Children cost a tremendous amount of money. Many people, though, choose to have a baby first and worry about the expenses later. However, by doing things this way, they will force themselves to constantly look for solutions to their financial problems, such as how to feed and clothe their baby.
It is important that you are sure about this crucial decision and that you have the right partner in making it. You also need to consider several factors first before having children. That might be the reason why people are pushing back the age of having a child.
Average Age of First-Time Parents
The average age of first-time parents has been increasing in recent years. Women, taken as a group, have their first child between the ages of 30 and 34 nowadays, while men become parents when they are between the ages of 25 and 29.
The average age of first-time mothers is 28 years old. It was approximately 25 in 2000 and 26 in 2014, so you can see that it’s slowly increasing. Women delay having kids because they want to be financially stable first before starting a family. According to sociology experts, it costs around $235,000 to raise a kid from birth until he or she is 17. Adults today want to have a head start so that they are ready for the financial responsibilities that come with having children.
Save Money to Raise a Child
It is a good idea to save money before having a family. However, the amount you need varies from one case to another. Most parents say that young adults should not worry about lacking enough money to raise a child because they can take out a quick personal loan or use a credit card for their expenses when their income is insufficient and just worry about it later on.
Purchasing a house is the largest investment most people will make in their lifetime. However, raising several kids usually exceeds that amount. If you add the cost of college education or the expenses needed to raise more than one child, you will definitely find that buying a home is more affordable.
Proper planning, though, would help you raise children without suffering financially. Some of the expenses for the first 18 months of a kid’s life include prenatal care and childbirth, maternity leave, baby clothes and toys, formula and food, diapers, and child care, just to list a few.
It is important to prepare your finances before starting a family. What follows are some of the financial milestones you should reach before considering having children.
Have a Stable Job
It is important that you have job security before having kids. Whether you are self-employment, work in a traditional type of job, or exist through a combination of both, you should have a stable income that can support your family.
You should choose a career path that you can continue on, even after having kids. The income you receive should cover the costs of childcare, but this is just a portion of the amount required to raise a child.
When looking for a job, you should consider more than the salary, though. You should also understand the benefits offered, such as paternity or maternity leave, personal and sick leaves, and dental and health care. That way, you can take a day off when your child is sick, and it will not affect your salary.
Make Sure You Have Adequate Disposable Income
The above-quoted figure of $235,000 seems like a large amount, which averages out to around $1,087 a month for one child, or -$13,044 a year. You should have enough of a buffer in your budget to be financially secure, even before the expenses of caring for a child come into play.
Experts recommend that you save an amount equal to a year or more of the estimated cost of rearing a child. That way, you don’t need to worry about your expenses over time. Some financial experts even suggest having savings of at least $20,000 before you give birth. This amount could also cover some tests or other expenses that are not part of your insurance coverage.
Create an Emergency Fund
Aside from your disposable income, you should also have an emergency fund. You never know what might happen to your child. You need to be prepared for future possibilities. The emergency fund should be three to six months’ worth of expenses in order to protect your family from any surprises that may occur in the future.
Save Up for Retirement
Aside from having to pay for childcare, you should also start to save money for your retirement. The cost of raising your child increases as he or she ages. That’s why it is important to save for your own retirement before having your first child.
You have the sole responsibility for your retirement fund, and you should start one before having kids so that you secure your own financial future and prevent burdening your kids as you near retirement age.
The best way to save for retirement is to put ten percent of your income into your savings account. To ensure you do not use this portion of your paycheck on something else, you can automatically transfer the amount to your savings.
Find Ways to Save for College
Many parents find it difficult to start a college fund for their kids. To add to this burden, many adults are probably also still paying for their own student loans. If you don’t want your children to suffer the same, or a similar, debt problem, you should try your best to save up for their college education as soon as it’s possible, close to giving birth.
Debt management is a skill that all parents should master. You should get your debt to a manageable level first, even before you consider having a baby. Expenses will absolutely add up fast when you have a child, and that factor can easily lead to more debt.
When it comes to your own debts, it’s important to make sure that you pay them off as fast as you can. By doing this, you save money and, at the same time, keep your finances under control. If you need to get a loan for childbirth, make sure that the terms are affordable. You should conduct your own research on different lenders before you sign for a loan.
Childcare is the biggest expense you will incur once you go back to work. Having close family members or friends who can help take care of the child while you are at work can save you a lot of money over the long run.
However, having no family or friends nearby to help take care of the child will almost certainly result in more expenses and mean that you would need to employ the services of a nanny or daycare. Full-time infant care can cost up to $20,000 a year.
These are some of the things to consider before having a child. However, the reality doesn’t always present you with the best-case scenario. You will know when you are ready to have a child, even if you haven’t hit all of these previously mentioned financial milestones. They should only serve as a guide that will help prepare you financially before you have children.