(Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

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Meg77
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(Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by Meg77 »

I'm 33 and my husband is 39. We've been married for 3.5 years. We both have loving parents who would be thrilled if we have kids (but who also have other grandkids so aren't too worried about it). We both had positive-normal middle class (maybe upper middle class) childhoods. We both have siblings and friends popping out kids left and right. We are both very disciplined and devoted and would arguably make good parents. I'm not worried about the financial implications of parenting and would be willing to stay home with kids if necessary or continue working either way.

We assumed we would have kids eventually as we dated and married. But we have both become simultaneously ambivalent about starting a family over the last few years. Part of this may be because both our careers have taken off, so we have some occupation and satisfaction there. Part of it is also a general distaste for the modern affluent parenting culture that we observe (that may be more my issue). But part of it is also genuine emotional ambivalence - and worry that the risks may not outweigh the alleged rewards.

We both have 6 figure incomes and careers we enjoy which suit our strengths and only require around 40 hours of work per week. Our net worth should hit $2 million next year. Based on our current savings rate, we could easily retire in 6 years when I'm 40 and he's 45 and spend $150K a year from that age through age 95, adjusted for inflation, assuming we both live that long and stay married. And that's not including expected inheritances or social security.

Early Retirement Pros - Could do more meaningful work, or keep working long enough to make enough money to give away super meaningful sums. Resources and time to devote to our nieces and nephews and to care for our parents. More time/resources to invest in our marriage, in self-care, in our hobbies, etc

Parenting Pros - Possibly find meaning outside ourselves, become less self-involved. Studies seem to indicate parents have higher lifetime happiness levels and self-esteem. Experience the world through a child's eyes - wonder, learning, exploring, etc. See how our genes combine and see ourselves in another sentient being that we create.

Early Retirement Cons - Possible boredom and lack of meaning/purpose leading to anxiety (especially for me). Guilt for indulging in material pursuits (travel, second homes, etc) and for not contributing to society or continuing our gene pool (however silly this sounds). Not being in the same life stage as our friends/peers.

Parenting Cons - Possibility of having a disabled child, a dependent child with lifelong special needs, the rare psychopath, the drug addict who sucks your emotions and resources for life, etc. Having to work many years longer that we would otherwise. The possibility of emotional trauma that I'm not sure I could deal with healthfully if my child were to die or be hurt or - frankly - even suffer fairly typical injuries such as bullying or sexual assault.

I know this may sound a bit heavy altogether, but I'm genuinely struggling with the decision of whether to become a parent or not. Any insights or anecdotes are welcome!
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WorkToLive
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by WorkToLive »

Anyone who does not wish to have their life as they know it come to an end should not have a child. That said, my husband and I decided to have one child in our early 30s and are now 12 years away from that decision. We do not regret our decision to have our daughter in any way however, it is a very different lifestyle. I think to properly answer your question you would need to decide what it is you would like to do in retirement. Do you have specific goals you would like to accomplish? Or just a desire to get out of the rat race?
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by bloom2708 »

I would toss out your lists of cons. No way to live except in the present.

As a father of three awesome girls, I would vote to at least attempt having a kid.

You can still retire early with a kid or two. If kids are not in the cards, take the other fork. Another option is part time work.
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by livesoft »

Our kids were born when we were in our late 30s, so you have a few years to go on any decisions.

Besides, it's easy to do both for couples in your situation.
Last edited by livesoft on Fri Jun 09, 2017 8:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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VictoriaF
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by VictoriaF »

Two pro's:
1. When you give birth to a child your hormones will produce strong love for her.
2. The sooner you give birth to a child the more likely she will be healthy.

Victoria
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by Wellfleet »

I have children and love them but I would not put any one down for making a decision to not have children themselves. They are alot of work!
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by Mlm »

Are you trying to talk yourself into something that you are ambivalent about? I am sure that most people don't regret having children or regret an early retirement if they are prepared for the changes that those decisions bring. If you don't currently have a burning desire for either I would let the decisions ride for now.

Mary
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by unclescrooge »

As parent to a 2.5 year old and a 3 month old, I understand your concern.

I'm 43, wife is 34.

Kids will change your life permanently. The first one was a terror. She'd wake up screaming bloody murder every hour for the first 20 months of her life. I have never been so sleep deprived in my entire life. Not even when I was in grad school, sleeping 4 hours a night, 4 days a week for an entire year.

The second one is a gem. I hardly notice he's around. :mrgreen:

However, I have never loved anything as much as I love my kids. Having your kid smile at you will melt your heart.

I was ambivalent about having kids. My only stipulation was that we have zero or two. As an only child, I felt that is just generally unfair to the kid.

Do it.

Especially if you have the financial capability to be present for your kid's childhood.
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by Barefootgirl »

It's a gamble, with tremendous outcomes possible in many different directions.

I was ambivalent about parenthood until my early thirties at which time I became fortunate enough to have an opportunity to adopt a child and it just felt like the right and natural thing to do. I have never regretted that decision for one moment, in spite of the grief she gave me as a teenager.

That said, it was a hugely joyful experience when she was a child and later as she moved out of her teen years, into young adulthood. We are now thick as thieves and I can't imagine my life without her, although technically, we share no genetic material and she looks nothing like me and yet all of our relatives consider us nearly identical in personality - funny how that happens. We complete each other's sentences....so, my voice in the crowd will be the one that says biology doesn't matter. It's just all about immeasurable love. I did not have a relationship with my own mother and my bio family had financial struggles, so my views are tainted by that, FWIW - something to consider. I would not have raised a child if i wasn't prepared to become selfless.

I've worked hard for the financial security I enjoy, but without my child, it would be a cold comfort. I can't sugarcoat it. Best to you in the very personal decision.
Last edited by Barefootgirl on Fri Jun 09, 2017 8:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by JGoneRiding »

I know other women that like you were ambivalent about having kids or when to have kids vs career. Everyone that ended up with kids is very very glad they did. But it definitely changes life (well I still have a week to go or so but it is already changing life and i am sure much more to come!)
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by KlangFool »

OP,

1) We would not trade our children for anything else in our lives. Everything else comes second in our lives. So, we would not think any career is more important than our children. This is our choice and our lives.

Choose wisely. Make sure what you choose is worth it.

2)In our case, we babysat many of our nephews and nieces before having our own. We like others' children. So, there is no question on our mind of having our own.

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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by PhysicianOnFIRE »

With a $2 million dollar net worth, you can afford to have kids and retire early and do both in the immediate future.

You're contemplating a huge decision, and I wouldn't take money into consideration at all. Remove the monetary factor and decide whether or not you want to spend the next 20 years raising children and the rest of your life as a parent and potential grandparent. I wouldn't trade fatherhood for anything, but I never felt the ambivalence you're feeling.

If it's the "modern affluent parenting culture" that's upsetting, you might consider moving or hanging around a different crowd. Parenting doesn't have to be a competition.

:beer
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by Misenplace »

I love children. I love our child. But I don't think a child completes anyone's life. If someone needs a child to complete their life, they are doing themselves, and that eventual child, a disservice. I am convinced that finding meaning for your own life outside of having children paramount.

Children demand an unselfish investment of approximately 20+ years, with no guarantee of return. Very unwise in an investment sense.

That said, their arrival can herald the very best 12 years of your life (possibly followed by the worst 12 years!).

Follow your heart, not society's pressure.
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by market timer »

I don't really see the dilemma here. You have plenty of money and seem happy with your jobs. You can afford to outsource most child care duties, if you want to focus on work after having children. I think the question is really whether you want kids--it's not financial or occupational. Day-to-day might not be so different if you have help, but suddenly life has more inertia. It's harder to change course.
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by doss »

Almost everyone in the history of mankind has had children. I mean, if they can do it, so can you. But, you have a set of circumstances that not many have had -- a solid foundation and positive environment to raise a child. Be there for them and make sure that they realize they have something to contribute, too.
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by rgs92 »

$2 million isn't nearly enough, especially with truncated social security from early retirement. And with kids to feed, it's even worse.
And if you have cats/dogs/etc., that's another big deal/obligation.
And if you have kids, you have to have pets you know... (or they won't grow up right).
Last edited by rgs92 on Fri Jun 09, 2017 9:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by HomerJ »

Wow, I really don't know what to tell you.

My oldest is 30, my youngest is almost 15.

I am very very very sad that I will never have a 8-year in my life again.... That part of my life is over. It was so wonderful. I am truly going to miss it.

But I'm AT THE VERY SAME TIME very excited that we will be empty nesters in a few years. It opens up all kinds of possibilities.

So strange.

I think if you DON'T have kids, you'll be missing something of the human condition. Terrible for me to say that. But unless you have them, you'll never understand.

That said, I'm a bit jealous of you being rich and young and free to do whatever you want.

:)
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by HomerJ »

rgs92 wrote:$2 million isn't nearly enough, especially with truncated social security from early retirement. And with kids to feed, it's even worse.
It's very early retirement VS Parenthood. Not both.
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by rgs92 »

Well, $2 million still isn't enough even w/o kids and not much social security. A little over $80K a year inflation adjusted? That's darn tight.
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by Meg77 »

WorkToLive wrote:Anyone who does not wish to have their life as they know it come to an end should not have a child. That said, my husband and I decided to have one child in our early 30s and are now 12 years away from that decision. We do not regret our decision to have our daughter in any way however, it is a very different lifestyle. I think to properly answer your question you would need to decide what it is you would like to do in retirement. Do you have specific goals you would like to accomplish? Or just a desire to get out of the rat race?
I think this is part of the issue. We are so fortunate to be living such an amazing life that "changing everything as we know it" has markedly little appeal. We love our little family and our lives - and all we hear is that "kids change everything," which seems like a large risk to take. We don't have any specific desires for retirement that we can't achieve now or even with children honestly. We don't have a huge desire to exit the "rat race," or at least I don't. We don't live for work, but we also don't hate our jobs by any means. And we are both in line for major promotions within a few years if we stay the course.
Mlm wrote:Are you trying to talk yourself into something that you are ambivalent about? I am sure that most people don't regret having children or regret an early retirement if they are prepared for the changes that those decisions bring. If you don't currently have a burning desire for either I would let the decisions ride for now.

Mary
Yes, I'm trying to talk myself into something I feel I should do and should want, but I am ambivalent about. I do know some older people who regret having kids, and I also know some who never could or never did and claim to be happy as clams. I have no burning desire either way, but biologically I don't have the luxury of unlimited time to deliberate.
unclescrooge wrote:As parent to a 2.5 year old and a 3 month old, I understand your concern.

I'm 43, wife is 34.

Kids will change your life permanently. The first one was a terror. She'd wake up screaming bloody murder every hour for the first 20 months of her life. I have never been so sleep deprived in my entire life. Not even when I was in grad school, sleeping 4 hours a night, 4 days a week for an entire year.

The second one is a gem. I hardly notice he's around. :mrgreen:

However, I have never loved anything as much as I love my kids. Having your kid smile at you will melt your heart.

I was ambivalent about having kids. My only stipulation was that we have zero or two. As an only child, I felt that is just generally unfair to the kid.

Do it.

Especially if you have the financial capability to be present for your kid's childhood.
Thank you. I appreciate your perspective. So many new parents I know seem to be nudging me in the opposite direction. "Make sure you REALLY WANT IT!" "It's definitely not for everyone!" "It will change everything!" Even my own mother: "You know you don't have to have kids. You need to be crying every month when you realize you aren't pregnant to know you're ready."
Barefootgirl wrote:It's a gamble, with tremendous outcomes possible in many different directions.

I was ambivalent about parenthood until my early thirties at which time I became fortunate enough to have an opportunity to adopt a child and it just felt like the right and natural thing to do. I have never regretted that decision for one moment, in spite of the grief she gave me as a teenager.

That said, it was a hugely joyful experience when she was a child and later as she moved out of her teen years, into young adulthood. We are now thick as thieves and I can't imagine my life without her, although technically, we share no genetic material and she looks nothing like me and yet all of our relatives consider us nearly identical in personality - funny how that happens. We complete each other's sentences....so, my voice in the crowd will be the one that says biology doesn't matter. It's just all about immeasurable love. I did not have a relationship with my own mother and my bio family had financial struggles, so my views are tainted by that, FWIW - something to consider. I would not have raised a child if i wasn't prepared to become selfless.

I've worked hard for the financial security I enjoy, but without my child, it would be a cold comfort. I can't sugarcoat it. Best to you in the very personal decision.
I have often thought that if I don't have biological children that I could adopt or foster in my 40s/50s. I appreciate your perspective. I"m not afraid of having to be selfless exactly. But in a way I suppose I am.
KlangFool wrote:OP,

1) We would not trade our children for anything else in our lives. Everything else comes second in our lives. So, we would not think any career is more important than our children. This is our choice and our lives.

Choose wisely. Make sure what you choose is worth it.

2)In our case, we babysat many of our nephews and nieces before having our own. We like others' children. So, there is no question on our mind of having our own.

KlangFool
This is part of what frightens me, or overwhelms me. I don't give two whits about my career and will give it up sooner or later regardless. But parents always say things like this - that kids come before all else and they define life as you know it, etc. So what happens when something goes wrong? When that child dies or is crippled emotionally or physically or makes awful choices repeatedly for years on end? Is it still worth it?
PhysicianOnFIRE wrote:With a $2 million dollar net worth, you can afford to have kids and retire early and do both in the immediate future.

You're contemplating a huge decision, and I wouldn't take money into consideration at all. Remove the monetary factor and decide whether or not you want to spend the next 20 years raising children and the rest of your life as a parent and potential grandparent. I wouldn't trade fatherhood for anything, but I never felt the ambivalence you're feeling.

If it's the "modern affluent parenting culture" that's upsetting, you might consider moving or hanging around a different crowd. Parenting doesn't have to be a competition.

:beer
-PoF
Thank you for this. Part of our issue is that both of us value our middle class upbringings in rural/suburban areas and the freedom that provided - free range kids, inexpensive birthday parties, not having to put your 3 year old in Mandarin lessons, etc. But neither of us wants to move to that kind of area now. We live in an urban center and would have to adapt or abandon everything - and everyone - we know and love to raise kids in a non-material way. Maybe after having them our priorities would adjust enough to warrant that. But I worry it would be very hard on my marriage. It's not about the money at all though, truly. If I really wanted kids my potential lost income would be no object. I am just trying to weigh the pros and cons of a decision that is very hard to do that with.
Misenplace wrote:I love children. I love our child. But I don't think a child completes anyone's life. If someone needs a child to complete their life, they are doing themselves, and that eventual child, a disservice. I am convinced that finding meaning for your own life outside of having children paramount.

Children demand an unselfish investment of approximately 20+ years, with no guarantee of return. Very unwise in an investment sense.

That said, their arrival can herald the very best 12 years of your life (possibly followed by the worst 12 years!).

Follow your heart, not society's pressure.
Ha! Thanks. Unfortunately my heart is murky/ambivalent, and i don't trust it to make this decision for the long term. I don't want young kids now (or ever?). I wonder if I'll want adult kids when I'm in my 50's and beyond though.
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by avalpert »

rgs92 wrote:$2 million isn't nearly enough, especially with truncated social security from early retirement. And with kids to feed, it's even worse.
And if you have cats/dogs/etc., that's another big deal/obligation.
And if you have kids, you have to have pets you know... (or they won't grow up right).
This is sarcasm, right?
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by gkaplan »

doss wrote:Almost everyone in the history of mankind has had children. . . .

Really?
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by Mrxyz »

My 2 cents..........and please don't take any offence.... just an opinion..... just a drop in the opinion bucket which is our internet forum....

I think early retirement and parenthood are separate issues to be figured out alone and separately first, and once decided, see how they interact together.
For example, parenthood should be considered first and is really independent of whether you can 'afford' it! I mean, most parents -even the poor ones - take very good care of their kids who grow up to be appropriate etc. You become a parent for many reasons and most are personal. Both of you need to figure that out independent of your financial status.
I mean how poor does one have to be to NOT have a child. I know this sounds wrong and harsh, but that is because these 2 issues are looked at together.
Age is a factor but not a guarantee against having a syndromic child. E.g. more down syndrome babies are born to mothers below 35 years age than above. Not the incidence but the prevalence.

And how much planning can you do to foolproof everything and guarantee everything will work perfectly........... but I digress !
Thanks
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by Ruger »

I would forget the job and the money and ask yourself, how badly do you want children?
If you are not sure, or ambivalent, I wouldn't have them.
I never wanted children, I am not the maternal type. I have never regretted the decision, although everyone told me I would.

Only you know yourself well enough to make the decision.
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by HIinvestor »

Like many who have responded, I have two kids. I adore them and can't imagine life without them. That said, we've had some significant challenges, including chronic health issues.

The question is really what you and your H really want. Babysitting and spending time with kids is good for helping yourselves figure out if you really do or don't want them, but in some ways, it's always a leap of faith. If you do want your own biological kids, chances of healthy baby and mom are higher when mom and dad are younger, so sooner is better.

I agree that parenting will involve at least 20 years of your life, but you have the income that you can decide how much help you'd like to hire and how much you want to remain in your careers.

Adopting is also an option that can work amazingly well.
Best of luck for you and your H as you find your way forward. :D
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by ThankYouJack »

I would wait until you and your husband have a stronger desire than ambivalent. You could have a challenging pregnancy, postpartum depression, a newborn with colic. Granted those are temporary, but going through it you'd probably be regretting your decision. I wouldn't get caught up with keeping up with the Joneses or people "living" perfect social media lives.

Another thing to consider is the strain it can have on a marriage. Do you think you'll both have similar parenting styles (tough to tell without going through it)? How are you both with high stress and sleep deprivation? If either one is less happy with kids, it seems like that would increase the chances of divorce.

At 33, you still have time. And if you're really concerned about it, you could freeze eggs - but I would obviously make sure you both can reproduce before taking that step.
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by fposte »

To be honest, I think you'll be fine either way, and that's one reason why it's a hard decision.

I don't have kids, and I don't regret that. I'm so fond of so many kids I know and I'm sure I would have enjoyed having children, but life just sent me a different way that I've enjoyed as well. I sometimes wonder "what if" but not in a particularly sad way, same as I wonder "what if" about college majors I might have pursued and probably would wonder "what if" about the childless life if I did have kids.
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by TxAg »

unclescrooge wrote:As parent to a 2.5 year old and a 3 month old, I understand your concern.

I'm 43, wife is 34.

Kids will change your life permanently. The first one was a terror. She'd wake up screaming bloody murder every hour for the first 20 months of her life. I have never been so sleep deprived in my entire life. Not even when I was in grad school, sleeping 4 hours a night, 4 days a week for an entire year.

The second one is a gem. I hardly notice he's around. :mrgreen:

However, I have never loved anything as much as I love my kids. Having your kid smile at you will melt your heart.

I was ambivalent about having kids. My only stipulation was that we have zero or two. As an only child, I felt that is just generally unfair to the kid.

Do it.

Especially if you have the financial capability to be present for your kid's childhood.

I stopped reading here. Sums it up perfectly. I love my little nuggets, but they are work!!!


...there's nothing wrong with not having kids. You can adopt, donate your time, donate your money, or make an impact another way.
Last edited by TxAg on Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
mt
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by mt »

One of my mentors at work once told me that one should endeavor not to die alone. That is by no means the main reason to have kids, but it is a good one.
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by TigerNest »

My wife and I just had our first child last year. It has just been such an indescribable joy to get to know the little guy. I say go for it.
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by VictoriaF »

Arguments against waiting:
1. 33 is young, but not that young. Many women have children before the age of 23. The older you get the higher is the likelihood that something may go wrong.
2. Have a child while your parents are still alive and healthy enough to enjoy their grandchild.
3. You may never develop a natural love for children until you have your child.
4. It will not get better in a few years. The more money you accumulate and the higher you rise in your career, the more you will have to lose.

Right now you are guided by the status-quo bias: your life is so good that you don't want to change it. If you decide that you want to have a child, change your bias. Create the sense of urgency. Visualize what it is like to try to have a child and not being able to do it. Talk to people or visit online forums of people who are desperate to have children. Convince yourself that having a child is both important and urgent.

Victoria
Last edited by VictoriaF on Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by Zott »

You mentioned adoption in a post. Then you can turn the question around and do it backwards, like me. Retire in your early 40's and THEN adopt. The kids will help you spend your excess retirement funds, and excess free time in retirement. Seriously, what the agency said about adoption is also true of giving birth---it's a leap of faith, a big one. No parenting experience is all wonderful and good, nor all bad. Yes, there are days I regret it (kind of) but most others I'm glad. Please don't worry about having a mentally or physically ill child--you'll psych yourself out completely---it's an unknowable contingency--like worrying about the next market move. But you really do have to have a lot of commitment, and I think you see that.

A friend told us to look in the distant future when we adopted--to see if the change to our lives would be right. Having dealt with ill parents, I didn't want to get to old age with only my wife and I --- maybe a bit selfish, but I have an old-fashioned view of families. Anyway they'll inherit plenty to compensate for all the hard times I'll give them. :happy
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by ThankYouJack »

For the responders who are happy with kids, did you want kids or were ambivalent about having them like the OP?

I enjoy being a parent myself, but that doesn't mean I think everyone especially those who are ambivalent should have children.
Meg77 wrote:
Thank you. I appreciate your perspective. So many new parents I know seem to be nudging me in the opposite direction. "Make sure you REALLY WANT IT!" "It's definitely not for everyone!" "It will change everything!" Even my own mother: "You know you don't have to have kids. You need to be crying every month when you realize you aren't pregnant to know you're ready."
Seems like the people who know you think you should wait. It's such a personal decision, I would talk and listen more to the people who know you best (especially your spouse and mother) instead of strangers on a financial internet forum.
KlangFool
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by KlangFool »

Meg77 wrote:
KlangFool wrote:OP,

1) We would not trade our children for anything else in our lives. Everything else comes second in our lives. So, we would not think any career is more important than our children. This is our choice and our lives.

Choose wisely. Make sure what you choose is worth it.

2)In our case, we babysat many of our nephews and nieces before having our own. We like others' children. So, there is no question on our mind of having our own.

KlangFool
This is part of what frightens me, or overwhelms me. I don't give two whits about my career and will give it up sooner or later regardless. But parents always say things like this - that kids come before all else and they define life as you know it, etc. So what happens when something goes wrong? When that child dies or is crippled emotionally or physically or makes awful choices repeatedly for years on end? Is it still worth it?
Meg77,

<< So what happens when something goes wrong? >>

Unfortunately, this is not a theoretical question for my family. Many of our nephews on both my side and my wife side are autistic. So, in our case, there is a real possibility that our son might be autistic like his cousins. One of his cousins had been declared as disabled and his parent aka my brother-in-law have to support him for the rest of his life. He hopes that his younger son could take care of his autistic brother when he is older.

In our case, the answer is still the same. it is worth it. But, this may not be your answer.

KlangFool
musicmom
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by musicmom »

It's a BIG decision.
There is no assurance you will have a typical child and one with special needs requires more and longer term care than most children.

We are 64 and 60 yrs old, hoping to retire in 2 yrs.
Our son is 30, multiple degrees and self supporting.
Our daughter is 28, intellectually disabled and will never be self sufficient.

Our son "cost" us mega bucks for many years of schooling.
Our daughter cost us hours and hours of expensive therapies, classes, and lifetime support.

They are so different but we are happy we didn't miss having either.
Kids are alot of work, but it's in phases and they teach you about each phase as you go.
Our disabled daughter is compassionate, funny, a great dancer and swimmer and has more true friends in her life than I ever will.

So, I don't regret having to work a few extra years at all.
Money and kids are two entirely unrelated topics.
KlangFool
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by KlangFool »

OP,

My instinct and intuition tell me that you are not ready to be a parent yet. So, the answer is no for you.

KlangFool
blueman457
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by blueman457 »

33 years old? You've got time to think about it. Seriously. No rush.

Enjoy life.

Blue Man

P.S. I do have an infant child, and yes it changes your life... for many people better, for many people worse.
Artisan
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by Artisan »

Anyone who isn't completely sure they want to be parents shouldn't even consider it. Certainly not anyone who uses the words ambivalent and children in the same sentence.

The way you list the pros and cons sent shivers up my spine.

I'm sorry if I seem judgmental.

One of my daughters had a life threatening illness when she was younger.
Retire4647
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by Retire4647 »

Long time lurker/first time poster:

I saw this post and felt compelled to offer my opinion on this subject that hits so close to home.

My husband and I sounded a lot like you. We like children well enough, but were ambivalent about having our own. We really struggled to decide if we should "follow the path" that most people take, or chose to go down the road less traveled.

All through our 30's we weighed the pros and cons (like you), thinking that would help us get to a decision. It didn't. Most people will tell you that having children is the best thing you can ever do. They'll tell you that it is only when you have a child, that you will understand unconditional love. They'll tell you that you'll regret not having them in your old age. The list goes on and on.

We were lucky. My best friend (who is the most honest creature that you could ever meet), was one of the only people to tell me the how she truthfully felt after having her son. She said that no matter how much she loved him, if she could go back in time, and change her mind on having kids, she would. That got me looking at websites about parents who regret having kids (although they say they would never say it anywhere other than those websites). What this did for me was drown out all the exterior noise of "should I have kids or not", and really made me listen to that voice inside me that told me NO, it wasn't something that I wanted 100%.

I agree with the other posters, that this shouldn't be a financial decision. It really has to be something that you want, deep down in your soul. My husband and I do not regret for one minute our decision to not have kids. We are not selfish (we give to charity, and our estate is set up to give 80% away upon our deaths). We are not lonely (and have known unconditional love in both our lives from many different people). And we aren't scared about being alone in our old age. We've seen enough parents who have been all but abandoned in their later years, to know that having kids is no guarantee to not being alone.

On the financial side of things, my husband and I will be fully retiring next year in our late 40's, and are excited to start our new adventure, which will be a 3-5 year travel excursion in our new 5th wheel, traveling to see family, friends, and all the states and Canada, before settling down into our beach home somewhere in the world (location to be determined after all of our traveling).

Good luck with whatever you decide! :D
randomguy
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by randomguy »

Meg77 wrote:
Thank you for this. Part of our issue is that both of us value our middle class upbringings in rural/suburban areas and the freedom that provided - free range kids, inexpensive birthday parties, not having to put your 3 year old in Mandarin lessons, etc. But neither of us wants to move to that kind of area now. We live in an urban center and would have to adapt or abandon everything - and everyone - we know and love to raise kids in a non-material way. Maybe after having them our priorities would adjust enough to warrant that. But I worry it would be very hard on my marriage. It's not about the money at all though, truly. If I really wanted kids my potential lost income would be no object. I am just trying to weigh the pros and cons of a decision that is very hard to do that with.
.
It isn't the area that is the problem. You can live an non materialistic lifestyle, skip the madarian lessons, and so on in urban areas as much as you can anywhere else. Very, Very few parents do that stuff. The ones that do are just very vocal. It is like complaining that your coworkers drive BMWs so you have to own one also. Nope. You could drive a civic and nobody would care. What is hard to do is raise your kids nonmaterialistically while you enjoy a materialistic life yourself. Kids are good at watching what you do not what you say.

Nobody is going to be able to help you with this. There are people that regret having kids despite thinking they were a good idea. And there are people that regret not having kids despite thinking they didn't want them. To a large extent the experience is unknowable until you have it.
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ClevrChico
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by ClevrChico »

In my experience, parenting is one of the best things to happen to me. And I was pretty content to be a dog owner and gearhead before.

My hardest job was 100X harder than being a dad. It's not that bad. I do encounter childless career people, and while very driven, they don't seem happy.

I understand it's not possible for everyone, and I won't be able to retire as early.
WL2034
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by WL2034 »

My wife and I have, objectively, very similar lives to yours regarding ages, incomes, net worth (ok, a little less than yours :wink: ).

We love to travel, love our lives together with no kids, and had long been ambivalent about having kids. We just took things as they came. We could easily have cut back to part-time or retired by 40-45. In the past couple years, we spent months traveling over 5 continents, and it was the best time of our lives.

Then we decided to have a baby. Just seemed like it was time. Now this is the best time of our lives. Tiring, but amazing. We had hardly even held a baby, so we are not "baby" people before this. It is great so far (less than a year). Honestly, considering that you only have to work 40 hours a week and having so much savings already seem like great reasons to have kids if you want. All the great aspects of having a baby you love and none of the stress of affording food, diapers, child care, activities. That is how I feel, so far. At the same time, I would never try to convince anyone that having kids is a great idea. A) I have less than a year of experience. B) I know other people who wish they didn't have kids. YMMV, I suppose.

Look at it this way, you have $2mm so if you don't save another dime you will end up with $5-6mm by 50 most likely. You can definitely retire early AND have kids if you want. Now, maybe not at 40, so that is another conversation if an extremely early retirement is important to you. After considering it, we didn't want to retire that early. And of course, with kids, I'm not sure it would be much fun to retire at 40-45 when your kids are in middle school and you aren't free to travel much during the school year, anyway.
FoolMeOnce
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by FoolMeOnce »

We were ambivalent - not about having kids, but rather about when. We knew we wanted a family with a couple kids, but as friends and family around us started having kids, we didn't feel like the time was right. Eventually we decided that though the time doesn't feel right, it might never feel right, and we wanted to be young enough to be around while our kids become adults and perhaps start families of their own. So despite not being confident that the time was right, not "crying every month when you realize you aren't pregnant," (that is definitely overselling it) we got started anyway. We have two kids under four, born when we were 32 and 35.

Our lifestyle was pretty calm beforehand, so I honestly don't feel like "everything changed." We weren't out at bars and parties every weekend night before kids. We travel less now, but will get more adventurous as the kids get a bit older. And we still took the first kid to a national park, and ditched him with the grandparents for a childless tropical vacation before number two arrived, plus frequent trips to visit family. We go out to dinner a bit less, but have started getting babysitters more to get out from time to time.

With $2 million already and high paying jobs, you can very likely have multiple kids and still retire early. Though young kids might make you treasure days in the office...

Lastly, I wholeheartedly agree with randomguy:
randomguy wrote:It isn't the area that is the problem. You can live an non materialistic lifestyle, skip the [Mandarin] lessons, and so on in urban areas as much as you can anywhere else.
You don't need to keep up with whatever the rich neighbors are lavishing on their kids.
wxl31
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by wxl31 »

We have kids. When young, I wanted kids, spouse did not. Over time, I became less interested in having kids while spouse became more interested. Never was a time when we both felt 100% sure having kids was the right thing to do.

A wise person once told me "there's never a convenient time to have kids". We ended up having kids later in life, delaying due to education and budding career, never able to find the right time until time was short and we had no choice but to go for it before it was too late.

While I do not regret having kids, I do regret waiting for the following reasons:
1. Sleep deprivation is so much harder to deal with when older.
2. More advanced on the career path, making it harder to cut back than when I was starting out, further exacerbating #1.
3. More likely to be stuck taking care of two generations (your children and your parents), further exacerbating #1.
4. Waited until my career took off and put me on a nice path for early retirement. Now realize that although I'll be financially ready to retire early, kids will significantly limit activities in early retirement (e.g., traveling, particularly prolonged travel or travel abroad).

As a parent now, let me address your parenting pros and cons. I will leave the early retirement pros/cons alone because I'm not there yet.

"Parenting Pros - Possibly find meaning outside ourselves, become less self-involved. Studies seem to indicate parents have higher lifetime happiness levels and self-esteem. Experience the world through a child's eyes - wonder, learning, exploring, etc. See how our genes combine and see ourselves in another sentient being that we create."

Can I be blunt? Those pros are self-centered, emotionless and analytical. As a parent, I can say none of the pros you mention (except perhaps the one about experiencing the world through a child's eye) even enters my mind. To me, the pros of parenthood are being able to provide and experience a truly unconditional love you have never felt before, laughing at the crazy things kids will say and do, being forced to develop saintly patience, and pride in molding a good person that will hopefully benefit the world in some small way.

"Parenting Cons - Possibility of having a disabled child, a dependent child with lifelong special needs, the rare psychopath, the drug addict who sucks your emotions and resources for life, etc. Having to work many years longer that we would otherwise. The possibility of emotional trauma that I'm not sure I could deal with healthfully if my child were to die or be hurt or - frankly - even suffer fairly typical injuries such as bullying or sexual assault. "

I am fortunate to be raising healthy children. However, I work with sick children. Some become disabled with lifelong needs. Some die. But I have never heard a parent say that they regretted their child's life, no matter how brief or difficult it may have been. To me, the cons to being a parent are all related to time. Not enough time to be the best parent you can be. Not enough time to sleep. Not enough time to do your best at work. Not enough time to maintain your relationship with your spouse. Not enough time to maintain your relationship with friends. Not enough time for your hobbies. To me, this is the big sacrifice you have to weigh against the pros of having children. Yes, they are a financial drain too, but the only thing I miss is time, not the dollars.
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bottlecap
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by bottlecap »

I may just be in a mood, so take this with that in mind.

I want to say don't have kids. If money is no object and you're torn, you don't really want it. Whether to have kids or not shouldn't be that hard of a decision. You either know or you don't. And you don't want to do it because of pressure.

That said, if you do, you are very, very unlikely to regret it.

As for the decision, it really depends on who you are. My wife and I have "couple friends" that are perfectly happy without kids. They do things that I would have considered fun 15 years ago. They'll probably be doing them 15 years from now. That seems sad and a little pointless to me. But they're nice folks and happy for now. Who am I to judge? They probably secretly think we're nuts...

JT
mega317
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by mega317 »

bottlecap wrote:
I want to say don't have kids. If money is no object and you're torn, you don't really want it. Whether to have kids or not shouldn't be that hard of a decision. You either know or you don't.
I don't mean to pick on you, yours is just the most recent response of several similar ones (and I agree with everything else you wrote). I don't think there's any way we can tell if OP really wants it or not based on a (well-written) internet post, and it's not an easy decision for everyone. You're definitely making sacrifices, and it's natural to be hesitant to trade an unknown combination of good things (money/years of retirement, sleep, alone time with spouse, work advancement, travel) for a complete unknown. Doesn't mean she doesn't want kids or shouldn't have them or wouldn't make an outstanding parent.
https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6212
Atgard
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by Atgard »

I know this is a financial forum, but you can't put a dollar value on children, or plug it into a calculator with net worth and safe withdrawal rates and determine whether having a kid is worth retiring at age X or X+5. Children are qualitatively different (and far more meaningful) than any amount of money -- ask any parent if they would trade every penny they own to save their child.

You have a child because you want to expand your heart in ways you never thought possible, and fortunately it sounds like you are financially able to provide for a family well. That said, if you don't want kids, you don't, and just because you have enough money to support children doesn't mean you should.

So your real question is "Do I want children?" -- full stop. Forget the finances and what it will do to your portfolio or retirement date.
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celia
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by celia »

I think you're worrying about the wrong things. Sure, you could have a physically or mentally disabled child. But you or DH could also become disabled. Do you worry about that every day? In addition, everyone has a physical or mental "limitation" since no-one's perfect. We still learn to live a full life and compensate somehow.

In fact, having kids strengthens your problem solving skills and introduces you to many people in life you never would have met otherwise.

PS. If you are truly worried about birth defects, why not go to genetic counseling and be tested?
kathyauburn
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by kathyauburn »

Ditch the kids. There are more than enough people in the world.
Barefootgirl
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Re: (Very) Early Retirement vs Parenthood

Post by Barefootgirl »

So what happens when something goes wrong?
The heart of the matter, really, right?

Things always go wrong, as we all know, that's part of life, time and tide wait for no one. Speaking from the field of Psychology, we would learn that the struggle to overcome and grow is where life truly begins.

So again, I wish you the best in your personal decisions.

PS/you mentioned having acquaintences who now wish they had not become parents. I hope their children aren't aware of those feelings - those would become *their* burden.

Also, my former husband and I raised our child in an affluent neighborhood where we swam against the tide of consumerism and helicopter parenting. We dealt with the blowback - and it all worked itself out. Requires ego strength, however.

Peace
How many retired people does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Only one, but he takes all day.
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