3 Honest Reasons Why You Should Wait to Have Kids

Source: Free Digital Photos

Source: Free Digital Photos

Having kids is a life alerting thing, likely one of the biggest life changes any couple will make. Some couples choose not to have children and I personally have zero issue with this. While I can’t imagine my life without my daughter and impending baby 2.0, I 100% understand this is not the life for everyone (I apologize on behalf of the childbearing society which attempts to pressure you and make you feel bad). If, however you are considering having a child, there are some very real things to consider in terms of timing. While medical professionals will remind you that waiting may not be the best fertility practice, there are many other benefits to holding off on having your first child.

You Have More Time to Get Your Finances in Order

While this theoretically should have been true for us, given that we had three full years of career-level income before having our daughter, we did not put this into practice. Knowing what I know now, I want to kick myself, hard. For us, it took getting pregnant and having another human to care for to get us in gear. BUT if you’re lucky enough to have the financial ability to deal with any and all financial issues (paying down debt, beefing up savings, getting housing in order) before baby comes- do it. You will NEVER have the same financial opportunities once baby comes. Holding off on pregnancy means more time to get financial affairs in order and you must capitalize on this.

You’ll Likely Score Free Stuff From Friends

If I’m being honest, one of the biggest perks with not being the first of my friends to have kids is scoring on the baby stuff they want to give away. I have one friend who has a daughter three months older than Maria, three months is about the max time you’ll get out of an outfit in a growing infant which meant as she was growing out of cute baby clothes, we were handed them. This saved us a ton during the first year. Between her hand-me-downs and what I received as shower gifts, I didn’t buy a single item of clothing in year one. I visited the same friend today who gave me bags full of baby clothes. They didn’t know with either pregnancy if it was a boy or girl so they handed over all the baby boy stuff to us to have for our impending son, a lot of it brand new.

Within my circle of friends we’ve shared many things between us which has saved all of us a decent chunk of money. Toys, bouncy chairs, breast pumps (easy to come apart and sterilize), clothes (who wants to spend $30+ on an infant dress to wear to a wedding when you can borrow?). Being able to accept hand-me-downs and borrow items is a huge plus.

Your Bucket List Will Be Smaller

Though you may be in your peak fertility years, I simply cannot imagine planning a child in my late teens/early 20’s. By the time you’ve finished your post-secondary, and had a few years to live your life, I just don’t see how you can be prepared to have a child without regret any earlier. Not that a child isn’t a blessing, by waiting a few years you’ll have more opportunity to accomplish things that might not be so easy once a baby comes into your life.

I have people in my life who had kids very young (some planned, some not) and people who deliberately waited. The ones who waited are often much, much better off starting out. They have the financial know how to manage a maternity leave, to understand the importance of a stable living situation and truly appreciate the life they’ve set up for the child. So though society may judge you for not considering children until beyond your 30’s, or even 40’s you really do get the last laugh.

For more on how to become more prepared for children, and the importance of teaching them about finances check out these other great articles.

3 Unexpected Pregnancy and Post-Partum Costs
How We’re More Financially Prepared for This Maternity Leave
There are Financial Lessons at Every Stage of Life

Enjoy Plunged in Debt?

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Comments

  1. I’m still not sure about kids, but I’m positive there’s no way I could have made it work in my 20s. I was working as a concert promoter, traveling all over the U.S. and Canada. Having a family wouldn’t have been possible. I do feel a lot more stable in my career and finances now, though.

  2. I cannot imagine the stress I would be under if I had a kid before feeling financially settled. ZOMG. That is hands down the one thing holding me back ATM.

  3. I definitely want children, but I have a hard time imaging when we would feel ready financially. We are both in our mid-twenties and working full-time jobs with good income. But we have student debt to pay off now, and then we will need to save for a new (to us) car and then buy a house. Eventually, we will be ready but I can’t imagine trying to make it work right now, let alone when we just graduated college! Personal choice for everyone, but financially, a child would have drained us.

  4. I guess the big question is when is someone truly ‘ready’. If you think everything has to be done and out of the way, it’s probably never going to happen. There’s always more to do!

  5. Some interesting thoughts to consider for sure!

    My wife and I were convinced we didn’t ever want kids when we first married. Two years later we had come a full 180 on the decision. We did stop at just one, but *so* glad we have our daughter in our lives.

    Kids ain’t cheap though! 🙂

  6. This is a great post. I can’t even imagine having a baby right now just in terms of our financial situation. While my husband and I will mostly likely remain DINKs, watching our friends have kids and struggle with the ‘real world’ ramifications has been eye opening.

    For anyone interested in having a baby ‘later’ and is worried about fertility, I’d suggest this article. Did you know that the most quoted study on women’s fertility (and how sooner is better) is based on statistics from France in the mid 1600’s???

    “In other words, millions of women are being told when to get pregnant based on statistics from a time before electricity, antibiotics, or fertility treatment. Most people assume these numbers are based on large, well-conducted studies of modern women, but they are not.”

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/07/how-long-can-you-wait-to-have-a-baby/309374/

  7. We definitely want kids, but for many of the reasons you’ve listed above, haven’t yet. We want to pay off more/all of our debt, and travel travel travel. I’m turning 30 this year, so I think maybe by 35 I’ll be ready. Super ready.

    The downside to waiting so long is that I’ll be an old grandma. Haha. I’m thinking of this now. My mom didn’t have me til she was 36. Now she’s 66 and probably won’t have grandchildren til her 70s. I feel really sad about this. Many of her friends have had grandkids since their mid 50s, and I know she feels like she’s missing out. And I’ll probably feel that way at that age, too. :-/

  8. My husband and I just had our first (and only) baby. We’ve been married for 5 years and are both in our early 30’s. While there are benefits of having kids earlier, I’m so glad we waited. We got to enjoy our young, single life (before we met), then time together as a couple before adding a baby in the mix. We’re absolutely in love with our little guy, but timing-wise, waiting until we were in our 30s worked for us.

  9. Ah that’s a great point about the baby not lasting in clothing for more than 3 months. I haven’t really thought about it. Now one has to decide whether the benefit to prolong having a baby is worth the one year extra that you will have before he or she goes to college. It’s all about tradeoffs!

  10. Definitely. That is why I and my wife are still saving enough before we have our first kid. It may take some time, but at least, we’re getting ready for it so that we’ll provide a better future for our kid.

  11. I think its worth pausing to think about some of the considerations you’ve mentioned, but sometimes after waiting the kids don’t just come. It took my husband and I three years to conceive after waiting for the right time.

  12. As Jessie’s Money mentions, one consideration in the “waiting for the right time” argument is that there is a steep decline in fertility after age 30, and especially after 35. Many couples (and singles) resort to fertility treatments, the financial cost of which can be prohibitive, especially in provinces with no coverage, not to mention the emotional and physical tolls. So, IMHO, there is a timing balance to be struck between YOLO, bucket lists, debt repayment and retirement planning; and the reality of raising a child later in life. (Chasing around one baby, or even twins and triplets after age 40 is not everyone’s cup of tea, nor is it for the faint of heart ;)).