What has been the impact of kids on your financial path?


#1

I’m thinking about writing an upcoming post on the impact of kids on a person’s financial path. There are all these statistics about how much a child costs these days. I’d love to have some anecdotes from some fellow bloggers to plug in along with my own experience. So tell me, for those with kids. What has been the impact of kids on your financial path?


#2

I can tell you this for sure…I want to retire early to spend time with him, but having my son prevents me from retiring early. I want to provide stability, pay for his college, etc…

If it was just my wife and I, we would sell the house and move into an RV traveling around the country.


#3

On the one hand, figuring out how to live on one income was likely good for us in the long run. On the other, I think ultimately they put restrictions on nearly every financial decision you make.
Speaking only about the financial aspects of course.


#4

Daycare is costing us about $20K/year which is our biggest expense. And since her birth, we are contributing $2.5K-3K/year and more later on to her education fund. So, yes, kids can be very expensive.

But at the same time, having a kid can actually make someone take more risks and become more entrepreneurial. You feel the need to do better and leave a legacy for your kid(s). And mat leave kinda gives you time to brainstorm, come up with and start new projects.


#5

I think having kids really worked both in favor of and contrary to my ability to FIRE, simply because of their ages, I will have to delay retirement until they are out of the house, a full 3 years after my initial target date. Children retard our progress.

BUT I also never thought much about things like legacy and providing for generational wealth preservation until having kids. Having my mind move in those new directions certainly helped clarify goals and helped focus on achieving them. So overall, a mixed bag.


#6

I’d say a fairly large impact (but other things did as well). Daycare $$$$ x2, then also 529 plan x2, higher cost for vacations, having to use vacation days to cover their sick days, braces x2, having to pay for tutoring because schools won’t address needs, sports, etc. AND let’s not forget adoption expenses x2. So, yeah. While others rock it and can go FIRE with kids, that isn’t the case for us.


#7

My wife is a SAHM, so it slowed down our ability to FIRE, but not for one moment would I trade my kids for earlier retirement. FIRE is not that important :slight_smile:


#8

I’ve got 2 boys, 9 and almost 7 years old.

My wife is educated with a masters degree, but has stayed home to educate them. The costs in terms of actual spending and opportunity costs are substantial, but worth it for us. YMMV.

Kids can cost a little or a lot. The $270,000 figure or whatever it is accounts for owning a larger home, so a big chunk of that is at least somewhat optional.

I’ve had one post on the topic. It’s a guest post and suggests that kids cost an arm and three legs. Again, YMMV.


#9

When we started having kids we went from two incomes to one. Don’t regret the decision we made but it has definitely forced us to make sacrifices along the way. Our childless friends have their evenings free and can travel all they want. That’s just not possible for us right now due to time and financial constraints.


#10

I have a one year old and we’re planning on two additional kids. The most immediate impact was that we started putting aside $200/mo into a 529 college savings plan as soon as we got pregnant. The next change was $36,000/year for day care. It took a year, but we found a reasonable alternate day care that only costs $25,000/year.

Most of the other expenses related to infants were not applicable. We found cribs, clothes, toys, etc… for free in the community, and we use cloth diapers, so minimal added expense there.

Longer term, it is impacted our considerations around early retirement. We could probably retire today, though with some risk. We could retire more comfortably in 4-5 years. But, we aren’t really sure how having a 5 year old, 3 year old, and 1 year old (assuming our plans for new kids pan out) would impact our quality of travel or desire to travel, let alone to be retired. Moreover, we’re thinking that while we could retire, we both like our jobs, and maybe the best thing to do is work until our kids are bound for college, which would happen to be ~62 for me. Doing so would allow us to create the start of real generational wealth. Instead of retiring early with $1M that will last my lifetime and leave very little behind, why not retire later with $10M and leave a legacy for my kids to build upon?


#11

Well, my wife is a stay at home mom so we don’t have her income. We have expenses related to feeding, clothing, and raising two kids. We put money toward their education. Our home is bigger to fit them. So the financial impact is huge. I won’t get to retire in my 50’s. We don’t save as much as we could otherwise.

But it’s all good. To see them grow, smile, laugh, learn, and be part of our world is worth every penny.


#12

Kids change every part of your life, including drastic changes in your financial life. With kids, you can spend over 25$ just for dinner at McDonalds. Plane rides cost more and become too expensive. Car rides cost the same, but now you need a different kind of car. Kids grow up, and want their own car. The cost of 2 kids going to college is more than the purchase price of my house. The list goes on and on.


#13

I’ve got kids in both college and daycare, so I second (or quintuple, or whatever we’re on now) the cost of daycare and education is a big speed bump. We’ve spent $80,000 in the past three years on one kid in college and one in daycare, more or less equally. I wrote a post about that at https://www.idreamoffire.com/what-costs-more-college-or-daycare/.

That doesn’t even factor in some of the other things. Someone mentioned cars for older kids, and that’s definitely a thing if you want it to be. Car insurance is higher when they start driving. Medical insurance is a big one if you go from single to family or couple to family costs. There are all the incidentals. There’s spending for holidays, birthdays, friend’s birthdays. Someone else mentioned the increased cost of travel. Getting three kids on a plane with two adults is an astronomical cost.

In many ways it’s impossible to extract the cost of children from your overall spending to see what the difference would be. Because your lifestyle changes with kids. No way can I say if I didn’t have kids that I would be doing exactly what I’m doing now, but without kids. So I would spend money differently. But I can safely say that I would have a whole lot more latitude to invest and a whole lot less worries about stable income if I didn’t have the related expenses and responsibility.


#14

I never thought it could be true, but having our son definitely helped us get on the right track financially. Before we had him, we were 2 DINKs, investing retirement accounts and homeowner x2, but other than that, we lived paycheck to paycheck.

My husband is in the military and we had to move to a remote location when I was about 7 months pregnant, so I lost my job. I also stayed at home for the 1st year with my son. Even with all the new expenses of having a baby, we learned to live off of one income and we actually did fine. A year later we moved, and were even able to buy a third house. We used to waste a lot of money on going out to restaurants and bars before we had our son. Living in a remote Army town helped us kill that habit because the best restaurant in town was probably an Outback Steakhouse.

Since then, my husband has gotten promoted and I’ve started working again. We obviously have new expenses now like daycare, but we don’t live paycheck to paycheck anymore in my opinion because of the very valuable year we learned to live on one salary.


#15

Early on nursery/day care was a huge cost, almost equivalent to a single full time income.

When we just had one we had them in the private school system (safer route to a good university, old school tie network, etc).

Didn’t scale so well when we had a second child however.

Financially in addition to being an extra mouth to feed etc, the cost of looking after them (either as an opportunity cost by doing it directly, or outsourcing and paying somebody else to do it) is easily most parent’s third largest expense after taxes and housing.

On the plus side however it resulted in a re-evaluation of priorities and life goals, which in turn allowed me to semi-retire, and work on interesting projects rather than just pursuing the highest paying gigs as I had been previously. That had a major impact on the happy factor about life in general, which was an unexpected upside of being a parent. Without the kids I would probably still trying to conquer the universe by making megabucks working silly hours on projects that don’t really matter for clients who don’t really appreciate the effort.


#16

Thanks folks. Post is written and would show up next week. I’ll put a copy here once ready.


#17

I have a 13 year old boy who plays Football, Hockey and Lacrosse. There is definitely an impact with fees and equipment, but it is completely worth it.


#18

We went with the SAHP as our childcare option.

Beyond that, I would say that it has had the largest impact with housing, since it made us decide to move from the area we wanted to be w because it had struggling schools to a large house in an area with stellar schools.


#19

The post is live


Thanks to everyone for their contributions.


#20

Great post! Thanks for including us, we’ll be sure to share it as much as we can. :grinning: