Is There Ever a Right Financial Time to Have a Child?


Have you ever thought about having a child but after considering the finances decided it just wasn’t the right time? The decision to become a parent is one of, if not the biggest financial decision you will make. So is there ever a right time to have a child when finances or career prospects are taken into account? I thought it might be fun to mention a few financial worries that often stop people from having kids and get your opinion – from your own experience – as to whether they should really stop you from becoming a parent or even having another child. I know it’s a bit of a sensitive subject but hopefully that will make for some interesting responses.

Buying a House

This can be a big thing that stops someone from having a child. As much as they might love the idea of holding a little one, their financial goals dissuade them as they decide that saving for a deposit on a house or buying a bigger house should take priority. The only problem with this option is that sometimes years can go by without achieving this goal. This can then leave prospective parents wondering whether they should still stick to their original goal or instead bite the bullet and put the house buying on hold, perhaps moving to a bigger rental to accommodate a child.

Pursuing a Career

If you want to be a parent but you also have the goal to pursue a career then people often face some difficult choices. The first difficult decision is whether to forego having a child completely to focus 100% on your career or whether you feel that you can successfully do both at the same time. Another tough call can arise if you are already in the throes of your career. Do you take a break to have a child and risk falling behind, missing out on a promotion or falling out of favor with your employer? Can you afford to live only on your maternity pay for a period of time? And what about when you return to work, will childcare costs be too much to bear? All are difficult financial questions to consider.

Budget Constraints

How many times do we hear people say ‘I’d have another baby today, I just don’t think we can afford it’. Perhaps you’ve said it yourself? Having a second or even a third child is certainly going to cost you more, but it may not be as much as you think. I suppose this depends on a variety of factors such as the sex of the baby, whether you have kept any of the items bought for your first child etc. It is certainly possible to economize on food but other things may need to be purchased again. On top of all this we also have to consider extra healthcare costs and long term savings goals such as saving for college, will you be able to afford these extra outlays?

Having your first child will undoubtedly place a strain on your budget, especially if you are already feeling the pinch. Does this mean that you shouldn’t do it though? I know many people who have struggled for money throughout their lives, only just getting by, yet they have managed to raise healthy children in a clean and well-nourished environment. Of course, it’s a personal decision that each person has to make for themselves but to go back to my original question,

Is there ever a right financial time to have a child? What do you think?

15 Responses to Is There Ever a Right Financial Time to Have a Child?

  1. We’re finally starting to talk about having a child within the next couple of years. My major concern is my career. I want a new job, but I do not want to switch careers only to find that I’m pregnant or will be on maternity leave within a year. But then again, I could be looking for a good job for a year or two! So why wait?

    • Adam Buller says:

      This is exactly the dilemma that a lot of people face isn’t it. I’m the sole breadwinner in our family and my wife has been at home with the kids (by choice I should add) from day one, so this particular dilemma hasn’t presented itself. In other ways though it has inevitably affected our finances in that we could have had a second wage coming in had we chosen to delay having children. I love my kids to bits though and no amount of extra cash could replace the joy they bring.

  2. I think you’re right that there’s never a “good time.” As I approach 30, I’ve thought about it more and more, but struggle with my current career path (entertainment industry). People seem to find a way to make it work, but it’s often later than they originally planned.

    • Adam Buller says:

      I can imagine it must be tough in that industry, I’m guessing the working hours aren’t too friendly? One point I forgot to mention in the post was that of waiting so long that you end up having to deal with a teenager in your 50’s! My Mother had my little brother 8 years after she had me and she has always said how much more difficult it was to find the energy to deal with his rebellious stage.

  3. Debt BLAG says:

    It does seem like a lot of pressure. I’m very much single right now, but it’s always in the back of my mind when I make big savings goals

  4. When I gave birth to my first baby that was almost seven years ago, honestly, we are not financially stable and we really learned from it. And now before having a second baby, we should be financially ready.

  5. I think it’s incredibly irresponsible to have children you can’t afford. And when I say can’t afford, I mean, you will qualify for welfare and food stamps if you have this child.

  6. I have a really different perspective on this I think- since we have been trying to have a child for five years and cannot. I think my answer to the title question would be no, there’s never a right financial time- it’s always going to be expensive. But that should not keep you from doing it unless you do not have any means to care for the child, do not have housing, struggle to put food on the table, etc. Back in my 20s I was very focused on my career- but knowing what I know now I wish we would have tried then. Can’t help but wonder if a younger version of myself would have better luck getting pregnant (and I’m not all that old at this point- 34).

  7. Mark Ross says:

    I personally think that having a child should be done when thw two of you have settled and have your finances in great shape. You don’t want to have a child and also a lot of debt at the same time, right?

  8. My coworker once told me, if you’re planning to take vacation, take it when you want to. If you wait until the time is perfect (no outstanding problems, no critical deadlines, etc), you’ll never go. Starting a family is can always find a reason why it’s not the “perfect” time…if you want to start a family, that IS the perfect time. 🙂

  9. Krista says:

    These are all conversations we’ve had about when we’re going to bring kids in the picture. Because we’re going the adoption route we have the advantage and disadvantage of needing to have financial stability before we can embark on the process so just the nature of adoption makes some of our financial goals musts rather than shoulds.

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