Author Topic: FIRE before having kids?  (Read 1982 times)

Alchemisst

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 153
FIRE before having kids?
« on: April 07, 2019, 08:51:33 PM »
Has anyone here done this? How would you work out a FI number in this scenario?
« Last Edit: April 07, 2019, 10:08:54 PM by Alchemisst »

matchewed

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4382
  • Location: CT
Re: FIRE before having kids?
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2019, 07:33:31 AM »
It's essentially the same equation. You will need to determine how much money you need to live on per year while you have kids. That is your baseline.

To be fair the numbers shouldn't change too much with kids or without. Kids don't have to be some crazy more expense in your life.

If you believe it is your responsibility to provide them with an education beyond high school then add that cost in (hint you don't have to provide that).

Other than that your grocery bills are a bit more?

Adam Zapple

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 474
Re: FIRE before having kids?
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2019, 07:49:47 AM »
Figure out groceries, diapers (don't have to be disposable), added healthcare costs, education costs and you are good.  Baby clothes are super cheap and everything else can be obtained second hand.

I would go crazy caring for my kids every day with no escape but everyone is different.  It might be worth holding onto your employment until after the baby is born so you have healthcare (if in the US) and you are sure permanent stay-at-home parenting is for you.  Not all children are born with perfect health, which is another consideration.

thd7t

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1340
Re: FIRE before having kids?
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2019, 08:28:35 AM »
reach out to @arebelspy on this.  He's a mod here and he and his wife FIRE'd before kid(s?).  He's got great info.

DireWolf

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 32
Re: FIRE before having kids?
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2019, 10:27:41 AM »
Speaking as someone who has put one kid through college and still has another at home for 7 more years, here's some potential (ymmv)  added cost:
- larger home/apartment
- health insurance increase
- out of pocket health care cost
- dental, best to budget for braces
- vision, best to budget for glasses
- clothes and more clothes. They are always outgrowing.
- larger grocery bill. If you eat out, larger bill at restaurants
- gifts, toys, electronics, etc.
- potentially larger vehicle
- perhaps more errands, so more gas money
- car once kid(s) turn driving age
- higher insurance if they are driving
- sports leagues, school field trips, camps
- bicycles that they'll outgrow every few years
- flying, trains, hotel rooms, beach rentals, etc. are all things that can add up quickly as you go from just you+spouse to a family
- college expenses/contribution (thankfully we will look somewhat poor to FAFSA in FIRE)
- wedding expenses/contribution
- entertainment budget - do you take them to movies, Disney World, gem mining (my kid loves this for some reason), etc.?

We are trying to FIRE in the next 6-12 months, so know what our current spending is, so in our case it is trying to decide how much of a bump do we foresee for things like a car/insurance and college, and then how much do we see our spending decrease after college. I'm not going to chose a number for the next 40 years that I'll only need for the next 11 or so.

FWIW, I'm using the added cost of one child as $7K/yr now and $15K/yr for the college years (state school plus some financial aid). That is with us already owning our home and vehicles.

« Last Edit: April 08, 2019, 12:27:57 PM by DireWolf »

DireWolf

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 32
Re: FIRE before having kids?
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2019, 10:29:13 AM »
One more thing, speaking from experience, don't wait too late to have kids if you are set on having them. Fertility treatments and such can be pricey as hell.

mathlete

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1578
Re: FIRE before having kids?
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2019, 10:39:01 AM »
It's probably more difficult to make a plan before you have kids vs. after. Because there's so much uncertainty, of course.

Maybe you crunch the numbers based on a median child and retire, but then you find yourself spending thousands of dollars on IVF just to conceive. Maybe the kid is special-needs and you have to spend boatloads of money to involve long lists of professionals in your life all the time.

If you make your plans after you've had kids, there's a lot more certainty baked in.

Do what you want, but be prepared for surprises I guess.

Tass

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2050
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Southern California
  • Working on a PhD...
Re: FIRE before having kids?
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2019, 12:11:09 PM »
My goal is for both parents to be able to be half-time before kids. Whether that's because we're totally FI and just waiting to make detailed plans for all the uncertainties listed here, or because we've got enough to coast toward a much slower FIRE on half-incomes, remains to be seen.

This is 5-10 years away for me, though.

chasesfish

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3484
  • Age: 38
  • Location: South Carolina
Re: FIRE before having kids?
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2019, 12:29:07 PM »
One more thing, speaking from experience, don't wait too late to have kids if you are set on having them. Fertility treatments and such can be pricey as hell.

I want to second this.  We declared retirement just shy of turning 37.  Always wanted to be financially secure and close to retirement before having kids, but we may have delayed it too long.  Started trying at 34, still kidless, docs say there's nothing wrong.  Wife had some health issues unrelated that caused a delay too.   Don't know if it'll happen at this point.

mschaus

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 153
  • Location: Chicago
    • blog
Re: FIRE before having kids?
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2019, 01:10:37 PM »
Has anyone here done this? How would you work out a FI number in this scenario?

If you're FI before kids, it opens up whole worlds of flexibility. I'd recommend stepping back and evaluating the whole big picture of life.

Regarding that path in general, this one is titled "First Retire, Then Have Kids":
https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/07/01/a-guest-posting-on-frugal-dad/

On the cost of families, travel sports, etc:
https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/05/26/what-is-the-real-cost-of-raising-children/
https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/12/avoiding-ivy-league-preschool-syndrome/

The "burden" of being FI is that you are responsible for basically everything that comprises your life. Design it to be what you want!

Tass

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2050
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Southern California
  • Working on a PhD...
Re: FIRE before having kids?
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2019, 03:23:06 PM »
Infertility is less of a fear for those of us interested in adopting.

cloudsail

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 553
Re: FIRE before having kids?
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2019, 07:06:53 PM »
Even with adoption, you might have little control over what kind of developmental or health issues your kiddo turns out to have.

It's a small chance, of course, but it's a very real one. If we had retired first then had our son (who's autistic), we would almost definitely have had to go back to work to pay for his therapies.

JLR

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 505
  • Location: Australia
Re: FIRE before having kids?
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2019, 08:41:21 PM »
How to work out your FIRE number? Perhaps ask around those in your community who have children and are living a lifestyle you see yourself living at that point what their figures are. There are so many variables, and, as others have said here, you can't control for all of them.

I don't agree with everything in this article, but it is a recently blog post by a FIRE person that is on this topic. I thought it might interest you:
http://diversefi.com/2019/03/31/dont-fire-before-kids-2/

cloudsail

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 553
Re: FIRE before having kids?
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2019, 09:53:38 PM »
One benefit of being at least on the way to FI when you have children is that it gives you a lot more options. It allows at least one of you to consider staying home, vastly lowering the stress of daycare/after school care/school holidays/sick days. You have the option to do co-op schools or homeschool, as MMM did when his son was having trouble at school, and as we also have chosen to do. When I see the double income families around me putting together summer childcare plans, I am immensely grateful that I only work a remote part-time job. When my husband and I were both working full time, we had a live-in nanny and it was still exhausting. If you are also struggling to be financially secure at the same time, the stress increases exponentially.

calimom

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1111
  • Location: Northern California
Re: FIRE before having kids?
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2019, 10:03:05 PM »
It's always very entertaining to hear people with very young children preach about how cheap it is to have kids. "Put them in a drawer to sleep! Get your parents to buy expensive car seats! Get hand me down clothes! Use cloth diapers and beat them on rocks to wash them!" And some of those things are true of course, and it's great to save money, but do get back to us in about a dozen years.

I will say a big benefit of both parents being retired and not having to work is the complete elimination of childcare expenses, provided both are on board with 24/7 child rearing.

Tass

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2050
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Southern California
  • Working on a PhD...
Re: FIRE before having kids?
« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2019, 12:09:00 AM »
Even with adoption, you might have little control over what kind of developmental or health issues your kiddo turns out to have.

No, for sure. I have no specific plans right now; like I said, I'm not having kids soon. But my family - nuclear and extended - includes several adoptions, so I consider it a fully real strategy for building a family. That's all.

I am interested in the arguments against waiting to FIRE, but infertility is not a be-all-end-all argument for me.

Tass

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2050
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Southern California
  • Working on a PhD...
Re: FIRE before having kids?
« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2019, 03:00:12 PM »
I don't agree with everything in this article, but it is a recently blog post by a FIRE person that is on this topic. I thought it might interest you:
http://diversefi.com/2019/03/31/dont-fire-before-kids-2/

This article missed the mark for me. It seemed like its two main arguments were (1) having children will dramatically change your life, and (2) you will miss proper FIRE once you give it up. 1 is true for all parenting, and 2 discounts the possibility that you might specifically want to FIRE for childrearing.

The downsides they pointed out still seemed significantly less than the downsides of having children while working. You have to quit traveling as much? Imagine all those poor souls who have to fit their youthful travel in with a work schedule before they settle down. You'll have to give up your luxurious sleep schedule? Good thing you don't ALSO have to get up early for work! You'll have to shift to a whole new paradigm of selflessness... Isn't that true of all parenting?

The financial concerns it touches on are fair, and kind of the point of this thread. And I'm not saying there aren't other downsides - I have no interest in being a solo stay-at-home caregiver, for example. There are lots of reasons to have kids while you're younger. But if the downsides of FIRE before kids are the same as the downsides of kids, then... that doesn't say very much about the FIRE timing.

Personally, I would have no interest in having kids now even if I magically became FI tomorrow. I'm not WAITING for FIRE to have kids; I'm planning for FIRE so that I have every option available once I AM ready for them.

soccerluvof4

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5945
  • Location: Artic Midwest
  • Retired at 50
    • My Journal
Re: FIRE before having kids?
« Reply #17 on: April 10, 2019, 03:48:49 AM »
Oh, one more thing to point out to those who are considering waiting to FIRE before having kids, and why I think you should reconsider.

 Let me give you some background.  Iím an older guy, mid 50s, fit., and with 2 younger kids. Theyíre my joy, and one of my few regrets is that we didnít have them earlier and have more. I absolutely adore my kids. That all said, they are EXHAUSTING. Having kids when youíre older sure beats not having them, but this really is a young manís sport. It can be done, and done successfully when youíre older but the little devils will flat out wear you out. Better to do this when youíre  young and closer to your physical prime.



This is us and totally how I feel these days.  I fire'd at 50 with 4 home and 2 now are still at home 2 in college. I am almost 55 with a 7th and 9th grader. I feel exhausted all the time chasing the young ones and worrying about the older ones. Earlier would have been better but I am grateful we still had 4.