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Cost of Kids OR ER
Old 12-16-2004, 10:57 AM   #1
 
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Cost of Kids OR ER

Just wondering how much a child costs to raise each year from the time it is born to about 22 years old (approx time he/she finishes college).

Is it worth having a child or two or ERing instead?

Would love to know your thoughts from those who have kids and those who decided not to as well. Is ERing worth not having the kids?
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Re: Cost of Kids OR ER
Old 12-16-2004, 11:16 AM   #2
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Re: Cost of Kids OR ER


Quote:
Just wondering how much a child costs to raise each year from the time it is born to about 22 years old (approx time he/she finishes college).

Is it worth having a child or two or ERing instead? *

Would love to know your thoughts from those who have kids and those who decided not to as well. *Is ERing worth not having the kids? *
Gary: It costs plenty.
I would advise you to delay having children (both for your sake and the childrens sake), until such time as you can remove the financial considerations out of the decision of whether you should or shouldn't.
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Re: Cost of Kids OR ER
Old 12-16-2004, 11:23 AM   #3
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Re: Cost of Kids OR ER

Quote:
Is it worth having a child or two or ERing instead? *

Would love to know your thoughts from those who have kids and those who decided not to as well. *Is ERing worth not having the kids? *
You make it sound like kids are like a package of hamburger.

If you want to have kids you always put ER as second priority. *If you start asking yourself if ERing is worth not having kids, then don't have kids because chances are you won't be the kind of mother or father the child needs.

In my case I wanted kids and I wanted to ER. *I have a child and am semi-ERed. *No reason you have to pick one or the other. *In fact, being semi ERed helps me spend more quality time with my child.
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Re: Cost of Kids OR ER
Old 12-16-2004, 11:36 AM   #4
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Re: Cost of Kids OR ER

Gary, you are going to get a lot of flak from those who have kids and I understand why. The decision isn't about money unless you don't have any. Do you get married to someone because they increase your net worth or decide not to get married because it might delay retirement?

We didn't have kids because we weren't suited for it. Nothing to do with money at all.
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Re: Cost of Kids OR ER
Old 12-16-2004, 11:54 AM   #5
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Re: Cost of Kids OR ER

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Is it worth having a child or two or ERing instead?
I agree with Jarhead, retire@40, and Martha. It's almost impossible to respond to such a question when the original poster obviously views parenthood in a way that I can't even fully comprehend.

To Gary I'd say this: You have it completely backward. First live your life. If you are able to ER within the framework of the life you have chosen, then by all means do it, if you think it's for the best. But don't live to ER.

Regarding children - although they have provided a great meaning to my life, they don't exist for my benefit. You don't put a price on children. That's not what it's about.
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Re: Cost of Kids OR ER
Old 12-16-2004, 03:33 PM   #6
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Re: Cost of Kids OR ER

Gary, here's a quantitative answer:
http://www.family.msn.com/tool/artic...03_babyfinance

But please keep reading after that link...

Here's both quantitative & qualitative answers from this same discussion last month, and I'm sure a number of us are burned out over it:
http://early-retirement.org/cgi-bin/...668953;start=0

Most of us ERs with kids retired to be able to spend more time with our kids. Without kids I would have made many career decisions differently and I probably wouldn't even be ready to think about ER, let alone be able to figure out how to do it. Although not having kids would cut a few years off the time it takes to reach the ER goal, ER without kids would be less exciting and certainly a lot less fulfilling.

When you're ready to have kids, you'll know it. When you have enough kids in your family, you'll know that too. It's an emotional decision vice logical or analytical. Most of us think about kids & money as "My gosh, now how am I gonna pay for THIS one too?!?" The fact that you're framing the question with the financial priority ahead of the child-bearing priority says that you're probably not ready.

If you're offended by this type of response, just think how your kid would feel while reading your question...
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Re: Cost of Kids OR ER
Old 12-17-2004, 06:25 AM   #7
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Re: Cost of Kids OR ER

Quote:
Just wondering how much a child costs to raise each year from the time it is born to about 22 years old (approx time he/she finishes college).

Is it worth having a child or two or ERing instead? *

Would love to know your thoughts from those who have kids and those who decided not to as well. *Is ERing worth not having the kids? *
It sounds like you're looking for numbers and analysis, but it will be very dependent on how your raise them. I've got a five year old and it doesn't cost me that much. All it's going to do is slow down my time to ER, but it definitely won't stop it. Of course, I have the advantage in being single so I can be very goal-oriented in that regard. If you have a spouse that doesn't think that way, things can get astronomically expensive very quickly: four going on a vacation is much more expensive than two; four going to a movies is much more expensive than two, etc.

But here's the way I would look at it: having kids will slow down your ER, but the rewards are worth every penny that delays you. I wouldn't trade my time with my son for any other life experience or, for that matter, for a nice fat lottery winning.

And just raise them learning about value - maybe they'll grow up to be one of the few Americans that actually saves and doesn't live from one status symbol to the next and doesn't thrive on expensive food, recreation and entertainment. Why - that's almost spiritual...
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Re: Cost of Kids OR ER
Old 12-17-2004, 10:33 AM   #8
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Re: Cost of Kids OR ER

Gary, don't be bothered by everyone's offense at your question. There are a few things that seem to make people unwilling to talk reasonably around here, and kids is one of them. I definitely agree with ex-Jarhead's short answer "it costs plenty." Estimates range from $100-500k depending on a lot of factors, and any individual's experience may be far outside that range (Amy Daczyczyn or Paris Hilton).

When you look at the people on this board you see more childless couples than the general population (though that's just a guess, and I haven't tried to quantify it), and few people with lots of kids (though people with lots of kids are rare in our society these days). Several people have mentioned limiting the number of children as a route to easier early retirement, and the famous early retirees Terhorst and Dominguez were explicit that being childless made the path easier.

Is having a child worth it? I made the decision to have children with my eyes wide open to the fact that it would cost a great deal of time, effort, and money (with not a small amount of coaxing from DW), so I certainly think so. You have to decide for yourself what you want to accomplish during your short stay on this planet. I decided that having children was worth whatever it might take.

Finally I suggest also that those of us who are true savers, those who plan far far ahead, should not forget the big payoff for having children -- grandchildren.
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Re: Cost of Kids OR ER
Old 12-17-2004, 11:07 AM   #9
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Re: Cost of Kids OR ER

Personally I have three kids and am looking at 55ish to retire. Since I have decided to fund private K-12 for all three and a 4 year public university for all three, that decision has delayed my retirement date. However, the decision to have them and the education decision are both mine, so I have no resentment towards my kids at all.

I don't know how people who have ER'ed either with or without kids could give you an unbiased opinion. They'd either be happy or not with their choice, but that shouldn't affect your choice. The decision to have kids -- when, how many, how to raise them, etc. -- are all extremely personal choices that nobody can really make that choice for you.

As a person who has already had kids, it seems odd at first to read your kind of questions, but I do think that making a thoughtful decision about something that affects your life so much is wise. Trying to equate 1 kid to any amount of money is an odd notion to a parent, which you'll probably discover if you decide on the "have kids" route.

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