Why It Makes Good Money Sense to Have Kids Early
The average age of first-time parents is on the rise. According to a recent National Vital Statistics Report, the number of first-time moms in their 20’s and early 30’s has declined since 2014 while the number of first-time moms in their late 30’s and 40’s has increased. Births in general, not just first-time, to women in their late 30’s and 40’s is at their highest since the 1960’s.
This trend can be partially attributed to Millennials delaying parenthood until they feel more financially secure (and make a dent in those student loans so many are faced with). While waiting to have children does allow parents more time to hit career and financial milestones before growing their family and taking on the estimated $233,610 it costs to raise one child, there are financial upsides to doing just the opposite.
Yes, having children earlier can benefit you financially. Here is a look at some of the advantages of having kids sooner rather than later.
You Avoid Joining the Sandwich Generation
By having children earlier, you potentially avoid becoming a member of the “Sandwich Generation,” adults who are caught between caring for or supporting their own children while simultaneously being responsible for their aging parents.
Many faced with this situation put their own financial needs on the back burner to prioritize those of their kids and parents. For some, that means delaying retirement and staying in the workforce longer than initially hoped or planned.
Of course, raising children is a financial juggling act regardless of your age, but by having children at a younger age, you benefit from having fewer balls in the air at the same time and may escape becoming a member of the “Sandwich Generation.”
Assistance From Grandparents
If you’re on the younger side, your parents and your in-laws likely are too, which means a higher possibility that they are in a position to pitch in — both with practical help as well as with monetary assistance.
In a recent survey, it was found that more than half of grandparents with millennial children help out with childcare or running the household, providing their adult children a savings of $300 per week on average. Additionally, many grandparents contribute financially towards college, clothing, extracurricular activities, vacations, and other expenses.
Naturally, this support may be reduced or unavailable altogether to parents who delay having children. Being young enough that your parents are able to offer assistance can provide significant savings.
Greater Flexibility in Your Career
While being more established in one’s career is touted as a benefit of having children later, opinion is actually mixed on whether or not that is advantageous.
In a Pew Research Center survey, 36 percent of respondents said women seeking a role of leadership in their career are better off having children early on, while 40 percent stated that they should wait until their career is more established. (About 22 percent said the best option is not to have children at all.)
A break for maternity leave or sick leave to care for children could be easier to navigate in a growing career rather than in an established one where it may be harder to weather a disruption to responsibilities.
You’ll Become an Empty Nester at an Early Age
Having children earlier will mean you’ll still be relatively young when they leave home — provided they don’t boomerang back to your basement couch.
This allows you more flexibility and freedom to focus on your financial needs in the years leading up to your retirement. You’ll also be in a position to provide the support to your adult children and their families that ideally, you received when your kids were young.
Find the Path That Makes Sense for You
As with most events in life, there is no true perfect time to have children. What is best for you boils down to your individual circumstances, goals, and preferences.
However, since raising kids comes with such a significant price tag, it would be prudent to consider these advantages of having children early and position yourself to best deal with the financial implications of parenthood.