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Old 03-29-2014, 12:59 PM   #41
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Our kids were born when we were in our late 30's with last one at ages 39. We had already established ourselves in our routines, jobs, friends, and family, so the kids really didn't have much of an impact. They didn't cost much since we already were settled in on where we lived. That is, we didn't move just because we had kids.

We had no problem socializing with younger parents and friends with kids the same age. Indeed, I think we had more time for volunteering at school and for example coaching lots of youth sports which was a real blast.

We had no problem socializing with child-free people and also older folks whose kids had already grown.

We turned out alright and I think are financially pretty much in the same place as without kids. Part of the reason is that we invested plenty before the kids came along and were nearly FI at that time. That money just kept growing/compounding just as the kids kept growing.

And I think the kids have turned out alright, too.

Things our kids did not get: cars, private school, new clothes. Things our kids did get: Scouts, music, art, sports, charitable work in thrift shops, travel with and without us. Once the kids are about 12, they pretty much have their own lives and can pretty much function with only mild contact with parents anyways. One can meet all requests for money with the response "Get a job." It works.

Anyways, I just don't believe in all the drama about child-free vs others. You are your own person. Do what you want.
+1

Our two girls are 8 (in a couple of weeks) and 4 and I'm 41 and DH is 44. Most of our social circle also had kids later in life so we fit in just fine with our crowd. I find it more uncommon these days for someone in their early 20's to have children actually.

Having kids has taught us to be more patient and to see the joy in our kids as they discover new things. Being a mom has been the most challenging job that I have ever had and the most rewarding. When they give me a hug and say "I love you" for no reason at all, I know the true meaning of unconditional love.

We are still on path to ER....being an older parent means that we don't have as much energy, BUT, it does mean that we could financially afford them and we can afford for me to be a SAHM. Kids are only as expensive as you make them to be .
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Old 03-29-2014, 01:14 PM   #42
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Why is the question always phrased as why one chose not to have children? In this day of both spouses working, 50% divorce rate, high unemployment, shouldn't the question be, why did you choose to have children?
+1. I'd like to see more of this, too.
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Old 03-29-2014, 01:22 PM   #43
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^I chose to have kids so that I could do scientific and psychological experiments on my own kids instead of on all my friends' kids.

When they were younger, I would tell them that their eyes changed color every time they blinked. "Oh your eyes are now green! How did you did that? Ooops, you blinked, your eyes have changed to blue now."

And how about the very common "If you don't go to sleep right away, the Bogeyman will come and get you."
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Old 03-29-2014, 01:29 PM   #44
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Never wanted, never had, never saw the point.
Ditto
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Old 03-29-2014, 02:25 PM   #45
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one thing that helped me in my decision: you don't have to like kids in general to like your own.

In my 20's I mentioned to a colleague that I wasn't sure if I should have kids cuz I didn't necessarily like them very much. He (having two of his own) said: "hey I don't like other people's kids either. But I like my own."

I'm still not crazy about kids in general--don't fawn over babies, etc. But I still like my own.
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Old 03-29-2014, 04:55 PM   #46
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Really insightful arguments on both sides -- nothing less than I'd expect on this forum.

One thing I'd point out is that it may be erroneous to assume all parents are glad they are parents. If you Google phrases like "I regret having kids" or "I hate being a parent", you'll see there's a huge group of people out there (mostly women, sadly) who feel enormously trapped or regretful of becoming a parent. It's just that the social disapproval bestowed upon a parent who says he/she wishes otherwise is enormous. Perhaps more scorn than any other thing someone could do.
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Old 03-29-2014, 05:04 PM   #47
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Really insightful arguments on both sides -- nothing less than I'd expect on this forum.

One thing I'd point out is that it may be erroneous to assume all parents are glad they are parents. If you Google phrases like "I regret having kids" or "I hate being a parent", you'll see there's a huge group of people out there (mostly women, sadly) who feel enormously trapped or regretful of becoming a parent. It's just that the social disapproval bestowed upon a parent who says he/she wishes otherwise is enormous. Perhaps more scorn than any other thing someone could do.
+1. And if you look for phrases such as "I regret not having kids" you find nearly nothing. Totally one-sided.
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Old 03-29-2014, 05:26 PM   #48
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Plus, if you have kids really late, they have to put up with their friends, and friends' parents, mistaking you for their grandparents. This can be highly embarrassing for teenagers.

Amethyst
Nice point! My dad was 42 when he had me, and most are shocked that when I was 20 he was 62... they said "no way!" Both DW and I have good genes... up until recently, she was getting carded at restaurants. She's 33.

I only made it to about 30 or 31 before people stopped carding me.
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Old 03-29-2014, 05:28 PM   #49
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Ha! My daughter was mistaken for my trophy wife once. She did not like that at all.
Your daughter and your trophy wife look very much alike?
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Old 03-29-2014, 05:34 PM   #50
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one thing that helped me in my decision: you don't have to like kids in general to like your own.

In my 20's I mentioned to a colleague that I wasn't sure if I should have kids cuz I didn't necessarily like them very much. He (having two of his own) said: "hey I don't like other people's kids either. But I like my own."

I'm still not crazy about kids in general--don't fawn over babies, etc. But I still like my own.
Great observation gardenfun! And that's how it's worked with me. I cherish my role in both my immediate and extended family. But, I don't seek out opportunities to be with children in general to any great extent.
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Old 03-29-2014, 05:50 PM   #51
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Your daughter and your trophy wife look very much alike?
Absolutely, half of my daughter's genes come from my trophy wife of 32 years.
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Old 03-29-2014, 05:56 PM   #52
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Absolutely, half of my daughter's genes come from my trophy wife of 32 years.
You're a lucky guy with two beautiful women in your life!
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Old 03-29-2014, 06:15 PM   #53
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...

But, keep in mind you can end up with some challenging situations if things don't go according to plan. As a for instance, we had our oldest daughter pass away at a young age and that tragedy about mentally ruined DW and me (and our youngest daughter). It's very tough to bury your children.

...

Not that things like this will happen, but life is a crap shoot and no telling when things can go drastically wrong.

There are risks in having children so be prepared.
My brother died of cancer at age 19; messed us up financially and emotionally.
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Old 03-29-2014, 06:56 PM   #54
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Why is the question always phrased as why one chose not to have children? In this day of both spouses working, 50% divorce rate, high unemployment, shouldn't the question be, why did you choose to have children?
I think it is still far, far, far more common for married couples and other couples to have children than not.
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Old 03-29-2014, 07:06 PM   #55
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I think it is still far, far, far more common for married couples and other couples to have children than not.
Really?

Warning Bell for Developed Countries: Declining Birth Rates

Warning Bell for Developed Countries: Declining Birth Rates - Forbes
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Old 03-29-2014, 08:21 PM   #56
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the funny thing, most of the folks that have a very good grasp on their finances tend to think more about having/not having children (probably b/c of the financial aspect). And it seems a lot of people that can't afford children have about 4-5 of them.

I would tend to think the ones who have a good grasp on their finances are exactly the ones who should be having children, not the other way around. We need more children born into these type of households. We have it backwards.
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Old 03-29-2014, 09:48 PM   #57
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I always knew I preferred dogs to kids. Got clipped 29 years ago shortly before getting married, and never regretted it. Started adopted pound / rescue dogs shortly thereafter. Still have multiple dogs decades after the marriage ended.
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Old 03-29-2014, 10:08 PM   #58
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I think you will be happy with either path. I have two boys and while every day with them hasn't always been sunshine and butterflies, I consider them the greatest gifts in my life.

Maybe I'm doing something wrong, but for sure these boys have cost some big $s and if I had not had them I am sure I could retire much earlier than I eventually will. Also, they take up a lot of your free time. Especially in the young years. I would do it all again, though. We have had so much fun with these boys.

My SIL has a severely disabled child (now a grown adult) who requires 24/7 total care that my BIL and SIL provide. My SIL has not worked since her daughter was born because she is the primary caregiver. Medical costs in their kid's childhood have left them with very little in retirement savings. Once their child became an adult, the state helped pick up the costs for much of her pharmaceuticals, diapers, medical devices, etc. and now my BIL is trying to catch up on their savings. They are in their late 50s and worry about what will happen to their daughter if something happens to them.

I guess my point is that having kids, like all things in life, is a roll of the dice.

The good thing is that in this day and age it is a choice. My parents are both from large families - birth control just wasn't that great, women were very dependent on men, and high paying careers for women were virtually non-existent. Now women are in control of their own destiny and are getting college degrees and advanced degrees at greater rates than men. They are climbing the corporate ladders, starting their own businesses, and can decide when or if to have children. The times they are a changing.
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Old 03-29-2014, 11:23 PM   #59
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Really insightful arguments on both sides -- nothing less than I'd expect on this forum.

One thing I'd point out is that it may be erroneous to assume all parents are glad they are parents. If you Google phrases like "I regret having kids" or "I hate being a parent", you'll see there's a huge group of people out there (mostly women, sadly) who feel enormously trapped or regretful of becoming a parent. It's just that the social disapproval bestowed upon a parent who says he/she wishes otherwise is enormous. Perhaps more scorn than any other thing someone could do.
I have only met one person who will actually admit they wished they didn't have kids. He likes and loves his kids, but in an honest moment he'll tell you he was happy before and doesn't feel any more fulfilled now.

Most every other parent that I've ever asked falls into one of two camps: (1) genuine gushing about children; (2) that moment of pause that makes you think they're convincing themselves of their answer before they tell you they're happy they did it.

Obviously there are tradeoffs if you have kids - rewards and sacrifices - but I have always believed that there are more people out there that would forgo children if they had to do it over again.

That may be what gives me pause the most.

Then again, I am sure there are plenty of people out there who didn't or couldn't have kids that wished they had.
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Old 03-29-2014, 11:26 PM   #60
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Really?

Warning Bell for Developed Countries: Declining Birth Rates

Warning Bell for Developed Countries: Declining Birth Rates - Forbes
Yes, really. 32 percent of GenX women do not have kids. QED...
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