Author Topic: Did FIRE change your plans on having kids?  (Read 1770 times)

teltic

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Did FIRE change your plans on having kids?
« on: August 20, 2019, 12:39:24 PM »
Hello!  28 male, single... I come from a large family (5 siblings), and have always had the idea that I will have a large family as well..

I found MMM 4 years ago, and have just realized that I may not want any kids (or at least as many).  Not looking too hard at the numbers, assuming I have kids post FIRE, I'll need $100k ($4k annually?) per kid.

Anyway, the cost of what children cost isn't really the question... Did this lifestyle change your mind on how many you wanted?  Or when you wanted to start having kids?  Waiting until post FIRE is optimal to have kids (keep expenses low until FIRE)... But there is the women's biological clock you have to factor into as well...

Would love to hear whether this lifestyle has changed your ideas on when/how many/etc of having kids.


 

Blue Skies

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Re: Did FIRE change your plans on having kids?
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2019, 02:26:05 PM »
FIRE is about doing what you WANT to do with your life rather than what you have to do to get by.  If you want to have kids, great, do it.  If you don't, that is fine too. 

We had kids before I found MMM.  I knew I wanted to have kids, and I knew I could afford it.  I also limited the number I wanted because I like to travel and doing that with lots of kids seems too difficult to me.  Standard hotel rooms fit four, maybe five people.  Cheap rental cars do as well.

My whole lifestyle is completely different with children than it would be without them.  What I do with my time, where I go on vacations (to a certain extent), and of course how much extra money I have (since I spend a decent amount on things for them).  The question is what kind of lifestyle do you want?  And does that include children or not. 

If I really wanted another child, adding another year (or more) to my FIRE timeline would not be the deciding factor about whether to move forward.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Did FIRE change your plans on having kids?
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2019, 02:35:09 PM »
What Blue Skies said.  I also had kids before FIRE but, to me, having kids or not having kids is way more important than FIREing on a certain timeline. 

Tass

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Re: Did FIRE change your plans on having kids?
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2019, 04:47:01 PM »
This is all very hypothetical for me right now, but climate/environmental concerns have begun to factor into my consideration of how many children to produce myself. I have also been strongly influenced by my parents' experience adopting children, so I don't see the climate consideration as a limitation; # of kids I want to raise does not have to equal # of kids I personally manufacture. Not exactly MMM, but related.

I grew up with many siblings and always assumed I'd have several kids, but was frustrated by the difficulties I foresaw doing that how I wanted while also having a career (as a woman); FIRE or partial-FIRE was, to me, a solution to the problem with kids I had always grappled with. My hope is to save enough before kids to coast to FIRE, then for me and my partner both to be able to work part-time at most and equally share parenting responsibility.

You may now tell me how idealistic I sound. ;)

Lanthiriel

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Re: Did FIRE change your plans on having kids?
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2019, 05:14:32 PM »
I was probably always going to wind up realizing I didn't want to have kids, but FIRE was definitely a point in the "no" category. My husband got a late start on his career and by the time we felt stable enough to have them, we realized that we could either have kids and embrace the frugality required to pay for daycare, healthcare, activities, etc. or finally start living for ourselves (rather than for school and student loan service). I guess this is what people who criticize the childfree call "being selfish," but the supposed person I was putting my own needs ahead of didn't (and will never) exist. Now I get to travel and live in a nice house and drive a nice car while also maxing out tax advantaged space and saving for a rental. It was the right call for me, but as others said, you have to find the right path for you.

arebelspy

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Re: Did FIRE change your plans on having kids?
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2019, 05:42:11 PM »
Yes, FIRE made us change our kid plans in two ways:
1) We pushed them back. Instead of having our first kid in our mid-20s, we pushed it back about 4-5 years until we FIRE'd, and had our first kid about 8 months after we FIRE'd (I was 30, she was 29 when the first was born).

2) We decided to have more kids. Mustachianism pointed us to life being about bigger things, and we decided a larger family would lead to a better life, for us. And because we are FIRE, we're able to be there for the kids, and also both around to split childcare duties. Third one is due in December. There may be more, not sure yet (first two are now 3 1/2 and 1 1/2).

It definitely had a big impact on our kid plans. Otherwise we'd have likely only one kid, who would be about 8 by now, and we'd still be working.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, 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.

Tass

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Re: Did FIRE change your plans on having kids?
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2019, 05:58:18 PM »
2) We decided to have more kids. Mustachianism pointed us to life being about bigger things, and we decided a larger family would lead to a better life, for us. And because we are FIRE, we're able to be there for the kids, and also both around to split childcare duties. Third one is due in December. There may be more, not sure yet (first two are now 3 1/2 and 1 1/2).

Was that an up-front decision, or more of a "let's do that again!" each time?

arebelspy

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Re: Did FIRE change your plans on having kids?
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2019, 06:15:31 PM »
2) We decided to have more kids. Mustachianism pointed us to life being about bigger things, and we decided a larger family would lead to a better life, for us. And because we are FIRE, we're able to be there for the kids, and also both around to split childcare duties. Third one is due in December. There may be more, not sure yet (first two are now 3 1/2 and 1 1/2).

Was that an up-front decision, or more of a "let's do that again!" each time?
Up front, around the time of pulling the trigger on FIRE or a bit before.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, 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.

calimom

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Re: Did FIRE change your plans on having kids?
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2019, 09:07:41 PM »
This is all very hypothetical for me right now, but climate/environmental concerns have begun to factor into my consideration of how many children to produce myself. I have also been strongly influenced by my parents' experience adopting children, so I don't see the climate consideration as a limitation; # of kids I want to raise does not have to equal # of kids I personally manufacture. Not exactly MMM, but related.

I grew up with many siblings and always assumed I'd have several kids, but was frustrated by the difficulties I foresaw doing that how I wanted while also having a career (as a woman); FIRE or partial-FIRE was, to me, a solution to the problem with kids I had always grappled with. My hope is to save enough before kids to coast to FIRE, then for me and my partner both to be able to work part-time at most and equally share parenting responsibility.

You may now tell me how idealistic I sound. ;)

@Tass just jumping into this thread to say have the life you want to live, and kick ass while doing it!

Cassie

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Re: Did FIRE change your plans on having kids?
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2019, 09:30:09 PM »
I donít know anyone that decided not to have kids based on finances only. It a life decision and I donít think that people that decide not to are selfish at all. It a very personal decision.  My 3 adult kids have given me both the most joy and most pain in my life.

JustTrying

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Re: Did FIRE change your plans on having kids?
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2019, 09:44:46 PM »
For me, it's definitely been a factor of us choosing to be one-and-done, but there are other factors as well. With one, it's relatively easy to travel, hike, camp, climb, etc with them along. (Due to our work schedules and lack of childcare, my husband and I often do these things 1:1 with her while the other parent works). With two, all of that would get exponentially more difficult, so this has been our major influencer. BUT finances matter as well, and affordability definitely played a role in our decision to have just one!

bobble

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Re: Did FIRE change your plans on having kids?
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2019, 08:59:14 AM »
I'd say it's the opposite for us. Kids made us see the value of FIRE. Before kids we already had time to do everything we wanted even if we were working full time. Now that we have kids time is more precious and it's harder to squeeze traditional work into the lifestyle we want. So it seems like we will FIRE much earlier than we otherwise would to enjoy time while the kids grow up.

Lady SA

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Re: Did FIRE change your plans on having kids?
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2019, 11:24:12 AM »
Similar to others. We have always wanted to have kids, but the exact plan shifted when we discovered the concept of FIRE and realized that kids would be a huge complicating factor. It's super easy to make money and save money as DINKs, but its much less easy when you have kids, especially if, like us, you want to significantly scale back work when kids come along to prioritize time with them. We don't have kids yet but are hoping to begin trying in the next year or so.


The interaction between our plans to FIRE and have kids resulted in some changes:

1. Settling on an "optimal" timeline for adding children to our family. I originally wanted to have kids early (when I was 24-28). Then we discovered FIRE and swung 180 degrees and thought maybe we should wait until we are FIRE, which would put us at like age 35. But there were some significant downsides to waiting that long, namely the physicality of both pregnancy and caring for young children, and we really didn't want to put off if we had a choice. So we eventually decided to split the difference, and now we hope we will have our first when I'm 29.

This gives us 5 extra years of stashing cash (compared to having kids at 24), hopefully getting to 50% FI and then after kids arrive, being able to coast to our full FI number within a decade (so only putting FIRE off 5 years compared to FIREing before having children) while we both work part time or something and can share the parenting load. Or have one of us be a SAHP and the other work. But basically, we decided we wanted to do the heavy lifting of saving first, get at least halfway to FI, and then we can shift focus to the needs of our family and let our accumulated savings grow in the background. We think this is a pretty good compromise between setting ourselves up for FI vs the physical requirements of having children, which is just simply easier when you are younger.

2. The number of kids. My DH comes from a family with 6 siblings and liked having a large family. I was interested in having around 3 children myself. But the more we thought about it, life is just easier with a family of 4. Like some other posters mentioned, you can fit a family of 4 in any car, hotel room, most homes, etc. It just seems like the default in our society and honestly, default is cheaper/easier/simpler. I think we could revisit this after our second comes along and see if our family "feels complete" or not (and if not, that would override our plans because happiness is more important than saving a few dollars), but right now we are planning on 2 kids.

3. Given that we don't actually have kids yet, we are aware that nothing ever goes to plan, and these little strangers joining our family will basically be the biggest unknowns in our life. We could be infertile, our children could have disabilities, etc. The concepts of FIRE have given us a buffer to deal with any of those potential issues which I am grateful for. I am a worrywart by nature and think about well, what if we can't get pregnant? Well, because we are frugal and this matters to us, we can easily pay for fertility treatments without it hurting us. And what if children that we do have, have disabilities/etc that make life just a bit more complicated or difficult? Again, FI means that we have money to spare to throw at the problem. Therapies, equipment, healthcare, hiring additional care help, whatever--being mustachian means that we can easily make any of those happen. Or what if we cannot have biological children? Adoption is expensive and complicated. But we could easily handle the cost of that as well if that is a route we eventually go down. Basically, being mustachian means that we have the financial tools to make our vision of our complete family come true without completely financially ruining ourselves, however that comes about. And I'm really, really thankful for that "safety net".

edit:
4. Thought of another one. This whole angst DH and I have had about when/how many kids to have because doing so would really impact our ability to save for retirement, also then made me start thinking a generation ahead. When my own kids will face this exact same timing problem as well -- Time to make/save money vs time for kids (if they want them). And we decided that while DH and I will be doing the Coast FI thing, there is nothing preventing us from doing income-producing work especially after our kids grow older and more self sufficient. Specifically, what we have in mind is if we can 1) set our children up for basically guaranteed conventional retirement at age 65 by setting aside cash at their birth to compound over 6 decades to take some of that savesavesave pressure off and 2) *partially* help them pay for college (or whatever training/etc they choose to do before beginning their career) so they aren't starting quite as far behind the 8 ball as DH and I did. Taking away the biggest sources of money angst for my children in their own child-bearing years would give them a bit more freedom to make their choices--choices that maybe aren't as constrained or heavy with tradeoffs like DH and I have had to make.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2019, 11:46:35 AM by Lady SA »

Cassie

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Re: Did FIRE change your plans on having kids?
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2019, 09:40:08 AM »
You will know after 2 if you want more kids or not. We would just ask the hotel for a rollaway bed for the 3rd child. We never needed to buy a bigger car than normal to accommodate 3 kids.

cari8285

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Re: Did FIRE change your plans on having kids?
« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2019, 03:43:30 PM »
Yes.

I'm recently 26 and I've always been on the fence about whether or not I wanted to have my own kids. With the fact that I need to pay off debt, get myself situated financially, and the emergency around climate change, I don't think I want to have my own kids. I was also in education for 4 years and I honestly think that seriously jaded me. This *could* change as I get older, but even if it does change, I'm more likely to adopt or foster rather than have my own - again, climate change emergency.

I have three niblings (2 nephews, 1 niece), and they are amazing. I can be a really great aunt. I also have a doggy and I foster dogs as well - I can shower them with lots of love. If I have the desire to have a child constantly and consistently in my life, I will look to adopt or foster (and I'd probably only adopt one because money).

My brother is also most likely not having kids. Sometimes we talk about getting a really huge property together where the whole family can live there. We'd get the ~children~ fix by helping my sister with her kids. It's all talk for now, but I honestly wouldn't mind that set up. If climate change wasn't a thing, I'd probably be more open to having just one of my own, but alas...

Zikoris

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Re: Did FIRE change your plans on having kids?
« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2019, 12:06:25 AM »
It was a complete non-factor for me - I've been staunchly childfree since childhood, and had my tubes tied several years before ever hearing about the whole FIRE thing.

Schaefer Light

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Re: Did FIRE change your plans on having kids?
« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2019, 06:08:47 AM »
Maybe I'm weird, but I've never had a strong feeling about having kids vs. not having them.  I think my baseline happiness level would stay pretty much the same one way or the other.  There was definitely a time when I was scared of adding mouths to feed to my household due to job insecurity, though.  I can see why a person who was going to be put in a position of being the sole breadwinner would be nervous.  Particularly if that person was struggling in his or her career.

Travis

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Re: Did FIRE change your plans on having kids?
« Reply #17 on: September 07, 2019, 06:48:53 AM »
Having children is what made me want to pursue FIRE in the first place.  We got a late start having our son (age 30), and my career kept me from seeing him for much of his life.  I discovered MMM when my son was four and decided I'm pursuing FIRE for him as much as I am for me.

Mr. Green

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Re: Did FIRE change your plans on having kids?
« Reply #18 on: September 09, 2019, 02:08:30 AM »
My wife definitely wanted kids before FIRE entered the picture. I wanted kids someday. We learned of FIRE in 2014. I had just turned 31, my wife was turning 29. We were already on track to retire early, but after doing the math we realized we could be free in just a few more years so we decided to wait until we retired. My wife had a miscarriage right about the time we FIREd and that gave us time to experience a life of absolute freedom. It's now been two years that I've had no demands of my time other than the ones I choose. We've gotten a taste of long-term travel and we love it. I turn 36 in about a week and we're now pushing kids back even further because we're not ready to give up our freedom yet. We've also become of the mindset to have one and see how it goes. Controlling 100% of our time has been a liberating experience for us. Most folks don't experience it until their 50's or 60's when their kids have left the nest and they retire. Having now experienced that, I understand why so many people have a problem with the transition, especially after 40 adult years of one responsibility/burden or another. However, unless you're going to FIRE at an extremely young age it's probably a moot point because of your biological clock. Most folks will have to make the kids decision before they're able to walk away from work.