A decision to have a child can't be a financial one. While waiting until you have enough resources is certainly prudent, trying to anticipate to cost of rearing a child to 18 in my opinion is not really relevent. AFter all, why are you having a child?As I already said, deciding to have a child isn't a financial decision. It seems as if you're saying that as long as I've decided to have a child, that there's no point in anticipating the costs. That sounds an awful lot like the people who are in debt 30k on their c-cards, buying big presents for their kids on christmas because "They're my kids, they deserve the best". They're going to be an expense like any other. While I plan on having them, they're certainly going to impact my spending, and I think it's only prudent to anticipate these charges as soon as possible. If I know college expenses for them now, I can make sure I have the correct amount saved up before they hit college. Unless we wish to go with what you appear to be advocating of "Don't look ahead, just make the babies, and everything will be wonderful". I would love to tell my children when they're 10 that their college funds along with some spending money is already in an account and waiting for them.The reality, having a child changes everything--FOR THE BETTER. HAving raised three boys (my oldest is a college grad and married and my youngest a High School Junior) I can say they have been the best additon to my life I ever could have desired.They come into the world helpless and totally dependent. So you have food, pampers and some baby clothes. A crib and car seat round out the necessities. But the payback is huge.Ok, kids are nice, but that has nothing to do with planning for their costs. Good and wonderful things can still be planned and budgeted for. They're not a holy symbol that shouldn't be touched with cash, they're an expense, just like my food is. Just because I enjoy eating doesn't mean that I skip putting it in my budget.However, if you're wrapped up in how much it costs, don't do it. IT will be expensive and it gets costlier as they grow older. In your own letter you cited the unnecessary expenses your parents made. I would say that things like vacations and possibly the pool enhanced the family quality of life! The essence of relationships is sharing time and experiences. Watching the kids enjoy vacations and the pool probably brought great joy to your parents.I'm not "wrapped up" in the costs. I'm interested to know the costs. I know they're expensive, as I've said before my parents spent a ton on us. Vacations were sometimes expensive (but not too often). As for the pool (and the pinball machine, and the air hockey, etc), no, I don't think those costs were useful. If I'd had the choice, I'd tell them to invest the money from the pool and the other expensive toys, and put it into their retirement so that I could spend time with them. They're still working, they'll be working until they're at least 65 if not older. It's my opinion that if I plan for the kids, save the right amount, I can spend time with them which will be a lot more valuable than any pool could be.Finally, you put this on the retirement board because your focused on saving for the future. But what are you saving for--if their are no children and eventually grandchildren to bring the real joy to your household. Who cares what it costs!Who cares what it costs? You do notice people write food costs into their budgets. They budget for housing, they budget for vacations. These are all things that bring life to our lives. Can't live if you can't eat. Hard to enjoy life without a house. But we still budget for them.I'm saving for a long life. This life will include living on our own, having children, raising children, sending kids to school, living on our own again, and eventually leaving a little bit to them I'm hoping. I will enjoy kids, they'll be wonderful, and I hope to spend a lot of time with them. If my kids cost 3 times as much as I planned for, that's fine, at least I had an idea and planned conservatively. Much better than many of the parents that I know, throwing college expenses onto credit cards and complaining about the costs that they really should have planned for.
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