Having children is a magical experience and there really is nothing to compare it to. Children won’t just change your life, they will turn it upside down, inside out and fill it with confetti and glitter. You won’t know what hit you!
But though the experience is incomparable, sadly many young couples are choosing not to have children because they are worried about the financial implications. This is an entirely understandable position but putting off children until you are completely ready may mean that you miss the opportunity. It might not be a popular topic, but your body clock does affect your fertility.
The Children Budget
Kids cost a lot of money over the years and the Department of Agriculture has come up with a rather specific $233,610 for 18 years of care (not including college). But before you start to worry about this number, let’s be practical here: you don’t need to have all that before you welcome a baby.
Children might be expensive but they also represent a huge lifestyle shift. You won’t be going out as often or planning romantic holiday retreats with a toddler in tow! Most people are perfectly capable of realigning their expenditure to cover the costs of having children – it’s just a case of prioritizing your needs. And don’t forget, you can use the Calculator for Child Support to see what sort of financial help you can expect.
Budgeting for kids is exactly like budgeting for anything else. You look at your finances and work out where you can earn more and where you can save more. Budgeting for a family may be a little more complex but the math remains the same. There’s a reason moms are so well known for cutting coupons and hitting the sale rails!
The Body Clock
Though we don’t really like to think of our body clocks ticking away, this is one area where women do need to plan ahead. There are certain risks that are more prevalent in ‘geriatric pregnancy’ that could result in abnormalities in the fetus and complications at birth. While medicine is beginning to catch up and 35 may not be a catch-all any more, it is still worth thinking about while you are young.
On the other hand, women who choose to go to college and build their careers before having children may be able to provide a better lifestyle for their kids. As they have had time to save up and build their career, these women have a choice to make when it comes to kids. Parents are, in general, getting older but what you do in the years between coming of age and having kids does make a difference.
Whether you choose to have children or not, you should at least consider the possibility while you are young. Saving up is always a good idea, regardless of what the money may be spent on and discussing your desire to have a family with your partner should be an open conversation fairly early on. Having children is always a miracle but being prepared (I sure wasn’t) is plain old sensible.