Financial Literacy
For Your Future



Should I (We) Have Children?

It seems impossible to become financially literate without reaching the conclusion that IT IS ALL ABOUT CHOICES. Every aspect of our life ultimately puts us the position of deciding what to do or not to do and each of these choices come with expected benefits and expected costs. To complicate matters, the decision to do or not do to is often the easy part of choice making. Often the real difficult aspect of choice making revolves around the how much question. This feature of choice making is not as critical in the short run when the question of having a child is considered. This is one of those choices where whether is most important, at least initially, but remember, many couples have more than one child and many married couples say it is easier to choose the second or third once the decision to have a family has been made. With this in focus in mind, this story begins with you and your spouse talking about expanding the family from a very happy couple to a couple with a child-don’t forget multiple births is a biological fact.

The time for the “do we have a child” discussion seems right as you have been married for a few years and both of you have good full time jobs with good income and benefits. Frankly, you have both lived the good life of experiencing success on the job, keeping healthy, and buying and paying for the tangible items you have dreamed about in your pre-marriage years. As mentioned you have not fallen into the debt trap and you have saved for the short run and invested acceptable amounts for the golden years which seem very far away. You have supplemented your good benefit packages with appropriate insurance coverage and barring any unforeseen tragedy, you think you have established a solid foundation for building a family. You have already discussed the fact that your home will house a third member without any difficulty (although a second child is another story) and your home’s location will be acceptable and convenient for raising your pride and joy through the pre-school years. 

Both you and your spouse feel good about growing the family and that means that the stage is set for a comprehensive and thoughtful review of the expected benefits and expected costs using the decision making guide.

To some degree you have already begun the formal decision making process as you have discussed having a child already and you have “paid attention” to family and friends who have kids. This should make the formal process easier, but do not forego the formal process as it will bring out issues, expected benefits and costs that you have forgotten to think about. Although it will seem to take the romanticism out of the discussion, it is recommended that recording the pertinent items that fit under each aspect of the decision making guide be completed so no major area is left out of the discussion and the related decision. Be sure, for example, lost income from the care giver, formal child care expenses, potential health issues, automobile safety concerns, insurance revisions, nursery creation, to name a few are considered. In addition, don’t forget to get input from your peers (ones that have a child) so your discussion list is complete.

You might be saying that this process will take all the fun out of this most enjoyable time of our life but remember prior planning prevents poor performance, children don’t arrive with an instruction manual, and this choice is forever. Will it be MAMA and DADA?

Applications Insights Guide - click here for facts to aid your decision making process





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