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lovelace's avatar

Should you be more concerned about achieving financial stability than having kids by a certain age when deciding on when to get married?

Asked by lovelace (199 points ) October 22nd, 2010

A friend of mine is in her late twenties and has no kids. She values having children within the context of a marriage and does not want to have kids before she is married. However, her bf has some significant financial debt to handle before he feels like he can propose to her. She wants financial stability but she also wants to have children soon.

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16 Answers

tedd's avatar

Well I’d say so long as she’s willing to accept living without much money, and they can financially afford his debt and a child… marriage and moving onto kids isn’t a crazy idea. Really to me it would just be making sure you can afford the kid.

He could propose whenever he wants, it would just mean that the ring/wedding/things like that would probably have to be brought down a notch.

More of a matter of whats more important to her in life I guess.

Austinlad's avatar

In my opinion, rushing to get married and bear a child just because she wants to would not be a mature decision—especially in this dicey economy and before she knew finances and the marriage itself were on solid ground.

Cruiser's avatar

Financial issues is a main reason for issues in committed relationship and the number one reason cited for divorce. IMO, probably not a great idea to take on a marriage going into it with money problems.

cookieman's avatar

I know people who saved, bought a house, obtained decent jobs, got married then started thinking about children.

I know people who had children immediately, then got married and winged it financially.

Both have worked to one degree or another. Both have ended up doing pretty well as a family.

I don’t think there’s a guaranteed winning formula for this. It’s more a matter of which path will make you happy and/or let you sleep at night.

My wife and I dated for nine years and were married for seven years before we became parents – so you can see where we fall on this.

wundayatta's avatar

Do you want to have a family? If you do, then, in my opinion, that’s more important than having the money you need to bring them up in the style you want.

It doesn’t matter how much stuff you have. Good parenting is what counts. Love is what counts. If there’s love, the kids will do fine no matter how much (or little) money there is. When you have kids, you make do with whatever you have.

I know a lot of people feel differently and they won’t have kids until they can “afford” them. What’s that? How do you know when you can afford them? What are the minimum standards?

I think it goes the other way around. Have kids and then see what you can afford. The kids always come first, not the money. There are too many abandoned kids of workaholic parents. I believe a child who is poor in money, but rich in care and love will do better than a child who is rich in money but poor in love. They may be better off with things, but they may also be spending a lot of that money for psychologists. Happiness does not require things, but it does require love.

ZAGWRITER's avatar

A friend of ours once said that it’s just silly to wait to have kids till you do not have any bills, because you will always have bills, so I wouldn’t put off having kids till the financial situation is perfect. That’s insane. Also, what kind of debt are we talking about from the bf here? Mortgage and car??? A bad gambling debt that Guido is gonna bust his kneecaps over? Unless it is monumental in a bad way, using the debt as an excuse not to propose yet, is just that, an excuse, so maybe the bf is just not emotionally ready for kids, cause it sounds like she brings up the subject a lot, no?

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Austinlad's avatar

@noelleptc, probably not often… but definitely not when when its parents are newly married, very young and financially challenged. That’s pushing luck a bit.

Joybird's avatar

I have told my daughters NOT to marry, that marriage is a property state that enmeshes your assets with another person in health and even when they are financial blunderers. They have gotten the message and so marriage will never become a factor in their choice of partner or for child birth and rearing…both of which will be held off until they have established themselves financially in the world and amassed their own assets….assets that will remain theirs for life.
Have your friend take from this message whatever might add her in her decision making and leave the rest behind.
With her current thinking her stated goals are in opposition to one another if she stays with this current partner. In order to meet her goals he would need to win the lottery, recieve a huge inheritance or she would need to get a partner that fills the bill now.

wundayatta's avatar

I’ve got to think that people who wait until they are financially stable before they start trying are going to seriously question their decisions when they find out they are infertile. That’s what happened to me, anyway. That made me 40 when my first child came along after some 8 years of medical experimentation.

I really really don’t want my kids to have their first children at age 40. So if money is what is keeping them from trying, I’ll make sure they have enough to live on. Obviously, if they don’t want to have kids, it’s a moot point.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I’ve seen money troubles squash way too many relationships, good ones too. Having kids in a relatively financially secure state trumps having kids within a legal marriage. My opinion.

YARNLADY's avatar

Both and many other choices should be considered when setting a marriage date, plus you need to have two compatible partners.

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jerv's avatar

Personally, I am childless by choice, and I based my decision to marry on having spent so long dating and living with a particular girl that we figured we may as well get the legal and financial benefits. Marriage is cheap. A fancy wedding may cost you a lot, but merely getting hitched costs less than a decent dinner out.

We haven’t really been financially stable the whole time we’ve been together, so that was never a factor in our decision to get married. However, I feel that you have to be very stable based solely on the husbands income if you want to ever have kids without suckling from the government’s teat. Kids are expensive, and it often costs more to have a working wife and day care than it does for the loss of income for being a stay-at-home mom. (While you could have a stay-at-home dad, that would require a bit of savings since I know of few women who only take 1–2 days of maternity leave.)

casheroo's avatar

I think you should be concerned with whatever is most important to you. Someone else’s finances are not my business, neither is when they decide to have children.

We are I suppose “financially stable” if that’s even possible. We have two children, are young, but have gone through terrible times financially. It has affected us emotionally and our marriage has been put through the wringer because of it.
When it comes to having children, I don’t know if there’s ever a perfect time. My kids are here, so obviously there’s no turning back!

Marva's avatar

In israel mostly the religious community but not only, see bringing as many children as possible a great “Mitzva” (ordered by god himself). The consequences are often that entire families live poorley and off charity. The kids learn that as a way of life and follow.

This is a diffrent case, but I think giving a good life, is of great importance and a parent should want to start off his children with the best starting point possible. It is also hard enough for parents to raise children without financial problems.

Off course, ths is not the only factor to regard, and if time was “runing out” not giving up having children would be advised. But when there is time, why not wait, and act, for a better timing?

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