I read a great post on Club Thrifty the other day titled Having Children: An Expensive Decision. The topic of children comes up a lot in my life and of course in the personal finance blog world.
People constantly ask us when we will have kids. We've been together for over 6 years, we have bought a house, have dogs, are kind of financially secure, etc., so people don't seem to understand when we laugh at them and say that we are not ready at all.
Sort of unrelated, but I think of my dogs as my children for now. My sister the other day (and she says this all the time) “I love your dogs.” And I say, “Well you can take them whenever you want!” That is jokingly of course. And she always replies with “Well they're nice to play with but I don't want any of other responsibilities with that right now.”
From Reuters in an article recently:
“A middle-class family with a child born in 2011 can expect to spend about $234,900 in the next 17 years on food, shelter and other necessities. The cost comes to about $295,560 with projected inflation factored in.“
Some have very good reasons to not have kids, while some use just the cost of expenses as a reason to not have kids. I want to say that this is not our reason at all. A lot of things are “expensive” so I never really understand why some people use this as a reason (I am not trying to be mean when I say that, I just don't know of a nicer way to put it).
We would like to be extremely financial secure when we do have kids though. I would like to be in a bigger house (with most if not all of it paid off), no student loans, etc. Yes, we do realize that we will fully never be ready for kids, because that's impossible! But I'd like to not feel like I'm struggling (this is not how I feel right now, but you know what I mean).
Background on us:
Currently we are DINKs, and plan on staying this way for quite some time. A DINK is where there are two incomes (his and mine) and there are no children (Dual Income No Kids, you can also read this post from DINKs Finance on another person's perspective).
Yes, we do want kids, but not right now. And not for around 10 more years. Oh yeah, and we do want to adopt a child as well.
While I am nearly done with my MBA (next week!), the boy is not done with school. He starts back up in January (at the latest) and will not be done for another 4 years. He is starting in a new major, so we would also like for that to be done.
We decided that we BOTH want to wait until we are in our early 30′s (maybe late 20's). When we tell people this, they tend to think we are crazy and stupid. Sometimes we get yelled at (I'm not even joking), people have told me that my kids will have disorders such as down syndrome (I was actually told this again just the other day) if we wait too long, etc. It’s ridiculous.
People also joke that I will be the “oldest mom with a kindergartner.” I don't know why people think that will make me angry. I look EXTREMELY young, so when I'm 35 with a kindergartner, people will most likely still mistake me for a teenager with a kid (but that's a whole ‘nother story).
Oh yeah and to continue off the “early 30's being too old”, my parents had me when they were 36 and 37, and I think I turned out just fine.
There are a lot of things that we still want to experience in our lives as well. We'd like to do more traveling, understand ourselves, etc. better.
I want to keep saying that I really do want to have kids and a family. I grew up in an extremely small family. We NEVER did family gatherings (I can honestly say never). I would like to experience all of the awesome things that being in a family entails.
After being with the boy for over 6 years, I've gotten to see what his HUGE family is like, and I love it. There are over 100 of them in his close family circle. I am glad that they consider me a daughter/family member and I would like to continue this with my own family. I will definitely be excited when that part of my life begins, but that time is just not right now.
In the end, there is no right or wrong choice with whether a person should have kids or not. For a long time, I thought I wouldn't have any and be a DINK for life. But that has changed.