Having Children Too Soon?

Graduating college and finding a job within one of the worst economic environments in the past 50 years was hard enough as it was. My wife and I got through it and seem to have found at least a little bit of financial security. Yet, I can’t imagine doing it with kids to accompany the many challenges. Yet, that is what seems to be happening so frequently.

Friends and Family Having Kids Early

In the past few years after graduating from college, my facebook news feed has slowly become filled with pictures of infants and toddlers, all of whom I am not friends with. As it turns out, I am friends with their parents, because all of my close friends and family members (who I would still consider young adults) are now having children. One of my cousins is just 22 now and has two kids over the age of 1 (one of which is over 2 years old). While she is handling it marvelously, I can’t help but remark on the current trend of young parents.

After moving to the north east, I can see that it’s not a national trend. From my personal experience, people in the north east tend to stay single longer. From what I gather, they tend to focus on their careers first and then think about family and commitment around 30. This has become the new norm for me. And so, when I see my friends and family all over the country changing diapers and bringing their kids off to school, I start to wonder the financial implications of such. I don’t want to reduce parenthood to just the finances, but it deserves a worthy look.

Financial Impact of Early Parenthood

In a recent article on Wall Street Journal, it remarks how grandparents are helping pay for their grandchildren’s expenses. While the author doesn’t make the argument explicitly, I can’t help but wonder if the two trends are related, at least in the smallest way. Here’s why…Having children early on has a huge influence on your finances. Usually, it takes years for young families to find financial security. It usually takes a handful of years to get a stable job due to the necessary experience need to get higher-paying jobs (unless you are able to get a job without the experience, like I have done before).

It only makes sense that adding another family member will put a larger burden on one’s finances. Look at it this way. If you are making ends meet and having difficulty saving for retirement and meeting all of your financial goals, it’s only going to delay it even further if you add more expenses to your budget, which is inevitable with a young child.

Of course, it’s everyone’s own choice to make when they want to start a family. Certainly, you can’t make financial decisions based solely on money, but if you want to be responsible with your finances, you should start to factor in these aspects to your decisions.

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