Financial Literacy
For Your Future



Should I (We) Have Children? - Insights Guide

Although all choices are important and need to be given thoughtful consideration, the decision to have kids may very well be the most important one you and your partner will ever make. In addition to the level of importance , the complexity of the decision is enormous. The choice involves at least two people, it is emotional, it relates to health, links to financial matters, has a legal relationship, and it has both short and long term consequences. Also, contrary to many choices, this one for the most part cannot be reviewed later and changed. Wow! you say, “this is serious” and well it is. Given the complexity and emotional aspect of having children, people need to be exposed to many insights so they can identify and test their own beliefs and those of their spouse. Looking at alternatives is not an attempt to change what and how people think, but to reduce the number of surprises and expand the level of comfort in the decision that is made no matter what it is.

Application Insights-Should I (We) Have Children? does not take a position on the having children opportunity. It does attempt to expand the context in which the event will take place and for all people add insight as to what to expect. Consequently, even if the decision to have children is a foregone conclusion based upon personal religious beliefs, reviewing alternative views may be helpful in understanding others and preparing to be a good parent. Whether you agree with the decision or not, many people (singles, couples, and married couples) choose not to have children at a particular time. The latest report of the National Center for Health Statistics, for example, indicates that the birthrate for teens is the lowest since 1946 for all racial and ethnic groups. The stated reasons are expanded sex education programs and a broader use of contraceptives. No matter what you believe and what you decide, most all would agree that having children carries huge expected benefits and expected costs. Being informed in this regard will help all perspective parents.

  • Knowing the extent of the question is a critical component of this opportunity. For some people, the question is already answered based upon strongly held previous beliefs. For those people, the focus should be reviewing and establishing compatibility between the “mother and father”.  Are both parties on the same page and are their life’s goals harmonious for both the short and long term. Remember, being a family means respecting all members and having an understanding of what to expect physically, mentally, and financially. Keep the surprises to how early the baby walks or when he/she says mama or dada for the first time. For others, the extent of the question is far more complicated. For them the question of having children can be open-ended and changing. The decisions to use or not use contraception or even abortion are possible options for some and they certainly make the choice just that a choice.
  • The opportunity to have children is an opportunity to change your life and the life of others forever. It certainly has short term benefits and costs, but the real impact is in the long term. Whatever are your beliefs, your life will never be the same after the child is born. Knowing how your life will change and how these changes fit into or not fit into your life’s plan is critical.  Remember, this condition fits at least two people and hopefully both parties are clarifying their values and restating their life’s goals. If sleeping through the night is important to you, you probably need to forget it at least for a while. Babies cost money and this doesn’t seem to change as they get older. Budgets will need to change and it is important to know this and make changes before the baby arrives. If you like to avoid risk, be sure your insurance agent gets a baby announcement and the list goes on.
  • Once again, the list of alternatives will vary with you and your companion’s belief system.  If you believe that a baby (or babies-multi-births are possible) is a “gift from God”, your choices revolve around staying healthy, budgeting well, getting the nursery ready, and preparing for a new life. If you have a different view of having children and depending upon if you are thinking about it or are “in progress”, you have many alternatives to consider from timing, location, financial preparation, careers, health, now and in the future. Remember, for some, convenience is a consideration and don’t forget about adoption.
  • The long list of possible alternatives requires a thorough and thoughtful review by both parties. If you plan to have a grandparent take care of the baby so both mom and dad can go back to work, maybe the number of parties involved will grow. Identify the expected benefits and expected costs of each alternative and compare them to one another. Could waiting for a year help with the financial situation or will a health issue be resolved or get worse over time?  Is a new house with a nursery important or how about location of where you live to good care giving? Keep in mind if you are weighing alternatives that you are also seeking compatibility at the same time. There should be no winners or losers in this process. Parents are in this together and both parties need to experience joy from the choices made.
  • Having children is a common event and many people have valuable insight as to how to maximize the gains and minimize the problems. Take advantage of these resources. Don’t forget the people closest to you-parents, brothers, sisters, etc.
  • Make a decision and take action. Remember, once a parent, always a parent and this can and should mean continuous joy even with a few bumps along the road.   


1) When Is Having A Baby Financially Doable?

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