Post # 32
I want to be prepared for the expense of a child, but I don’t want to put of TTC until we are totally debt-free (as in, we’ll still have a mortgage when we begin TTC. I believe that as long as you are able to deal with the cost of having a child without strain on yourself, that’s all that matters. For DH and I, financial stability is being able to provide for a child and have a nice (comfortable) home. We are at the point now where we can actually start TTC and feel comfortable, but we are saving for four more months to have a little extra.
Both cars are payed for, we have health insurance, we have a home that is in a good location, and we have steady jobs.
Post # 33
@kfiorita: I think someone should be financially stable before TTC, yes. By financially stable, I mean:
Able to afford necessities such as shelter, food, drink, clothing, and also nappies, formula, medical bills/insurance (if applicable), time off work/childcare, school equipment/uniform etc
Be in a position where they are not relying on state handouts/benefits to make ends meet, and can fund their choice themselves
I think that ideally, it is also good if parents can afford to save a little each month for their child’s future, and also if they can afford extras which while not strictly necessary, can enhance that child’s life: eg extra-curricular classes, or tuition (if necessary). However, I don’t regard this as essential.
I really do think that if a couple is struggling to make ends meet or plans to rely on the state, they are being irresponsible and selfish if they actively TTC.
Post # 34
Some of it is discretionary spending- but things you would want your child to do/have. Want to throw them a birthday party or have them play a sport? Those cost money. Are they necessary? Of course not- but why have kids if you aren’t going to let them have a “normal” childhood?
Post # 35
I hate those things that say “a baby costs…an exhorbitant amount of money.” NO, it doesn’t. If you can breastfeed, cloth diaper, not have to pay for daycare b/c one parent will stay at home, then you can save a TON of money. I can’t find it right now, but I read an article where someone spent less than $1000 on the baby’s first year of life. They had a good support system, and for example, most of the clothes and things were donated, but I know if you look, you can find a lot of that stuff really cheap second hand. And then when there’s those ridiculous figures of how much they’ll cost til they’re 21… including such completely unnecessary things as private schooling, paying for them to attend every extracurricular activity and summer camp under the sun, buying them a car when they’re 16, always keeping them clothed in the latest designer clothes, having a big enough house where every single kid gets their own room, etc. You can do it for SO MUCH LESS if you are committed and financially prudent and decide that these things aren’t necessary.
also agree with all those pointing out that it depends on your definition of “financially stable.” I think that the biggest thing that should be taken into consideration is whether your healthcare is stable. If you don’t have healthcare and don’t qualify for state healthcare, then you could easily be smacked with a hospital bill of $70,000+ if something goes wrong during the birth, which will haunt you for the rest of your life.
Does “not financially stable” mean you just don’t have $100,000 in the bank, or that you don’t even have a regular job/source of income? Bit difference. I would say the former is not a big deal, but the latter is a recipe for disaster and possible misery later. If you can pay your current bills and are able to set a little aside every month, then I would say go for it. If not, then I suggest you spend this time working on better money management skills, or do something to put you in a better position for the future.
Post # 36
@ExcitedScaredBee: It’s a matter of priorities. It’s also a matter of valuing what you have and not being seduced by the “I want, I want” attitudes surrounding us. It strikes me that our advertising subculture has created endless wants, and tried to make us feel that we are not good enough if we can’t have the most expensive of everything. This just leads to a culture of fear and consumption. We are all seduced by this to an extent, but there comes a point where you just have to say “enough!”
I have relatives who are absolutely loaded. They have a house worth about a million pounds, mortgage free, several rental properties, also without a mortgage, a whopping great portfolio of shares and petty cash, no debts, and they say that they are worried about the future and can’t afford to retire. Well, they are well into their sixties and must be earning about 150K a year between them. They are also both not very well, and have had serious health problems. I will never understand why they don’t get off the work treadmill and spend the next 20 years enjoying their hard earned wealth and prosperity.
I find it twisted that we live in a world in which we have so much, but we are programmed to want more and more, and to put off actually living our lives because of it.
There are limits… I think you can’t be desperate for cash when you are TTC, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with never having children, either (although that’s not what this thread is about). But there’s a balance to be struck here.
Post # 37
For us the financial issue was about child care costs, we make “good” money together, but if either of us stopped working we should be nearly homeless and the cost of FT childcare would “eat” 1/2 my monthly income. We lucked out w/ Mother-In-Law (and to give her a break we are hiring someone locally as needed) helping us for free. If it wasn’t for that financial help, we would have had to wait.
I also wanted to add even if you get KU 1st try it still gives you 40 week to get in a better financial situation’ pay of debt, find better job, etc.
Post # 38
@Rachel631: I just want you to understand that everyone’s priorities are relative to the person beside them. I assume since you’re on this web site that you probably own a computer, possible a cell phone or ipad, you may have internet in your house and possiby cable TV?
Many people out there think that all of these things are ridiculous indulgences. All you need is a bowl of rice and a grass hut to survive.
It goes the other way too. You look at your family members as being extravagant when they might look at their neighbor across the street who has a jet and a yacht and think “why do they need all that stuff. Why can’t they just be happy with what they have?”
Just try to put yourself in other people’s shoes before you judge their lifestyle and financial priorities.
Post # 39
@red_rose: I get what you’re saying re the articles about the cost, but I always assumed they factored in things like loss of earnings. So for example, you (rightly) point out that one parent can stay home to care for the child; however, in doing so, the couple are losing that income, and so, technically, the child is costing them that income. They might not be paying cash out; but they will have less cash coming in.
I do agree that many other things also aren’t necessary; however, I think it’s less simple in reality. Whether we like it or not, we live in a very consumerist society, a society in which children who wear second-hand clothes and don’t have any toys etc may be looked down on or even bullied. Is that right? No. Should that happen? No. But the fact is, it does, and rightly or wrongly parents frequently feel under presure to provide those things, and rightly or wrongly, children who don’t have those things can be horribly bullied. Now, obviously it is a choice to buy into that culture; but I can see why many parents find it difficult not to.
Then there are things like education. Now, while a private school education is absolutely not essentially IMPO, I know several people who without one, would simply not be where they are today. My friend is dyslexic, and the only schools available to her were a local comprehensive with a lot of behavior issues and large classes, or a private school with 12-15 to a class, and more 1-on-1 time and support for children with additional learning needs. I firmly believe that had she gone to the comprehensive there is no way she would have got 10 good grades at GCSE, 5 A levels, and later, a degree in Dietetics. I might be wrong; but that is my firm belief.
As I said in my previous post, I wouldn’t say that someone who cannot provide those things is not financially stable, an I don’t think that being able to provide those things is a necessity. However, I do have a lot of respect for people who wait to TTC because they want to provide more than just the absolute basics/essentials for their child.
Post # 40
A lot depends on circumstances. In some cities, renting is the norm and buying a home is completely out of reach for most people. Some people choose to have kids young and are much more financially “stable” by the time the kids start school.
I think you need to have a plan that works for your family and are able to use the resources available to you. If all your relatives live close and will watch the baby, you may need significantly less than a couple who moved away from home.
Post # 41
“However, as long as you can afford the basic needs for your child and don’t have to rely on anyone else or the government to provide care for them, then I don’t really have a problem with it.
I do have a problem with people who rely on government programs who have children, or have them and are okay continuing to be on government programs after they have children.”
If you can financially provide for a child without relying on government assistance, I would consider you to be financially stable enough to have a child. Obviously shit happens — unexpected pregnancies, someone losing their job, etc — but people who deliberately plan on having a child when they have little to no money in savings and can’t currently afford basic items for just themself and their husband….that’s the situation that I don’t really understand.
Post # 42
I think it is important to have financial stability before TTC.
I am still in school and I work part time. Because of my PT employment, my husband and I rent out our two spare bedrooms. Before my husband and I start TTC, I want to have at least two years of experience as a full time teacher and have no roommates (which will happen immediately after I get a teaching job).
Those are the only two things that are holding us up and prevent me from seeing us as financially stable. Right now, we would be ok if one of our renters moved out, but funds would be a little tight. That’s not something I want to worry about once I have a child. Plus I think it would suck to be pregnant/ have a baby with roommates. UGH!
Also, once we get to the point of having roommates move out, we will have no debt aside from our relatively low mortgage (which we could make extra payments toward), health insurance, two stable jobs, two vehicles in good condition, and a pretty decent emergency savings account separate from a baby savings account.
Post # 43
why do the articles that factor in loss of earnings always *assume* that both people in the couple are working? Plenty of people only have one income, either by choice, or necessity (they cant get a job) so having a baby wouldnt affect their current loss of income in the slightest. Prior to what, 1970? due to this they wouldnt have factored in loss of income into the cost of babies, since most women didnt work.
Isn’t that odd and sadly ironic that women’s quest for liberation and freedom to work has resulted in babies actually being considered MORE expensive? So the women who get what they wanted with being able to work causes women who want to stay home with their babies to be viewed as “losing” money for the family. 🙁
With that all being said, obviously you have to factor in your own circumstances. If both people in the couple are working, for example, minimum wage jobs, then the cost of childcare will probably be MORE than one person’s job, and so it obviously makes more sense for that person to stay home, which would obviously result in a huge loss of income. But, if you’re like me; I don’t work very many hours a week but the hours I do work I get paid a pretty good amount, and they are flexible, it won’t be hard for DH to watch the kid a bit when I am gone, resulting in barely any loss of income. It just depends on your situation.
Post # 44
@ExcitedScaredBee: I’m just saying that:
A) We need a to strike balance between buying/owning stuff and actual quality of life, whatever that might be, and…
B) I don’t agree with the culture of fear and consumption in which we live, although I acknowledge that I am also part of it (I can’t very well escape it!)
I have been poor enough that I struggled to afford food and loo roll… that’s the reality of life on min wage. I wouldn’t have wanted children in those circumstances. Why have them if life is so desperate? But so many of us are encouraged to work and work and spend and save, even when we have so much more than the basics… to what end? That’s not living!
At some stage, it does a body good to step back and say “enough! I want to get off the treadmill and live my life!”
Also, be honest with me… if this couple I mentioned before were your relatives, what advice would you give them? Because my advice would be thus, if it was ever solicited: “You may not realise it, but you are in a very advantageous social position. You have no debts and lots of money. You are both in poor health, and you work such long hours that you are significantly reducing your life expectancy. All of your sensible financial investments will not benefit you from beyond the grave. Why don’t you retire, and spend your time enjoying life in comfort?”
Would you really advise a couple you cared about any differently?
Post # 45
@barbie86: Private school education is a beast, yeah…
Thank G-d for grammar schools (I am NOT moving anywhere outside a grammar school catchment area, that’s for sure) and for Catholic schools (DH is Catholic).
I went to both state and private schools. I can honestly say that the biggest difference is that the private schools are able to chuck out the small number of troublemakers who prevent anyone else from learning. Grammar schools and Catholic schools also do this, plus many of them have specialist learning difficulty units.
But yeah, I sympathise with those who can’t live within a grammar school catchment area, and don’t have any suitable Catholic schools nearby/ don’t want to send their kids to a Catholic school for other reasons.
I think school fees are one of the biggest financial issues for people who want kids. If you wait until you can afford private school fees, you may be waiting forever… it raises the bar HUGELY, financially speaking.
Post # 46
@Rachel631: I went to a grammar school; I didn’t like the school, but can say that I believe I would not have achieved anywhere near so highly had I gone to my local comprehensive. Unfortunately my friend, being dyslexic, didn’t pass the entrance exam, so a grammar school wasn’t an option.
As far as Catholic schools goes: one of the worst schools in my area currently is Catholic. They have a lot of problems with behaviour, and their results are very poor; they also didn’t do well at their last Ofsted visit. Conversely, the comprehensive nearest to me is on the up and up; and is a completely different school to when we were looking for schools some 16 years ago (when we looked round children were throwing things at the teachers, the classrooms where mayhem with zero learning going on, their 5 A*-C GCSE pass rate was about 18%; you get the picture! And the Catholic school I mentioned above was little better, with kids starting fires, bullying rife, and again, poor grades (I think about 30% achieved 5 A*-C)).
I totally agree with what you’re saying re waiting until you’re in a position to afford private school fees; however, my previous post was more in response to posters suggesting that private schools are an unnecessary luxury/extravagence, and I disagree that that is always the case. What I do think is that people who want children can, for example, try to live within the catchment area of good schools, or be prepared to put in some time educating them at home in addition to their hours at school where necessary. Being able to afford a private school is an ideal IMO, and not a necessity in the way that food, clothes and shelter are.