When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

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toto238
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When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by toto238 » Wed Nov 26, 2014 8:59 pm

For those that planned kids (obviously unplanned happens too), what financial factors played a role in you deciding it was "time"? Is it when you paid off all your student loans? When you both got out of residency? When she finished grad school? When he finally got promoted to management? When your net worth hit a certain level? When your income hit a certain level? When you finally paid off the car loan? When you finally saved up enough for a down payment on a house?

My wife and I are in our early 20s, and have roughly 90k of student loans between us. We've told ourselves that we would have the discussion about kids once all the 6.8% loans are gone, and all that are left are the 3.15% subsidized loans (roughly 20k or so). But should we be considering other factors? What was the deciding factor for you?

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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by rob » Wed Nov 26, 2014 9:00 pm

None - It was and is not a financial decision, although it has large financial impacts.
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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by Tycoon » Wed Nov 26, 2014 9:04 pm

My wife made the decision. Money was not a consideration.
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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by toto238 » Wed Nov 26, 2014 9:05 pm

rob wrote:None - It was and is not a financial decision, although it has large financial impacts.
Tycoon wrote:My wife made the decision. Money was not a consideration.
I understand that there are other factors besides financial factors that are components. But surely the decision to have kids isn't made completely independent of finances. If you're $500k in debt, unemployed, and have no marketable skills, you're probably not planning on having kids. If you're making $200k a year and have a $100k positive net worth and own your own home, then maybe you are.

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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by Tycoon » Wed Nov 26, 2014 9:14 pm

I'm one of those people who would have NEVER been comfortable enough financially to have kids. It's my nature. Luckily, for my kids at least, my wife knew everything would be fine - and it was/is.
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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by Riceman » Wed Nov 26, 2014 9:16 pm

Probably more impact from social factors, such as the number of peers having kids and the types of activities that I like to spend my life doing.

Having kids was not at all a consideration for me before my job situation stabilized, but as soon as I got my current (government) job, I felt comfortable about the financial aspects.

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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by wander » Wed Nov 26, 2014 9:19 pm

rob wrote:None - It was and is not a financial decision, although it has large financial impacts.
+1. I agree. You want to have babies while still can.

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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by Lafder » Wed Nov 26, 2014 9:23 pm

Finances were not a consideration. I knew kids would cost money, but I did not think it through or try to add it up. I knew it would effect my work, free time, relationship with my husband. I figured the costs would work themselves out and really failed to think about costs as much as I would have when buying a new car.

I am not saying that I was responsible about having kids, it just felt like time. I was 30, we had been together 8 years, we had jobs, and were not in debt other than a mortgage.

The biggest factor for me was the sudden unexpected death of a family member. It was the first time I had lost someone close to me and it felt awful. It really put things about life into perspective.

I was 22 plus years into school and delayed gratification. ((I count kindergarten, why not?)) It just really struck me that life was about living and I should not wait too long to live it. I had been waiting to have a child and felt I wanted to be selfish and not wait anymore.

While waiting til 30, and after years of school, and a long term partner may not seem impulsive. In retrospect I went from wanting kids someday, to trying to get pregnant and then pregnant within 2 months after the relative's death. (My husband was aware and did agree, but I think he thought it would take longer)

I do not regret the timing at all.

Part of my thinking was that we had secure jobs, family support and so we should be able to make it all work out financially.

As a side note, one of the only things that distracted me from my initial grief was learning about investing and opening Vanguard funds. Right after his death was the first time I got serious about investing nonretirement $. It was about $10,000. Somehow making $$ decisions and seeing the numbers in the accounts brought me security and comfort. I think it still does.

If you are the kind of person who has to plan all details out, be prepared that there are too many unknowns with costs and having children. Having kids in general increases one's flexibility as well as tolerance for noise and mess. It also makes you learn about love in a way you have never known before : )

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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Wed Nov 26, 2014 9:27 pm

Honestly, when I knew I could feed, clothe and bathe them. What did that require? A rented apartment/house (you may purchase a home with a mortgage, but if you don't make the payment you are out - not much different than renting an apartment), employment to be able to make the rent, buy the food, pay for healthcare, keep the lights on and an emergency fund to tide you over until you get to the next place.

The overriding factor above all of that - meeting a suitable partner and "time". Time waits for no man, if you want to have start a family do what you can to eliminate that rock that is weighing you down both financially and emotionally. Your wife is obviously affected by the level of debt, you said it yourself and if "mama ain't happy, no one else will be either". There's truth to "happy wife, happy life". :wink:
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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by rob » Wed Nov 26, 2014 9:30 pm

toto238 wrote:But surely the decision to have kids isn't made completely independent of finances.
It was for us and I think it has to be...... They don't make any financial sense :shock:
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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Wed Nov 26, 2014 9:35 pm

rob wrote:
toto238 wrote:But surely the decision to have kids isn't made completely independent of finances.
It was for us and I think it has to be...... They don't make any financial sense :shock:
The things that hold the most value in life are immeasurable. To the OP's point, it isn't completely independent if it creates such a burden that it takes detracts value and only the actual beholder can make that determination. Your question is something that can only be answered from within, a bunch of strangers on the internet or even on your local street corner can not provide that definitive answer. It's truly a personal decision as much as it is anything else.

My 2 cents, you're in your early 20's - enjoy it, make the most of it, you still have some time.
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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by WorkToLive » Wed Nov 26, 2014 9:44 pm

We were married at 28 and had our daughter 3 1/2 years later. We waited until I made Manager at my job and my DH had finished his masters degree and was employed. I knew I wanted to be a stay at home mom for several years so we had to be settled with enough savings for that to happen, plus access to health insurance. It worked out perfectly and now I am 40, Our daughter is 8 and my career is back on track.

No regrets here, either waiting until 31, staying at home while she was very young, or pausing my career 4 years. I feel like I have the best of all worlds. I am a planner so doing it this way lowered my stress levels exponentially. Being at home with her was the best part of my life.

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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by Louis Winthorpe III » Wed Nov 26, 2014 9:46 pm

rob wrote:None - It was and is not a financial decision, although it has large financial impacts.
Completely agree. It's great that people on this board are focused on being smart with their money, but it pains me occasionally to see some people try to turn everything into a financial decision. Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed.

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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by nanoanalyzer » Wed Nov 26, 2014 10:06 pm

OP paints a picture very similar to my own about 3 years ago. Mrs. Nanoanalyzer had just started a stable job, but I was still in school, albeit with a very generous stipend. Had around 107k in debt at various rates between the two of us. I originally wanted to graduate before kids since I know the time requirements are significant and can lead to delayed graduation.

Anyway, now all of the high-rate stuff is payed off, except the fed loans in deferment, and total is down to around 28k. We are still LWBYM with expenses only about 40% of take home. After m'lady gave me the good news on April Fool's Day this year ( :twisted: ), I realized the timing could not be better. I still make my own schedule as a student, so don't have to deal with FMLA paperwork and related performance review issues. So, while I am relieved that I was able to take a large chunk out of my debt prior to meeting Nanoanalyzer Jr., in the grand scheme of things, it would not have mattered that much financially. Worst case, the house purchase gets pushed back a year or two. Small potatoes when you consider our combined lifetime earning potential.

In summary, the biggest factor in my decision was not money. It was available time, since that is the most important thing my child needs from me. (This coming from the perspective of having parents who divorced at age 2.)
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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by Kosmo » Wed Nov 26, 2014 10:15 pm

Money is really low on the list. First on the list is can you handle the responsibilities of being a parent? Are you willing to put the kid(s) first and everything else second? Are you going to do whatever it takes to make sure they are healthy, happy, and safe? If you answered yes, then you'll find a way to pay for it.

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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by Beth* » Wed Nov 26, 2014 10:21 pm

We were both in graduate school working as research and teaching assistants. We were in our mid-20s and we had been married for a couple of years. It felt like the right thing to do. I had had a medical condition years earlier that led to the doctor warning me I might have difficulty getting pregnant so we figured we might as well start trying. The doctor was wrong; I got pregnant the first month we stopped using birth control. We were broke for a long time. We washed cloth diapers and bought clothes and toys at yard sales and rummage sales. We never ate in restaurants and we ate a lot of beans and rice. My older child remembers when we had no money; the younger one does not. It worked out fine in the end.

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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by livesoft » Wed Nov 26, 2014 10:23 pm

We had our kids in our late thirties. While finances had little to do with timing, I can say that having your kids about a year or two after your friends and family start having kids gives you a steady supply of clothing, toys, books, bedding, and stuff that you will not have to buy. Basically, the costs go practically to zero especially if you can also match birth dates within a month or two, so that seasonal clothing matches well, too.
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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by IPer » Wed Nov 26, 2014 10:27 pm

Never! But if you have them it is better sooner than later.
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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by OpenRoad » Wed Nov 26, 2014 10:28 pm

livesoft wrote:We had our kids in our late thirties. While finances had little to do with timing, I can say that having your kids about a year or two after your friends and family start having kids gives you a steady supply of clothing, toys, books, bedding, and stuff that you will not have to buy. Basically, the costs go practically to zero especially if you can also match birth dates within a month or two, so that seasonal clothing matches well, too.
+1. While we didn't plan it this way, it definitely worked out this way.

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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by LongerPrimer » Wed Nov 26, 2014 11:45 pm

First by the clock. :?
Second when we got med insurance. :annoyed
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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by market timer » Thu Nov 27, 2014 12:14 am

Never. We basically put it off for as long as we could. DW was 36 when our son was born. Now I wonder whether we'll regret this decision to wait if/when we are older and looking forward to grandkids. The upside is that I can afford to be a stay-at-home dad.

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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by Professor Emeritus » Thu Nov 27, 2014 12:24 am

Interestingly my wife's family has a multi generational tradition of grandparents helping with children financially so that young people would not put off having children. It dated back to buying farms in the 1860s. I was assured that there would be a college fund for any children we had. Biology did not cooperate and it took us several years longer than we thought to have our kids. We told our daughters the same thing and we now have 2.5 grandchildren.

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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by DVMResident » Thu Nov 27, 2014 12:35 am

For us, it was when I passed my specialty boards (pass rates in the 20's to 40's% depending on the year) and when DW had most of her loans paid off.

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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by EasilyConfused » Thu Nov 27, 2014 1:25 am

I waited until I had a responsible and mentally stable spouse, and until we both felt emotionally ready to have kids. Money never entered into the discussion.

Kids are more expensive than living alone (although I don't believe the government estimates on costs for raising children), but It's amazing how much more economically productive and financially responsible I became after becoming a parent. Having children will help you focus on the future, and honestly sometimes it's nice to spend extra time at work to get away from the friggin' kids. I bet we end up financially independent about 2 decades sooner than we would have if we'd never had children.

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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by dstac » Thu Nov 27, 2014 2:03 am

Never. And yet we have a couple of them.

Kids are a bunch of fun & a bunch of stress - one part of which is money. My now wife & I were together for almost 9yrs before deciding - that was the biggest comfort factor. We had been through plenty of ups & downs and knew each other well including how to help & how to not hinder. Despite that, learning how to co-parent continues to be one of our greatest learning experiences.

Regarding the costs - yes they can be expensive, but they do not have to be. We have so many hand-me-downs and so much time help from friends & family it has been wonderful. The most important part is the time you both spend getting attached to your baby and letting them know you will always be there for them. That is what will have an impact over the first couple years, not how much you choose to spend.

(on a related note, I saw a report about playground injuries increasing because of caretakers being more focused on phones than kids)

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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by obgyn65 » Thu Nov 27, 2014 4:35 am

Although I have always felt comfortable financially to have kids, I have never had any.
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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by Professor Emeritus » Thu Nov 27, 2014 5:51 am

obgyn65 wrote:Although I have always felt comfortable financially to have kids, I have never had any.
:happy I have an Ob/gyn friend who got pregnant when she though she couldn't :happy (14 years of infertility)

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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by 4nursebee » Thu Nov 27, 2014 7:56 am

No kids here, but have heard words of wisdom:
People have kids when they are too young to know any better.
A father told a son, if there is food on the table and a roof over their heads, you are doing a good job.
After coupling/marriage, should wait 5-7 years to have kids so all the relationship issues are worked out.
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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by nisiprius » Thu Nov 27, 2014 8:00 am

We had kids when we felt an absolutely compelling urge to have kids. All of a sudden babies started to look irresistibly cute and I just had this "gotta have one of these, gotta have one of these, gotta have one of these" feelings.

The only financial "thinking" that went into it was "well, lots of people who are in about the same situation as us have kids, and if they can do it I guess we can do it."

I would guess that if you waited until you felt "comfortable financially" you'd never have them.
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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by Flashes1 » Thu Nov 27, 2014 8:28 am

It's a case-by-case basis-----but driven more by educational and age issues more than financial. We waited until wife completed residency....had a lot of med school debt (IMO, it was a lot)---but that didn't matter-----at the end of the day----a good general rule is if you're going to want kids, you better start by the time you're 30.....It can be done, but it's generally not a good idea for women to be pregnant in their very late 30's.....the odds of genetic problems increase exponentially. We didn't want to take those chances...and fortunately we didn't need to.

IMO: Age should be the number 1 criteria, and secondary things should be job, education, and debt in descending order.

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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by RobInCT » Thu Nov 27, 2014 10:04 am

toto238 wrote:I understand that there are other factors besides financial factors that are components. But surely the decision to have kids isn't made completely independent of finances. If you're $500k in debt, unemployed, and have no marketable skills, you're probably not planning on having kids. If you're making $200k a year and have a $100k positive net worth and own your own home, then maybe you are.
I hope we never reach a point as a society where we decide that poor people aren't entitled to have children, or that they are per se irresponsible if they do. My partner and I are in our early (her) and mid (me) 30s. No kids yet, though we both hope they are on the near-term horizon. We are fortunate to fit within the description you provide above of people who you assume are well-off enough to have children. We got there with a combination of luck (good health, no significant periods of involuntary unemployment, families who financially supported and encouraged our educations), accidental choices (going to graduate school early rather than later so that we paid off student loans at younger ages), and hard work. But it wouldn't have taken very much for one or both of us to be on the other side of the divide you identify, though $500k in debt seems like a lot even given what school costs these days. Would we not be planning on kids if we were? I don't know.

I get that a lot of people who are heavily in debt with no significant career choices might voluntarily choose to forgo having children because they may not see having children as right for them considering the totality of their situation. Note that there are quite wealthy people who may reach the same conclusion for the same reason. But I would never look at anyone, regardless of his financial situation, and say "that person shouldn't have kids because he can't afford them."

You and your partner are young. Wanting to wait, for any number of reasons, including wanting to reduce debt, wanting to spend more time just the two of you as a couple, wanting to prioritize careers, wanting to enjoy your 20s by limiting responsibilities, etc. is perfectly valid. But it doesn't means someone else in your situation, would be wrong for not waiting. Nor is there a financial litmus test for having children. Having children is like everything else in life--you do your best to plan and prepare, take into account a wide range of factors and decide what's right for you. Having a salary of $200k and a net worth of $100k when you decide to have kids is no guarantee you'll have either when your child is 5. Or 10. Or 15. Put having children off too long because you don't feel financially ready may result in finding out the biological moment has passed.

All this to say, there are a lot of factors. I'm sure finances play some part in everyone's sense of when they are ready. But isolating it as a single factor and trying to put a number on it doesn't make much sense to me.

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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by jstrazzere » Thu Nov 27, 2014 10:17 am

toto238 wrote:For those that planned kids (obviously unplanned happens too), what financial factors played a role in you deciding it was "time"? Is it when you paid off all your student loans? When you both got out of residency? When she finished grad school? When he finally got promoted to management? When your net worth hit a certain level? When your income hit a certain level? When you finally paid off the car loan? When you finally saved up enough for a down payment on a house?
For my wife and I, the time was right
- When we knew where we intended to live indefinitely
- After we had purchased a home
- After we had no debt, other than a mortgage
- Once we could afford to live solely on my income until all children were in middle school

I don't remember net worth, just that we had no debt and could expect not to incur any.

It worked out as planned for us.

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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by selftalk » Thu Nov 27, 2014 11:22 am

I never did but I think I made a mistake. Remember what Jimmy Rogers said about this very thing and he`s very glad he did at his age finally.

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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by bottlecap » Thu Nov 27, 2014 8:32 pm

toto238 wrote:I understand that there are other factors besides financial factors that are components. But surely the decision to have kids isn't made completely independent of finances. If you're $500k in debt, unemployed, and have no marketable skills, you're probably not planning on having kids. If you're making $200k a year and have a $100k positive net worth and own your own home, then maybe you are.
Sure. But the point is that if you are responsible, are likely to have a job and likely to have one, not withstanding the occasional layoff, until you decide to retire, then it is not so much a financial decision.

My advice would be to talk about having them after you and your spouse have had some time to get to know each other and do a little travelling. Then discuss whether you are emotionally ready. Once you are, there's no sense waiting any longer.

JT

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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by cfs » Thu Nov 27, 2014 8:40 pm

Money was never an issue

We had our kids at an early age and by the time we reached our 50s they were grown ups and totally independent.
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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by Boglemama » Fri Nov 28, 2014 2:49 am

Our decision to have kids wasn't a financial one. We met when I was 30 and dated for 2 years. Then married for 1 year. Then got pregnant with our first. 3 years later with our second.

In certain ways, it's nice to be an older mom. But I am 41 and my almost 4 year old could technically be my granddaughter. I wish that I had my younger self energy for her. Kids are draining sometimes!

You are fortunate to have met your wife so young. Don't worry about having everything 100% ready. Just develop a plan and go forward.

And don't buy a bottle warmer. They are a waste.

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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by celia » Fri Nov 28, 2014 3:38 am

toto238 wrote:. . . But surely the decision to have kids isn't made completely independent of finances. If you're $500k in debt, unemployed, and have no marketable skills, you're probably not planning on having kids.
Lots of people like this have kids. Things aren't easy for them, but the kids still grow up. Kids have a way of adapting to the situation they are in. After all, it's probably the only situation they know. ("I didn't know we were poor when growing up, but . . .")
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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by jackholloway » Fri Nov 28, 2014 1:01 pm

We had our child late - started dating at 23, married at 32, and had our child at 35. We are perforce older than other parents, but we had many more resources. The one downside was that when we discussed a second child, we both felt that perhaps we had left it too late.

Some delay can make sense - the odds of divorce go down dramatically if you finish college before marriage and have worked through a few issues. There were certainly things we did in our late twenties that we could not have done with kids.

Kids can be very cheap if you have an inexpensive lifestyle, my kin that married at 18 and had three to five kids on a household income near the national median struggled a bit, but they kept them fed and clothed, and did just fine. They are not saving a quarter million for Harvard, but the kids are successes now.

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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by aw82 » Fri Nov 28, 2014 3:17 pm

For us, it wasn't a matter of finances--it was a matter of kairos. We were both employed, had settled into a home, and were ready for the next phase of our life (which we both knew involved kids). The one quantitative factor was that my wife wanted to have our first (of two) kid before she turned 30 because of perceived health benefits to her and the baby.

Two thoughts:
1. child-rearing is a lot of work, no matter how much money you have. I'm 32 and my two kids wear me the ____ out. I cannot conceive of trying to do this when I'm any older.
2. raising kids can be as expensive or inexpensive as you want. You don't have to have a big house with a yard (kids can survive in an apartment/condo/townhouse), send kids to private school, buy each one a car when they turn 16, etc.

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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by texasdiver » Fri Nov 28, 2014 3:46 pm

Finances are secondary.

If you have kids too early before you grow up that creates issues. I did a lot of things in my early to mid 20s that would not have been possible with kids including working in Guatemala in the Peace Corps and working on fishing boats in Alaska. And I did a lot of adventure traveling around the developing world. By age 30 I had basically gotten my ya yas... out of my system and I was ready to settle down. I teach HS and I constantly run into parents who had kids when they were still teenagers and basically missed their entire young single adulthood. I didn't get married and start having kids until mid-30s but my wife was 7 years younger.

If you have kids too late you get to work later into retirement to deal with HS and college educations. Do you really want to be 65 and still be dealing with things like paying for college when you are wanting to retire? I do the math and if everything happens according to schedule I'll be 65 when the youngest child graduates from a 4-year college. I don't see retiring before then

So I think there is a sweet spot between the mid 20s to early 30s that seems to work out well in this society.

toto238
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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by toto238 » Fri Nov 28, 2014 3:57 pm

So I guess we're kinda stuck in this black hole where we absolutely want to have kids before we turn 30, and ideally before age 25, so that by the time they graduate college and build their own lives, we're still have our 50s to spend with each other. We don't want to be 60 years old and still have a kid living with us. Plus we don't want to pop out 3 kids in 2 years. Maybe 1 kid and then another 2/3 years later.

But we're having trouble seeing how our student loans are going to be paid off before age 30. My income is roughly $50k per year, once she graduates from grad school, she'll likely command a salary of somewhere around $40k per year. Between the two of us, we have living expenses of about $35k per year, at rock-bottom. Right now, after taxes and our car payments, we're barely paying the minimum on my portion of the loans (around $35k) so that they would be paid off over 10 years. We want to pay those off quicker, plus pay down hers (going to be about $65k by the time she's working and earning money). At $100k in total loans, with an average interest rate of somewhere around 5-6%, even if we throw virtually her entire after-tax salary at our loans, she would be 27 when they all get paid off. This assumes we are able to do that. I also want to money in our retirement accounts, and she may have an employer match she'll want to take advantage of. Our second car is on the point of collapse, and we may have a second car payment to deal with in the near future if that happens. Our rent seems to be going up about 10% per year too. And the temptation to spend to keep up with my peers is very very strong. When we're both working, we will likely end up ordering food more as neither of us will have as much time available to cook.

A more realistic scenario where we throw $20,000 a year at our loans has us paying off the loans when my wife is 30. That's much later than we want to have kids.

I imagine there's a lot of people in similar situations to us that don't feel comfortable having kids when they have high student loan balances. I hate to think what effects that will have on society long term.

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Watty
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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by Watty » Fri Nov 28, 2014 4:21 pm

Assuming that you are not on the verge of being homeless then the big financial concern is if you want to have kids enough to reduce your lifestyle a couple of notches compared to if you did not have kids.

The average family income in the US is only about $55,000 a year so unless you live in a very expensive area you should be able to do just fine by living within a reasonable budget.

Philociraptor
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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by Philociraptor » Fri Nov 28, 2014 4:22 pm

toto238 wrote:But we're having trouble seeing how our student loans are going to be paid off before age 30. My income is roughly $50k per year, once she graduates from grad school, she'll likely command a salary of somewhere around $40k per year. Between the two of us, we have living expenses of about $35k per year, at rock-bottom. Right now, after taxes and our car payments, we're barely paying the minimum on my portion of the loans (around $35k) so that they would be paid off over 10 years. We want to pay those off quicker, plus pay down hers (going to be about $65k by the time she's working and earning money). At $100k in total loans, with an average interest rate of somewhere around 5-6%, even if we throw virtually her entire after-tax salary at our loans, she would be 27 when they all get paid off. This assumes we are able to do that. I also want to money in our retirement accounts, and she may have an employer match she'll want to take advantage of. Our second car is on the point of collapse, and we may have a second car payment to deal with in the near future if that happens. Our rent seems to be going up about 10% per year too. And the temptation to spend to keep up with my peers is very very strong. When we're both working, we will likely end up ordering food more as neither of us will have as much time available to cook.
Search for a higher paying job close to home or a cheaper rental closer to work. Bye-bye second car. You have a car payment on the other one? Time to trade down to a reliable used car (see reliability ratings on 2006-2010 models) in the $6-8k range, save up and pay cash. With any debt, you should at least get employer match on 401(k)'s, but no more! You will have $100,000 in debt! Say it again, ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS. Don't be borrowing cars and driving them into the ground, your hair is on fire! You don't need to keep up with spendy peers and you definitely need to be cooking at home! Prep large meals when you're not working, pack your lunch, and get that debt paid off! Then have kids if that's what you want.
Last edited by Philociraptor on Fri Nov 28, 2014 4:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Fri Nov 28, 2014 4:25 pm

OP - Don't make plans is all I say. Are you listening to yourself? You're talking about having one kid first, then maybe another one some other time, biology doesn't always cooperate, you could have three on the first shot - it has been known to happen, or you could have twins on the first shot or none at all. Really, before you have any kids you need to get yourselves settled and I'm not talking about it from a financial point of view. All this is going to do is wind yourself up in a knot with no easy solution. As far as, have them by this date so by this date we still have time to yourselves? - um, let me clue you in since obviously no else has, once you have kids they will always be around short of you disowning them outright. A lot can happen in 5 years, let alone 20-25 years, take it as it comes. And stop worrying about society, you have enough problems to work through on your own. Have a nice weekend and really, don't overthink it. :)
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

toto238
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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by toto238 » Fri Nov 28, 2014 4:41 pm

Philociraptor wrote:
toto238 wrote:But we're having trouble seeing how our student loans are going to be paid off before age 30. My income is roughly $50k per year, once she graduates from grad school, she'll likely command a salary of somewhere around $40k per year. Between the two of us, we have living expenses of about $35k per year, at rock-bottom. Right now, after taxes and our car payments, we're barely paying the minimum on my portion of the loans (around $35k) so that they would be paid off over 10 years. We want to pay those off quicker, plus pay down hers (going to be about $65k by the time she's working and earning money). At $100k in total loans, with an average interest rate of somewhere around 5-6%, even if we throw virtually her entire after-tax salary at our loans, she would be 27 when they all get paid off. This assumes we are able to do that. I also want to money in our retirement accounts, and she may have an employer match she'll want to take advantage of. Our second car is on the point of collapse, and we may have a second car payment to deal with in the near future if that happens. Our rent seems to be going up about 10% per year too. And the temptation to spend to keep up with my peers is very very strong. When we're both working, we will likely end up ordering food more as neither of us will have as much time available to cook.
Search for a higher paying job close to home or a cheaper rental closer to work. Bye-bye second car. You have a car payment on the other one? Time to trade down to a reliable used car (see reliability ratings on 2006-2010 models) in the $6-8k range, save up and pay cash. With any debt, you should at least get employer match on 401(k)'s, but no more! You will have $100,000 in debt! Say it again, ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS. Don't be borrowing cars and driving them into the ground, your hair is on fire! You don't need to keep up with spendy peers and you definitely need to be cooking at home! Prep large meals when you're not working, pack your lunch, and get that debt paid off! Then have kids if that's what you want.
I already live in the cheapest 1-bedroom I could find within a 5-mile radius of my work. Any further out than that I would end up wasting more in gas than I'd save in rent on my daily commute. No public transit options are available, and my city has a lot of traffic. As for my job, for someone who just got out of school last year, making $50k a year is well above average. I'm not going to find much better. I guess I could be a bank robber.

Our car payment is for a used car that is just a couple model years old. It's a Hyundai Elantra, not a flashy vehicle by any means. We got it because we weren't willing to compromise on safety, and only model year 2012 vehicles and later have Electronic Stability Control standard. If we have to borrow to get another car, we will likely do the same thing again. We cannot and will not compromise on safety. We already do cook at home, prepping large meals on the weekend and eating leftovers during the week. However, once we are both working, we likely simply won't have the time to do this as often as we currently do. The few hours we will have off of work will be likely spent working on projects we didn't have time to do in the office. My wife is going to be a teacher, so she'll probably be too busy grading papers to make dinner.

I guess the bottom line is that it's going to take us awhile to pay off that debt, most of which is hers, and she'll be earning less than me. I've already downgraded our lifestyle as far down as it's capable of going within reason. Basically, our choices will be to fund our retirement, to pay off our student loans before 30, or to have kids before 30. We get to pick one. It's a tough decision to make.

Philociraptor
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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by Philociraptor » Fri Nov 28, 2014 5:03 pm

toto238 wrote:I already live in the cheapest 1-bedroom I could find within a 5-mile radius of my work. Any further out than that I would end up wasting more in gas than I'd save in rent on my daily commute. No public transit options are available, and my city has a lot of traffic. As for my job, for someone who just got out of school last year, making $50k a year is well above average. I'm not going to find much better. I guess I could be a bank robber.

Our car payment is for a used car that is just a couple model years old. It's a Hyundai Elantra, not a flashy vehicle by any means. We got it because we weren't willing to compromise on safety, and only model year 2012 vehicles and later have Electronic Stability Control standard. If we have to borrow to get another car, we will likely do the same thing again. We cannot and will not compromise on safety. We already do cook at home, prepping large meals on the weekend and eating leftovers during the week. However, once we are both working, we likely simply won't have the time to do this as often as we currently do. The few hours we will have off of work will be likely spent working on projects we didn't have time to do in the office. My wife is going to be a teacher, so she'll probably be too busy grading papers to make dinner.

I guess the bottom line is that it's going to take us awhile to pay off that debt, most of which is hers, and she'll be earning less than me. I've already downgraded our lifestyle as far down as it's capable of going within reason. Basically, our choices will be to fund our retirement, to pay off our student loans before 30, or to have kids before 30. We get to pick one. It's a tough decision to make.
"I'm not", "we aren't willing", "we cannont", "will not"... so negative! You're within 5 miles? Sounds bikable/walkable. You're right that $50k is not bad for first year out. Push for raises and keep your ears open for better opportunities. "We cannot and will not compromise on safety" sounds good and all, but safety is an expensive illusion. Good maintenence, safe driving behavior, and driving less are great for safety and will also save you money. And there are models with ESC from before 2012, look them up. As far as meal prep, assuming y'all both work 60 hours and sleep 8 a night, that's still 104 man-hours leftover. You can find time for the sake of your health/nutrition/finances. Keep it positive man, you can get out of this hole, just make sure you explore the options and challege assumptions of wants/needs.

SunnySeattle
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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by SunnySeattle » Fri Nov 28, 2014 5:25 pm

Money was not the factor. The urge to have a family before fertility declines (~35) and while I had a more flexible schedule did. We were together more than a decade when we decided to have kids. I was in the middle of my research post doc and DH was done with school with a stable job. Ten years, and two kids later, we are very happy with our decision. I took some time off with the second and landed a tenure track position when the second was a year old. I think having kids during or toward the end of professional training gave me the most flexibility. Time is more of a factor than money IMHO. They are babies for such a short window.
Last edited by SunnySeattle on Fri Jan 06, 2017 11:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

aw82
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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by aw82 » Fri Nov 28, 2014 5:30 pm

toto238 wrote:
Philociraptor wrote:
toto238 wrote:But we're having trouble seeing how our student loans are going to be paid off before age 30. My income is roughly $50k per year, once she graduates from grad school, she'll likely command a salary of somewhere around $40k per year. Between the two of us, we have living expenses of about $35k per year, at rock-bottom. Right now, after taxes and our car payments, we're barely paying the minimum on my portion of the loans (around $35k) so that they would be paid off over 10 years. We want to pay those off quicker, plus pay down hers (going to be about $65k by the time she's working and earning money). At $100k in total loans, with an average interest rate of somewhere around 5-6%, even if we throw virtually her entire after-tax salary at our loans, she would be 27 when they all get paid off. This assumes we are able to do that. I also want to money in our retirement accounts, and she may have an employer match she'll want to take advantage of. Our second car is on the point of collapse, and we may have a second car payment to deal with in the near future if that happens. Our rent seems to be going up about 10% per year too. And the temptation to spend to keep up with my peers is very very strong. When we're both working, we will likely end up ordering food more as neither of us will have as much time available to cook.
Search for a higher paying job close to home or a cheaper rental closer to work. Bye-bye second car. You have a car payment on the other one? Time to trade down to a reliable used car (see reliability ratings on 2006-2010 models) in the $6-8k range, save up and pay cash. With any debt, you should at least get employer match on 401(k)'s, but no more! You will have $100,000 in debt! Say it again, ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS. Don't be borrowing cars and driving them into the ground, your hair is on fire! You don't need to keep up with spendy peers and you definitely need to be cooking at home! Prep large meals when you're not working, pack your lunch, and get that debt paid off! Then have kids if that's what you want.
I already live in the cheapest 1-bedroom I could find within a 5-mile radius of my work. Any further out than that I would end up wasting more in gas than I'd save in rent on my daily commute. No public transit options are available, and my city has a lot of traffic. As for my job, for someone who just got out of school last year, making $50k a year is well above average. I'm not going to find much better. I guess I could be a bank robber.

Our car payment is for a used car that is just a couple model years old. It's a Hyundai Elantra, not a flashy vehicle by any means. We got it because we weren't willing to compromise on safety, and only model year 2012 vehicles and later have Electronic Stability Control standard. If we have to borrow to get another car, we will likely do the same thing again. We cannot and will not compromise on safety. We already do cook at home, prepping large meals on the weekend and eating leftovers during the week. However, once we are both working, we likely simply won't have the time to do this as often as we currently do. The few hours we will have off of work will be likely spent working on projects we didn't have time to do in the office. My wife is going to be a teacher, so she'll probably be too busy grading papers to make dinner.

I guess the bottom line is that it's going to take us awhile to pay off that debt, most of which is hers, and she'll be earning less than me. I've already downgraded our lifestyle as far down as it's capable of going within reason. Basically, our choices will be to fund our retirement, to pay off our student loans before 30, or to have kids before 30. We get to pick one. It's a tough decision to make.
Man, this sound eerily similar to my life a few years ago, right down to the same starting salary for myself and my wife being a teacher. Depending on your housing cost (the biggest factor), I think on $90k gross you should be able to do it. We gross $76k and have two kids. Our annual expenditures are around $40k (over half of which is rent) and we live a relatively luxurious (a relative term) life. We sold a car, I bike to work every day, and my wife stays home (so we don't have daycare expenses). I can tell you from personal experience, there more than likely ARE ways to cut back. My suggestions would be to purchase a license of YNAB (You Need a Budget software) and use it religiously, read books/blogs on frugality like Mr Money Mustache, and figure out all those less-common ways to cut back. For example, get rid of cable and go with Netflix streaming. Another example, did you know you can have a smartphone plan for $10/month? Do you get paid every other week (e.g., 26 paychecks a year)? If so, forget the 25th and 26th paychecks exist. Learn to live on 24 paychecks (two per month) and when the two "extra" paychecks come in, put them straight toward debt or savings.

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Mister Whale
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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by Mister Whale » Sat Nov 29, 2014 9:06 am

Professor Emeritus wrote:Interestingly my wife's family has a multi generational tradition of grandparents helping with children financially so that young people would not put off having children. It dated back to buying farms in the 1860s. I was assured that there would be a college fund for any children we had. Biology did not cooperate and it took us several years longer than we thought to have our kids. We told our daughters the same thing and we now have 2.5 grandchildren.
I really, really like this.
" ... advice is most useful and at its best, not when it is telling you what to do, but when it is illuminating aspects of the situation you hadn't thought about." --nisiprius

tbradnc
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Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

Post by tbradnc » Sat Nov 29, 2014 10:01 am

I didn't read all the replies but having raised 3 children I can tell you that if you wait until you can afford having kids you never will.

After you have children the financial things always seem to work out. It's pretty amazing.

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