In a relationship, there’s a barrage of questions from friends, family, and that one auntie who can’t help but grill you at Chinese New Year gatherings. “How long have you been together?”, “Planning for kids?”, “When’s the wedding?”; and the classic Singaporean query, “Have you BTO-ed yet?”
Krystal Ng, a 36-year-old marketer, isn’t following the crowd. She’s chosen not to BTO with her partner, even though they’re in a solid relationship. It might sound odd at first, but our chat with her was quite the eye-opener. While she’s not against couples going for a BTO early, Krystal’s reasons for preferring to live separately make a lot of sense.
Not being ready for marriage
Whilst it’s not just couples who apply for BTO, the concept of balloting for a new HDB flat has very much become intertwined with marriage. But for Krystal, this traditional path isn’t her cup of tea.
“Marriage comes with lots of social expectations and obligations that I’m not willing to take on,” she says.
That’s not to say Krystal’s views are set in stone. She admits if marriage is on the cards, she’d prefer a place with her partner, ideally away from the in-laws. Right now, kids aren’t in her plans either. But she acknowledges that having children would be a game-changer, potentially leading her towards BTO.
“I think kids need the stability of having a fixed home with both parents’ care,” she points out.
Wants to enjoy the freedom of her own personal space
Image credit: design anthology
Krystal enjoys the current arrangement with her partner where they enjoy a long-term relationship with mutual support but also preserving each other’s independence. For her, preserving the ability to live by herself as a single-person household is important. Living in separate homes does not negatively impact their relationship at all, in her view.
“We can visit each other whenever we want, and go back to our own man/woman-caves whenever we like,” Krystal said. She added that there isn’t any real time limit for their visits to each other’s homes, so if they really wanted to live together for a bit, they can still do so whilst having separate homes.
Krystal also points out a practical perk: you technically get more real estate when you own 2 40sqm flats as opposed to co-owning one 60sqm one.
Money issues unnecessarily complicate a relationship
Image credit: ChatGPT
Money is a touchy subject, even between lovers. And for Krystal, it is something that she does not want to complicate the relationship with.
The financial drama of splitting up a shared BTO flat in the event of divorce is one example. According to her, if they ever split up, she would still at least keep her own property and her partner, his.
Arrangement that is not for everyone
While Krystal sees the upside in her living arrangement, she’s quick to say it’s not a one-size-fits-all deal. The crux of maintaining separate homes and financial freedom is working towards that independence.
That means working on getting a decent salary, having your own insurance, preparing for your own retirement and so on. And ultimately, there are many other factors that you’d have to consider, including your partner’s wants.
“You shouldn’t get married and get a BTO just to be independent from your parents, right? Similarly, you shouldn’t decide to be unmarried but BTO separately and only consider the financial advantages,” Krystal cautions.
Why I don’t want to BTO with my partner
It’s important to note that Krystal’s story isn’t a critique of Singapore’s home ownership process or the societal push towards marriage for BTO. Her experience simply shows that BTO isn’t a must-do for everyone in a stable relationship.
Ultimately, the choice boils down to personal preference and what works best for you and your partner. Whether pooling resources is your idea of commitment, or living separately brings more comfort to your life, it’s a decision that should be made together, keeping both perspectives in mind.
Read more articles here:
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- Renting An HDB Room In Woodlands For $450
- 7 Ghost Stories From Singaporean Redditors Who Lived In Haunted Houses
Cover image adapted from: Dall.E
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