Baby with cow clock.

Don't Have Kids If You Can't Afford Them

You might be tempted to send me a scathing e-mail after this one.  DON’T HAVE KIDS IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD THEM.  Having kids is not a right, it’s a privilege, and if your financial situation doesn’t support you having that cute little offspring running around your ankles, then you should have planned better and you should not have had a child…or two…or eight.  Yes, I’m talking to you Kate Gosselin.

Here’s the thing, I don’t watch Kate Plus 8 because, quite frankly, I could never stand Kate.  I’m talking about from waaaay back when the kids were tiny babies.  But that’s not why I’m writing this.  I guess the public is no longer fascinated with the show and TLC has decided to cancel it.  Kate says that she is apparently “freaking out” about the end of the show because “My kids weren’t ready. Nobody was.” Uh, hello?  It’s a television show.  The fact that it even lasted this long was a miracle.  But here’s the kicker.  Oh, you’ll love it.  While the rest of us would immediately try to find, you know, a JOB or something, she was seen driving a newly purchased Audi TT-S two-seater sports car.  Good choice for a mom of eight, right?  The kids can fit in the trunk.

But this isn’t about Kate or the crazy Octomom or even the Duggars (shudder), it’s about all of us that have kids when we have no business doing so, or those of us that keep adding kids to our families and then cry broke.  Teresa Giudice from the Real Housewives of New Jersey, you’re next in the cross-hairs.  How do you file bankruptcy while living in a gaudy mansion with your seemingly seedy and unemployed husband and then pop out another kid? Is it me? Did I miss the memo?

Listen, kids are expensive.  According to the USDA, the national annual average of the cost of raising just one kid is $14,938 (in a two-parent household making up to $99,730 per year).  That works out to $268,884 over 18 years and that does NOT include inflation or college.  Oh, and that’s just for one kid.  Give junior a brother or sister and you’re really in for some pain.  Single parent? I’m not even going to bother looking at the numbers.  Teen parent ( for all you people that watch 16 & Pregnant)?  Forget about it.  You’ve just set yourself up for a lifetime of poverty and hardship since, according to the March of Dimes, “Only 40 percent of teenagers who have children before age 18 go on to graduate from high school, compared to 75 percent of teens from similar social and economic backgrounds who do not give birth until ages 20 or 21.”

But it’s not even those statistics that bother me.  What bothers me are the average every day people that seem to think that they are entitled to having children just because they can.  It will be these same people that are complaining about their finance, or don’t know how they’ll make ends meet for the next month or complain that they don’t know where their money went.  Yet, they’ll have no problem adding another child into the family.  It does not take a genius to see why you’re having financial problems if you keep on having children.  Just because you can have kids doesn’t mean that you should.

I’m now 33 and I don’t have kids.  When I started this blog I was 29 and I knew that I probably wouldn’t be able to have kids any time soon because, like Suze Ormon would say, “you can not afford it”.  I can’t afford it and I know it. That is not a problem for me.  What bugs me are people telling me that I should have a child “while I can” because I might regret it later. No, I’d regret it now, because if I am struggling on my own, it would be impossible later with a kid. But then again, there are always social welfare programs, right?  I would never qualify because even though I do struggle I make too much.  And really, why should I have a child knowing that I can’t afford one and then expect to rely on programs to help me provide for and raise my child?  I’ve never collected the Earned Income Credit baby making incentive from the government and I expect that I never will.

When the government recently passed a bill requiring health insurance companies to cover birth control I applauded it.  Now, if you have health insurance you have no excuse for the extra little bundle of joy that you were not expecting.  We’re living in one of the most developed nations of the world in the year 2011, but did you know that nearly 50% of all pregnancies in 2001 were unplanned?  The CDC had a goal of reducing that number to 30% by 2010.  I can’t find any documentation to say that they met that goal, but I’m inclined to say that they didn’t.

Look, if you are in your child bearing years and your biological clock is ticking, but the bill collectors are calling, put that alarm on mute. You can not afford it.

Am I wrong?

 UPDATE:  Don’t get me wrong and think that I mean that people in low socioeconomic standings shouldn’t have kids.  Not at all.  I just don’t think that they should expect that social welfare programs will be the main providers for their kids.  I pay enough taxes.

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153 Comments

  1. I’ll start off with the disclaimer: I don’t have kids. I don’t plan to have them. I wanted them, never happened, now I’m older and single and it’s just not gonna happen. That’s where my perspective comes from.

    I think there are a lot of shades of “can’t afford” when it comes to children. I do think it’s possible to have children while you’re in debt – not optimal, but possible. I think it’s possible to have children on a very low income. I think that a lot of the things that we think children “have” to have (part of that $14k a year or whatever the figure is), they really don’t have to have.

    I think “can’t afford” is different for everyone and it’s hard for those on the outside to judge.

    Having said all of that, I do agree with you to a large degree. :)

    • Sure, there are always different degrees to everything. I don’t think that you have to be debt free to have kids, but I’d love for it to be more of a conscious decision for people that’s a little bit more well thought out. If you have 3 kids and are struggling and can’t figure out why…

    • I am 25 and I have no intentions of having kids anytime soon. I would like one but for me there is no way I can afford one. I could be like everyone else and use Government money to take care of a child. However, I have seen kids grow up in these conditions. Parents struggling to dress, and feed their child. I think it is very selfish of people to have kids when they can not afford to. They are only thinking of what they want, not what kind of life they can provide for a child. If you can afford a kid that is one thing but to have a kid and be on government assistance stuggling to take care of it something else. Children are to be able to be carefree when they are young…and you just deprived the kid of that. What can you offer the kid, you cant afford to send them to college, or go on vactions once a year, or take them to a theme park. All the kid has to look forward to is ending up like its parents on government assistance trying to raise their own kids. What happens when the economy falls apart more than what it already has???? In Pennsylvania they are cutting Cash Assistance, what programs do you think are next? Good luck to everyone go have your kids. I choose not to because I am looking at what kind of life I could give the child….not because im selfish and I want one.

    • I have kids. i partially agree with you. it really unnerves me when i see all the starving kid commercials and celebs telling me to help them and make my kids feel guilt for having video games or EATING. My bigger peeve is dont have kids if you cant TAKE CARE of them!!! that said we cant “afford” our kids. we make just over 100k a year but our boy was born with CP his med costs are 150 k a year. So you can talk/ type all the smack about people that cant “afford their kids but if you dont know them and your taxes arent paying for it they are not under your roof then dont blog crap all over the internet talking down about people that cant afford their kids. my kids have a nice clean home, warm meals, decent clothes, and are well taken care of. by the way just to frazzle you more when i found this blog i was online looking for a way to get special afo braces cheaper either way my kids will be taken care of though i cant afford it. have a blessed day

    • Amen! I agree with all of the above. However, I am in the camp that if you are working hard, and seeking the Lord and a kid comes your way then awesome. God will provide even when you think you do not have enough financially. Kids are a blessing and sometimes you’ll never be financially prepared enough for them. But, I serve a God who provides for our needs and I don’t sit back and expect to be handed money, but I do know he will give us what we need when we are seeking Him and working hard at our jobs. There is a balance.

      • My maternal grandparents were deeply religious and of the same mind as you. They were incredibly poor and ended up with 16 kids, the last two (a set of twins) of which did not survive. My mother is the youngest of the 14 surviving children. They too also were of the belief that God would provide, but they were also very hard working people. They were farmers in charge of their own living. There was no welfare or government support for them to rely on. Hence they knew that they were materially responsible for every single child that they had.

        Grandma, bless her soul, passed away a few years ago at the ripe age of 92 here in the U.S. I know, without a doubt, that she would have said to not have more than you can provide for. In fact she probably would have been a bit more blunt than that. You can have as large a family as you want as long as you can provide for them.

      • I had friends once who were of a similar mindset. Dad was in preacher school full time, mom didn’t work outside the home because it was unseemly, they had five kids, about two years apart. Oftentimes the only thing they had to serve for dinner was popcorn and water. When the kids got sick they guilted their employed friends into buying the medicine. When their church group went out for a meal they went along and either didn’t order anything and/or waited for someone else in the congregation to offer to pick up the tab. I didn’t really feel bad for them but my heart ached for those children.

  2. I agree with you about 95% on this, but I think the issue is a lot more complicated. First of all, I’d disagree that it’s a privilege to have children. If you are in a two parent household with both parents working (even for minimum wage), you have the right to have a child, and if you need a bit of government help in the early years (not welfare, but, say, childcare subsidies), then I think you should have it. Because someone’s got to work those jobs, and who are you or I to say someone like that shouldn’t have kids?

    I guess the problem I have with reasoning like this is that there is a finite amount of time for a woman to have a child, physically, and that timeline does NOT always line up with the time that she is most financially ready. Why this is a problem is that the first five years of a child’s life are undoubtedly the most expensive (I know later years are expensive, too, but you can skimp on things like clothes and food, but you still HAVE to put a child in daycare when they’re babies).

    So, in theory, if a woman graduates from university at 22, with a mountain of debt. Spends a few years working up her career, and probably at least 10 paying off than debt, now she’s 32. Then she and hubby save for a couple of years to have a little cushion, a house, etc. Then they’re financially “ready” at 35. Well, by 35, it genuinely might be too late. OR too late to have kids without the aid of fertility treatments, which are expensive.

    Now, I don’t have kids, nor am I ready for them (I’m only 24), but I think I’d rather have kids when I’m not *quite* ready (and yes, I would fully take advantage of childcare subsidies because I work full time and the cost of childcare in my city is, for one infant, more than my take-home pay) and struggle for a few years, and catch up later, than wait until I’m *totally* ready, and risk having missed my shot.

    Now, if people are having kids and immediately going on welfare, then that’s an entirely different story, which I’m completely against. But I think the issues is just that the time when couples are “supposed” to have kids (mid-late 20s) is the time when they will ALWAYS be the most financially vulnerable. It’s all about walking that line, I’d say. But that’s just my two cents.

    • 35 might absolutely be too late for kids. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that it might never happen for me. I’m okay with that.

      I don’t think that someone has to be completely debt free and living in the perfect white picket fenced house to have kids. If that were the case, children would be just for the rich.

      I think that if you’re in dire financial straits and buried under debt you should surely give it a second thought.

      • I totally agree that someone in dire financial straights needs to sort their own stuff out before having kids! 100%

        I also just know a lot of people who were all, “Holy shit! My girlfriend/wife is pregnant! No way can we afford a kid!” and they all worked things out just fine. They adjusted. I think it just all depends on the choices we make, and as long as we’re OK with our own choices, that’s what matters. :)

    • I’m not sure I get the logic. You “have” to put a child in daycare as a baby? Says who? I know lots and lots of people who don’t put their child in daycare – and not because they’re filthy rich and didn’t have to work either.

      You can skimp on clothes and food? Huh?

      And 35 is “absolutely too late” to have children?

      Sorry. I don’t buy into any of that at all.

      • The point I was trying to make was that you can cut back on groceries by meal planning, couponing, etc., and you can shop thrift stores for clothes, but if you have to put a kid in daycare (and let’s face it, most people do, because most families require two incomes), then you have to do it. Period. And there’s no such thing as “discount” daycare.

        And both Sandy and I said that 35 *might* be too late, not that it for sure is. Look at any statistics. Fertility starts declining after age 30, and significantly once a woman hits 35. I’m not saying a woman at 35 isn’t likely to conceive a healthy child, just that any woman who waits that long is absolutely taking a gamble that it might not come easily.

      • I agree with you KH and Melissa, about government subsidies. The government already takes enough from me and my family that I cannot afford to have a child and provide a life with opportunities for it, so that my money can go to you to take care of your child that you chose to have when you could not afford to. I think that is absolutely immoral and wrong. It’s robbery. People who rely on the government to take care of their babies that they had irresponsibly are scum to me. The worst kinds of people. They take money that they did not make from people who worked their asses off to make the money. I am not for sacrificing myself to take care of other people’s responsibilities. It’s enough to just take care of yourself and your own family in this world, without the help of the government. Mutants. I would rather be dead than take other people’s hard earned money and I definitely would never have a child with the intentions of depending on other people’s money.

        • Thank you, Molly!!! You’ve summed up my argument perfectly. If everybody thought like you did, the quality of life in the US would be so much better. Our tax dollars could actually go towards nice things, like better schools where teachers are paid a fair wage.

          I am absolutely not interested in giving any of my earnings towards programs that reward irresponsibility. I’d much rather pay for birth control for everybody who wants it, than continuing to paying for children I didn’t have the pleasure of conceiving ;)

    • COMPLETELY DISAGREE. It is NOT ok to know that you can’t afford childcare and to rely on subsidies. You know who pays for that? And your Medicare? And WIC? And ADC? I DO. And I have two kids, born when I was 34 and 36, because that’s when I planned to have them because my husband and I made enough to raise them when we were in our mid-30s. We didn’t, however, plan to make enough to pay for YOUR KIDS TOO. If you can’t afford it, DON’T HAVE KIDS.
      You need a license to get a dog, but not to have a baby. Ugh. This sense of entitlement is exactly what got this country into the trouble it’s in today.

      • I don’t live in the US, but actually, from where I’m sitting, it’s the predominant attitude of “I’ll take care of my own and screw everyone else” that got your country to where it is today.

        • NO, Melissa, it’s the entitlement crowd that sucks the country DRY while the rest of us work our butts off that got this country in the mess that it is in. Less than 1/2 of us actually pay taxes – the remainder are leaches.

          Living outside the USA puts you at an intellectual disadvantage on this matter. You need to sit down and be quiet so as not to show your abject ignorance.

          • I agree about the entitle. This is what created big family reality tv today. I always hear you shouldn’t wait on money but you also shouldn’t bite off more than you can chew once you start having kids. .

        • Horseshit Melissa, you are probably living in some socialist country whose economy is underwater, and America is just following suit because of our collectivist, government will take care of everyone policies. Our country was founded on freedom from taxes and is now going down the shit hole because of socialism. No one should be forced to take care of anyone else’s babies.

      • Medicare is for retirees who paid into the system if they need it. Medicaid is for poverty. Overall, we have over population, and don’t need more people in the world.

    • I think that if having a baby is *really* important to a couple, then they should go for it (assuming this couple isn’t, say, 16). I’ve heard that there really is no BEST time to have a child (although I can imagine plenty of circumstances that would make it a worst time). But most folks made it through perfectly fine with a baby, and most of them didn’t feel 100% ready to have a child. I really believe that if you are smart and dedicated and a decent human being, you’ll be able to figure out how to make the best life you can for your family, baby included.

    • my mother was in her mid thirties when she adopted both my brother and I. my parents decided due to huningtons in the family not to risk having kids of their own. they waited till they wer financialy secure could own a 300k house in the suburbs with a white picket fense and a dog and a cat. but they didnt stop their we never baught name brand foods we bought clothes second hand dad did his own house repairs and car repairs.we didnt have to do that but it was a way to save money and still get what we needed done. people dont seem to get it rich people arnt rich because they throw their money away they invest wisely and doent buy unesesary things. we went out to ear maby 4 times a year at the most had basic cable and spent most of our time outside riding bikes swimming skating and playing badmitten in the front yard. I have choses not to have kids I am struggeling to support myself I am not even engaging in acitvities where a child could be born from its irresponsible and selfish of me if I did knowing I have no place for one in my 375 square ft apartment and I can without a doubt say I would not be able to provide for one. so I will not be having one and guess what it hasnt killed me yet. I have made the choise to not have sexual relations while I cant afford kids everyone else has that same options. so I dont se whyy I should pay or help pay for someone who made a poor choise it seems like its rewarding bad behavior.

  3. I totally agree with you.

    I was a teenage mother (unplanned, obvs). I have BUSTED MY ASS to beat the statistics and provide for my son. But I also made the decision not to have any more kids. I couldn’t afford the one I had (I can now, thankfully) but I sure wasn’t going to have more on purpose!

    I want my son to have advantages. I want him to go to college. I want to be able to pay for him to participate in activities and go places with his friends while he’s still a kid. And I couldn’t do most of those things if I had another child to support and take care of.

    Too many people worry about things like “Only children are spoiled” or “I want my snowflake to have a sibling so they can be BFFs!” Well, that’s great, but only if you can pay for all the kids you pop out. Kids are ridiculously expensive, and it’s no one’s job to take care of them except their parents.

    • A single mom signing in! Andrea you’ve obviously worked hard to overcome being a statistic and you didn’t have a reality show to help you. Kudos to you for standing up and shouldering your responsibilities. And really, there’s nothing wrong with being an only kid. Millions of Chinese do it (unfortunately they’re forced), but there’s nothing wrong with an only child.

  4. It is great to say this in theory, but those who can least afford kids are the ones who would not take the time to make any responsible decisions about having them in the first place. Anyone who takes the time to think about and care about the decision making process will probably do OK in life anyway. Many are just thinking about the process of conception rather than the end result.

    • If the “process” just wasn’t as fun life would be simple. Although that whole child birthing process sounds like a killer. That’s what’s given me pause for years.

      • Actually the process can be absolutely frustrating. Even for people without fertility problems. It’s no fun when you are trying to conceive and “have to do it” when you’re on in the mood just because its the “right time” of the month. LOL, sorry if TIA.

  5. The subject of having kids is a very touchy one. I agree that you shouldn’t have kids if your plan to support them is help from the government/society, etc.

    I do have children, my DH and I can definitely provide for them. We don’t qualify nor do we take any government handouts, welfare, etc.

    It does frustrate me to know that if we were on welfare, then I would get free respite childcare to give me a break. I would also get tons of subsidies for my daycare and food stamps, etc. However, I believe that we must provide for our own children as we are responsible for them.

    PS> I hate Kate, she just turns my stomach. I really believe that she is just exploiting her children for all they’re worth. I shudder to think the psychological issues those kids will have when they grow up.

  6. If you think you can’t provide a decent life for your kid(s), don’t have them.

    Will save you and your potential kids a lot of grief!

    Nothing mean about this view, just practical.

  7. Hubby and I are ignoring the constant bombarding of our family and peers having babies at our age. I love kids, I truly do, and we want to have a nice size family, but we’re simply not in the position to do so. I let that constant reminder ring in when I’m having baby fever. We simply can’t afford it. I set up a baby bucket list of things to do before we pop one out. I want to be able to provide for our child/children. Like you noted, they’re not cheap. Sure, we have help within our family, but I don’t want to rely on them. I want to be sure we can afford them. And we still have time. I want to have them before we turn 30 (for personal reasons) so we have a good 9 years to go!

  8. I completely agree with you, Sandy! As a preface, I’m 24, married, and neither of us have plans to ever have children. In fact, we’re opposed to the idea. But this gives me the perfect opportunity to rant about my family, lol.

    They’re in a financially bad place already with one kid, who was unplanned. They’re BUYING A HOUSE when they can’t even afford to have an inspection done on the house they’re making an offer on. No down payment to speak of. And this family member’s girlfriend is already talking about having another child. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?!

    Not to mention… The reason they’re not married? She’s able to reap benefits from government programs because she’s unemployed, even though she’s living with him and he’s paying all of their bills and expenses.

    It’s really frustrating to me to watch anyone choose to follow through with a pregnancy (or have risky sex that leads to a pregnancy) when they’re barely able to financially support themselves. That CDC statistic is staggering. Of course, that could lead to the whole other topic of how absolutely brain dead people who support abstinence-only sex education are.

    There’s definitely a difference between having a few thousand in student loans and having a kid versus not being able to pay your bills, knowing you’d be going on government assistance, but having a baby anyway because it’s your “right.” I’ve had many an argument with a certain coworker who believes “This is America. We can have as many babies as we want! We can use as many resources as we want! No one can tell us what to do!” I’m thinking not only of all the unwanted children growing up in foster care or in broken homes but also of the strain it puts on our public education system, our welfare system, etc. I’m sorry but no way am I going to support the girl down the street who just had her third child by a different man. My tax dollars can be used for much better things than her working out her daddy issues through unprotected sex. (Not in any way saying the majority of people are like this, just that these cases really piss me off. And they’re the cases I encounter every time I meet someone in my area on government assistance.)

  9. I do agree with the sentiment that one should be financially able to provide for their kids before considering having one. Makes sense, especially coming from a PF blog. But there are so many other emotions and reasons that factor in when it comes to children…and for many people, finance is not the biggest reason.

    I thought I never wanted to have kids. In fact, in my late 20’s/early 30’s, I was living in NY…and when the twin towers fell, the first phone call was to my parents to make sure they were OK – the second thing out of my mouth was “I’m never having kids”. The world seemed so evil then, and I couldn’t imagine bringing more life into this kind of world.

    Fast forward 10+ years, I now have two kids and am living a relatively comfortable middle class life. I can’t imagine not having them, and I don’t know what I was thinking back then! I had them both after 35 (one at 37 and the other at 39) with no problems or complications. We really weren’t planning to have them, but let nature take its course, and they happened.

    I don’t think 35 is too late to have kids – in fact, most of my friends that concentrated on their careers have put off having kids well into their 30’s, and none have had problems. The majority of my friends have had kids in their 30’s, not 20’s. It’s a small data set, but I think if you look at the statistics, the majority of people conceiving after 35 do not have problems. Compared to people in their 20’s, yes, the complications are absolutely higher (exponentially). But complications are still a very minor even that late into the game. If you are worried about kids because of age issues (not finance), then do more research, you may find that it’s not that much of a “gamble” to have them later in life, unless you are very risk-averse.

    • Babies and the need for progeny is very much an emotional thing. But we also need to be rational. You thought that you didn’t want kids but then changed your mind. That’s fine. You’re allowed.

      The difference here is that you could afford to do so. There are lots of people out there neither financially not emotionally equipped to have kids. The proof is in how many children end up in foster care.

      • I did change my mind, and I am in a situation to have kids financially, so I do not apply here. However, I am talking about the people for whom kids are a lifelong dream, and they must have them no matter what the cost. I suppose you can tell them to become more financially stable first if it is really that big of a dream.

        But do consider those that throw away everything for a dream…many have given up money for a lifestyle that they want. For some, that may be giving up everything to go travel the world. Or give over their savings to their church. Or become Mother Theresa for a cause. Or perhaps, have kids. Have you ever had a dream that you’d throw everything away for? Perhaps there is nothing for you that trumps the security of having a financial safety net first. There’s nothing wrong with that. But many people are not wired that way, and I don’t think that’s it’s wrong…unless they are having kids just to take advantage of the system.

        Maybe I’m too optimistic in thinking that not everyone is an Octomom or Kate who’s out to make a buck.

  10. I always dreamed of having three children. Two boys and a girl. But here I am, 30, married and making a very nice combined salary, with two perfect daughters. I think about what that little boy would look like, what I would name him, etc, etc. However, at the end of the day, I know I cannot afford him. Between medical costs of pregnancy, time off of work, and daycare for three kids, I would probably eat up my entire salary. Staying home isn’t an option because a) I love my job and don’t want to quit and b) we need the health benefits.

    So, instead of being immature and just saying “I want it so I’ll just go do it”, I choose to be grateful for the two I have and enjoy them to the fullest. Besides, if something were to happen to my husband, can I really expect a family member to raise three children for me? It would be difficult enough to raise the two I’ve already got.

  11. I don’t think you can ever really expect what a kid will cost. Still, if you are struggling to make ends meet then you really have to think hard about what another mouth to fed will do to your budget. We would love to have a bigger family (we have 3 children) but we know financially another child would be difficult. We’re not happy about that but it’s the reality of it. You have to be able to take care of your own.

  12. I shrug when I hear stories of women wanting to have another child so she can get more money from the government. :( Sometimes I think there should be a test people have to pass in order to have kids. :P Finances aside, some people are not fit to be parents… :(

  13. There are tons of ifs, ands, or buts that may come up, but yes, I agree, people should not have kids on purpose when they know they can’t afford them. It’s a drain on society’s resources at that point. I am 28 and don’t think I want kids (we’ll see), but if I have one, no one else will have to support it…

  14. There are tons of ifs, ands, or buts that may come up, but yes, I agree, people should not have kids on purpose when they know they can’t afford them. It’s a drain on society’s resources at that point. I am 28 and don’t think I want kids (we’ll see), but if I have one, no one else will have to support it…

  15. I couldn’t agree with you more. If you can’t afford to support your kids, don’t have them. Quit depending on the government for anything, but especially kids!
    Full disclosure: We have 5 kids, which we support on my income alone, and my wife stays at home with them. We make sacrifices and sometimes it FEELS as if we are poor, but we have enough, we are debt-free (except for the house), and we add to our savings constantly

  16. It just doesn’t bother me to have my taxes go to programs like food and healthcare for the poor.
    When I was 30 and pregnant I decided to divorce my abusive husband. Yes, I wish I would have decide to leave him before I got pregnant. But I didn’t. My life wasn’t that nice and neat at that point. I worked two jobs up until the day before I delivered her. I went back to work 5 weeks after I gave birth. I was able to bring my baby to work but even with that I chose to take assistance (health care and food stamps). I spent very little money on either one of us. She was breast fed and friends kept giving me their baby hand-me-downs. If assistance was not available I would have done the same thing (I’m pretty sure.) I’m glad I had the help because I truly believe it gave me that much needed bridge that got me self-sufficient again.
    I don’t buy into the myth that kids cost that much. My kids have everything they need and we don’t come close to spending that much on them in a year!

    • Hi Molly,

      Glad that you were able to make the best out of your situation. I think that when they factor in costs they assume that you might get a bigger place, spend more on electric, etc., added doctor bills, time off from work, childcare, etc.

  17. I am not surprised that the amount of unplanned pregnancies is 50%. No birth control company will guarantee that you will not become pregnant. I have several friends who are a result of “failed” birth control.

    I am surprised that your post wasn’t more focused on abstinence…since even surgical procedures have failure rates. Abstinence is dirt cheap too!

    I think a bigger issue is the people who can afford to have kids and are not having them. We still do not have a cure for cancer or Aids. We need good leaders and inventors.

    • Remember, I didn’t say don’t have sex! Kids are 100% avoidable if you don’t have sex but if you double up on contraceptives (barrier and hormonal) it comes pretty close too. People that can afford to have kids and are not having them might have their reasons. I know that more educated people are delaying kids as they are focused on their careers during their childbearing years. That doesn’t mean that they don’t want them.

      Lots of people in my office are having kids right now. Most of them happen to be in their mid to late 30s. There’s nothing wrong with that.

  18. I am not surprised that the amount of unplanned pregnancies is 50%. No birth control company will guarantee that you will not become pregnant. I have several friends who are a result of “failed” birth control.

    I am surprised that your post wasn’t more focused on abstinence…since even surgical procedures have failure rates. Abstinence is dirt cheap too!

    I think a bigger issue is the people who can afford to have kids and are not having them. We still do not have a cure for cancer or Aids. We need good leaders and inventors.

    • Remember, I didn’t say don’t have sex! Kids are 100% avoidable if you don’t have sex but if you double up on contraceptives (barrier and hormonal) it comes pretty close too. People that can afford to have kids and are not having them might have their reasons. I know that more educated people are delaying kids as they are focused on their careers during their childbearing years. That doesn’t mean that they don’t want them.

      Lots of people in my office are having kids right now. Most of them happen to be in their mid to late 30s. There’s nothing wrong with that.

  19. I am a SAHM of 4 kids. I am 31. My kids are 13, 7, 2, and 3. I had my first when I was 17, a Senior in HS. I am married to my first childs father, been married almost 13 years. I am in school full time studying nursing. We received state social services when I was finishing high school. Haven’t since then. Could we afford a baby 13 years ago? No. Did we survive. Yes. We bought our first home when our son was just 15 months old. Still reside there. We’ve had our financial struggles, especially recently with the economy. Could we afford to have the 2nd, 3rd or the last? We made it happen-we only buy what we need, we HAVE NEVER been on a vacation, we don’t have cable/satellite TV, no credit cards to pay on, 1 car payment, and I shop with coupons and buy sale items. My kids dont wear designer brands, but they have nice clothes. My kids dont eat fancy, 5 course meals, we eat sensibly and affordably. My kids take their lunch to school. We shop resale for decent, gently used toys. We cut corners and do without to live within our means and support the children. I go to school on full time grant and will be done in 2 years. Having children should not be based solely on financial capability. If you can sacrifrice things for yourself, you’ll be able to have a child/family one day. If we all waited to have kids, the world would definitely end in 2012. I dont think it’s selfish (trust me I would love to get my hair done and my nails, and go on vacation), but we chose to not live that way in order to have a family. Do I regret any of it? No way in hell. My kids are my breath, my life and my reason for being.

  20. It’s easy to judge when you’re not poor or don’t want children. I AM poor and I DO want kids. I’m trying to scrape enough money together to go back to school (which I quit because my family and I couldn’t afford to keep paying the tuition). I work 40+ hours per week, and I’ve been trying to get a 2nd job to build up some savings. So far I haven’t heard back, because why hire me when there are thousands without a 1st job? I’m stuck. The months and years keep ticking by – I’m turning 27 soon – and there’s no end in sight. I wanted to have children while I was still young and be active for them, and my grandkids even! I want my mother to live long enough to see her grandkids (her health is fading).

    People tell me to just suck it up and get a loan. Because being a slave to a bank IS responsible, but creating a new human being to love and nurture and who will go on to live and love themselves isn’t? Good to know.

    It breaks my heart to just keep watching the days pass, knowing despite years of denial that being a good person and working hard doesn’t earn you jack shit unless you’re lucky or have someone else’s help. So don’t give me that “pull yourself out of poverty” bullshit. I work hard, I pay my taxes just like you do. Someday, maybe I will get lucky, but what if it’s too late then? What if I can’t have children at that point, or they have developmental problems because I CHOSE to wait until it was more comfortable for me to have kids? Isn’t that selfish too?

    You can tell me to wait, that maybe the money will come. All I know is that while money MIGHT come, time only goes. Why is my life – or that of my potential children – worth less than someone with more money?

    • Hi Sophia,

      I’ve been poor. I write quite a bit about that. You can with I Grew Up Poor And Survived. This article is directed towards those choosing to have children when they are already struggling. To me it’s like running a marathon when you can hardly jog.

      I know that many people make the case that waiting can have the effect of them not being able to have kids later. There is always that possibility. No one says that you have to be rich to have kids. Not at all. But I still contend that if you’re struggling now and can hardly make ends meet, bringing a child into the world with all of the responsibilities and finances that it takes to support a child is not the best, most rational decision.

    • Sophia,

      I am genuinely sorry for your position. But, I always think about the child. Is it really good for a child to grow up at a disadvantage even before he or she is born? It’s just not fair to the child. A previous poster mentioned wondering why starving people in Africa have children. I often wonder why people in America with substandard housing, inadequate transportation, poor nutrition that work 2 jobs to provide for themselves would opt to bring a child into that sort of environment. I generally just feel sorry for the child, because the odds are they will never escape that environment.

      That being said, I grew up on a farm. We were not rich by any means. There were 3 children in our family. We didn’t have money, but we had land, food, resources, animals and the means to provide for ourselves. I’d much rather raise a child without the trappings of modern society (sort of the Amish way, sorry I’m from central PA) than in a poor urban environment where children are forced to grow up way too fast.

      My short response is that it depends on what your definition of poor is. Being poor in an urban ghetto where gangs and murder are prevalent is much different than being poor in a rural Midwestern town. I’d be much less opposed to bringing a child into a poor existence, if the community was really good, and the plan wasn’t to rely on the government to pay for everything.

      I don’t have any children, and I work really hard to get myself out of debt, but feel like I’m penalized for not choosing to have children by paying more in taxes. I’d like to save some money too. So, I totally understand the people who feel like people who need to rely on the government to raise children should opt not to have any children. It’s honestly not fair to the rest of us, since the rest of us taxpayers are not rich, but are simply middle class people trying to make ends meet and hopefully save for a rainy day.

  21. Well said Sandy! My husband and I waited until we were done with grad school, both had jobs, settled into a house and were financially ready. Heck, we even made sure that we could live on one salary in case we decided that daycare wasn’t for us. And guess what? After a month of daycare, I quit my job to become a stay-at-home Mom. Consequently we are going to wait a little longer to have our second child. And if we don’t feel comfortable enough, we will choose NOT to have a second child. We chose to be responsible throughout our entire lives; we did not end up here by luck or someone’s help. We had loans up the ying-yang and worked our way through college. We had our first child at 29.

    • It can be done! Good for you for taking responsibility for your own lives. People complain about others on welfare and bailouts, and taxes etc., but then they do things that force the rest of us to support them. Kudos to you and your hubby. Does he have a brother?

  22. Hopefully people will heed this advice. Too many families out there having children without the means to take care of them then expecting the tax payers to do so. I currently only have 1 child and as soon as i found out i was too be a father I didn’t hesitate to to find ways to make more money so as to not have to depend on others to help me get by. I did it in a poverty stricken area so I don’t see why others cant.

  23. Hopefully people will heed this advice. Too many families out there having children without the means to take care of them then expecting the tax payers to do so. I currently only have 1 child and as soon as i found out i was too be a father I didn’t hesitate to to find ways to make more money so as to not have to depend on others to help me get by. I did it in a poverty stricken area so I don’t see why others cant.

  24. I agree with you 100 percent. “Can’t feed ‘em, don’t breed um.”
    I don’t have kids for many reasons, one of which is because I don’t have the financial resources to give a child what he or she needs.

  25. This article is what I needed to see, My husband and I got married really early and have been together for ten years and have a amazing four year old little girl whom we have in private school and ballet and try to do what is right for her, And we are being put down for this so many of my “friends” are popping out kids like they are gumball machines and it makes me sick they are all on the system and have the guts to talk down on me because we don’t have a litter like them, they are all pregnant now and pushing my husband and I out of there group well you know what we have been blessed to be buying our own home, work for what we got and planning to retire someday and put her in collage when the time comes and they call me to borrow money so….really REALLY???

  26. God have mercy on your souls. Children are a blessing. God wants us to reproduce. Birth control is a sin. All who say you can’t affor it are just selfish!!!!!:((( God will provide all our needs if we just put our trust in him

    • My soul is just fine. And the Lord helps those who help themselves, right? I wonder how willing everyone who says to go ahead and have kids and that somehow they will be provided for are to adopt a bunch of kids…or pay more taxes so that it will go to social welfare programs.

    • I wonder what child living in a drug infested, gang riddled ghetto surrounded by the dregs of society, with a slim chance of ever getting out of that environment would consider his life to be a blessing. Please, think about the children!!!

      What child thinks that going to bed hungry is a blessing? What child living in an inner city ghetto with a murder rate that rivals the Middle East thinks that is a blessing? What kid who is abused daily by their crack-head or alcoholic parent sees his life as a blessing?

      I don’t mean to sound sacrilegious, but your “God will provide” theory is so flawed. All you have to do is get your head out the Bible and look at the news every once in a while to see how flawed it is. How many of those unwanted kids that are tortured for years and ultimately murdered think their lives were a blessing? Some people shouldn’t have children. Period!

  27. God have mercy on your souls. Children are a blessing. God wants us to reproduce. Birth control is a sin. All who say you can’t affor it are just selfish!!!!!:((( God will provide all our needs if we just put our trust in him

    • I wonder what child living in a drug infested, gang riddled ghetto surrounded by the dregs of society, with a slim chance of ever getting out of that environment would consider his life to be a blessing. Please, think about the children!!!

      What child thinks that going to bed hungry is a blessing? What child living in an inner city ghetto with a murder rate that rivals the Middle East thinks that is a blessing? What kid who is abused daily by their crack-head or alcoholic parent sees his life as a blessing?

      I don’t mean to sound sacrilegious, but your “God will provide” theory is so flawed. All you have to do is get your head out the Bible and look at the news every once in a while to see how flawed it is. How many of those unwanted kids that are tortured for years and ultimately murdered think their lives were a blessing? Some people shouldn’t have children. Period!

  28. I had my first daughter at 20, and at the time I had a full time job with benefits. I was a single mom for 2 years, working and doing it on my own without support from my ex or govt assistance beside housing. Now I am married with two girls. Due to the economy, I could not find a job and still cant, plus my husbands conflicting work schedule. I had no choice but to ask for govt assistance and I still use it and I feel shame everyday. So I enrolled in college for an associates degree. I hope in 5 years when I turn 30 I can have this nightmare behind me lol. I feel like a loser everyday that I cant get a job and barely take care of my girls. Granted they have three meals a day, clothes that fit and warm beds, I know I can do more for them and God will help me work hard so we can do it on our own. One thing I have learned is it does help to be ready for kids, but you will never be prepared. Life throws some curveballs, just go with it and have faith.

    • Don’t be ashamed of using those programs. One of the greatest things about the U.S. are the safety nets in place.

  29. Thank you, Sandy. I am grateful they are there, but I wanted it to be temporary, thinking I would find at least a part time job. I dont know of anyone personally that has kids just to live off the govt, but I know they are out there. I guess thats why I always feel like I have to defend myself when people look down on me(people have).

  30. The cold hard fact is that if not for religion convincing people that birth control is bad, the world population would be far lower and povery rates would be lower across the board, not to mention far less pollution and less need for dangerous types of energy production like nuclear power plants just to get enough power for all the swarms of people.

  31. I agree, I don’t have children as I was never ‘blessed’ with any. I don’t mean to say that if you want them and they come your way that you should be hindered. However I resent the people who have children for monetary gain. Yes, there are people that do. I know of some personally. If you want to know the ins and outs email me. If you want to anonymously think I know not of what I speak, I have no patience for a non topic. I foster and care for many children and I’ve never once taken money for my own benefit. I never will nor would I ever.

  32. I agree, I don’t have children as I was never ‘blessed’ with any. I don’t mean to say that if you want them and they come your way that you should be hindered. However I resent the people who have children for monetary gain. Yes, there are people that do. I know of some personally. If you want to know the ins and outs email me. If you want to anonymously think I know not of what I speak, I have no patience for a non topic. I foster and care for many children and I’ve never once taken money for my own benefit. I never will nor would I ever.

  33. I disagree with you. I don’t think that having money makes you ready to have a child. There is something else that make you more fit for parenting and it is definitely not how much money you have. If there are two people who love each other and have the knowledge of knowing that they must sacrifice everything for their child, they are the ones who deserve the privilege of a child, despite how much or how little they make, because they WILL be the BEST parents. If a child has all of the love they need, they don’t really require as much money as some may think. How much the parents care is what will decide how the child ends up and I don’t particularly care if the most fit parent is the one that needs welfare, that is Ok. As a taxpayer I am willing to pay for “good parent” to raise good citizens. I do not on the other hand appreciate paying for those who have children for the money and raise criminals.

    • I completely agree with the author. Only a completely irresponsible person would have a child that they KNOW they can’t support. Not being able to secure a college fund for the child is one thing, but not being able to feed and cloth the child is an entirely different issue. I DON’T CARE HOW GOOD OF A PARENT SOMEONE THINKS THEY WILL BE. IF YOU CAN’T FEED YOUR KID, DON’T MAKE A ONE. PERIOD. If a person doesn’t have the sense to know that children need to be fed and clothed and need security then they don’t have the sense needed to be a good parent; love or no love. Having a child is a responsibility and its just damn right stupid to choose to have a kid when you know you have no job and no way to take care of them. Welfare was not intended for these people. It was meant for people that hit hard times and need temporary assistance. NOT for people that are just lazy and stupid. Don’t have kids if you can’t support them.

  34. My goodness… I am married 23 with zero kids. My husband and I make almost 90k a year and we don’t have enough money for children. How do people that make 25-30k afford it? I will never understand. Being young is the best time of your life, to travel and to see other countries meet new people. However, to have a child young then hate THE CHILD b/c you didn’t get to live your life is completely ridiculous to me. As i type this we are planning a trip to Italy for the weekend. Then the following week we are going to Miami just b/c we CAN. I wouldn’t have children now even if someone paid me to have them. I don’t dislike children, I just feel like ppl feel like they are empowered to have them just b/c they can. God, this God that is ridiculous. If GOD is truly providing to you then sit at home to go to work and lets see if the dollars keep rolling in. the reason and the ONLY reason you can provide for your family is by waking up everyday going to work or living off the system. if those things weren’t in place you would be F%*&K. People that have 4,5,6 kids must be crazy. the ONLY way I would have so many children is if they all come out the same time. I wish I could say God provides for me, but that would be a LIE. My husband and myself provide for each other. If we didn’t we would be homeless. sorry but its just the truth.

  35. It’s all good and well to say one must be financially stable before having children, but let me remind you of one VERY important fact: If OUR parents had ALL waited until they were financially stable to have US, most of us wouldn’t BE HERE!!!!! You cannot plan everything in life. Children are brought into this world at a specific time for a specific reason- any different time and it wouldn’t have been that exact child. It’s fine to sit back and tell people what they should/should not do- you have your opinion and you’re entitled to it, but that doesn’t make it gospel truth. Having never had any children, you are not in a position to speak on this matter. I have two beautiful sons, one is disabled, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We’re not rich and his hospital bills are a lot at times but there is nothing I wouldn’t do for my children- anybody remember this thing called a recession? It hit a lot of us; you can’t control the economy or the world, so you do the best you can.

    • @ Roberta I think the world would be a better place if some of us were never born. Killers, rapist, abusers ect. I understand this blog completely and agree that if you are going to have a child at least be prepared for the responsibility at hand. People are having children for all kinds of reasons and it is a selfish act because we can’t choose what parents we get but we can choose whom we create children with and when. I think some people say they used birth control when in fact there was none even being used. Then say the birth control failed when they used it improperly. I am 28 years old no children and have never used anything other than condoms so go figure. I just feel like people expect you to help with their children ie baby showers, free babysitting and other hand outs when they chose to become parents. It’s something more of us need to give great consideration, the fact that if we can’t find jobs why subject any unborn children to this type of uncertainty later? Things are going to get far worse because with our population growing their will never be enough jobs to go around. In fact that is the problem now, but we keep blaming Obama and government for things they can’t control.

  36. It’s all good and well to say one must be financially stable before having children, but let me remind you of one VERY important fact: If OUR parents had ALL waited until they were financially stable to have US, most of us wouldn’t BE HERE!!!!! You cannot plan everything in life. Children are brought into this world at a specific time for a specific reason- any different time and it wouldn’t have been that exact child. It’s fine to sit back and tell people what they should/should not do- you have your opinion and you’re entitled to it, but that doesn’t make it gospel truth. Having never had any children, you are not in a position to speak on this matter. I have two beautiful sons, one is disabled, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We’re not rich and his hospital bills are a lot at times but there is nothing I wouldn’t do for my children- anybody remember this thing called a recession? It hit a lot of us; you can’t control the economy or the world, so you do the best you can.

    • @ Roberta I think the world would be a better place if some of us were never born. Killers, rapist, abusers ect. I understand this blog completely and agree that if you are going to have a child at least be prepared for the responsibility at hand. People are having children for all kinds of reasons and it is a selfish act because we can’t choose what parents we get but we can choose whom we create children with and when. I think some people say they used birth control when in fact there was none even being used. Then say the birth control failed when they used it improperly. I am 28 years old no children and have never used anything other than condoms so go figure. I just feel like people expect you to help with their children ie baby showers, free babysitting and other hand outs when they chose to become parents. It’s something more of us need to give great consideration, the fact that if we can’t find jobs why subject any unborn children to this type of uncertainty later? Things are going to get far worse because with our population growing their will never be enough jobs to go around. In fact that is the problem now, but we keep blaming Obama and government for things they can’t control.

      • @veronyca – I couldn’t agree with you more!!!!!!- I think we are soul mates! lol No, Seriously, everything you said was spot on!

  37. I’d also like to make a point on this, I WAS using two forms of birth control when we had my daughter, we didn’t make a lot of money but I guarantee you my daughter is happy, well-fed, and has everything she could ever want. But the point is even birth control is 100% guaranteed, the big difference should be whether the parents are willing to work hard to provide for their child. I mean I just got laid off from my job a few weeks ago, but luckily we have some savings and I am constantly looking for a new job and my husband is looking for a second job. There should just be a disclaimer here, just because you “can’t afford” a child doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to make it work (oh also, we have no assistance from the government), there’s a difference between people who love their child and want them regardless of the circumstances and the person that keeps having children to use government assistance.

  38. I’d also like to make a point on this, I WAS using two forms of birth control when we had my daughter, we didn’t make a lot of money but I guarantee you my daughter is happy, well-fed, and has everything she could ever want. But the point is even birth control is 100% guaranteed, the big difference should be whether the parents are willing to work hard to provide for their child. I mean I just got laid off from my job a few weeks ago, but luckily we have some savings and I am constantly looking for a new job and my husband is looking for a second job. There should just be a disclaimer here, just because you “can’t afford” a child doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to make it work (oh also, we have no assistance from the government), there’s a difference between people who love their child and want them regardless of the circumstances and the person that keeps having children to use government assistance.

  39. It’s funny because the only people that say “Don’t breed ‘em if you can feed ‘em” are 1 of 4 things —– 1) Childless 2) Well to do ($150,000 or more in income per year) 3) live at home with mommy and daddy 4) trust fund kids. My husband works, I stay at home to TAKE CARE of my kids. The people that shouldn’t be having babies are the ones that are on drugs or addicted to prescription meds, have terrible diseases, alcoholocs or just going to throw them in DAY CARE for 8-10 hours a day. That’s a part time parent. I firmly believe that if there is a will there is a way. My husband supports 7 people on $45,000 a year. By supports I mean— he provides medical, dental and vision for all of us and we are not on any government assistance AND pays child support for 1. Being a parent means you must make sacrifices. Trade those rib eye steak dinners in for spaghetti and meat balls or those $45 hair cuts for $15 haircuts, trade that Mercedes in for a Toyota, no mansions, weekend vacations instead of a week, store brand foods instead of name brand. It’s possible if you want it to be. You can’t just continue to live life as you normally would pre-kids. Entertainment— NETFLIX and board games instead of clubs, bars and movie theaters. I feel that if you want a child and are willing to make sacrifices– then have a child. Depriving yourself of giving life to another human being will only hurt you in the long run. Just because you struggle today doesn’t mean you will be struggling next year. I buy my kids nice, name brand clothes and shoes at the end of season when they clearance them out or I have a great coupon. Target is great for bargains and sales. I also often shop local resale stores and thrift stores and swap meets to fill in the blanks (such as toys, book. If you utilize common sense— you too, can have a kid. —– This coming from a mother who had her first child at 17 and didn’t live at home with mommy and daddy. My 2 school-aged children are both Honor Roll students. Why— because they have parents who care. I can’t afford to send them to college so I invest in their education NOW so they have a better chance at getting scholarships. I didn’t go to college and I never had a desire to but I would like that option for my children. ya know— with my own You just have to be more conscientious of your spending. Instead of Starbucks— Folgers at home baby. I have always hated fast food and refuse to feed it to my children. We don’t take short cuts and none of us are deprived. We have brains and we use them.

    • You can read all the stats you want but until you are a parent, you don’t know crap—- My advise—- mind your won business, worry about yourself and keep your mouth closed and stopped judging people. Oh another thing– if you struggle so much to just take care of yourself– I have a bit of advise for you— GET OFF THE COMPUTER AND FIND ANOTHER JOB!!! Don’t sit here with a “Whoa is me” attitude and assert yourself. You obviously like struggling or you would do something about it.

  40. It’s funny because the only people that say “Don’t breed ‘em if you can feed ‘em” are 1 of 4 things —– 1) Childless 2) Well to do ($150,000 or more in income per year) 3) live at home with mommy and daddy 4) trust fund kids. My husband works, I stay at home to TAKE CARE of my kids. The people that shouldn’t be having babies are the ones that are on drugs or addicted to prescription meds, have terrible diseases, alcoholocs or just going to throw them in DAY CARE for 8-10 hours a day. That’s a part time parent. I firmly believe that if there is a will there is a way. My husband supports 7 people on $45,000 a year. By supports I mean— he provides medical, dental and vision for all of us and we are not on any government assistance AND pays child support for 1. Being a parent means you must make sacrifices. Trade those rib eye steak dinners in for spaghetti and meat balls or those $45 hair cuts for $15 haircuts, trade that Mercedes in for a Toyota, no mansions, weekend vacations instead of a week, store brand foods instead of name brand. It’s possible if you want it to be. You can’t just continue to live life as you normally would pre-kids. Entertainment— NETFLIX and board games instead of clubs, bars and movie theaters. I feel that if you want a child and are willing to make sacrifices– then have a child. Depriving yourself of giving life to another human being will only hurt you in the long run. Just because you struggle today doesn’t mean you will be struggling next year. I buy my kids nice, name brand clothes and shoes at the end of season when they clearance them out or I have a great coupon. Target is great for bargains and sales. I also often shop local resale stores and thrift stores and swap meets to fill in the blanks (such as toys, book. If you utilize common sense— you too, can have a kid. —– This coming from a mother who had her first child at 17 and didn’t live at home with mommy and daddy. My 2 school-aged children are both Honor Roll students. Why— because they have parents who care. I can’t afford to send them to college so I invest in their education NOW so they have a better chance at getting scholarships. I didn’t go to college and I never had a desire to but I would like that option for my children. ya know— with my own You just have to be more conscientious of your spending. Instead of Starbucks— Folgers at home baby. I have always hated fast food and refuse to feed it to my children. We don’t take short cuts and none of us are deprived. We have brains and we use them.

  41. Oh, just one more thing—— you are in debt because you buy things you can’t afford. This “teen mom” (I’m 29 now) has NEVER used a credit card nor will I EVER buy a car I can’t pay cash for. It’s real simple— plan better.

  42. oh sorry— this is the last post—— My husband is the father of all 4 of our children. Beat that statistic, too! How many people can you say you KNOW that had a child at 17, married the father of that child at 19 and have spent 12 1/2 years together and 9 years happily married? You can over-come obstacles if you are up for a challenge. Me– I love challenges. That’s life.

    • You said a mouthful over an hour period! Since this post affected you, I’ll respond to your specific comments and clear a few things up.

      1) This must be your first time on this site otherwise you would know that I don’t live outside of my means. I don’t spend my time on this blog whining about debt. Instead I share articles about all aspects of personal finance and money and share my strategies for getting out of debt.

      2) None of my debt is from consumer purchases. If you read my “about me” page you’ll see that the vast majority of it (no matter where it lies right now) is from closing my 6 employee business. The rest is from college and then purchasing a home. No BMW here.

      3) I didn’t say that you should make “X” amount of have kids. I just said don’t have them if you can’t afford them. Clearly your family can afford your kids because you’re doing so, and I presume, without public assistance. My ultra-religious grandparents had more kids than you while making less money and never relied on any kind of public assistance. It can be done.

      4) I have nothing against working parents. In fact, most parents work outside the home. It’s a fact of life. It doesn’t make them worse parents.

      5) What do you say to situations like this: I’ve seen a women in the neighborhood of my job for about a year now with a sign saying that she is underemployed and needs money to help pay rent. She usually has her very adorable pre-school child with her. I’ve given her money in the past. I saw her yesterday and now she is very clearly 4 or 5 months pregnant. She’s still holding that sign. What now?

      Clearly everyone’s situation is different. What works for you might not work for others. What works for someone else might not work for you. The point that I wanted to make here was that we should think and plan a little before having children, especially if you’re in a precarious financial position.

  43. oh sorry— this is the last post—— My husband is the father of all 4 of our children. Beat that statistic, too! How many people can you say you KNOW that had a child at 17, married the father of that child at 19 and have spent 12 1/2 years together and 9 years happily married? You can over-come obstacles if you are up for a challenge. Me– I love challenges. That’s life.

    • You said a mouthful over an hour period! Since this post affected you, I’ll respond to your specific comments and clear a few things up.

      1) This must be your first time on this site otherwise you would know that I don’t live outside of my means. I don’t spend my time on this blog whining about debt. Instead I share articles about all aspects of personal finance and money and share my strategies for getting out of debt.

      2) None of my debt is from consumer purchases. If you read my “about me” page you’ll see that the vast majority of it (no matter where it lies right now) is from closing my 6 employee business. The rest is from college and then purchasing a home. No BMW here.

      3) I didn’t say that you should make “X” amount of have kids. I just said don’t have them if you can’t afford them. Clearly your family can afford your kids because you’re doing so, and I presume, without public assistance. My ultra-religious grandparents had more kids than you while making less money and never relied on any kind of public assistance. It can be done.

      4) I have nothing against working parents. In fact, most parents work outside the home. It’s a fact of life. It doesn’t make them worse parents.

      5) What do you say to situations like this: I’ve seen a women in the neighborhood of my job for about a year now with a sign saying that she is underemployed and needs money to help pay rent. She usually has her very adorable pre-school child with her. I’ve given her money in the past. I saw her yesterday and now she is very clearly 4 or 5 months pregnant. She’s still holding that sign. What now?

      Clearly everyone’s situation is different. What works for you might not work for others. What works for someone else might not work for you. The point that I wanted to make here was that we should think and plan a little before having children, especially if you’re in a precarious financial position.

  44. I agree. My husband and I are holding off on kids until we’re financially secure even though we’d like them now… My cousin, however, got knocked up by her unemployed ex-boyfriend and now the government (and our tax dollars) are paying for their housing, childcare, formula and health care!Doesn’t seem fair…

  45. Someone who owe’s college debt, a business flop (debt), and owes on their house(debt)…..giving parenting and financial advice … maybe you should have paid off your college debt before going into that business venture, maybe you should have paid off your college debt before buying that house , maybe you should have made sure you could afford college instead of taking loans…. I think its a we bit hypocritical to be telling people that they should not have a child if they can’t afford one because it cost’s you taxes yet you don’t see all the money you are costing the tax payers. debt accumulates and until paid off interest rate makes it higher each year. So with your train of thought you should have never went to college(did you get your degrees and diplomas?), you should have never started a business and you certainly should never have bought a house because you could not afford it (you owe debt, and are still paying that off as you stated above) so where would you be at 34 now…see everything is not cut and dry hunny.You could easily get out of your debt getting two part time jobs alongside your current job or doing something on the side like baking cookies and selling them online or selling a craft. People on assistance don’t have it easy, it may appear easy to you never being on it, but go through those processes and see for yourself before spouting off they get things handed off to them on a silver platter they don’t , no one wants assistance because it keeps you down instead of bringing you up . Their are cut off caps to assistance as well well below what it costs to afford things, search it, look up how much a single person gets, then a single person with a child, or a couple with a child, it is not much then look up the cheapest you can get for an apt , yet these people make it work, and eventually many get out of the system when they get a job. The job market has been rough lately but there are other avenues of legal income , it is not any ones right to deem who should and who should not have a child that is a reproductive right, a personal choice and not yours to make or have an opinion about. people do and can make it, and will eventually be paying the taxes you cry about paying and so will their children , and if the taxes were not going to dependent assistance programs and they did away with it it would be going elsewhere i promise you , we also pay taxes that go to churches, that go to the roads, and building constructions, to the parks and recreation, and schools AND colleges that many college students often drop out of wasting the tax payers dole at even a higher rate and taking away from someone that would have completed it then they owe on the loans too that they aren’t fully paying off if they are even trying to .see we all cost each other money , think of those six employees out of a job going to the unemployment or welfare office, think of your failed business that you may have took a loan out on too (you say you are in debt with that too right?)think of the home you are living in paying off , did you get a loan with that too? did you get a loan for your car? those loans don’t come out of thin air and it cost someone else for you to be able to get them, and will cost you to pay them off at interest to pay back the debt if you do in your live time (your 34 and in debt.and your giving off financial and reproductive advice?) if you used credit cards you cost the tax payer money remember the government bank bail out, that was not free darling. and if you used other avenues like a loan agency etc you still didn’t do it on your OWN .Doing it on your OWN means you have the money in hand , paid in cash from your own money that you made and saved, not paying back the money you burrowed. Birth control is not 100 percent nor does everyone believe in abortion, everyone is different, and no two people think the same. Don’t belittle people for having children they can’t afford when you took opportunity’s you couldn’t afford .Have you paid off your debt yet? nearing 35 and the debt is accumulating and costing more and more. see no accumulating debt with children, and compared to a flopped business, college debt and housing debt that debt pails in comparison to that measly $268,884 for one child for 18 years. People are not on welfare for the rest of there life, you can only get it for five years , you can’t move to ohio and try to collect welfare after being in Arizona and collecting for five years. you are cut off time to find a job (welfare reform act) people on social security can not get food stamps in a majority of states as they have an income above 200 . Another thing that i find funny you owe debt yet you have luxury’s that cost money that could have went to that debt(a car is a luxury,a computer is a luxury, internet and cable is a luxury that ain’t cheap), you could easily pay off that debt cutting those out and eating ramens twice a day and plain oatmeal for breakfast instead of other foods like steak, shrimp etc. see where are your priority’s certainly not paying off that accumulating debt that is in ways costing us tax payers , get off your high horse holier then art though complex and worry about yourself and pay off those debts they aren’t getting any cheaper and are costing far more then 1 or even 16 children would. Easy to point out others faults yet can’t see your own?@!

      • Sandy, Do reply to crazy people like REN. This person is basically saying don’t go to college if you can’t afford it, with out a degree not good job, without a good job your living in the hood… and so on. don’t waste your time. In todayS day of age don’t have internet, cable, or computer? how is one suppose to communicate with the world. Did she/he forget this is YOUR SIDE JOB?

    • I agree with this line: “it is not any ones right to deem who should and who should not have a child that is a reproductive right, a personal choice and not yours to make or have an opinion about”. I also think if someone doesn`t want to have a child because can`t afford it, then don`t. If someone WANTS to have a child but can`t afford it, it`s what`s up to them. Why would anyone tell the other person how they should live THEIR OWN life? Just do what makes you happy, do what you think is RIGHT FOR YOU.

  46. Someone who owe’s college debt, a business flop (debt), and owes on their house(debt)…..giving parenting and financial advice … maybe you should have paid off your college debt before going into that business venture, maybe you should have paid off your college debt before buying that house , maybe you should have made sure you could afford college instead of taking loans…. I think its a we bit hypocritical to be telling people that they should not have a child if they can’t afford one because it cost’s you taxes yet you don’t see all the money you are costing the tax payers. debt accumulates and until paid off interest rate makes it higher each year. So with your train of thought you should have never went to college(did you get your degrees and diplomas?), you should have never started a business and you certainly should never have bought a house because you could not afford it (you owe debt, and are still paying that off as you stated above) so where would you be at 34 now…see everything is not cut and dry hunny.You could easily get out of your debt getting two part time jobs alongside your current job or doing something on the side like baking cookies and selling them online or selling a craft. People on assistance don’t have it easy, it may appear easy to you never being on it, but go through those processes and see for yourself before spouting off they get things handed off to them on a silver platter they don’t , no one wants assistance because it keeps you down instead of bringing you up . Their are cut off caps to assistance as well well below what it costs to afford things, search it, look up how much a single person gets, then a single person with a child, or a couple with a child, it is not much then look up the cheapest you can get for an apt , yet these people make it work, and eventually many get out of the system when they get a job. The job market has been rough lately but there are other avenues of legal income , it is not any ones right to deem who should and who should not have a child that is a reproductive right, a personal choice and not yours to make or have an opinion about. people do and can make it, and will eventually be paying the taxes you cry about paying and so will their children , and if the taxes were not going to dependent assistance programs and they did away with it it would be going elsewhere i promise you , we also pay taxes that go to churches, that go to the roads, and building constructions, to the parks and recreation, and schools AND colleges that many college students often drop out of wasting the tax payers dole at even a higher rate and taking away from someone that would have completed it then they owe on the loans too that they aren’t fully paying off if they are even trying to .see we all cost each other money , think of those six employees out of a job going to the unemployment or welfare office, think of your failed business that you may have took a loan out on too (you say you are in debt with that too right?)think of the home you are living in paying off , did you get a loan with that too? did you get a loan for your car? those loans don’t come out of thin air and it cost someone else for you to be able to get them, and will cost you to pay them off at interest to pay back the debt if you do in your live time (your 34 and in debt.and your giving off financial and reproductive advice?) if you used credit cards you cost the tax payer money remember the government bank bail out, that was not free darling. and if you used other avenues like a loan agency etc you still didn’t do it on your OWN .Doing it on your OWN means you have the money in hand , paid in cash from your own money that you made and saved, not paying back the money you burrowed. Birth control is not 100 percent nor does everyone believe in abortion, everyone is different, and no two people think the same. Don’t belittle people for having children they can’t afford when you took opportunity’s you couldn’t afford .Have you paid off your debt yet? nearing 35 and the debt is accumulating and costing more and more. see no accumulating debt with children, and compared to a flopped business, college debt and housing debt that debt pails in comparison to that measly $268,884 for one child for 18 years. People are not on welfare for the rest of there life, you can only get it for five years , you can’t move to ohio and try to collect welfare after being in Arizona and collecting for five years. you are cut off time to find a job (welfare reform act) people on social security can not get food stamps in a majority of states as they have an income above 200 . Another thing that i find funny you owe debt yet you have luxury’s that cost money that could have went to that debt(a car is a luxury,a computer is a luxury, internet and cable is a luxury that ain’t cheap), you could easily pay off that debt cutting those out and eating ramens twice a day and plain oatmeal for breakfast instead of other foods like steak, shrimp etc. see where are your priority’s certainly not paying off that accumulating debt that is in ways costing us tax payers , get off your high horse holier then art though complex and worry about yourself and pay off those debts they aren’t getting any cheaper and are costing far more then 1 or even 16 children would. Easy to point out others faults yet can’t see your own?@!

    • I agree with this line: “it is not any ones right to deem who should and who should not have a child that is a reproductive right, a personal choice and not yours to make or have an opinion about”. I also think if someone doesn`t want to have a child because can`t afford it, then don`t. If someone WANTS to have a child but can`t afford it, it`s what`s up to them. Why would anyone tell the other person how they should live THEIR OWN life? Just do what makes you happy, do what you think is RIGHT FOR YOU.

  47. Love your article! “Having kids is not a right, it’s a privilege” – yes..and if you want to have kids despite the fact that you don´t have money then you shouldn´t expect anything from goverment..but you should really think about crappy life your kid will have.

  48. I think anyone can have a child and there isn’t a cutoff in income. It just depends on how you chose to raise the child and what “level” of wants versus needs you chose to have.

    You don’t need new baby things, hand me downs are great. You need medical insurance but you could get by with HDHP. I guess my point is a lot of people are raising kids on the $50k/year family salary and doing okay. I may mean driving old cars, not eating out, etc. but they are making sacrifices.

    I do agree if you need to be on government assistance it’s a bad idea to have kids. It can be a vicious cycle. It’s also different to be providing for children but then lose a job and go on assistance versus always not working and having been on assistance.

    but all kids really need is love, food, shelter, and medical. They don’t need a ton else. I am pregnant with my second child and we can afford it.

    But I have friends from high school who have just had their second child, their first is 5 days younger than my 1st DD, and our seconds will be about 1 month apart in age, and I’m not sure they can afford it. They only survive on a part-time salary from the husband working at starbucks and get government assistance. But they are finishing school in December and perhaps they can get off assistance.

    If so then great. Should they have waited? Who knows. It’s a fine line. Their kids are happy and healthy. Perhaps they’ll never know their parents struggle.

    Would I want to live that way? No. I like knowing we have medical, savings, a home, etc. But at the same time I feel they are good parents and they are doing their best and their child while he has less than my DD is still doing okay.

  49. Hello, I agree with most of what you are all saying. I only have one child right now and I have a stepson who’s mother feeds off of the government she has 2 other children with different daddy’s. My husband made a mistake but he was also willing and tried for custody to raise him in the world of no welfare to see that working is what pays for food. But the judge asked why do you want to take him from his mother, so it wasn’t going to happen. She claims she’s disabled from a car accident years ago has back pain but she is fine enough to work. She hikes and rides a bike. I would love to fill my house with children but we can’t afford too we pay child support for my stepson and she doesnt’ use one cent for him. She uses it for her smokes and beer. We still buy him t he shoes and coats and everything. We may have another child but we want to make sure we have enough money. I chose to stay home since working in child care made me against it and the sickness too much for me to even work a lot with my little boy and I. I love him very much and would do anything for him we don’t live the best but I had fertility issues so it was best I got pregnant when I did which was 23. I knew I’d have issues and didn’t want to miss my chance. But we have never taken from the government and my son is healthy and happy. My husband works very hard to support us and pay child support and we’d be more then happy to have custody of my stepson another less child getting help. He asked me why I didn’t use food stamps for food. What has this world come too? We are trying our best to make him realize you need to work for food and kids that it’s not free but looking at his mother it’s going to be hard. We hope he doesn’t repeat the cycle.

  50. Hello, I agree with most of what you are all saying. I only have one child right now and I have a stepson who’s mother feeds off of the government she has 2 other children with different daddy’s. My husband made a mistake but he was also willing and tried for custody to raise him in the world of no welfare to see that working is what pays for food. But the judge asked why do you want to take him from his mother, so it wasn’t going to happen. She claims she’s disabled from a car accident years ago has back pain but she is fine enough to work. She hikes and rides a bike. I would love to fill my house with children but we can’t afford too we pay child support for my stepson and she doesnt’ use one cent for him. She uses it for her smokes and beer. We still buy him t he shoes and coats and everything. We may have another child but we want to make sure we have enough money. I chose to stay home since working in child care made me against it and the sickness too much for me to even work a lot with my little boy and I. I love him very much and would do anything for him we don’t live the best but I had fertility issues so it was best I got pregnant when I did which was 23. I knew I’d have issues and didn’t want to miss my chance. But we have never taken from the government and my son is healthy and happy. My husband works very hard to support us and pay child support and we’d be more then happy to have custody of my stepson another less child getting help. He asked me why I didn’t use food stamps for food. What has this world come too? We are trying our best to make him realize you need to work for food and kids that it’s not free but looking at his mother it’s going to be hard. We hope he doesn’t repeat the cycle.

  51. “We’re living in one of the most developed nations of the world” Who told you that? How is this nation the most developed? What do you even mean by that? Financially developed? Most educated? With the best quality of life? You probably meant “We`re living in one of the most misinformed nations in the world”.

  52. If children cost 14K a year then I would literally have nothing left over from my job. My husband and I hardly make anything, 20K if we’re lucky and that’s with us both working full time. Minimum wage just isn’t very high in our state. We have two children and we aren’t on welfare. There’s definitely weeks where we have to be very careful of what we spend but we budget well and don’t buy things unless we need them. We cloth diaper and I breast feed. We never go hungry and I try to buy organic. We’re both also in college but aren’t taking out massive loans to get refunds or anything like that. Life isn’t perfect and no, I can’t buy that new pair of shoes but neither of us would give up our children. Learn to balance your checkbook, learn ways to save money, manage your time, and be happy. Children are a sacrifice of time and wealth. It all depends on how badly you want them and what you’re willing to do to give them everything they want/need.

  53. If children cost 14K a year then I would literally have nothing left over from my job. My husband and I hardly make anything, 20K if we’re lucky and that’s with us both working full time. Minimum wage just isn’t very high in our state. We have two children and we aren’t on welfare. There’s definitely weeks where we have to be very careful of what we spend but we budget well and don’t buy things unless we need them. We cloth diaper and I breast feed. We never go hungry and I try to buy organic. We’re both also in college but aren’t taking out massive loans to get refunds or anything like that. Life isn’t perfect and no, I can’t buy that new pair of shoes but neither of us would give up our children. Learn to balance your checkbook, learn ways to save money, manage your time, and be happy. Children are a sacrifice of time and wealth. It all depends on how badly you want them and what you’re willing to do to give them everything they want/need.

  54. AGREE!!! it becomes a burden on the rest of the taxpayers if u cant see for your own, ppl who disagree may already be in a position doing that. i grew up poor and I dont ever want to put my children through that, so i am waiting another 2 more years once my fiance and I own a house and are in a more than comfortable position for a child. its a sad state of affairs that people just create kids with no consideration about them or even themselves as parents, the amount of stress and pressure. our planet is full of starving children because some people just selfishly make babies and do intent to be there.

  55. I guess it takes all kinds of kinds. If it weren’t for there being people who need government assistance there wouldn’t be people employed in those federal assistance programs, and if they didn’t have those jobs where would they be employed? Competing with you? Soooooo….everything trickles down and everyone has some type of job security based on someone else’s. As for your opinion on reproduction, move to ancient China and have everyone worthy have one offspring and if its a girl let’s throw it in a ditch, that should help our economy.

  56. I couldn’t agree more. I’ll go a step further. I wouldn’t have kids on less than 150k a year household income. Even at that point I don’t want kids. My goal is to retire early as I can’t stand being forced to go to work every day. Let the 1% have kids.

  57. Hi Molly,

    Glad that you were able to make the best out of your situation. I think that when they factor in costs they assume that you might get a bigger place, spend more on electric, etc., added doctor bills, time off from work, childcare, etc.

  58. NO, Melissa, it’s the entitlement crowd that sucks the country DRY while the rest of us work our butts off that got this country in the mess that it is in. Less than 1/2 of us actually pay taxes – the remainder are leaches.

    Living outside the USA puts you at an intellectual disadvantage on this matter. You need to sit down and be quiet so as not to show your abject ignorance.

  59. Hi Sophia,

    I’ve been poor. I write quite a bit about that. You can with I Grew Up Poor And Survived. This article is directed towards those choosing to have children when they are already struggling. To me it’s like running a marathon when you can hardly jog.

    I know that many people make the case that waiting can have the effect of them not being able to have kids later. There is always that possibility. No one says that you have to be rich to have kids. Not at all. But I still contend that if you’re struggling now and can hardly make ends meet, bringing a child into the world with all of the responsibilities and finances that it takes to support a child is not the best, most rational decision.

  60. It can be done! Good for you for taking responsibility for your own lives. People complain about others on welfare and bailouts, and taxes etc., but then they do things that force the rest of us to support them. Kudos to you and your hubby. Does he have a brother?

  61. Don’t be ashamed of using those programs. One of the greatest things about the U.S. are the safety nets in place.

  62. I am 25 and I have no intentions of having kids anytime soon. I would like one but for me there is no way I can afford one. I could be like everyone else and use Government money to take care of a child. However, I have seen kids grow up in these conditions. Parents struggling to dress, and feed their child. I think it is very selfish of people to have kids when they can not afford to. They are only thinking of what they want, not what kind of life they can provide for a child. If you can afford a kid that is one thing but to have a kid and be on government assistance stuggling to take care of it something else. Children are to be able to be carefree when they are young…and you just deprived the kid of that. What can you offer the kid, you cant afford to send them to college, or go on vactions once a year, or take them to a theme park. All the kid has to look forward to is ending up like its parents on government assistance trying to raise their own kids. What happens when the economy falls apart more than what it already has???? In Pennsylvania they are cutting Cash Assistance, what programs do you think are next? Good luck to everyone go have your kids. I choose not to because I am looking at what kind of life I could give the child….not because im selfish and I want one.

  63. I had friends once who were of a similar mindset. Dad was in preacher school full time, mom didn’t work outside the home because it was unseemly, they had five kids, about two years apart. Oftentimes the only thing they had to serve for dinner was popcorn and water. When the kids got sick they guilted their employed friends into buying the medicine. When their church group went out for a meal they went along and either didn’t order anything and/or waited for someone else in the congregation to offer to pick up the tab. I didn’t really feel bad for them but my heart ached for those children.

  64. I agree with you KH and Melissa, about government subsidies. The government already takes enough from me and my family that I cannot afford to have a child and provide a life with opportunities for it, so that my money can go to you to take care of your child that you chose to have when you could not afford to. I think that is absolutely immoral and wrong. It’s robbery. People who rely on the government to take care of their babies that they had irresponsibly are scum to me. The worst kinds of people. They take money that they did not make from people who worked their asses off to make the money. I am not for sacrificing myself to take care of other people’s responsibilities. It’s enough to just take care of yourself and your own family in this world, without the help of the government. Mutants. I would rather be dead than take other people’s hard earned money and I definitely would never have a child with the intentions of depending on other people’s money.

  65. I completely agree with the author. Only a completely irresponsible person would have a child that they KNOW they can’t support. Not being able to secure a college fund for the child is one thing, but not being able to feed and cloth the child is an entirely different issue. I DON’T CARE HOW GOOD OF A PARENT SOMEONE THINKS THEY WILL BE. IF YOU CAN’T FEED YOUR KID, DON’T MAKE A ONE. PERIOD. If a person doesn’t have the sense to know that children need to be fed and clothed and need security then they don’t have the sense needed to be a good parent; love or no love. Having a child is a responsibility and its just damn right stupid to choose to have a kid when you know you have no job and no way to take care of them. Welfare was not intended for these people. It was meant for people that hit hard times and need temporary assistance. NOT for people that are just lazy and stupid. Don’t have kids if you can’t support them.

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