Is a combined income of 90k a year enough to raise a family?

posted 2 years ago in Money
Post # 2
946 posts
Busy bee

This question is unfortunately only one that you can answer!  You have to factor in all of things facets of life that are important to you and how much they cost.  Maybe you are a person who wants a big house, or maybe you’re a person who wants three cars, or maybe you’re a person who needs to have a huge savings to fel comfortable, or maybe you’re a person who wants to eat out multiple times a week, or maybe you’re a family with over 100K in student debt.  Budgeting and what is comfortable is so dependent on your family’s personal needs that no one on the internet can really give you a very good answer.   Best of luck!!

Post # 3
1460 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2019 - City, State

In my personal opinion, yes.  Will your kids maybe have to have some hand-me-downs and may not always have a new backpack for school every year?  If you’re having 3-4, that’s likely.  But I think as long as you’re smart with your money, you can raise a family comfortably on that in the Midwest.

Post # 4
10460 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2016

I think that depends on a lot of factors. Where you live and cost of living in that area. Do you have family to help with childcare or will you need to pay for day care? What kind of lifestyle do you live or want to live? 

I know a couple who had 4 kids on way less than 90K a year. She’s a Stay-At-Home Mom. At one point they had to move in with their parents. They never go on vacations, get a new car, rarely eat out or basically spend on anything frivolous. They are okay with that, having a bigger family is more important to them than any of those “extras”. Personally, that would not work for me.

Post # 5
1344 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2019

Generally speaking, yes. I live in the Midwest and know plenty of people who are raising families on less income than that.

Post # 6
7653 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

That’s not enough info to answer–there are areas of the Midwest with high and areas with low cost of living. What’s the average home price where you are? Will you take time to build up solid savings, including retirement, before having children? Are the public schools good? Do you have family near to help with child care or will you have to use daycare? What are daycare costs in your area? Do you plan to space your children out or would you like them closer together? Do your employers offer generous health insurance and maternity leave benefits? Does your future income potential exceed the cost of child care for multiple children? If not, can you afford to live on one salary?

It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of the number of children you’d like before you are even there–sometimes it’s good to just start with one and see how it goes.

Post # 7
2670 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2018

View original reply
longatlast :  The answer depends on a LOT of factors. I would discuss this with your husband in order to determine whether or not you could support a family of 4-6 off of $90K.

I know I couldn’t, but a lot of people can.

Post # 8
476 posts
Helper bee

It depends on a lot of factors, none of which we can know.  What I can say is that it will not be easy raising 3-4 kids with both of you working.  You will need to pay for child care if both of you are working, and that can easily cost as much or more than one if you is earning. If one of you stops working to care for the kids, then you will not have half that income you’re currently counting on having.  And don’t forget that $90k is not $90k after taxes are deducted. 

Post # 9
8998 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

View original reply
longatlast :  it depends on your childcare situation since that’s the most expensive part of having kids. At 3-4 kids you might end up paying more than you make in daycare (depending on how spaced out they are) and so it will be cheaper for one of you to come home. In which case you won’t be raising a family on $90k. I’m in Boston so my COL is very different than the midwest, but one kid is daycare is about 18% of our take home pay. We’re trying for #2 and that will jump to neary 39% assuming it happens soon (infants, toddlers, pre-school are all different rates). Basically my husband’s salary will go to daycare for a few years, but since he’s our access to affordable healthcare it’s still worth it for him to work. 

I always thought I wanted 3-4. Now that I have one I think it’s more likely we’ll stop at 2. It’s still possible we’ll go 3, but the realities of parenting and our finances set in once that first kid shows up. 

Post # 10
253 posts
Helper bee

Depends on a lot of factors! We live in the Midwest and make less than that! We have a 1.5 yr old. Don’t have much debt aside from house and have 35k in savings. We don’t struggle. 

Post # 11
15062 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

You kinda need to look at your own expenses and stuff to answer that question… 

Post # 12
6957 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2016

I think there’s a difference between “could” and “would” in this situation. I live in the Midwest as well, but in a high COL area (Chicago). COULD we raise a family with an annual salary of $90K? I think so. WOULD we try? Absolutely not. There just isn’t enough cushion there for me. Plus, we could do it if it meant giving up a lot of things that we find important (decent house, 2 cars, occassional vacations, etc.). It all depends on what’s important to you. 

ETA: We know a couple who only make around $50K a year (also in Chicago). The wife stays at home with their two kids. I never understand how they can afford to do that, but they do! They make it work somehow! But they’re priorities are obviously different than ours. For example, they never travel or go on vacations or basically buy themselves anything that could be deemed frivolous. That wouldn’t work for me but they seem happy. 

Post # 13
3815 posts
Honey bee

It’s doable, but you might not be able to afford many luxuries like vacations, new cars, meals out, etc.  

And it’s assumed that you will make more money over time, so who know what your salary will be in 5-10 years.

Post # 14
10546 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

For me, yes. 

Post # 15
568 posts
Busy bee

Definitely you can make it work. Frugally though. 

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