What do you wish you have done or known financially before having a child?

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  • #94941 Reply

      My boyfriend and I, 34F and 39M, have been dating over a year and talking marriage. Originally we talked children when we started dated and decided against having any of our relationship went that way. He has 3 kids from a previous marriage and I was cool with stepmom life and never had a huge desire to have a biological child. Recently, he brought up again the idea of us potentially having a child together. Anyway, we will make that decision for ourselves, but was wondering if there was anything you wish you had done or accomplished financially before having a child? Or anything you wish you had financially prepared for?

      I am late to the FIRE game but have zero debt and $100k in retirement. I have $18k emergency fund that’s good for 6-8 months. I make $115k/yr and my idea of a budget is “pay yourself first” and I max out my TSP and IRA yearly now. My SO recently separated from the Air Force and finishing his 20 yrs in the army reserves. He has divorce debt still, a car payment, maybe $200k in TSP. He is back and school and will have a job at the end of the year paying about $70k.

      We plan that we will both have federal retirements with health care and pensions. Also, we currently rent, so not own a house but want to own in the future when we decide where we want to stay.

      #94942 Reply

        I wish I had set up a passive income stream before my daughter was born. Dropping your kid off at daycare to be raised by someone else so you can go to work to earn enough to pay the daycare to spend the time YOU wanted to spend with her is heartbreaking. It’s all about time.

        #94943 Reply


          If you want a child and can provide a stable loving household, have one. Waiting longer for finances to be right is usually not the right move – there will always be expenses and being older when having children and when they grow up comes with it’s own set of problem.

          #94944 Reply

            Honestly, I wish that I’d had genetic testing and counseling first. It turned out that schizophrenia runs both in my genes and that of the father of the first two. One was lucky, the other wasn’t. And while this may not seem like a financial issue…. trust me, it IS. Serious health issues come with financial problems.

            #94945 Reply

              What is TSP? I bought a house before I had a kid, and I was super glad I did. Moving is extremely stressful. And not something I wanted to have to do with a child. That being said…interest rates are insane and if you don’t get one I understand. But mine has been a great investment.

              I pay $2000/mo for a 3500sf house…in mortgage. Which is now the cost of a studio in my area. I rent out one room in my house for $1350 and my garage for $500.

              So…it actually just costs me $300+ property taxes, insurance + utilities and maintenance.

              #94946 Reply

                If you decide to have kids just make sure YOU would still want to have kids if you knew you would be raising them alone. You have only been together a year, a lot changes. Statistically, men’s workload decreases after children while women’s increases exponentially. He’s divorced from someone he had kids with prior, there is likely a reason for that you may not fully understand yet. If you want kids for yourself then do it, but if you would not choose to have children if it weren’t for this particular man, then please don’t. Kids are a life commitment, a marriage isn’t. (It’s supposed to be, but it isn’t) if that marriage doesn’t work out you will be tied to this man the rest of your life by having children with him. How many women stay in bad marriages for the sake of the children? Those marriages didn’t start bad. If you’re happy without kids, be happy! If you would want a child whether he was in the picture or not, then sure, go for it! I also want to say that since he recently separated from the military, life may look a lot different than you’re both anticipating.

                You are the breadwinner currently, will you be giving up your career to stay home with a new baby? Will you be the one paying $2000/month in childcare expenses? Will you be waking every 2 hours all day and night for 2+ years and then going to work, coming home, caring for baby, taking them to appointments, making dinner, cleaning house, etc?

                Even in relationships with a very even distribution of labor pre child, the dynamics shift after kids and women are much more likely to take on the brunt of that added load. I wish I had understood this better before choosing to have children. Almost all women I know wish they had understood this better.

                #94947 Reply

                  The thing I’m glad I did was wait until I was done with college to have a kid.

                  It seems you are far enough along in life to where you’re not drowning in debt or living paycheck to paycheck. I say if it’s something you want, don’t wait just for finances to get even better. Then you’ll always justify putting it off because you can always be in a better financial position.

                  #94948 Reply

                    My only pre-child wants were to finish school and buy a house.

                    However, in hindsight. You should have your emergency funds in place for 6-12months of bills minimim. The rest you might just have to mellow in. Being a parent is exhausting and will throw you shyt you don’t want and never could have thought of.

                    Have the good daycare setup, maybe paid up ahwad of time? The wait lists are 2-3 years here and outlandishly priced! Do background checks on everyone, but this won’t stop the absolute crazy. I had my kids attempted stolen. From that point on I have never trusted anyone else to watch my kids.

                    #94949 Reply

                      Get genetic testing done on you and your partner and investigate y’all’s family tree for mental health issues. It’s better to know there’s a possibility of something than be smacked in the face with a surprise. My grandma had bipolar and also had post-partum with all of her kids. (Family kept this under wraps.) I have uncles and cousins with anxiety, depression, autism, and alcoholism. I have bipolar. It’s under control now but it wasn’t for 10 years and it was awful. I’ve been told if I ever have kids, I have a high risk of developing post partum psychosis. My family is not progressive and none of us got the treatment we needed till we were adults.

                      I decided not to have children early on in life but if I ever had wanted one it would have been a life saver being able to prep for psychosis. Mental health care is super expensive and if you have an infant you’ll have to factor in nanny care as well.

                      #94950 Reply

                        If you want a baby, don’t wait. Way too many women have fertility problems in their 30s. It drops off fast after 35. If you don’t listen and are going to wait, get a transvag u/s to check your antral follicle count and bloodwork to check your AMH first. Then listen to what your doctor tells you about what those say about your fertility.

                        I had an easy time getting pregnant with my daughter at 31yo.

                        I decided to try again at 33yo and still haven’t been successful. It’s been 8 years and I’ve done 5 IVF egg retrievals and 10 embryo transfers, costing me over $60k.

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