.mws.org.sg
* Daybreak FSC Tel: 6756 4995 Fax: 6752 4709 admin@daybreak.mws.org.sg
* Kampong Kapor FSC Tel: 6299 7662 Fax: 6294 2116 admin@kampongkapor.mws.org.sg
* Sembawang FSC Tel: 6754 7050 Fax: 6754 0112 admin@sfsc.mws.org.sg
* Tampines FSC Tel: 6787 2001 Fax: 6787 4459 admin@tampines.mws.org.sg


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