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QotD: Kids

Question: Kids: take 'em or leave 'em?

My Answer: I'd like to have one or two, but I'm never sure how anyone decides that they're financially secure enough to actually decide to have a child. Perhaps I like to do too many things, and like to move around in my jobs quite a bit, but it scares me to think of a little $25,000+/year bundle of joy (or two!) running around. How can I guarantee my income will support them for eighteen+ years!?!?

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10 Responses to "QotD: Kids"

  1. Leave 'em, especially since I am sure I will end up living alone my entire life. yippee.

  2. I find it revealing that you talked about the financial rather than emotional aspects of raising children.

  3. The only thing my comments reveal is that I don't wish to subject my children to financial hardships. I don't have to worry about the emotional side of things: I can and will be a good father who loves his children, because I can control whether I care for and love my kids. I cannot control the job market or the economy, so I worry about the outside factors. Supporting children is a financially serious obligation. I can love my kids all they want, but if they go to bed hungry or I can't give them the chances (and toys) they need, then I've failed.

    In other words, don't be silly, Zach.

  4. I have to agree with Erik. I don't want to have kids until I'm comfortable with my financial situation, ready to devote lots of time to them, and also, maybe most importantly, feeling more than a very vague urge to have them.

    I don't think it's fair that financial reasons for holding off on having kids are dismissed as cold or irrelevant. Maybe his financial comfort threshold for children is much higher than yours. I have lots of ideas for how I'd like to raise my child(ren), and I think I've made realistic estimates of things like where I need to be financially and mentally before it can happen in anything approximating the way I want it to. I won't compromise with something as important as another human's life, especially not *my child's* life.

    If that's cold, then perhaps I'm cold. But I will *not* compromise on this.

  5. Well, I'm going to be a father at the end of the year and I'm a little worried that I'm not as financially secure as I want to be, but then it ocurrred to me; I'll never feel 'financially secure.' I'll never do all the things I want to be before I have children. I'll never be ready to have a child, and yet-- ready or not-- I'm going to be a father.

    I'm scared, hell-- terrified at the prospect sometimes. Yet, at the same time, I'm very excited. Trust me folks, you'll never know what it's like until you're facing it. (Of course, that goes for anything.) I'm enjoying every moment of this part of my life, and I wouldn't exchange the experience for anything else.

  6. I waited on having a kid until I felt financially secure enough. I think it is a legitimate concern that is often overlooked. Jobs in the high tech business are not secure. I'm not even sure I know jobs that are secure enough. All I know is that if the worst ever happened I would work five McJobs to give my daughter a good education and real opportunities.

  7. I'm curious as to where that $25k/year figure comes from. When I first became a father I was making less than that figure annually and even with my other half barely reaching the $35k mark. Even so, we lived comfortably and my son never wanted for anything.

    So, in short, I agree that the decision to have children should be an emotional decision. As long as you make your children the priority in life things will always work out. Parenthood is a blessing that can only be understood by parents--and I think even human being should have that experience. It's more about responsibility and hard work than it is about money. When I hear people say "We can't afford kids right now" what that really says to me is "We're not ready for the responsbility yet." And that's a valid position whereas money is just an excuse.

    So, while financial concerns are not "irrelevant" they are certainly not primary. "Where there's a will there's a way"--when you decide to have children the rest of the pieces will all fall into place.


  8. When the first kid pops, a lot of Dads, myself included do start thinking, "damn, I've got another mouth to feed!". The feeling of responsibility, especially financial responsibililty is almost overwhelming. To make things really painful, new Mom's are thinking almost the opposite. They want you home with the family helping with the baby. (I should add, some marriages literally don't survive this transition I'm afraid.)

    It gets easier with the second one. But the Moms are right. Kids by and large could care less if you spent $25k or $1k on them. When they're a little older they'll whine about some toy or other, but after you've bought a toy and seen them cast off in a day or so, it doesn't take long to figure out that they really don't care about the toy. Its more about manipulating you into GETTING the toy. Nip that crap in the bud and its not a problem.

    Babies don't have to be that expensive. Especially if you've got friends and family that have kids, you get literally overwhelmed in hand-me-down gear. We painted our second bedroom. A friend had a crib/changing table they were getting rid of, we bought a second hand stroller and car seat at a consignment shop and were good to go. Babies drink breast milk ... its not like that costs a fortune 🙂 You're in for about $100/mo in diapers and wipes. My wife came home with bags and bags of kids clothes from friends.

    Seriously, where on earth did you come up with the $25k a year figure? My family of four lives on only a bit more than the $50k you've set aside just for the kids. When you're ready for kids, don't let the financials get you down. And certainly don't trade time with your kids for more money so you can buy them toys. They'd rather have you around. Really.


  9. I am guessing the 25k/year figure is factoring in things that aren't all necessarily out of pocket expenses, things covered by insurance and taxes (i.e. school). I've spent time in South East Baltimore City and the biggest factor in how the child was overall was really the parents interest and care. Some of these kids were on the same level, their basic needs of shelter and food were met. The difference was whether they felt loved, and if their parents took a care in their lives beyond the government was going to interfere if a minimal level of performance wasn't met.

    I know its possible to have a good little family with needs and some wants taken care of cause both of my older sisters have small families. I don't think there has been a point in time where I have made less per hour than my brother-in-law's except when I wasn't working at all. Of course back when I was still in high school the thought of me living on my own was daunting on my then hourly rate, even factoring working more hours. I couldn't even conceive how my sister's were doing it.

    I do respect Erik's concern to want to be sure he can provide the necessities of life. There is nothing worse than people who bring a life into this world with little thought as to how they will provide physically and emotionally for the child.

  10. Reply to Kids: take 'em or leave 'em

    My family *never* earned enough money to say they had $25,000/year/kid.