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When I’m Going to Go Broke

July 2nd, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  3 Comments

Here’s a nice post from Lisa Belkin, about older parents and the fact that their own parents miss out on some grandparenting time. Briefly: If you wait till you’re 40 to have kids, then the grandparents miss out on a bigger portion of their grandkids’ lives. Not tragic—just a fact, and one with consequences.

What interests me lately about later-in-life parenting, though, is the dire financial outlook. Theoretically, at least, if you wait to have children, you’ll be more established by then, and your kids will thus have it better. Certainly if I’d tried to raise a child on what I was making fifteen years ago, it would’ve been extremely difficult.

But just think it through for a moment. If you have kids at 40, you’ve most likely thought about buying a place to live around that time, too. The kid then goes to college when you’re about 60. You won’t be done with the 30-year mortgage by then—and it’s precisely during those late-career years when you’re frantically topping up the retirement account you didn’t pay enough attention to, back wen you were trying to assemble the down payment and pay for daycare. In short, the three biggest financial demands of your life (housing, college, retirement) all demand a piece of you at once. Ulp.

Nice detail: All this happens just as you get into your sixties, with their significantly increased prospect of illness, or at least ebbing energy.

All I can say is: Kid? I’d never ever push you into a career you hate. I want you to love what you do, or at least like it most of the time. But if you happen to like doing something that turns out to make a lot of money… well, let’s go with that. You’re our last best hope.


  1. beta dad says:

    July 2nd, 2010at 2:06 pm(#)

    With any luck, we’ll die before they get to college.

    Have a great weekend!

  2. soultravelers3 says:

    July 2nd, 2010at 3:09 pm(#)

    I wouldn’t worry so much about the older parents and grandparents issue so much as many of the comments on Lisa’s article pointed out. Often times things have a way of working out just fine.

    My 84 year old step dad was the only child of a 40 something mom MANY years ago ( his dad was even older than his mom) and it worked out fine for him, his parents and his kids. ( Both his parents lived into their 90’s and were vibrant until the very end).

    My grandmother, mother and myself have all had late babies and it’s worked out ( and is working out) stupendously. I think later babies is a wonderful trend if one puts a little thought into it.

    I waited until almost 40 to get married, enjoyed many years as a couple and was very delighted and surprised to find myself pregnant at 47! My mother was 72 then and thrilled. She spent more time in the first 5 years with my child than any of her other grandchildren and they remain very close …even as we travel the world…via free webcam calls.

    It’s about thinking differently I think, not just about having a baby later. Read the New Global Student and one realizes you no longer have to go broke to send your kid to college or own a home. They launched 4 successfully without debt or even taking SATs.

    Having a late baby made us retire early ( before 50) sell all the STUFF and travel the world, so we could enjoy our time together, give her a world class education and add to our nest egg as we roam. Being “homeless” and renting luxury apartments around the world is a great advantage in this economy where many can work and school anywhere and we’re monolinguals easily raising a fluent trilingual/triliterate …something that will be a great advantage in the coming world.

    I think this “new economy” means that things have changed and the old patterns of retirement, parenthood, housing will not be like those things have been for the last several generations. Many people are finding many new ways to do them!

  3. karen says:

    July 2nd, 2010at 8:37 pm(#)

    I’m counting on senility myself. And that my father-in-law continues to do okay in the stock market, doing his trades. Cuz my own dad is TOTALLY doing that idiot baby-boomer thing (late bloomer, he) and spending all of the loot my Grandmother said he would “do right by” as fast as he can. Sigh.

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