Father Sez

From and to parents - parental advice to our children on personal financial management and life.
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Posts Tagged ‘lifestyle choices’

There was a time when wealth was measured by the number of children one had……

Friday, January 16th, 2009

Times have changed. Now it seems people are concerned about the wealth draining effect of having children.  

The Simple Dollar recently asked his readers “Do children really cause financial burdens?” Trent’s question had been triggered by a comment he read on LifeHacker that said “Having kids is one of the most expensive poverty-inducing things you can do right now” Trent’s gave his reasoning and numbers and concluded that we should not be scared into not having children - or delaying having children for years – just by the huge costs bandied about. 

Steve also had a recent post telling us that we would be richer if we did not have kids. He did make it very clear though, just in case he was misunderstood, that all he wanted was for people to think ahead about the costs involved. So that people could make informed choices. As for him, he loved his son and daughter most dearly and did not mind the costs.  

Both the articles were very actively commented upon. Mainly pro and some others against. 

I have serious reservations about looking at the question about having children by looking at a list of expenses that would arise immediately and in the future once we had children.

Having children, like Mike, commented to Trent’s post) (#36) enriches our lives. Mike says that he was motivated as a new parent to further his career in ways he’d previously overlooked. Parenthood gave him the nudge to live up to his potential in his career. It’s been an enriching experience that made him a much better person.

I, too, started being more responsible, financially and in a number of other ways, after having children. I only started saving after the kids arrived. In fact, I say that I am “richer” in every sense of the word, after having our children.

Having children cements and makes for stronger family bonds. In our case at least, the petty quarrels and disagreements that almost all husbands and wives have, have not degenerated into break up situations because of our children. We have been forced to take a step back and reassess our disagreements because we want a happy household. 

And can any value be placed on the “no strings attached smiles, laughter and love” given us by our little ones? I don’t think any words can ever do justice to the feeling you get when the little ones smile and look adoringly at you. I must admit that I do feel sorry for those of us who have never experienced this feeling.  

Some people have likened having children as an investment and that we should work towards getting “a decent return”. I believe, as I have written before, that having children is not an investment, rather it’s an act of paying it forward. Even if our children do not pay us back, they’ll in turn pay it forward to their children.

Whether we should have a child or not is a lifestyle choice. Yes, costs may be one consideration, but it is only one. Don’t let ourselves be consumed by this one factor.

After all, wives, husband, girlfriends and boyfriends also cost money. In fact living costs money!!! And where would we be if our parents had done some financial modelling before deciding to have us?

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