A few days ago, a friend alerted me to this personal essay from the New York Times. It’s not very long, so I encourage you read the whole thing yourself, but here’s a quote that pretty much encapsulates the author’s point of view:
“My husband and I, both in our late 20s, share those kinds of goals [buying a house, saving for retirement] with others like us, but it seems obvious that the single decision that can best help us achieve them is one that many newly married, affluent young adults don’t usually consider: Don’t have children.”
As I enter my late twenties, I need to seriously start considering the direction I want my life to take over the next five to ten years, and the question of having children is certainly something that I’ve given a lot of thought to. I love reading articles like this because right now I feel like a sponge, soaking up the personal experiences and decision-making processes of others as I try to navigate my own complicated feelings about one of life’s biggest questions.
I’ve come to the conclusion that ultimately, there is no logical reason to have children. As the author of this essay points out, kids put a serious strain on one’s time, energy and finances. That last one – finances – is especially difficult for a personal finance blogger to swallow. I feel like I’m just making it when it comes to supporting myself, so the thought of having to support someone else, someone who is totally dependent on me and my income, is downright terrifying.
Unfortunately, though, having children is just not a decision to which logic can be applied. If everyone thought logically about the pros and cons of having kids, the human race would die out. Having children is a 100% emotional decision, which is why I found this article so interesting. It never occurred to me that someone would decide whether or not to have children at all because of financial concerns. Deciding to wait until you’re financially secure? Sure. Deciding to limit your family size because having a big family is financially unsustainable? Also completely understandable. But ruling out the possibility of children altogether in order to save money? It seems like an unusual basis on which to make such a huge decision.
What about you? Do/did finances play a role in your family planning decisions? Remember, I’m a sponge right now – I need all the input I can get!