Author Topic: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?  (Read 10134 times)

Eva_Eva

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I'm a moustachian newbie but have been reading the site for s while...
So this is my dilemma - I just turned 40 and thinking to have a baby on my own but the huge student loan debt is constantly on my mind...and the temptation is to do both at the same time? Obviously, I am terrified. I am at $117K in SL (don't ask, please!) and at 6.5% and I might be able to refinance down to 4% and aggressively pay this off in 5 years. But at 40, I have decided to get pregnant by the end of the year. If I refinance, it would be through my credit union and that means I will no longer benefit from the potential of any legislation that might be passed in the future (if the Dems take back congress, there might be a slim chance) so I am knowingly giving up that opportunity. I have no other debt and my living expenses are pretty low - $3000 which includes $800/student loans.
These are my numbers: NET - 80K/ year, $35K in retirement, emergency $3000. Having a baby on my own + my insurance with Kaiser is about $2K for the fertility clinic and $260 for delivery. I have lots of maternity and baby stuff from friends so I wouldn't need to buy too much.
Should I refi my student loans and throw $3K / month for 5 years until I am done with it, or should I wait until after I have a baby?  I am relying on no one but myself with everything.

Thank you,
E.

ToTheMoon

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I don't have any helpful suggestions, but @woolgather is in a similar situation.  Perhaps you can help each other out through this decision making/baby making process?

Best of luck with whatever you decide!

Gin1984

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From a kid of a single parent who chose to have a child completely on her own, don't do it please.

Eva_Eva

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@Gin1984 - Whoa... I very much appreciate your thoughts but I am sad to hear how you feel. I wouldn't be so quick to give that kind of life advice - life isn't all black or white and I would be interested in the details of someone's unique life situation, but that's just me. Please trust I have been giving this A LOT of thinking and while I recognize how terrifying this is, I'm not 23, I'm 40! Having a kid isn't a transactional decision but a calculated and conscious one -- something I feel deep down and no matter how long I wait and how I twist it, this won't change. Fortunately, this isn't a question of *if* to do either but *when* to do either and the best approach to getting both done.

cats

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I have a 2yr old kid and a very helpful hands-on husband. The kid is a TON of work, and it's constant--you can't drop him and take 30 min to yourself the way you can with a project or work deadline. Do you have any family who would support you with this kind of decision with their time? I would be very hesitant to willingly become a single parent without having a strong network of family and friends nearby.  This has not so much to do with finances as with personal sanity and survival. I love my son dearly, but sometimes I need a break! Really need it.



englishteacheralex

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People are judgy on single moms by choice, as you can already clearly see.

You ready for years of that?

That aside--it's not the labor, the delivery, the baby junk you have to buy, or the prenatal care that puts a person in the poorhouse. It's daycare. We have a one year old and a three year old. Daycare is $2005/month for them. That's actually a pretty good deal. You ready for a second rent/mortgage payment in order to keep working?

Not to mention the fact that you might kind of suck at your job for a while, while the kid learns to sleep through the night? It takes about a year for a lot of them to master that trick. My one year old was still waking up screaming at 2 am a couple nights a week until about a month ago (thank God that seems to be over).

I'm often in survival mode at work these days. I don't take extra projects, and I have to leave right on time--can't stay late because of daycare. Being a working mom is no joke. Having a husband/committed partner is a pretty big deal. When I have to stay late at work, he gets the kids. Sometimes when a kid is sick, he'll stay home for the day with them. When I got kidney stones, he managed the kids full time for two weeks while I waited for it to pass.

Doing this solo...the mind boggles.

I've known two women who had children by themselves and it worked out for them. I'd say the obvious reason it worked was that they had a boatload of money in both cases. They had nannies.

I sure it can be done. Personally, knowing what I know about small children, I'd probably not do it unless I was FI or nearly FI.

Eva_Eva

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@cats - great questions & points! I have nieces and friends with children and I am fully aware of how hard raising children is (and they're married!!). To answer your questions - yes, my mother might be able to help by watching someone (she's 70 and agile but she's been through I lot and wouldn't expect or ask her to do any hard work for me) I would hire to look after the baby and I am in Washington DC and I know plenty of single mothers that have organized themselves into small communities to share various kid-related chores and activities. I also have friends who already offered to help with cooking, etc. (for free and with a smile on!!).

I also truly believe that raising a kid while you make good money is easier than when you're not so yes, the sanity part is true but the financial part if also very, very important.

Luckily, I am healthy and in have a job I love that pays me more than enough to be able to afford to pay for childcare. I am moving into a less luxurious and pricey place with more room in June (in preparation). DC maternity leave is 8 weeks @ 1500/week but with a cushion of $25K at time of delivery (or more - automatically saving this), I could easily maintain a $3000 student loan/month until I go back to work. The unknown part is what would be THE MOST I absolutely would need for the baby for the next 5 years, while I am aggressively paying down my SL.
Thank you everyone for your input!

Eva_Eva

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@englishteacheralex - that is unfortunate but yes, I am ready for it. I lost my father when I was young and my mother lost two husbands so she somewhat raised my sister alone and then my brother and I and she raised a very strong, independent woman. I got to the top 100 % on my own and while people might judge, I have been offered a lot of support (cautionary from family) and friends but then again, I live in Washington DC - a very liberal city where people do this all the time. Daycare in HI seems a bit steep and I think for one baby I can manage with about $600/ month, form what I've seen around here.

The way I see it, time goes by and while I will struggle through the first three years or so, things get easier and then when I'm 50, I will not regret not doing it. I just don't think I can live with the regret and I want a baby more than anything else!

Thank you for  your thoughts - they are very helpful!

Gin1984

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@Gin1984 - Whoa... I very much appreciate your thoughts but I am sad to hear how you feel. I wouldn't be so quick to give that kind of life advice - life isn't all black or white and I would be interested in the details of someone's unique life situation, but that's just me. Please trust I have been giving this A LOT of thinking and while I recognize how terrifying this is, I'm not 23, I'm 40! Having a kid isn't a transactional decision but a calculated and conscious one -- something I feel deep down and no matter how long I wait and how I twist it, this won't change. Fortunately, this isn't a question of *if* to do either but *when* to do either and the best approach to getting both done.
My mom was not a young mom either and she had the same attitude as you.  She wanted a child and she could do it as a professional.  I'm just showing you the child's side.  You are obviously going to do whatever you want, my point is it may not be best for the child.  Just one kid's point of view.

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Eva_Eva

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@Gin1984 - thank you! Your perspective is unique and eye-opening and I have done a great deal of research that shows the kids' point of view so yes, this decision can be seen as selfish but I am still interested in the details of the situation and the relationship between mother and child.

Dicey

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2018, 09:55:08 AM »
Eva_Eva, it looks like you've posted the same question in two different places, so I'm posting my reply here, too.


Hmmm, someone else asked a remarkably similar question very recently. Her situation is close enough to yours that I'm going to give you the same answer I gave her. I hope you find it helpful. Perhaps the two of you can become Forum Friends, as it seems you have a lot in common...

Dear woolgather,
What I love about this forum is that I know others will jump into the math and offer great suggestions.

I have a lot to say, but I'll focus mainly on the topic in your case study that hits home the most. Background: I am from SoCal and lived in LA from '80-'92. I am the oldest of six children. When I grew up, I had no interest in marrying young or having a family. Then I had a rare form of cancer. I realized what matters in life is the quality of the relationships you build. Not job status, not money. Well, not quite. Money was what was going to protect me from a recurrence of cancer, or at least make any future treatment decisions easier. So I set out to make myself financially independent before FI was a "thing", and to find myself a spouse and then have four children. Yup, four.

I worked at this for decades. I dated tons of men of every stripe. Eventually, I decided to step out of my career position and work at Nordstrom in the Men's Department, just to meet more men! I took a huge pay cut, but damn, it worked! It was great meeting new people of the male persuasion every single day. I met tons of guys with great careers and a wide variety of interests. It was fun, and several became long term relationships, but none of them was "the one". The older I got, the more it bothered me. I knew I was not a candidate for single motherhood, primarily because it costs so damn much to live in LA and my income wasn't high enough to go it alone.

Finally, as I got a little too old for childbearing, I said "Fuck this, I need to earn more money." I got the hell out of retail and never looked back. I still dated, but since they weren't coming to me every day any more, I tried online dating, word of mouth, community activities, everything I could thing of. I really, really thought the lesson of cancer was to slow me down and re-focus me in time to be able to find a great partner, build a strong marriage and have a family. Apparently God was busy laughing at my plans.

I was sad, but determined not to be Debbie Downer about what I didn't have. I traveled, did fun stuff, and enjoyed what I could do without dwelling on my dreams that clearly were not coming to fruition. Pretty soon my friends, single and married, were saying that they wanted to have my life. Huh.

Fast forward to 2012. I was 54 and all hopes of children were long gone. Thoughts of marriage were pretty dim, too. However, FI was finally on the very near horizon. I had everything figured out but health insurance (this was pre-Obamacare + pre-existing conditions). I had a chat with a guy I'd known for years. (I let his family use my address to get their kids into a better school district years before, after their house sale in the district fell through.) He was a recent widower. I asked him if he'd consider letting me be his imagionary domestic partner so I could quit my job, buy a motorhome and travel the country.

He readily agreed and then shocked the hell out of me by saying he'd even marry me on paper if that would help, because of what I'd done for his kids. He then said his healthcare plan covered his whole family for the same (almost zero) cost. Plus, he had a motorhome! What the hell??? We went out to dinner to discuss what a crazy-ass idea it was. One dinner led to another, and then dinners somewhere became dates, then we fell in love. We eloped a few months later.

Fast forward five years. We are happy beyond our wildest imagination. His daughter got married and had a baby, making us grandparents! Remember that line, "If we'd known how much fun grandkids are, we'd have had them first"? It's completely true! I was never a mom, but now I get to be a grandmother. I'm here to tell you, it is awesome. I never dreamed any of this, but I am ridiculously glad it turned out this way. I am actually completely comfortable now that I did not have kids of my own, because I don't think I would have been a great mother, much as I was sure it was my destiny.

So that's the short version of my story. Here is my advice: The kid thing is going to sort itself out one way or another and either result will be something you can live with. For now, take care of the relationship that appears to be ending. Figure out your new housing arrangements. Decide if your job pays enough for what you give up. Fix your credit. (Can you become an Authorized User on someone's credit long enough to shape up your own credit?) Work on being the best "YOU" you can possibly be. Everything will fall into place in its own time. And it will be good, even if it is nothing like anything you ever imagined.
Best wishes,
Dicey


wordnerd

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2018, 10:23:38 AM »
If having a child is important to you, then do it now. Some thoughts on math:

$600/mo for fulltime (?) care in DC seems...extremely optimistic. Even on the outskirts of Atlanta, I pay $1000/mo. DC has much higher costs(https://patch.com/district-columbia/georgetown/23000-year-dc-ranks-highest-infant-child-care-costs-0), so I'd budget around $2k/mo unless you have a non-traditional set-up. I'm a certified cheapskate, but child care is not a place to scrimp. Maybe tour places now to get a sense of price for a place you feel comfortable with. ETA: You should also budget for non-regular care. As a single parent, you will likely need more babysitters, etc, than a family with two parents. What happens if you need to travel for work?

Do you have a sense of your fertility outlook and what level of fertility treatments you would be willing to pursue? No need to answer here, but something to think about as this an area where you can quickly rack up costs that quickly outpace your $3K emergency fund.

Speaking of emergency funds...If your only other savings are retirement, I would bump up your emergency savings given that you will be the sole earner responsible for a child (Or two!) While unlikely--though chances go up with age--you should consider what you would do if it ends up being twins. What happens to your childcare outlook, financial picture, etc?

Moving to a cheaper place seems like a great idea. This isn't a full case study, but your costs seem quite reasonable for DC so I'm going to assume there aren't huge areas for improvement there.

In short, I would draw up a budget for pre-baby, which includes paying down your student loan and building up your emergency fund. Once baby is here, I would reallocate that money to childcare (with a realistic estimate for a place you would feel comfortable leaving your child) and continue paying down the student loan, assuming the emergency fund stays at a good level.

Best of luck with everything!
« Last Edit: March 04, 2018, 10:49:11 AM by wordnerd »

Eva_Eva

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2018, 10:46:55 AM »
@wordnerd  - great math! :)

Here's some more info:
 - my Kaiser Permanente plan pays for fertility treatments (if I need any) at 100%!!!!  but all my tests say I can have perfectly healthy babies with no intervention. I am looking to do IUI via sperm donor, to be clear. KP also charges $260 for the either traditional or Cesarian so no expenses there. Considering everything goes well, the actual procedure shouldn't go over $3K.
 - I am on pace to save $25K by time of delivery in emergency funds (if I do NOT refinance my student loans - my biggest dilemma!).
 - day care (part time) - great suggestion to tour potential child care places, instead of just looking them up online!
 - I am maxing out my 401K & bumping up my own Roth IRA (money with which I play to aggressively invest - it's been going great!!).
 - I am also (somewhat) relying on my mother to help pre and post birth so the part-time childcare as she wouldn't have it any other way :)

Thank you so very much for your input. I take everything everyone posts here to heart!

Eva_Eva

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2018, 10:55:56 AM »
Eva_Eva, it looks like you've posted the same question in two different places, so I'm posting my reply here, too.


Hmmm, someone else asked a remarkably similar question very recently. Her situation is close enough to yours that I'm going to give you the same answer I gave her. I hope you find it helpful. Perhaps the two of you can become Forum Friends, as it seems you have a lot in common...

Dear woolgather,
What I love about this forum is that I know others will jump into the math and offer great suggestions.

I have a lot to say, but I'll focus mainly on the topic in your case study that hits home the most. Background: I am from SoCal and lived in LA from '80-'92. I am the oldest of six children. When I grew up, I had no interest in marrying young or having a family. Then I had a rare form of cancer. I realized what matters in life is the quality of the relationships you build. Not job status, not money. Well, not quite. Money was what was going to protect me from a recurrence of cancer, or at least make any future treatment decisions easier. So I set out to make myself financially independent before FI was a "thing", and to find myself a spouse and then have four children. Yup, four.

I worked at this for decades. I dated tons of men of every stripe. Eventually, I decided to step out of my career position and work at Nordstrom in the Men's Department, just to meet more men! I took a huge pay cut, but damn, it worked! It was great meeting new people of the male persuasion every single day. I met tons of guys with great careers and a wide variety of interests. It was fun, and several became long term relationships, but none of them was "the one". The older I got, the more it bothered me. I knew I was not a candidate for single motherhood, primarily because it costs so damn much to live in LA and my income wasn't high enough to go it alone.

Finally, as I got a little too old for childbearing, I said "Fuck this, I need to earn more money." I got the hell out of retail and never looked back. I still dated, but since they weren't coming to me every day any more, I tried online dating, word of mouth, community activities, everything I could thing of. I really, really thought the lesson of cancer was to slow me down and re-focus me in time to be able to find a great partner, build a strong marriage and have a family. Apparently God was busy laughing at my plans.

I was sad, but determined not to be Debbie Downer about what I didn't have. I traveled, did fun stuff, and enjoyed what I could do without dwelling on my dreams that clearly were not coming to fruition. Pretty soon my friends, single and married, were saying that they wanted to have my life. Huh.

Fast forward to 2012. I was 54 and all hopes of children were long gone. Thoughts of marriage were pretty dim, too. However, FI was finally on the very near horizon. I had everything figured out but health insurance (this was pre-Obamacare + pre-existing conditions). I had a chat with a guy I'd known for years. (I let his family use my address to get their kids into a better school district years before, after their house sale in the district fell through.) He was a recent widower. I asked him if he'd consider letting me be his imagionary domestic partner so I could quit my job, buy a motorhome and travel the country.

He readily agreed and then shocked the hell out of me by saying he'd even marry me on paper if that would help, because of what I'd done for his kids. He then said his healthcare plan covered his whole family for the same (almost zero) cost. Plus, he had a motorhome! What the hell??? We went out to dinner to discuss what a crazy-ass idea it was. One dinner led to another, and then dinners somewhere became dates, then we fell in love. We eloped a few months later.

Fast forward five years. We are happy beyond our wildest imagination. His daughter got married and had a baby, making us grandparents! Remember that line, "If we'd known how much fun grandkids are, we'd have had them first"? It's completely true! I was never a mom, but now I get to be a grandmother. I'm here to tell you, it is awesome. I never dreamed any of this, but I am ridiculously glad it turned out this way. I am actually completely comfortable now that I did not have kids of my own, because I don't think I would have been a great mother, much as I was sure it was my destiny.

So that's the short version of my story. Here is my advice: The kid thing is going to sort itself out one way or another and either result will be something you can live with. For now, take care of the relationship that appears to be ending. Figure out your new housing arrangements. Decide if your job pays enough for what you give up. Fix your credit. (Can you become an Authorized User on someone's credit long enough to shape up your own credit?) Work on being the best "YOU" you can possibly be. Everything will fall into place in its own time. And it will be good, even if it is nothing like anything you ever imagined.
Best wishes,
Dicey

I loved this story!!! And I love your attitude about everything else. I definitely see how happy my own mother is with her granddaughters and that fills my heart with joy. I know she wants at least one grandkid from me and she'd do anything to help. I am a super happy person and I tend to see the glass as half-full. I am perfectly sane and happy with all areas of my life, except for this. I recognize I delayed getting married and having babies to build my career, to travel the world, to learn everything I wanted to, to live where I wanted to, to invest in my passions, and I don't regret a second of any of it. I have an absolutely beautiful life and beautiful relationships! I am dating but I am less likely to compromise now and if I haven't *settled* until now, I am not going to compromise on looks (at least) just to have a man.  Again, this may seem selfish but it's a calculated decision and I will be judged but I am ok with it.
Thanks so much for your input and suggestion (I reached out to the other woman in my situation).  :)

PNW Lady

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2018, 12:38:38 PM »
Since you’ve already stated that the question is when, and not if, I will skip the advice/warnings and just say congratulations on your choice! Once I made up my mind to have a child, nothing could have or would have dissuaded me. Speaking my truth, and coming from a marriage with deep cultural differences, I have often felt that many aspects of raising my daughter would be easier (for me) without a partner. My point is that IF you have a strong family and friend network, and IF you have adequate financial resources, some aspects of raising a child may actually be easier without a partner (no arguing over parenting strategy or how to maintain the household!).

It sounds like you are feeling pressure to make a big decision regarding your student loans. Here are a few thoughts I had after reading your post.

1) I personally would make building a six month savings reserve a top priority in your circumstance.

2) I would budget high on child care expense as you just don’t know how you are going to feel once baby comes. Quality care is often expensive, although sometimes you do get very lucky; budget high.

3) With regards to the refinancing of your school loans, the difference between the two options you presented is 2.5%, which amounts to about $8K in interest over five years. While this isn’t nothing, at $2K+ a month we are talking about a few extra months. Now if you don’t stick with the five-year plan, this becomes a different scenario. Does the length of time you have to repay shorten when you refinance? You may not want to lock yourself in to higher payments, rather keep it as optional to give you more flexibility. I wonder how realistic it is for any legislative changes to pass and be implemented in the next five years. If it is unlikely, and the payback period doesn’t shorten, go for the refinance.

With $80K in net pay (assuming you mean after tax withholding and deductions), you have $6,666/mo. Considering your current $3K in monthly living expenses (including $800 SL pmt), you have $3,666/mo leftover once you’ve built your savings reserve. On paper it would seem you squarely have enough to cover daycare @ $1,200/mo (see point 2 – at least double your number) and throw an additional $1,500 (for a total SL pmt of $2,300/mo**) on your student loans, and still have almost $1K/mo left. If you refinance, you would have $150 more per month leftover.

Hopefully I’ve understood your assumptions correctly, but on paper both seem doable. Additionally, keeping your loan financing as is @ 6.5% over refinancing at 4% doesn’t seem to make or break your ability to do both. Feel free to provide additional details if you’d like the forum to keep chipping away at the numbers piece of your question.

Of course I have to add in my one piece of advice based on my own personal experience: go used, and minimalist for all baby items where it makes sense to do so. It all seemed so important to me when I was buying it, and in hind sight I could have saved 75% of our overall spending through borrowing, buying used, and just going with less. And whatever you do, don’t buy cute denim overalls for a baby. Sheesh! All you need are some soft onesies, some warm sleepers, and a few soft blankets (for clothing). Let your friends and family buy the pricey stuff, if they are so inclined.

Good luck to you!!!!

**P.S. When I plugged your numbers into my Tvalue software (student loan balance @ $117K, 6.5% interest rate, and a $3K/mo payment), it spit out 44 months (3 yr 8 mo) as the time to payoff. I made an assumption of a five year pay-off, as stated, which brings the monthly payment down to $2,300 @ 6.5%. If you are already paying $800, you would only need to add $1,500/mo to pay-off in five years.

Eva_Eva

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2018, 01:06:20 PM »
Since you’ve already stated that the question is when, and not if, I will skip the advice/warnings and just say congratulations on your choice! Once I made up my mind to have a child, nothing could have or would have dissuaded me. Speaking my truth, and coming from a marriage with deep cultural differences, I have often felt that many aspects of raising my daughter would be easier (for me) without a partner. My point is that IF you have a strong family and friend network, and IF you have adequate financial resources, some aspects of raising a child may actually be easier without a partner (no arguing over parenting strategy or how to maintain the household!).

It sounds like you are feeling pressure to make a big decision regarding your student loans. Here are a few thoughts I had after reading your post.

1) I personally would make building a six month savings reserve a top priority in your circumstance.

2) I would budget high on child care expense as you just don’t know how you are going to feel once baby comes. Quality care is often expensive, although sometimes you do get very lucky; budget high.

3) With regards to the refinancing of your school loans, the difference between the two options you presented is 2.5%, which amounts to about $8K in interest over five years. While this isn’t nothing, at $2K+ a month we are talking about a few extra months. Now if you don’t stick with the five-year plan, this becomes a different scenario. Does the length of time you have to repay shorten when you refinance? You may not want to lock yourself in to higher payments, rather keep it as optional to give you more flexibility. I wonder how realistic it is for any legislative changes to pass and be implemented in the next five years. If it is unlikely, and the payback period doesn’t shorten, go for the refinance.

With $80K in net pay (assuming you mean after tax withholding and deductions), you have $6,666/mo. Considering your current $3K in monthly living expenses (including $800 SL pmt), you have $3,666/mo leftover once you’ve built your savings reserve. On paper it would seem you squarely have enough to cover daycare @ $1,200/mo (see point 2 – at least double your number) and throw an additional $1,500 (for a total SL pmt of $2,300/mo**) on your student loans, and still have almost $1K/mo left. If you refinance, you would have $150 more per month leftover.

Hopefully I’ve understood your assumptions correctly, but on paper both seem doable. Additionally, keeping your loan financing as is @ 6.5% over refinancing at 4% doesn’t seem to make or break your ability to do both. Feel free to provide additional details if you’d like the forum to keep chipping away at the numbers piece of your question.

Of course I have to add in my one piece of advice based on my own personal experience: go used, and minimalist for all baby items where it makes sense to do so. It all seemed so important to me when I was buying it, and in hind sight I could have saved 75% of our overall spending through borrowing, buying used, and just going with less. And whatever you do, don’t buy cute denim overalls for a baby. Sheesh! All you need are some soft onesies, some warm sleepers, and a few soft blankets (for clothing). Let your friends and family buy the pricey stuff, if they are so inclined.

Good luck to you!!!!

**P.S. When I plugged your numbers into my Tvalue software (student loan balance @ $117K, 6.5% interest rate, and a $3K/mo payment), it spit out 44 months (3 yr 8 mo) as the time to payoff. I made an assumption of a five year pay-off, as stated, which brings the monthly payment down to $2,300 @ 6.5%. If you are already paying $800, you would only need to add $1,500/mo to pay-off in five years.


 I LOVED everything about this well-thought post - thank you!!!!!

Yes, I was advised against refinancing since the savings from an interest rate drop wouldn't be worth getting locked into a 5-year 4% loan while trying to raise a baby alone. I am so determined to be debt-free in the next 5 years that I am willing to do whatever it takes to get there - same with having a baby (on my own). Yes, my focus right now is to sit on at least $25K in savings before the baby gets here (thinking get pregnant by Dec so I have 10 months of aggressive saving + 10 more months during pregnancy) so I might even increase that goal to $35K.

Yes, my monthly gross is a bit under $11K so net I am actually at $7,000/month of which - $3000 is housing, phone, internet, student loans, electric. I did not add food @ $300/ month and transportation $100/month at most in Uber & metro (I walk to work). Additional expenses are not monthly - hair color/cut, skin care, cleaning supplies, etc. but they still add up (I just changed my entire wardrobe so I won't be doing that for a while; I tend to keep stuff for a while). I do not waste money on eating out - almost NEVER! 

Yes, I have been warned that daycare will be my biggest chunk I should prepare for, so I will double but my mother will be around for some time to help for a bit, but I still think I am ok, even at $1200/month.

I have family and friends that have been literally saving their kids' stuff for years for me, so I am covered in that department and I am 100% with you on used stuff (I am not an impulse shopper and thanks for the jeans overall tip haha - I bet the kids look super cute in them, though :P)

So I guess the initial thought is to not refinance but save as much as possible before the baby gets here, and pay as much as possible into my student loans without getting locked into a 5-year loan.

Thank you so much for your careful and honest look at my situation! And thank you for putting my numbers into your software - I don't know anything about it but will research it.

Thank you for your wishes! I Hope you and baby are healthy and happy! :)

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #16 on: March 05, 2018, 10:05:48 AM »
Parenting a child is hard work.  I was a single mom not by choice...my husband and I divorced when our youngest was 15 months old.  Another friend's husband asked for a divorce while she was in the hospital prepping to deliver baby 3.  There are many more stories....  Instant single moms, with dads who may/may not be all that involved.    We make it work because we don't have any choice.  So will you, because you will have made that commitment to your child.

I second the advice to build up your emergency fund.  You are an older mother, which means that you do have the risk of more complications during pregnancy and delivery.  I was a 27-year-old first-time mom, perfectly healthy, very active. My doctor assured me everything would go swimmingly...and then my baby was 8 weeks early and needed just enough special care for the first 6 months that she couldn't have gone to day care.  With my second, I was 30, perfectly healthy, more active...and I ended up with gestational diabetes and on bed rest for a few weeks, and then baby came 5 weeks early.  He ended up in the NICU for a little while.

I was lucky enough to have a job I could do from home while on bed rest, and that I had enough of an emergency fund that I could take extra time off work - unpaid - to take care of my little ones.

I certainly hope that your pregnancy and delivery will be completely uneventful, but you have the time and flexibility now to give yourself an extra cushion just in case.

Eva_Eva

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #17 on: March 05, 2018, 10:52:56 AM »
I appreciate everyone's concern here and from what I've seen, it's mostly warnings and they're all welcomed! There are however cases of single mothers (not by choice) that I personally know who raised their kids and (although hard and making a fourth of what I make), they managed. The kids are around and the tough times have passed. I am not going to be deterred or scared by a few (3-4) years of hard work. I know hard work and used to it.
Thank you!
« Last Edit: March 05, 2018, 12:20:37 PM by Eva_Eva »

Cyanne

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #18 on: March 05, 2018, 06:23:29 PM »
You are very mistaken if you think raising a child is 3-4 years of hard work. How many of your single mother friends have teenagers?

Have you given any consideration to how your future child might feel about only having one parent? Won't he or she want a father? I was raised without my father and it did make a difference in my life. Parenting is about putting your child's needs before your own. Choosing to have a child without a father is, in my opinion, a selfish choice that is not in the best interest of the child.

If you choose to go forward with this I hope you have male relatives or friends that are willing and able to be good male role models for your child. You can be the best mom in the world but you won't be able to fully fill the shoes that two parents can fill.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #19 on: March 05, 2018, 07:39:01 PM »
3-4 years hard work? Think 18, or more.
I've said before, if you want children, you don't have time to wait and need to do it now. But you seem pretty oblivious to what you are getting yourself into. You are planning and budgeting not even on best case scenarios, but downright dreams.

If you do this it will be exceptionally difficult. Pregnancy is not easy. Babies are not easy. Adolescents are not easy. I can go on...

Just make sure you want to exchange your current life for a new one dedicated to your child. Because it does not seem that you have a support system. It's all on you.

How many rounds of IUI does Kaiser cover? At 40, the success rate isn't great.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2018, 07:42:40 PM by iowajes »

englishteacheralex

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #20 on: March 05, 2018, 08:02:18 PM »
Yeah. I'm gonna get my naysaying on a little...

It's not just hard work, and it's not just 3-4 years. It's an unrelenting and total change of lifestyle for 18 years. Before I had my first child at 34, I loved working out, running, surfing, backpacking...

I can't really do anything I used to do. It's not that you are a completely different person, it's just that forces conspire to make it really hard to get your old life back. After ten years of being beholden to nobody before I finally got married and had kids, this was a shock. I thought I was prepared, but...I went through a period of mourning for the loss of my old life.

And that's with a very kind and hard-working committed partner. And a fairly stable financial situation.

Things that changed and will probably not change back in the foreseeable future:

1. I had two normal pregnancies and natural, vaginal childbirths. I suffered a mild bladder prolapse that makes it really hard for me to do a lot of the high-impact exercise I used to enjoy. I can't run long distances and can't do Olympic weightlifting anymore. Can't really surf, because I can't do it with my kids and I'm so out of shape for surfing that it wouldn't be that much fun, anyway.

2. My body is never going to be the same. This was something that was going to happen anyway due to age, but having kids definitely accelerated the process. This is extremely common. I'm ok with it, but...it's a little sad.

3. Unscheduled sex is very difficult. I think if I were single I'd be looking at many years of celibacy.

4. For three solid years I have not been guaranteed a solid night of sleep. I can be woken up at any time by somebody who might be choking on their own vomit, so I have to go make sure they're ok.

5. There's just never any real time off from this gig. Even when you're sleeping, you're still on.

Expecting time off to come from a seventy year old mother seems...risky. At least in the long term.

Plus...it's just lonely. Being a parent can be really lonely. You can't easily socialize with other adults, especially when the kids get old enough to be running around and seem bent on killing themselves on accident every time you turn around. You can join parent groups and that's definitely helpful, but you can't really have a deep conversation while at the same time chasing your kid around, trying to stop her from falling off the slide. Your old friends often disappear, especially if they don't have kids. Even if they do have kids, if the kids are older than yours it's still kind of a no-go.

All this stuff isn't insurmountable, but to be honest, knowing what I know about what parenting is like, I don't think I'd purposely have kids as a single woman. I'd maybe try volunteering at an organization that is organized around young people, or devoting some time to some other cause that seemed worthy to me, and scratch that itch of meaning/purpose in some other way.

Like Dicey, you could end up married to someone who has kids already, and develop a sort of parental relationship with a young person that way.

the lorax

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #21 on: March 05, 2018, 11:13:22 PM »
Just posting to second the suggestions to budget on worst case scenarios, build up a good emergency fund first and buy second hand/borrow wherever you can - you need way less 'stuff' than most people will tell you that you need. It sounds like you have identified a support network and you will find more parents to buddy up with through pre-school and school - sleepovers etc will help you take a break.

I imagine you were saying you were expecting 3-4 years of sleepless nights as opposed to thinking that 3-4 years of hard work and then it would be easy ;) Pregnancy/child birth can be tough - definitely get in shape as much as you can now as it will most likely pay off. For a counter view to some of the above - I had a fairly difficult birth and I still managed to get out hiking with my son from an early age. Most of the things I did before having a kid I still do - may be not to the same standard but having my son in tow brings other joys :) and I'm about to take my son (now 7) on a two month trip around the world by myself - we're meeting up with family at times but ultimately it's me and him and I'll cope - depends on the kid (mine is no perfectly-behaved angel) but these things are doable. It's worth trying to get into work where you have more flexible/part-time/work from home options for later on

Eva_Eva

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #22 on: March 06, 2018, 06:00:21 AM »
Just posting to second the suggestions to budget on worst case scenarios, build up a good emergency fund first and buy second hand/borrow wherever you can - you need way less 'stuff' than most people will tell you that you need. It sounds like you have identified a support network and you will find more parents to buddy up with through pre-school and school - sleepovers etc will help you take a break.

I imagine you were saying you were expecting 3-4 years of sleepless nights as opposed to thinking that 3-4 years of hard work and then it would be easy ;) Pregnancy/child birth can be tough - definitely get in shape as much as you can now as it will most likely pay off. For a counter view to some of the above - I had a fairly difficult birth and I still managed to get out hiking with my son from an early age. Most of the things I did before having a kid I still do - may be not to the same standard but having my son in tow brings other joys :) and I'm about to take my son (now 7) on a two month trip around the world by myself - we're meeting up with family at times but ultimately it's me and him and I'll cope - depends on the kid (mine is no perfectly-behaved angel) but these things are doable. It's worth trying to get into work where you have more flexible/part-time/work from home options for later on

Thank you for taking the time to post here!  I'm on that path with savings and correcting other things as much and as quickly as possible. Yes, I'm 40 and I have been in perfect shape and health my entire life - in the gym all the time, eating only healthy stuff, always watching my lifestyle. So, I look and feel 30 - inside and out and better than many 25-year olds. I get a lot of dates but I'm picky because I worked hard for everything in my life. Could I just have any man that comes into my life, actually YES - I have many of those options but for what? -Just to have a mediocre sperm donor that's lukewarm about how he feels about me, isn't super healthy, mediocre looks and finances, and also looking for a second mother - NO THANKS! I have friends that have those kinds of men in their life - no thanks!  This may sound selfish, yet again but here it is: - I look great and I will say life is easier as a beautiful person. I want a gorgeous child and I get to choose that. With money, I can do enough on my own without a deadbeat man-child around. I don't have the time and energy to raise a 40+ year old man that never wants to grow up. ... anyway... thank you for your input. The experience on this forum has been quite eye-opening and terrifying as to how evil some people can be. Oh and I know many women that got started in their 40's - my mom had me late as well, so no health concerns here, as others are pointing out relentlessly.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 06:05:30 AM by Eva_Eva »

I'm a red panda

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2018, 06:52:45 AM »
Oh and I know many women that got started in their 40's - my mom had me late as well, so no health concerns here, as others are pointing out relentlessly.

Look, I truly truly hope you have an easy time of it. But since I lost my son I've met many many women who have had stillbirths, miscarriages, and infant losses. Some of them were healthy women in their 20s, but most were older. Adverse pregnancy outcomes correlate with age. You need to at least consider what you would do if they happen. NO ONE thinks it can happen to them.   For every woman who has a healthy pregnancy at 40, there are many more who couldn't get pregnant, who have a special needs child, or who lost their child.

I had ZERO health concerns when I had my stillbirth. It was a fluke of nature that the embryo divided the way it did, and even more unlikely that it didn't miscarry. His genetic condition was no hereditary, and most aren't. It isn't necessarily something that passed down- not only does it not run in my family; DH and I have both had karyotypes done- we categorically didn't pass it down. I had ZERO risk factors, not even age at that point.

When I had gestational diabetes, my only risk factor was my age- a risk factor you share.  I am lucky my partial placental abruption was caught before my daughter died, I've met other women who weren't as lucky, and lost otherwise perfectly healthy babies because their bodies failed them- again, my only risk factor was my age- one you share.  God forbid something happens to you- do you have someone in your life who can take your child?

You need to at least consider what your backup plan is since you are going into this as a single woman in a difficult financial situation, without a family who can help care for the child.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 07:47:46 AM by iowajes »

2Cent

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #24 on: March 06, 2018, 07:26:40 AM »
Like everyone already said. It is hard. For me I lost all my friends and hobbies. I have a spouse, but she is working a heavy job and has not much energy. Still it is worth it.
My kids are the best part of my life and I would not trade them for anything.

I think the problem many people have is the expectation that they will just be able to keep on living the same way with some minor ajustments. Whenever I try to do something and watch the kids at the same time it is very frustrating and tiring. I learned to just drop the other thing and focus on the kid. Then I enjoy taking care of them and it doesn't cost any energy.

One good idea if you can accomodate another person in your house is to get an au-pair. My main problem with daycare is the lack of flexibility. And when the kids are ill you have to take them. Ofcourse an au-pair can also get sick, but I think that is a much smaller risk as they tend to be early 20's kids. Yes, you lose some privacy, but you won't care as you will not get any time for yourself anyway.

As for donor selection, avoid sporty guys(hyperactive) and avoid engineers(autistic). Not that all are like that but you want to reduce the risk those kinds of kids require a lot of attention. Actually you could consider asking someone from your network as a donor. Something like you will do all the work and get full custody, and he is like an uncle.

Lastly to all those saying don't have kids because it's not ideal for the kid to have a single parent, please reconsider. Having kids is always selfish and not a privelidge only for those in optimal circumstances. Would you say the same to poor people, or people with not great marriages, or people who serve in the army? Or while we are at it, unhealthy people, ugly people, black people or gay people? Those kids will have some extra things to deal with as well. But having "disadvantages" in no way excludes kids from having a great life and doing great things. Sorry for the hyperbole. Just to be clear, I'm not saying you think that. I just want to show how offensive it is to tell people not to have kids for the sake of the kid.

PoutineLover

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #25 on: March 06, 2018, 07:56:59 AM »
As for donor selection, avoid sporty guys(hyperactive) and avoid engineers(autistic). Not that all are like that but you want to reduce the risk those kinds of kids require a lot of attention.
Wow, generalizing much?

2Cent

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #26 on: March 06, 2018, 08:26:24 AM »
As for donor selection, avoid sporty guys(hyperactive) and avoid engineers(autistic). Not that all are like that but you want to reduce the risk those kinds of kids require a lot of attention.
Wow, generalizing much?
Well, if you want to reduce statistical risk generalisation is the way to go. The thing is most of my friends are engineers, and the amount of autistic kids is about 10%. Not Rainman types, but more the freak out if things don't go exactly as expected types. I can tell you that they take a LOT of energy. Eva_Eva seemed the type to filter for the fittest/most acomplished/handsome type etc. I would caution that sometimes this often comes with a pricetag and it may be good to look for a less accomplished more easy going type.

Best would be to get someone who shares your interests as that will help you relate to your kid and you may be able to give him or her a leg up in life by teaching them from a young age.

PoutineLover

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #27 on: March 06, 2018, 08:47:25 AM »
As for donor selection, avoid sporty guys(hyperactive) and avoid engineers(autistic). Not that all are like that but you want to reduce the risk those kinds of kids require a lot of attention.
Wow, generalizing much?
Well, if you want to reduce statistical risk generalisation is the way to go. The thing is most of my friends are engineers, and the amount of autistic kids is about 10%. Not Rainman types, but more the freak out if things don't go exactly as expected types. I can tell you that they take a LOT of energy. Eva_Eva seemed the type to filter for the fittest/most acomplished/handsome type etc. I would caution that sometimes this often comes with a pricetag and it may be good to look for a less accomplished more easy going type.

Best would be to get someone who shares your interests as that will help you relate to your kid and you may be able to give him or her a leg up in life by teaching them from a young age.
I was just a little surprised at that comment because to me sporty indicates health/fitness, and engineers would signal smart, not autistic. Generalizations as well I guess, but I just don't have the same negative associations with those types. I'm an engineer and I'm dating an engineer, so maybe I'm biased, but I wouldn't expect our kids to be autistic. It's a genetic trait, although I suppose that people with autistic traits might self select into science/engineering. The risk does increase with age though, so regardless of the donor, there is a higher risk of autism with an older mother.
It does seem like Eva values looks in her sperm donor, I suppose if you don't have much to go on that's one thing to select for, but since I can't personally put myself in her shoes I can't really comment on that choice. Looks isn't a huge priority for me in selecting a future partner, but that's because I'm considering what they would be like to live with and raise a child with, which isn't the case with a sperm donor. But I do think that if being a mother is a priority, it's best to just do it, and deal with the difficulties as they come. Most babies are born in less than ideal conditions, and most of them turn out fine. Waiting for the perfect moment is more likely to result in disappointment and regret. Save as much as possible, but realize that you can't plan for everything and sometimes you just have to make the best of a situation.

cats

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #28 on: March 06, 2018, 09:48:26 AM »

Thank you for taking the time to post here!  I'm on that path with savings and correcting other things as much and as quickly as possible. Yes, I'm 40 and I have been in perfect shape and health my entire life - in the gym all the time, eating only healthy stuff, always watching my lifestyle. So, I look and feel 30 - inside and out and better than many 25-year olds. I get a lot of dates but I'm picky because I worked hard for everything in my life. Could I just have any man that comes into my life, actually YES - I have many of those options but for what? -Just to have a mediocre sperm donor that's lukewarm about how he feels about me, isn't super healthy, mediocre looks and finances, and also looking for a second mother - NO THANKS! I have friends that have those kinds of men in their life - no thanks!  This may sound selfish, yet again but here it is: - I look great and I will say life is easier as a beautiful person. I want a gorgeous child and I get to choose that. With money, I can do enough on my own without a deadbeat man-child around. I don't have the time and energy to raise a 40+ year old man that never wants to grow up. ... anyway... thank you for your input. The experience on this forum has been quite eye-opening and terrifying as to how evil some people can be. Oh and I know many women that got started in their 40's - my mom had me late as well, so no health concerns here, as others are pointing out relentlessly.

Just to address the most superficial part of this post, remember that two conventionally beautiful people do not automatically make conventionally beautiful children (and vice versa).  Beauty is weird--some features look great on one sex but not the other (think of Bruce vs Rumer Willis), or the mix of features from each individually attractive parent may not combine in a conventionally beautiful way, or maybe your beautiful child will turn into a fairly average adult.  My paternal grandparents were both fairly conventionally good-looking people, and to be honest, all three of their kids (including my dad) would probably rate 5 or less on a 1-10 scale.  So much for their good looks, eh?  At least the grandkids are all knockouts ;) Yes, life is easier as a "beautiful person" but please don't get too hung up on having a physically beautiful child--you probably won't get to choose that, even if you pick a sperm donor who is a perfect 10 in the looks department.

I do wonder from what you say if your expectations for a partner are not necessarily "too high", but prioritizing the wrong things in a partner (looks, high earnings), which may carry over into your parenting experience.  Remember that a relationship is not all about catering to you and your needs.  You need to consider the needs of the relationship, which sometimes means putting yourself second. 

Also, from a pure vanity point of view, having a kid is ROUGH on your looks and health.  You will likely not have as much time/energy to devote to healthy eating and the gym with a kid around, so expect to start looking (and feeling) your age very quickly.  All these guys who are in mediocre health compared to you now...they may well be looking much more attractive and healthy relative to you once you have gone through having a kid on your own.

Moomintroll

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #29 on: March 06, 2018, 09:59:13 AM »
Hi eva_eva, I just wanted to counter a little of the negativity with some happier outcomes.

I have 2 lovely friends who went the SMBC route, both via donor sperm & IVF. One had her lovely little boy at age 43, and the other had a baby at 41 and liked it so much she went back for another the next year.  Their kids are now aged around 7-8 years, everyone is happy & well adjusted, no kids are neglected and miserable and no mums are desperately wishing for their old life back. Every time I see them they seem to be doing some wholesome activity and there is clearly a huge amount of love in both those families.

But the factors both these women shared which helped make things a success were:

1. They both had bought houses. They still had mortgages, but low ones, and they had that security of not having a landlord, cheaper costs etc.
2. They had decent savings to get them through the first year or two.
3. They both had supportive mothers living close by, like yours in their 70s, but able to watch kids sometimes and help a bit
4. They each had work that could be done flexibly from home and enough status in their professions that when they do work they make decent money. One is a writer/editor who freelances, has written several books etc. The other quit her job and became a very specialised contractor in her area. That meant they had minimal need for daycare/babysitters.
5. While they do both work, it's nothing like fulltime, more like 20-25 hours a week since the kids were pre school aged. They are both in a position to live perfectly well despite the part time hours.

Now this is in Australia, so there is less in the way of health insurance & medical costs and student loans and more in the way of child benefit etc, but it shows it's not necessarily a terrible choice that will make everyone miserable.

These two women actually met each other through having their kids as SMBC, and their biggest support ended up being each other. They spend a lot of time together, pick up each others kids from preschool, mind the kid/s if the other mum is sick, etc etc. Sounds like your area has other SMBC, so if/when you get serious about the idea, I would suggest trying to meet some and start to establish those networks.

Hope this is helpful, I just wanted to provide an alternative perspective where I had seen that life choice work well for these mothers & their lovely kids. Very best of luck with your journey. :)

SimpleCycle

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #30 on: March 06, 2018, 10:30:46 AM »
I think given that you are in a bit of a precarious financial situation, I would structure your finances for maximum stability and flexibility.  That would mean throwing all extra money into a savings account or splitting it between a savings account and a taxable investment account.  Figure out what student loan financing option gives you the most flexibility and choose that.

Having a kid is expensive, and having a kid on your own means you don't have a partner to help smooth things out on the income side.  DW was unemployed when our kid was 1.5, but we couldn't pull her from daycare because we would have lost her daycare spot and we expected DW to go back to work within a short amount of time.  Those sorts of things are easier to deal with when you have two incomes.

I have two children, both of whom were conceived with donor sperm.  I wouldn't have it any other way because my kids are awesome.  I wish you the best in this new adventure!

Eva_Eva

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #31 on: March 06, 2018, 11:09:17 AM »
As for donor selection, avoid sporty guys(hyperactive) and avoid engineers(autistic). Not that all are like that but you want to reduce the risk those kinds of kids require a lot of attention.
Wow, generalizing much?
Well, if you want to reduce statistical risk generalisation is the way to go. The thing is most of my friends are engineers, and the amount of autistic kids is about 10%. Not Rainman types, but more the freak out if things don't go exactly as expected types. I can tell you that they take a LOT of energy. Eva_Eva seemed the type to filter for the fittest/most acomplished/handsome type etc. I would caution that sometimes this often comes with a pricetag and it may be good to look for a less accomplished more easy going type.

Best would be to get someone who shares your interests as that will help you relate to your kid and you may be able to give him or her a leg up in life by teaching them from a young age.
I was just a little surprised at that comment because to me sporty indicates health/fitness, and engineers would signal smart, not autistic. Generalizations as well I guess, but I just don't have the same negative associations with those types. I'm an engineer and I'm dating an engineer, so maybe I'm biased, but I wouldn't expect our kids to be autistic. It's a genetic trait, although I suppose that people with autistic traits might self select into science/engineering. The risk does increase with age though, so regardless of the donor, there is a higher risk of autism with an older mother.
It does seem like Eva values looks in her sperm donor, I suppose if you don't have much to go on that's one thing to select for, but since I can't personally put myself in her shoes I can't really comment on that choice. Looks isn't a huge priority for me in selecting a future partner, but that's because I'm considering what they would be like to live with and raise a child with, which isn't the case with a sperm donor. But I do think that if being a mother is a priority, it's best to just do it, and deal with the difficulties as they come. Most babies are born in less than ideal conditions, and most of them turn out fine. Waiting for the perfect moment is more likely to result in disappointment and regret. Save as much as possible, but realize that you can't plan for everything and sometimes you just have to make the best of a situation.

Here's the most rational, down-to-earth response I've seen lately. Look, I would compromise with a partner but when you don't care much about me, you are old, fat, and balding, you can't afford rent, you can't carry an intellectual conversation, you are 44 and can't connect on an emotional level and have issues with communicating your feelings, are unreliable and irresponsible and have no idea what you want in life, and a million other things... I really don't have much to work with. If I had someone that I could rely on that he wouldn't walk out on me, that I wouldn't have to financially support for the rest of my life, that I wouldn't be disgusted when I look at him/his habits, then what am I really giving up? What and how much must one compromise on???? I have other friends that had husbands walk out on the with 2 kids and then they met great guys (younger too!!) with no baggage and they don't look as good as I do and married them. I only say this because I work hard for what I have and continuously on improving myself (hence the frugality & trying to pay off student loans while doing this).

I am not afraid and I will be fine. I have zero concerns right now and I will financially prepare to deal with problems when they arise, not before. Thank you for your input!
« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 11:32:46 AM by Eva_Eva »

Eva_Eva

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #32 on: March 06, 2018, 11:15:37 AM »
I don't have any children nor do I feel as if I have the right to weigh in on your choice to have a child - THANK YOU!

However, you need to get your finances in shape.  Like now - 100% doing this!! You could be less than 9 months* away (looking to do IUI IN Nov/Dec so a good 18 more months from now TO SAVE!! from having someone that you need to provide for, and you're not in a good financial position.  I would recommend cutting your spending to the bone - doing this!  Optimize everything - I always do!

Refinance your loans - reconsidering this
Stop eating out - I never do! - I would be so broke and so fat... (I only have student loans debt, nothing else)
Get rid of your car if possible - I just did but might need one when baby gets here
Start walking or biking - I'm European by birth so walking is in my DNA :)
Cancel your gym membership - just did - working out at work :)
Cancel cable, netflix, spotify, hulu, etc. - NEVER paid for that - NEVER!
Fall in love with the library - my favorite thing in the world! I have my own #tag - #booksturnmeon :)

Do whatever you can to get your EF up to at least 6 months of your with-child spending.  And then keep saving. 

Good luck!

*Sometimes babies come early.

@4alpacas  I loved this comment - thank you so much!!

 I just answered in red above :)
« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 07:55:29 PM by Eva_Eva »

Eva_Eva

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #33 on: March 06, 2018, 11:58:09 AM »
Hi eva_eva, I just wanted to counter a little of the negativity with some happier outcomes.

I have 2 lovely friends who went the SMBC route, both via donor sperm & IVF. One had her lovely little boy at age 43, and the other had a baby at 41 and liked it so much she went back for another the next year.  Their kids are now aged around 7-8 years, everyone is happy & well adjusted, no kids are neglected and miserable and no mums are desperately wishing for their old life back. Every time I see them they seem to be doing some wholesome activity and there is clearly a huge amount of love in both those families.

But the factors both these women shared which helped make things a success were:

1. They both had bought houses. They still had mortgages, but low ones, and they had that security of not having a landlord, cheaper costs etc.
2. They had decent savings to get them through the first year or two.
3. They both had supportive mothers living close by, like yours in their 70s, but able to watch kids sometimes and help a bit
4. They each had work that could be done flexibly from home and enough status in their professions that when they do work they make decent money. One is a writer/editor who freelances, has written several books etc. The other quit her job and became a very specialised contractor in her area. That meant they had minimal need for daycare/babysitters.
5. While they do both work, it's nothing like fulltime, more like 20-25 hours a week since the kids were pre school aged. They are both in a position to live perfectly well despite the part time hours.

Now this is in Australia, so there is less in the way of health insurance & medical costs and student loans and more in the way of child benefit etc, but it shows it's not necessarily a terrible choice that will make everyone miserable.

These two women actually met each other through having their kids as SMBC, and their biggest support ended up being each other. They spend a lot of time together, pick up each others kids from preschool, mind the kid/s if the other mum is sick, etc etc. Sounds like your area has other SMBC, so if/when you get serious about the idea, I would suggest trying to meet some and start to establish those networks.

Hope this is helpful, I just wanted to provide an alternative perspective where I had seen that life choice work well for these mothers & their lovely kids. Very best of luck with your journey. :)

Thanks so much!!
People are telling me I'm on the *fertility abyss* and when I told my mother, she couldn't stop laughing - she said she got pregnant every time she took a sip of water, and that I take after her and she had me later in life (I'm the 3rd child). I am healthy, have zero hereditary issues to worry about - ZERO, and I can't NOT stay positive. Most of my friends started late and they had 2+ kids in their early 40s. Yes, my financial situation is not perfect *NOW* but in 12-18 months I will be there. I have someone that offered to be a live-in nanny -- a relative slightly younger than my mother as well as my mother. I just do NOT want to rely on her because she's been through a lot. Of course she'd be right next to me through all of this - she's my best friend in the world and I am hers. I wouldn't dare her ask for anything or ask her to sacrifice any more  at her age but she'll wanna be there for me through everything. She's now raising her 2 other granddaughters almost 100% of the time while my brother & his wife are working. I just don't want to ask her to do the same for me, in 2 years (she'll be 72!).
And I am the most caring, kind person I know (I know it may not look that way from these posts but I am), so many of my local and out-of-state friends offered to help and that's so heartwarming. I am not afraid or deterred. I will do what is in my heart no matter what strangers on a blog say.
Thank you for the vote of confidence!
« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 12:06:35 PM by Eva_Eva »

Lady SA

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #34 on: March 06, 2018, 12:10:17 PM »
I've seen both threads. I'm just confused on what you (Eva_Eva) are looking for from us? Your thread titles are "Have a baby on my own OR pay off student loans", and to all of us this is signaling that you are wanting our opinions and choosing one or the other ("the "or" in your title), but from your comments, you have already decided on having a baby (understandable--I'd say go for it at your age).

Then I have to read closely and this appears to be your question: "Should I refi my student loans and throw $3K / month for 5 years until I am done with it, or should I wait until after I have a baby?" -- but this isn't your title. Your title indicates your dilemma is "have a baby or not" but your actual question is "do I pay off my SLs now or later?" This is where people are getting really tripped up and confused, and you are getting very defensive.

So that brings me back to my question: if you don't want opinions on what to prioritize (baby vs SLs), you need to make it clear what you DO want from us.

You don't provide much info on expenses for us to gauge what would be optimal for your actual question on timing of paying off your SLs.
Its completely unclear whether you have any cash beyond your $3k emergency fund (which I know you are working on building), and it is unclear whether the situation with supporting your family (that was draining your paycheck and your ability to save up until now) has stopped.
I don't understand where this extra $3k per month is coming from (is this your current loan payment?? or did you free up some cash flow recently and not explain it??), and if that $3k is on top of your "baby budget" -- your budget you have crafted to project your expenses after baby comes.
I also don't see a comparison between current loans and how refinancing would compare (higher min monthly payment? what is the lower interest rate?). You are paynig $800 in SLs right now--is that the min payment or are you paying extra?
It is unclear whether you are continuing to contribute to retirement and how much, and whether that will continue after baby.

Do you see how all this uncertainty makes it very difficult to answer (or even notice) your real question? Your fundamental question hinges on the fact you now suddenly have $3k per month and want input on what to do with it, but then you don't explain if this $3k will still be around after baby comes, where this $3k came from in the first place, and what changed so that you are confident you will have this $3k per month in the future. People are mostly concerned because you had a situation up until very recently that meant you couldn't make significant progress on your loans, and you are 40 with 6 figures of debt. How are we (and you!) sure that this situation is adequately resolved and wont happen again?



Anyway, IF I've understood everything correctly, this is what I would do.
Make sure that your family understands that they need to support themselves and all of your cash is spoken for for the next 20 years, at least.
Have the baby. Save the $3k in cash for the next 10 or so months and get up to a proper emergency/baby fund (while still contributing as much as you can to retirement accounts).
When baby comes, hang tight for a few months and dont make any major decisions. After a few months, I would investigate refinancing to see if that fits in the budget. What you want to AVOID at all costs at this point is being locked into a higher minimum monthly payment. A lower min payment and a higher rate, while not mathematically optimal (you WILL pay a lot more interest and for longer), gives you more flexibility. With a baby, you need as much financial flexibility as you can get.

That's all the advice I can give with the information we have so far. Good luck!

Eva_Eva

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #35 on: March 06, 2018, 07:04:40 PM »
I've seen both threads. I'm just confused on what you (Eva_Eva) are looking for from us? Your thread titles are "Have a baby on my own OR pay off student loans", and to all of us this is signaling that you are wanting our opinions and choosing one or the other ("the "or" in your title), but from your comments, you have already decided on having a baby (understandable--I'd say go for it at your age).

Then I have to read closely and this appears to be your question: "Should I refi my student loans and throw $3K / month for 5 years until I am done with it, or should I wait until after I have a baby?" -- but this isn't your title. Your title indicates your dilemma is "have a baby or not" but your actual question is "do I pay off my SLs now or later?" This is where people are getting really tripped up and confused, and you are getting very defensive.

So that brings me back to my question: if you don't want opinions on what to prioritize (baby vs SLs), you need to make it clear what you DO want from us.

You don't provide much info on expenses for us to gauge what would be optimal for your actual question on timing of paying off your SLs.
Its completely unclear whether you have any cash beyond your $3k emergency fund (which I know you are working on building), and it is unclear whether the situation with supporting your family (that was draining your paycheck and your ability to save up until now) has stopped.
I don't understand where this extra $3k per month is coming from (is this your current loan payment?? or did you free up some cash flow recently and not explain it??), and if that $3k is on top of your "baby budget" -- your budget you have crafted to project your expenses after baby comes.
I also don't see a comparison between current loans and how refinancing would compare (higher min monthly payment? what is the lower interest rate?). You are paynig $800 in SLs right now--is that the min payment or are you paying extra?
It is unclear whether you are continuing to contribute to retirement and how much, and whether that will continue after baby.

Do you see how all this uncertainty makes it very difficult to answer (or even notice) your real question? Your fundamental question hinges on the fact you now suddenly have $3k per month and want input on what to do with it, but then you don't explain if this $3k will still be around after baby comes, where this $3k came from in the first place, and what changed so that you are confident you will have this $3k per month in the future. People are mostly concerned because you had a situation up until very recently that meant you couldn't make significant progress on your loans, and you are 40 with 6 figures of debt. How are we (and you!) sure that this situation is adequately resolved and wont happen again?



Anyway, IF I've understood everything correctly, this is what I would do.
Make sure that your family understands that they need to support themselves and all of your cash is spoken for for the next 20 years, at least.
Have the baby. Save the $3k in cash for the next 10 or so months and get up to a proper emergency/baby fund (while still contributing as much as you can to retirement accounts).
When baby comes, hang tight for a few months and dont make any major decisions. After a few months, I would investigate refinancing to see if that fits in the budget. What you want to AVOID at all costs at this point is being locked into a higher minimum monthly payment. A lower min payment and a higher rate, while not mathematically optimal (you WILL pay a lot more interest and for longer), gives you more flexibility. With a baby, you need as much financial flexibility as you can get.

That's all the advice I can give with the information we have so far. Good luck!

@Lady SA  Yes, you got it right - my dilemma was purely financial (in the sentence you highlighted above) --> if to refinance now and get locked into a lower interest rate + higher payment for 5 years while I try to save & have a baby on my own but people took the thing that resonated with them one way or another (envious women/insecure men??) and started giving me life advice regarding my decision to have a child and started ganging up on me and judging me as irresponsible and old and unlikely to have  a child.

And the rest, about 5% offered honest financial advice using the numbers I presented, the way you did, which makes all the sense in the world - save as much as possible every month until baby gets here (still 18+ months away), and don't get locked into a high-payment refi.

Oh but that wasn't enough - when I tried to present my case, I got crushed and decimated to pieces as if I owed people money or explanations and just realized how evil people are online -- these holier-than-thou armchair warriors!!!

So thank you but I'm done here -- I'm really not a masochist.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 07:14:16 PM by Eva_Eva »

expatartist

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #36 on: March 06, 2018, 07:10:34 PM »
OP, no wonder you were so offended at the life advice handed out to you. But as mentioned above, the original phrasing of your question - using the conjunction "or" - gives the impression in English you were looking for advice on that as well.

Best of luck on your life journey, from an ex-English teacher.

Eva_Eva

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #37 on: March 06, 2018, 07:16:55 PM »
OP, no wonder you were so offended at the life advice handed out to you. But as mentioned above, the original phrasing of your question - using the conjunction "or" - gives the impression in English you were looking for advice on that as well.

Best of luck on your life journey, from an ex-English teacher.

Thank you! Yes, I can see that. As I said, I am an immigrant who started at negative in a brand new country and English isn't my native language, but I do speak 3 other ones - two of them fluently...

charis

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #38 on: March 06, 2018, 07:38:59 PM »
No. The title is: "Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?" That is a very clear, plain question. And everyone has been trying to give advice on that precise question, to the chagrin of the OP.

raygirl999

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #39 on: March 06, 2018, 07:52:10 PM »
I understood the title with no problem at all. I inserted the unstated but implied “now” at the end of the title. Have a baby “now” (or later), aggressively pay off the student loans “now” (or later) or do both “now” (no later implied here). I can see how the tile could have been misunderstood, but the meat of her post could not (or SHOULD not) have been. She never asked for advice about whether she should have a child at all and anyone who read her post could see that. People wanted to give their two cents about a topic she did not ask our opinion on and that’s human nature. It doesn’t mean she (or I) have to like it.

OP said she is done with the thread so maybe we all should be. I sense a lot of frustration and anger in here.

4n6

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #40 on: March 06, 2018, 08:07:52 PM »
First, I think you having a kid on your own is very doable. However, I would encourage you to really think about maybe going to IVF right away. My wife and I are in our fourth round of IVF (our insurance also covers it). We have done 4 IUIs, 4 IVFs and both times we have "perfect" embryos and both times didn't take. We are going one more time (because we get 5 tries) and also doing adoption at the same time. So if you are going to do it I would encourage you to get on it ASAP because there is a good likelihood that it won't work right away.

Good luck.

Eva_Eva

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #41 on: March 06, 2018, 08:32:15 PM »
First, I think you having a kid on your own is very doable. However, I would encourage you to really think about maybe going to IVF right away. My wife and I are in our fourth round of IVF (our insurance also covers it). We have done 4 IUIs, 4 IVFs and both times we have "perfect" embryos and both times didn't take. We are going one more time (because we get 5 tries) and also doing adoption at the same time. So if you are going to do it I would encourage you to get on it ASAP because there is a good likelihood that it won't work right away.

Good luck.

Wow, thank you for sharing this very personal story and I wish you and your wife best of luck!! I fully understand what that might mean to both of you! I will consider IVF as well, and will always listen to my doctor! I wonder is she's ever been pregnant before? (I have - 2X)... (thinking: whoaaa this is getting into the very personal realm)...
« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 08:35:31 PM by Eva_Eva »

bugbaby

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #42 on: March 08, 2018, 10:57:39 AM »
I've read the above so I realize you only want financial type advice.

But do make sure you're not your mother's main caregiver plan if you did have the child and your mother's own health deteriorated.

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LoveMyJob

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #43 on: March 10, 2018, 01:12:02 PM »
Having a baby, raising a child, and being part of family is a magical life experience that can't be compared to money in any way...

Sure: it's hard. it poops. it costs money. it cries. it's a teenager. it makes trouble.
But it's also, for me, the true meaning of my life. I love my kids more than anything in the world that money could buy me or anyone could gift me with. And I wasn't always a kid person. I have a FT job, I'm super into my career, I don't fawn over other kids... but my perspective on life changed greatly after I had my own.

And things happen. My dad died leaving my mom with young kids to raise on her own. Were we shitty sometimes? Yes -- a lot. Does my mom have any regrets? NO. I asked her today in fact :). She had to work to support us and deal with our attitudes, but we are the best things in her life. And I love my mom infinitely for the life she gave me.

So yah, money is an important consideration. But a few things are MORE important. Including family, health and happiness.

If I have to choose between being broke-a$$ poor with my 2 kids vs FI with none, I pick poor mother any day of the week.

GOOD LUCK. Go for it. your family and friends and community will pitch in and help you. And I'm sending you positive vibes on your journey forward.

southern granny

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #44 on: March 10, 2018, 05:06:31 PM »
If you have the baby on your own, please make sure you have male role models in the child's life.  Preferably constant people like uncles or grandfathers.  I grew up without a father in the home and it affected me in many ways.  It was hard for me to relate to or trust men in social or business relationships.  I just didn't know how to relate to them. 

Eva_Eva

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #45 on: March 12, 2018, 04:51:21 PM »
Having a baby, raising a child, and being part of family is a magical life experience that can't be compared to money in any way...

Sure: it's hard. it poops. it costs money. it cries. it's a teenager. it makes trouble.
But it's also, for me, the true meaning of my life. I love my kids more than anything in the world that money could buy me or anyone could gift me with. And I wasn't always a kid person. I have a FT job, I'm super into my career, I don't fawn over other kids... but my perspective on life changed greatly after I had my own.

And things happen. My dad died leaving my mom with young kids to raise on her own. Were we shitty sometimes? Yes -- a lot. Does my mom have any regrets? NO. I asked her today in fact :). She had to work to support us and deal with our attitudes, but we are the best things in her life. And I love my mom infinitely for the life she gave me.

So yah, money is an important consideration. But a few things are MORE important. Including family, health and happiness.

If I have to choose between being broke-a$$ poor with my 2 kids vs FI with none, I pick poor mother any day of the week.

GOOD LUCK. Go for it. your family and friends and community will pitch in and help you. And I'm sending you positive vibes on your journey forward.

Thank you so much! I feel the same - some things like family, health, love, and joy are more important than money (for some of us, at least!). And I can relate to your experience - I lost my father when I was a teenager and my mother lost her second husband so I know what that means - both for us kids without a father and my mother without any type of help raising 3 kids on her own, and a brand new business they head just opened together. Without going into details of how wonderful my childhood was and how perfect my parents' relationship was, the unfortunate happened and no matter how much they planned to live out their lives together, death had other plans.

So, my mother raised a strong, independent woman and she is our best friend. She feel the same -we (her kids) and her grandkids are her biggest joy and life satisfaction. Some things you just can't put a price on, or buy.

Thank you for the vote of confidence! I have the confidence to do it alone and perhaps in time I meet someone as wonderful as my father that would want to be a father to my child.


« Last Edit: March 14, 2018, 11:29:26 AM by Eva_Eva »

Eva_Eva

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #46 on: March 12, 2018, 04:52:56 PM »
If you have the baby on your own, please make sure you have male role models in the child's life.  Preferably constant people like uncles or grandfathers.  I grew up without a father in the home and it affected me in many ways.  It was hard for me to relate to or trust men in social or business relationships.  I just didn't know how to relate to them.

I understand - I have a brother and I hope not to remain single and alone forever. I am sensitive to this issue as I also grew up without a father and I know what you mean. Thank you for offering your perspective!


affordablehousing

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #47 on: March 13, 2018, 02:19:04 PM »
Good luck on the journey. Ditto on the IVF over IUI. Kaiser just wants more patients so they'll happily get you pregnant as fast as they can;) Don't waste time on less effective interventions when you can go right to it. We only have one kid, decided there was never really a "perfect time" to have kids, and that it is a supremely selfish act, but you also only live once, and kids are born cute so you don't try to return them to the store.

In all seriousness, recognize the financial concerns as the natural, normal, predictable response to an oncoming life change. Everyone agitates, I sewed homemade diapers, which turned out to be good for dog toys. Homeless junkies have kids, plenty of which turn out fine, and I'm sure they worry about something while on the streets with a needle in the arm. Student loans, schmudent loans, you'll make new plans as you go along. And perhaps your kid will be a brain surgeon or HUD secretary and pay you back in dining room furniture;) You'll be fine, your kid will be fine, and if not, you'll fix it and do your best.

2Cent

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #48 on: March 14, 2018, 03:26:15 AM »
If you go for IVF they like to make it cheaper by putting 2 eggs at once. This gives a risk for twins, which are fun, but a lot harder as well.

And do consider that hormones will affect you from when you start the treatment, so trust in the decisions you made before when your head was clearer.

It would be really nice if your mom can stay with you for extended periods of time. 72 and in good health means she can do a lot if she gets enough good rest. Most old people who where very active during life actually want to help. It is nice for them to have something worthwhile to contribute to. Maybe you could make a combination of mom and paid help so she can have a few hours with the kids in the morning and after their nap a babysitter can take over. Then in the evening you can do it together.

Most elder people I know hate it when people say "You're too old for that." They feel like they don't have much time left and want it to mean something instead of taking it easy.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Have a baby on my own or aggressively pay off student loans... or both?
« Reply #49 on: March 14, 2018, 06:40:13 AM »
If you go for IVF they like to make it cheaper by putting 2 eggs at once. This gives a risk for twins, which are fun, but a lot harder as well.



It depends who "they" is.
My RE clinic will not implant 2 eggs in anyone older than 35 (it might have even been 30, because I was under 35 when they made me sign the paper stating that they would do not do anything to help people have multiples. And I wasn't even having IUI/IVF, just some basic testing, and had to sign it.)
« Last Edit: March 14, 2018, 06:42:16 AM by iowajes »