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Had we had the kids first, we wouldn't get all the benefits of the compound interest.

This is a question of doing what is most important to you. If retiring early is the top goal on your list, then you should do what you're planning. If, however, having kids is the top goal -- especially if it matters for you to produce your own biologically -- then it seems to me that it makes most sense to have them now or soon, before your fertility starts going down, as it does starting at about age 30.

When DH and I were married, we were 21 and 23. We hadn't ever heard of retiring early, and we had no money anyway, and we never expected to have any. Plus, pensions were a lot more secure in 1979 than they are now. The question for us was, do we have kids or have a house? Because with the 18% mortage rates of the late 70s and early 80s, we sure couldn't have both. We decided to have kids and forego a house forever, and we had three kids.

Then in 1987 we managed to buy a house and got pregnant with #4. DH immediately lost his job. He had had one only briefly, because he'd taken care of #1 and #2 and then gone back to school. Then we had #3 and kept all the kids in day care, full time this time. It was actually kind of a relief when he lost his job, because we didn't have to worry about day care any more. Stay-at-home parenting has a lot to be said for it!

Money was *very* tight for a while. Then we got a windfall, and things started getting easier. This was about the time when I started planning for retirement, when I was 34. Shortly thereafter, I heard about FIRE, and things clicked for me. Our financial plan is progressing pretty well, even with DH pretty much still not making any money -- he's partially disabled.

I do have a point somewhere . . . oh, yeah, here it is. :-) You can plan all you like, but life gets in the way sometimes. Your best chance at success comes when you go for what you've identified as most important to you, after careful consideration of all your goals. I'm really, really, really glad we had our kids starting at 25 and 23. They've sucked money out of us, of course, but it is a thousand times worth it to have them.

This may sound like I'm preaching, and I'm sorry if it does. I just want to throw in my two cents and see if it might actually do some good.

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