2 vs 3+ kids

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ThankYouJack
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2 vs 3+ kids

Post by ThankYouJack » Mon Dec 26, 2016 12:33 pm

We currently have 2 kids, the first was colicky and the second has been super easy and happy so far.
We're in great financial shape and have a big enough house and cars for a larger family. However, we may want to reduce work for more family time and there is a chance of a disability requiring lifetime care which would of course require us to save significantly more.

Anyway, just curious to hear from those with a large families. Did having more than 2 increase your happiness? Anything you would change or do differently?

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White Coat Investor
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Re: 2 vs 3+ kids

Post by White Coat Investor » Mon Dec 26, 2016 12:41 pm

I think the data is pretty clear that kids don't increase happiness. That said, I like every one of mine and can't imagine not having any of them.

Going from 2 to 3 is tough. All of a sudden you're going from man to man defense to zone defense. Our third was so overwhelming as a toddler we took a 6 year break before # 4.

http://www.jstor.org/stable/3600024?seq ... b_contents

Good luck with your decision. Be glad you get to make it. It wasn't all that many years ago when this wasn't something anyone decided. It just happened.
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corysold
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Re: 2 vs 3+ kids

Post by corysold » Mon Dec 26, 2016 1:08 pm

I have 6 kids, oldest is currently 9.

I don't find 6 kids dramatically more expensive than 2-3 were. What you spend extra for groceries, you save on diapers as they grow, etc. That said, we also don't enroll them in many extracurriculars, so there isn't that added expense X6.

3 is harder than 2. But 4 isn't much worse than 3. 6 is more difficult than 3 though. But with 3, you do have built in play partners and as they age, some extra help. My 9 year old can help with the infant and 2 year old enough that if I need a hand while I finish something up, she can pitch in.

It sounds like you have the financials in order and that is the only regret I really have. I work a crappy job delivering papers so I can stay home during the day with them. Working a regular job isn't really an option, daycare is just too expensive for 2-3 at a time.

If that isn't an issue, the real costs probably don't start until the teen years and college.

btenny
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Re: 2 vs 3+ kids

Post by btenny » Mon Dec 26, 2016 1:13 pm

You never know how kids are going to behave as babies so beware each child is different. Our first born son was easy. He slept through the night at 8 weeks old and was just a good baby. No fussing and not much crying. Just a cuddly baby. Then the second was born. She was a handful as a baby. She woke up every 2-4 hours crying for food for 2+ years. She was colicky. She had stomach maturity issues and was difficult to get onto real food to supplement formula. She had food allergies. So my wife and I did not get a good nights sleep for years. Plus she learned to walk at 14 months or so and could climb out of her crib and wander around. It was a trying time. My wife always say that she would have had only one kid if our second was born first. But we love her a lot and she is great daughter.

Then there were the teenage years with those issues. Sometimes I wanted to and did scream. I look back now and see it as fun but very trying. Kids are fun and loving but take a lot of time and effort to make into nice adults. Are you ready to live through these times for 3-4 kids?

Have fun and enjoy. Good Luck.

rgs92
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Re: 2 vs 3+ kids

Post by rgs92 » Mon Dec 26, 2016 1:14 pm

Time to go to the shelter for a pet or two.
Last edited by rgs92 on Mon Dec 26, 2016 3:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

John Laurens
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Re: 2 vs 3+ kids

Post by John Laurens » Mon Dec 26, 2016 1:33 pm

TLH one and get another that is not substantially identical.

cherijoh
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Re: 2 vs 3+ kids

Post by cherijoh » Mon Dec 26, 2016 1:53 pm

ThankYouJack wrote:We currently have 2 kids, the first was colicky and the second has been super easy and happy so far.
We're in great financial shape and have a big enough house and cars for a larger family. However, we may want to reduce work for more family time and there is a chance of a disability requiring lifetime care which would of course require us to save significantly more.

Anyway, just curious to hear from those with a large families. Did having more than 2 increase your happiness? Anything you would change or do differently?
I can't comment on happiness, but I have heard from my friends/coworkers with small children that unless you are both high earners the breakeven point for childcare costs exceeding incremental take home pay for the lower earner is either 1 kid going to 2 or 2 kids going to 3. The only working mom I know with 3 kids (soon to be 4) says it only works because both she and her husband work for employers that allow them to work from home whenever necessary and they have each other's back regarding sharing parent duties. All my other friends with 2+ kids have a stay at home parent to make it work.

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munemaker
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Re: 2 vs 3+ kids

Post by munemaker » Mon Dec 26, 2016 2:05 pm

To some degree, I think the decision depends on what you feel you need to provide for your kids.

Some (like us) feel we need to help them be successful, helping with homework, paying for college, etc.

Others are less supportive and feel like the kids need to find their own way in life.

kmurp
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Re: 2 vs 3+ kids

Post by kmurp » Mon Dec 26, 2016 2:23 pm

Have three grown. Wish we had done four. xmas was great this year.

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teen persuasion
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Re: 2 vs 3+ kids

Post by teen persuasion » Mon Dec 26, 2016 3:08 pm

We have 5, I was SAHM until youngest entered school, and am still part-time with a family friendly job. We've always had an attitude of the more, the merrier.

The first 4 are roughly 2.5 to 3 years apart, and it seems a good gap between kids - the previous is no longer a baby but old enough to be a proud helper, but close enough in age to play together. The last one is 6.5 years younger, and he hasn't had the same agemate experience. I found that the baby craziness of life seemed to let up at about year 4 or 5, so it was harder to restart it after it had ended, rather than just plowing thru continuously. Life gets crazy again when the kids get busy with school and sports and club schedules in the teen years. Its easier if they can do things together, rather than each choosing a different sport. We've (DH and I) gotten pretty good at divide and conquer. In retrospect, choosing a house in the village, near school, would have made sports and after school pickups much easier than our location in the country.

I think the kids have benefited from each other. They learned to get along, consider one another's thoughts/feelings/likes/dislikes/quirks, explored thru one another (books, music, sports, majors, etc.), and there's a healthy amount of competition between them. And they are all different!

Jags4186
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Re: 2 vs 3+ kids

Post by Jags4186 » Mon Dec 26, 2016 3:25 pm

cherijoh wrote:
ThankYouJack wrote:We currently have 2 kids, the first was colicky and the second has been super easy and happy so far.
We're in great financial shape and have a big enough house and cars for a larger family. However, we may want to reduce work for more family time and there is a chance of a disability requiring lifetime care which would of course require us to save significantly more.

Anyway, just curious to hear from those with a large families. Did having more than 2 increase your happiness? Anything you would change or do differently?
I can't comment on happiness, but I have heard from my friends/coworkers with small children that unless you are both high earners the breakeven point for childcare costs exceeding incremental take home pay for the lower earner is either 1 kid going to 2 or 2 kids going to 3. The only working mom I know with 3 kids (soon to be 4) says it only works because both she and her husband work for employers that allow them to work from home whenever necessary and they have each other's back regarding sharing parent duties. All my other friends with 2+ kids have a stay at home parent to make it work.
Problem with this line of thinking is that it's that much harder to get back into the workforce once the kids are in school. I think unless you're in a real low wage job, it's better to suffer through and pay the childcare.

Say one spouse makes $55k. If you max your 401k you still are bringing home roughly $29k/yr. Even if you spend $20k on childcare, you have $27000+employer match more than if you had stayed home per year. Plus you are getting raises hopefully every year, and when your children go to school you don't have to try to get yourself a job.

ICMoney
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Re: 2 vs 3+ kids

Post by ICMoney » Mon Dec 26, 2016 4:01 pm

I just googled which families are happiest, and there are a variety of studies supporting several different family situations (no kid families are happiest, one kid families are happiest, 4+ kid families are happiest...).

We have 4 and are open to more, and we wouldn't change anything. One thing that made an impact on me related to this issue: once we had some elderly neighbors that had 3 grown kids - they once told me that they wish they would have had more, and weren't really sure why they didn't. What I took away from this that I would pass along to you is that if you do decide to not have more kids, be sure both you and your spouse know why you are stopping and are comfortable with the reasons.

island
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Re: 2 vs 3+ kids

Post by island » Mon Dec 26, 2016 4:24 pm

Too personal a decision to base on the opinions of anonymous posters on the internet

retired recently
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Re: 2 vs 3+ kids

Post by retired recently » Mon Dec 26, 2016 4:45 pm

Clearly a personal decision that everyone must make for themselves. I am surprised though that no one has brought up the issue of human population putting a strain on the planet. Looking at some of the projections of population growth are scary to me. Good luck no matter what you decide.

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: 2 vs 3+ kids

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Mon Dec 26, 2016 5:03 pm

retired recently wrote:Clearly a personal decision that everyone must make for themselves. I am surprised though that no one has brought up the issue of human population putting a strain on the planet. Looking at some of the projections of population growth are scary to me. Good luck no matter what you decide.
As others have said, clearly a personal decision.
The lack of working population growth has also placed a strain on Social Security. By all means, please have more, I would like to get my full benefit come retirement time. :)
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anonforthis
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Re: 2 vs 3+ kids

Post by anonforthis » Mon Dec 26, 2016 5:20 pm

3+ kids last year. This year 2 kids. We have 2 kids and I'm pretty sure we are done. Ask me again next year though.

Rodc
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Re: 2 vs 3+ kids

Post by Rodc » Mon Dec 26, 2016 7:26 pm

Went straight from 1 to 3 without passing Go, and can't comment on going from 2 to 3+. :)
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crazygrow
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Re: 2 vs 3+ kids

Post by crazygrow » Mon Dec 26, 2016 7:37 pm

We had always planned on 4-6 kids and ended up with six in six years (triplets, then three singletons) - we did take a 3 year break between #5 being born and #6 :) We lucked out and even though our triplets were born very premature (31 weeks), all of our kids have been healthy and overall good kids - just LOUD.

We both came from large families. Understanding big family dynamics I think is important when you start going past two. Many pros and many cons to it. Back when we had nannies helping us, we learned to only hire nannies that came from big families as they just instinctively knew how to jump in and help. The others really struggled.

Are we happier? Yes, I think so but we are also much more stressed and busy. We are also a single income home, which can also create additional stress but thankfully my income has climbed very quickly the past ten years (the triplets are 10 now).

Honestly, I'm pretty scared of the teenage years.

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Re: 2 vs 3+ kids

Post by LadyGeek » Mon Dec 26, 2016 8:50 pm

This thread has run its course and is locked (not a personal finance issue, nor does it fit in any other forum). See: Personal Finance
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