South West District Mayor Amy Khor launching the Citi-South West Family Save-and-Grow scheme with Citibank chief executive Han Kwee Juan, office cleaner S. Vasanthi, 49, and daughter Durga Devi, 14. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
SAVE $300 and get rewarded with another $300.
This is the carrot dangled by the South West Community Development Council (CDC) and Citibank before 50 low-income families to prompt them to save more diligently.
Over a six-month period, the CDC will match every dollar each family deposits in its Citibank savings account.
This applies up to a cap of $300 put in over the half-year.
The CDC will also kick-start their savings with an initial deposit of $100.
Each family will also open a joint parent-child account to encourage the children to pick up the saving habit.
The CDC will also match deposits there dollar-for-dollar, up to a sum of $100 put in, and start the account off with $20.
The pilot scheme was launched at Safra Jurong yesterday by the Mayor of South West District Amy Khor and Citibank Singapore chief executive Han Kwee Juan.
Dr Khor said: "This is to motivate them to start the habit of saving... we know that it is very difficult for low-income families to save, but I think every little bit counts. You can always save something for a rainy day."
The aim, she added, is to set the families - identified by the CDC - on the path towards long-term financial independence.
Mr Han said Citibank volunteers will meet the families to review their finances, provide financial planning and help them pick up budgeting skills.
The families will set monthly goals on how much to save.
"We believe it is a responsibility and a natural extension of the work we do... to help people understand how to manage their finances," said Mr Han.
One participant, Mr Leow Seng Poh, 38, said he has found it almost impossible to save over the years.
The surveyor and father of two young children takes home $1,670 a month, of which over $1,400 goes towards expenses.
This includes $500 for his wife's medication, as she suffers from depression and chronic joint pains.
He has set himself a monthly savings target of $100. "We will try our best to save with this programme... we don't dare to think about the future, our present is already so difficult."