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Starting a Family – Or Not

As a child, I always wondered why my siblings and I and all of my friends had summer or fall birthdays ranging from July 4 through Thanksgiving. We could never figure it out! As an adult, I now completely understand – within each calendar year, there’s a social season and stay-in-and-cuddle season. For all of you with birthdays in that range, trust me, you’ll never look at birthdays the same. Our parents were Netflix-and-chilling before there was Netflix. 

In all seriousness though, when it comes to the topic of when and how many children to have, it can be a taboo subject within the realm of financial planning. It can be a simple mathematical & financial calculation (my actuary and engineering clients are nodding), but much of the time, that part is outweighed by the reasons I hear from folks that they’re putting off kids: We need to grow up before we have kids of our own; or, if we can’t take care of a pet, how can we take care of a child? Other reasons to wait include wanting time to oneself, getting out of debt first, or feeling more secure in a  career. And I get it – I would love a little time to myself! Of course another reason I hear is that a couple has been trying and hasn’t been able to, or perhaps they’re ready financially to try IVF.

Regardless of your situation, these conversations can be difficult to have across a table with a financial advising team, but I would encourage all young couples to start this conversation. Or, if this situation applies to your children or grandchildren, feel free to pass this article on and let them know it’s absolutely okay to take these types of concerns to a trusted financial planning team. 

Believe it or not, the majority of young couples we work with fall into one of those categories, and there is no right or wrong decision, or a timeline you have to measure yourself to. For everyone on the journey to parenthood, there are as many different path to get there, sometimes even resulting in fostering or adoption. Regardless of questions about how those choices fit in your budget (or lack thereof), well, that’s what we’re here for. 

There are financial numbers we look at of course, but if decisions were made based solely on financial numbers and outcomes, I can assure you I never would have had three kids. Stop laughing. No, really. Stop. Don’t make me think about the money that flies through my life on a daily basis to keep the SS Smyth ship afloat. 

If you’ve read this and you’re thinking, this is me, I need to have this conversation, please reach out to our team and let us know. We don’t have to do a comprehensive financial plan to review the topic of kids and finances. Sometimes it’s a simple as a cup of coffee & a quick meeting in our social room where we can listen to you, answer your questions, and give you some things to think about as you plan for this stage of life. Give us a call – we’re here to help. 

Article by David Smyth, Senior Partner at Family Financial Partners — a financial services firm in Lexington, Kentucky.

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