Are you planning on starting your family after age 35? If you are, let’s explore the financial ramifications.
Nowadays, many people are becoming first-time parents only at an older age, some even in their 40s, for many reasons such as choosing to establish a career first. Prioritizing the “when” for starting a family is influenced by many factors, and the decision is ultimately your own despite how others may try to influence. Today, we want to explore how becoming a parent when you are older has financial consequences.
So, what are the financial implications if you have a baby later in life?
1. Career: More time on building your career & earning power
You can use your 20s and early 30s to concentrate on building your career and increase your earning power. This translates to more savings and investments. This way, when the moment come to start a family, the financial aspect will be less likely of an issue compared with younger couples.
Raising a child takes much time and care. It hinders career progression. However, at an older age, career advancement is not a priority anymore. You may likely be where you want to be in your career ladder, or are well-established and on-track for your career goals, and are earning a comfortable income. Time to relax a little, unwind, and spend some quality time with your spouse.
In contrast, it’s an extra pressure if you are taking on a new baby while also looking at establishing your career. As a new parent, your child will likely always be on your mind. Babies require much attention and nourishment in their first two years. And, since they grow up so fast, you would not want to miss this special time with them. Would you be able to balance climbing the corporate ladder with being a diligent parent? What would be fair tradeoffs?
2. Savings: Setting up a “Baby Fund”
Raising children is not cheap. If you plan for a baby, say in 5 years’ time, used that period to save money for the baby. How much to save? Depends. There is no one-size-fit-all answer. But, at least your savings should cover expenses from pregnancy to the baby one-year-old birthday.
Pregnancy is a major life change, and it evokes multitudes of emotions. Many life areas changes to consider, to plan – this can overwhelm the soon-to-be mom. Having a “baby fund” readied can at least ensure a stress-free pregnancy, money-wise. Starting a family later in life gives you opportunity to save in advance.
3. Medical cost: High-risk pregnancy will cost you more
High-risk pregnancy needs extra treatment and specialized care from trained providers to help with a healthy pregnancy.
A woman’s age is a risk factor for high-risk pregnancies. Adolescents and women over the age of 35 have a higher risk of pregnancy complications. Women also face fertility problems once they are above 35 years old. Fertility peaks when women are in their 20s. Then it starts to decline. Conceiving will be a struggle as women age. With advances in medical technology, a procedure such as “in-vitro fertilization” (IVF) is used to treat infertility. Prepared to pay a hefty sum, though.
4. Housing: The need for a bigger home
The apartment you are staying now may be too small to add another person, your baby. It will need renovation if you want to add a room. Or, look for a new bigger house. But that means carrying a debt for the next 20 years.
Options for bank loans and your bargaining power become limited if you or your spouse is above a certain age. The bank may offer a shorter loan period and loan approved at much less than requested. Taking up a major loan at an older age may cause you to carry debt when retire. Good retirement planning should entail zero debts when retire. It’s challenging to build a large nest egg for retirement when you have a big loan to service and childcare cost to take care of.
5. Retirement fund: Making sacrifices for childcare costs
To give birth at an older age (35 and over) can contribute to your career. But this decision can affect your retirement savings because childcare costs are now a priority.
Raising a child is not cheap, and it gets more expensive as the kid grows. Therefore, putting adequate money into your retirement fund will get difficult each month as the money priority is on childcare. Further, you would probably have a financially dependent kid near your retirement.
At this late stage in life, not putting in sufficient money into your retirement fund could jeopardize your dream retirement. Playing catch up will be tough as retirement is near.
6. Sandwich generation: Taking care of both children and ageing parents
Today, many people with young children also have to take care of their own ageing parents. These parents are called the “sandwich generation”.
If you had your kid at an older age, your parents too will be older and perhaps already retired. Both generations, rely on you for financial support. This could affect your financial well-being drastically.
Take note that that this financial implication is not to suggest abandoning your elderly parents’ well-being. Or to suggest not to have children. Instead, as children, we have the responsibility to look after our parents in their old age.
So, talk to your parents on their finances. Understand their basic needs and financial capability. Work out a budget and plan with your financial advisor that meets your needs, the needs of your parents, and of course the needs of your children.
7. Education fund: Plan for it
All parents want to ensure their children get a proper education. But, the cost is not cheap. Plan for it with your spouse.
Regardless of your age upon giving birth, once you have a baby, you must plan for their education fund. If you are a first-time parent in your twenties, you can plan for it later when your kid starts primary schooling. You still have time.
However, having a baby when you are older, planning must start soonest. You don’t have many more years left to save money until you retire. And when you retire, it is possible your young adult child may still need your financial support.
8. Risk Management: Buy Insurance
Insurance costs more the older you are, regardless of the coverage amount. The longer you wait to get coverage, the higher the eventual costs.
While single with no dependent, life insurance needs is a low priority. But if you have dependents (such as children, spouse or ageing parents), regardless of your marital status, do get a life insurance policy.
Don’t forget to buy an insurance for your pregnancy to cover prenatal and your unborn baby. Coverage includes:
- Child protection before and after birth
- Maternal protection during pregnancy covers a wide range of congenital conditions, including neonatal jaundice
- Beyond health insurance (pregnancy and newborn), it applicable also for savings, critical illness, and accident riders.
9. Budget: Create a new family budget
When planning for a baby, consider all the above factors and create a new household budget that includes your child.
Having a baby is another phase of your life. For a first-time mom, you will experience different emotions and have questions – The lifestyle changes (can I adapt?), the money (will it be enough?).
Some people may warn you about the disadvantages of giving birth at such a late age. But, think of the happiness a child gives to you. It’s worth everything.
Though in your 30s or 40s, you can have a happy family life and still protect your financial future by some planning and budgeting… and not to forget some sacrifice.
Don’t let numbers or charts determine your life. Having a baby and starting a family is a personal choice. You can’t depend solely on dollars and cents as the measuring stick to decide for you.
Plan for it and you will be all right. This would be one of life’s most exhilarating periods. You’ll be anxious, scared, restless and uncomfortable. Just bring it on and embrace it.
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Are there any other financial implications of having a baby at an older age? Please share.