Author Topic: Delay (or possibly never reach) FI to bring up kids?  (Read 7319 times)

catalana

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Delay (or possibly never reach) FI to bring up kids?
« on: April 04, 2012, 02:25:28 PM »
Me and my partner don't have children at the moment, but I am hopeful, despite the fact I'd be an older mum.  At the moment, we live well but reasonably frugally and save about 40% of net income.

I would love to be a stay at home mum for the 4-5 years before school age, but for three factors:
  • I am the major earner.  We could live on OH's salary, but not continue saving.
  • I really enjoy my current job.
  • There is lots planned for the next 3 years to get involved with, which is both interesting and would push me to the next level.

Delaying starting a family for a few years is not an option as I will then be in my 40s.  I really don't want to have a child just to put them into day care.  My OH is a research scientist, enjoys his work too, and is just starting work on a new 3 year project.

What would you do?

shedinator

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Re: Delay (or possibly never reach) FI to bring up kids?
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2012, 02:46:26 PM »
I can tell you what we did do: We got married and had a child before our first anniversary. This has decreased my wife's earnings by at least $20k/year, if not more (20k would be if she made per hour full-time what she does part time, but f/ters often are able to secure better pay than their p/t counterparts). Since our son will turn 4 in June, and she spent two years entirely unemployed, I don't think it's unreasonable to say we've already given up $100k to raise our child. Since we intend to homeschool, and have another child, that could easily add up to $1M+ by the time we're empty-nesters (and that's just assuming a natural career progression, not counting interest earned!). Even as I write these numbers, I have absolutely no regrets, and I'm confident my wife feels the same. But you are not us, so I'm not really sure how much what we would do in your situation would help.

What I do think could help is this: There is never a "good time" to have a child. Even if you're FI, there are always other things that you could be doing, but won't do if you become a parent (assuming you don't intent to procreate and then hand off the responsibility of actually raising the child to someone else). If you find yourself rationalizing that now is absolutely the right time, or that now is absolutely the wrong time, it probably says more about where children are on your list of priorities than whether it's the right time. So, with that in mind, are the three factors above sufficient reason for you not to have children, or are you both willing to potentially give up one or more of those things in exchange for being parents?

sol

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Re: Delay (or possibly never reach) FI to bring up kids?
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2012, 03:16:07 PM »
We all make trade offs with our money.  I think postponing retirement to raise a family is a more nibble goal than postponing it to have a daily latte, but that's just me.

If being a parent is more important to you than not having to work anymore, then this would seem a pretty easy decision.  Since you seem to like your job anyway, it looks even easier. I'd say have the kid pronto and don't worry about working longer.

Jason G.

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Re: Delay (or possibly never reach) FI to bring up kids?
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2012, 03:56:42 PM »
What I do think could help is this: There is never a "good time" to have a child. Even if you're FI, there are always other things that you could be doing, but won't do if you become a parent

This is absolutely true. Having kids is a huge time investment, so even if you ignore the direct costs (food, clothing, etc.) the opportunity cost is always going to be high.

My wife and I were in a somewhat similar situation last year. She is still in grad school, and having kids now will delay her graduation (and getting a well-paying job) by a year or more, but we decided to do it anyway (our first is due in October!). Looking forward, we couldn't foresee ever getting to a point where we would feel totally ready to start having kids so we just decided to do it now. Raising children is an important part of what we want to do with our lives, so it takes priority over earning more money.

Money is just a tool to help you reach your goals, so if having kids is an important goal just go for it!

arebelspy

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Re: Delay (or possibly never reach) FI to bring up kids?
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2012, 05:29:36 PM »
Someone asked almost the same question here:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/welcome-to-the-forum/putting-off-parenthood/

I only point it out because the comments and discussion there may be of interest to you.

My response, FWIW, was/is:
We're delaying, but only a few years.  I.e. instead of having two kids, one at age 25 and the other at age 27, we're planning on having them at 27 & 29.

This will get us closer to FI (and the early years make a big difference due to compounding). We're then planning on retiring at age 32 (for me) and 35 (for her).

If we pushed back kids to, say, age 31 (and 33), we could both FIRE at 31 before we had kids, but we don't want to wait quite that long (another 4 years).

We've been married 5 years already, so we'll have the first kid after being married about 7 years (as opposed to the 11 we'd be at if we delayed longer to retire first).

Of course, who knows what will happen once we actually have kids, likely all plans will go out the window.  But that's our current plan, kids at age 27, 29, retire at age 32, 35.

For you it's trickier, as your window on having kids (the traditional way) is closing sooner.

You say:
Quote
I really don't want to have a child just to put them into day care. 

Plenty of people have two working parents, and children go to day care. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, at all.

Having a child (or two) while working for a few more years may allow you to still reach FI, then FIRE once they're a little older.

Or maybe you'll stop work until they are a few years old and going to school, then go back to work.

Although it's likely ultimately an emotional decision, run the numbers like I did (my quote above).  I have a spreadsheet that calculates when we will be FI with a kids budget but no kids yet (i.e. we work until our passive income gives us the amount we need with an expanded budget for kid(s), then FIRE and have them), when we hit FI after having kid #1 NOW, when he hit it if we delay them a year, two years, etc.  Weighed against your age, etc.  At least look and see and maybe try to reach a compromise?
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

AJ

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Re: Delay (or possibly never reach) FI to bring up kids?
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2012, 05:34:25 PM »
Raising children is an important part of what we want to do with our lives, so it takes priority over earning more money.

Money is just a tool to help you reach your goals, so if having kids is an important goal just go for it!

That said, it should be perfectly acceptable to choose other goals over having kids. There are more than enough people in the world as it is, so if someone prioritizes their career over childbearing they shouldn't catch flak for it (not saying you are, just bringing it up). Obviously, once you have them, they take priority over everything. But I think we (as a global society) ought to be encouraging people who might be on the fence about child-rearing to consider devoting their lives to other endeavors. They would be doing a self-sacrificing service to future generations in helping to prevent overpopulation. The longer we take to hit 10 billion people, the better.

I'm not trying to bash parenting (I one day hope to accomplish it myself), but there is a certain PF blogger that once said people without kids were selfish and weren't helping society - "candles in the wind". That's bull, IMHO.

As for the OP - that's a major head-scratcher. Unless there is a way to go part time, it sounds like you have to decide what you want more: a job you love, or the experience of being a SAHP for the first few years. Only you can answer that. Putting kids in daycare isn't as heartless as some people seem to believe. Kids with SAHPs get a boost in the early years, but by the time they reach kindergarten daycare kiddos have caught up, so it evens out in the end. The biggest question is what will make you happy. Happy parents make happy kids. If you quit, will to resent your child for it? If you keep working, will you be too tired at the end of the day to really "be there" for you kid? Its hard to know ahead of time, but all you can do is your best with the info you have now.

catalana

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Re: Delay (or possibly never reach) FI to bring up kids?
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2012, 01:59:51 AM »
If being a parent is more important to you than not having to work anymore, then this would seem a pretty easy decision.  Since you seem to like your job anyway, it looks even easier. I'd say have the kid pronto and don't worry about working longer.
Sol, thank you - this is such a succinct but accurate way of looking at it.  What do I value more - having a family or not working any more?  The answer is firmly for having a family.

I know that even if I cannot get back to the same career level post-children, I should be able to find reasonably well paid work that I enjoy.

catalana

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Re: Delay (or possibly never reach) FI to bring up kids?
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2012, 02:07:14 AM »
Someone asked almost the same question here:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/welcome-to-the-forum/putting-off-parenthood/

I only point it out because the comments and discussion there may be of interest to you.

Thanks for the link!

jrhampt

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Re: Delay (or possibly never reach) FI to bring up kids?
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2012, 09:47:38 AM »
What about waiting three years and then having your husband be the stay at home parent, since he earns less?

catalana

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Re: Delay (or possibly never reach) FI to bring up kids?
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2012, 09:59:28 AM »
What about waiting three years and then having your husband be the stay at home parent, since he earns less?
I would be 40 years old then and just starting to try and conceive.  Although, having said all this, it might take us the three years anyway!

That would also allow us to stash more in the meantime!  :)

BenDarDunDat

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Re: Delay (or possibly never reach) FI to bring up kids?
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2012, 09:59:39 AM »
Me and my partner don't have children at the moment, but I am hopeful, despite the fact I'd be an older mum.  At the moment, we live well but reasonably frugally and save about 40% of net income.

I would love to be a stay at home mum for the 4-5 years before school age, but for three factors:
  • I am the major earner.  We could live on OH's salary, but not continue saving.
  • I really enjoy my current job.
  • There is lots planned for the next 3 years to get involved with, which is both interesting and would push me to the next level.

Delaying starting a family for a few years is not an option as I will then be in my 40s.  I really don't want to have a child just to put them into day care.  My OH is a research scientist, enjoys his work too, and is just starting work on a new 3 year project.

What would you do?

It doesn't matter what I'd do, but what you want to do.  There is absolutely nothing at all wrong with daycare.  Hell, my wife stays home and we still send my daughter to preschool so she can get more interaction with kids her age. My daughter loves preschool.  She loved daycare while she was in it.  We didn't like the number of illnesses or the limited amount of time we were able to spend with her. Both of these issues would have taken care of themselves if she'd continued at daycare. 

If you give your child love and a nice environment, he/she will thrive.  So, like I told my wife.  Do what is going to make you happy.  It isn't being selfish. A happy-well balanced parent is going to provide a better environment than a harried, resentful, and stressed-out parent.     

If you want a child, I think you should go ahead and start trying.  Being an older parent has its own set of challenges.  The genetic fears alone will keep you awake at night.  I wish we had started earlier. 

I wouldn't worry so much about the rest.  Money is just money.  You are two bright individuals, you'll figure out the money.  You are on this site, so I KNOW YOU'LL FIGURE OUT THE MONEY.  For the rest, you'll be on maternity leave for awhile and you'll probably have to go back to work for a while anyway for the insurance to pay for all the baby birthing stuff.  I think you'll know what you want to do then.  Stay at work or stay at home.  Do what makes you happy.  I'm sure you'll make great parents. 

Financial Independence means financial freedom.  Far too many take it to mean "I can retire when I'm 45".  However, it can mean many different things for many different people. It may mean taking a yearly trip overseas.  It may mean starting a family.  It may mean quitting a job and starting a business. 
« Last Edit: April 05, 2012, 10:18:43 AM by BenDarDunDat »

Mrs MM

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Re: Delay (or possibly never reach) FI to bring up kids?
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2012, 10:19:23 AM »
Great question!  I think that you don't know until you have a kid. 

I have a very close friend who has twins and she has now been off work for 2 years and is going back soon, but plans to switch to part-time work.  She said that being home with her kids is better than she imagined and she loves it!  She only misses adult interaction sometimes and feels that part-time work (at her old job - she's in Canada, so things are a lot easier for maternity leave) would be a perfect compliment.

On the other hand, you might find it stressful and wish you could go back to work.

In a perfect world, you would have some balance.  I would commit to taking at least 6 months off work (preferably a year) to see how it goes and then perhaps go back part-time if possible.

Obviously, for us, being home with our child was of paramount importance.  We both gave up our jobs to do it.  I'm not going to say it was easy -- it wasn't.  But, I learned a lot about myself and about my child -- much much more than I would have learned at my job.  Living with less is also a great learning experience.  If it were me, I would quit, but everyone is different and you won't know until you get there.

And, honestly, I really don't know how 2 parents both working full time even handle having kids!!  There are a lot of holidays off school and late start days and kids get sick and have to stay home... it's a lot to juggle.  Having one parent at home makes all that easier and makes life a lot less hectic. 

Sacadoh

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Re: Delay (or possibly never reach) FI to bring up kids?
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2012, 02:02:40 PM »
I would advocate the husband staying at home with the baby only if he is so inclined.

My wife & I have tried a number of combinations but both of us working 4 days a week (different day off) was by far the best solution. In the UK we have a law that makes this a possibility.

Circumstances has left us currently with Mrs S at home with baby no. 3 and me working 5 days. This traditional model leaves Mrs S a bit bored & Mr S a be stressed & starved of baby contact during the week.


catalana

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Re: Delay (or possibly never reach) FI to bring up kids?
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2012, 02:09:56 PM »
I would advocate the husband staying at home with the baby only if he is so inclined.

My wife & I have tried a number of combinations but both of us working 4 days a week (different day off) was by far the best solution. In the UK we have a law that makes this a possibility.

Circumstances has left us currently with Mrs S at home with baby no. 3 and me working 5 days. This traditional model leaves Mrs S a bit bored & Mr S a be stressed & starved of baby contact during the week.
I am in the UK, so will explore legal possibilities - as far as I understand it, the employer must consider an application, but can refuse it?

Did you find the 4 days working out as 5 days squeezed in, or did your employers move some of your responsibilities to other people?

TheDude

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Re: Delay (or possibly never reach) FI to bring up kids?
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2012, 04:31:46 PM »
[quote author=Mrs MM link=topic=481.msg6604#msg6604 date=1333642763And, honestly, I really don't know how 2 parents both working full time even handle having kids!!  There are a lot of holidays off school and late start days and kids get sick and have to stay home... it's a lot to juggle.  Having one parent at home makes all that easier and makes life a lot less hectic.
[/quote]

Its easy marry a teacher! I do agree though during her breaks life seems much less complicated. I wish we were in a position for her to stay home.

Sacadoh

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Re: Delay (or possibly never reach) FI to bring up kids?
« Reply #15 on: April 06, 2012, 06:23:21 AM »
Catalana, I am a bit of an expert on flexible working for men & was probably one of the first to try out the legislation within the 2002 Employment Act. If you google BBC Nice Work & flexible working you might find my story & a snap of me & my youngest.

The obligation is on the employer to find a way to make it work if they can & the onus/burden of proof is with them.

The punishment for mucking about a male applicant is quite limited but not so with a female applicant - due to sex discrimination laws!

I tried to get compressed hours to protect family income but had to concede a 4 day week with a cut in salary. As I was giving up the 40% taxed slice of income it was an acceptable compromise.

catalana

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Re: Delay (or possibly never reach) FI to bring up kids?
« Reply #16 on: April 06, 2012, 08:50:08 AM »
Catalana, I am a bit of an expert on flexible working for men & was probably one of the first to try out the legislation within the 2002 Employment Act. If you google BBC Nice Work & flexible working you might find my story & a snap of me & my youngest.

The obligation is on the employer to find a way to make it work if they can & the onus/burden of proof is with them.

The punishment for mucking about a male applicant is quite limited but not so with a female applicant - due to sex discrimination laws!

I tried to get compressed hours to protect family income but had to concede a 4 day week with a cut in salary. As I was giving up the 40% taxed slice of income it was an acceptable compromise.

Wow, thanks for that.  I've just read the transcripts, and that was really interesting.  Mabel looks a real cutie too!

It's actually quite an intriguing idea - both applying for part time working.  We could actually both go to a 3 day week and still be about 50% better off than on OH's salary alone.  (The other day, baby could go to grannies or day care).  We have jobs where it might just be possible to do it, too.....  hmmmmmm.....
« Last Edit: April 06, 2012, 08:52:44 AM by catalana »

Sacadoh

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Re: Delay (or possibly never reach) FI to bring up kids?
« Reply #17 on: April 06, 2012, 02:03:03 PM »
Catalana, if you can afford it & have the courage to tackle your employers it is a great compromise.

Imagine having a bank holiday every week, & the joys of doing fun things like trips to art galleries & swimming pools without the weekend tussles. The reduction in stress for both my wife & I was enormous.

Another way to look at it, following the early retirement theme, is that you are 20% retired! Although time with young children doesn't seem too much like retirement - Mabel is now nine & I have one of 5 & 6 months too.


upnorth

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Re: Delay (or possibly never reach) FI to bring up kids?
« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2012, 08:37:20 AM »
I had my kid in my late-30's and went right back to work after three months.  I didn't really want to go back, but my DH's job was so unstable that we thought it was the best thing to do.  I liked my job fine too.  I worked for three more years.  After about three years, it was just too much.  Too much commuting, too little time.  My job changed too, so I left.  I know you always hear people say that they don't regret staying home after their children are born, but I'll tell you with the benefit of hindsight that I don't really regret going back to work either.  Some aspects were difficult (i.e. pumping milk at work, not getting a full night's sleep before working all day, etc.).  But, I made a good living and we were able to pay off the mortgage and solidify our financial standing.  Now I'm home with very little worries.  I don't plan on going back.  I don't have to, but I just can't imagine juggling a kid's activities, homework, school and a job.  At least with a baby/toddler they are on your schedule.