Friday, January 10, 2014

Should Finance be a factor while planning a child?

Disclaimer: I am from a Commerce background and deal in Company finances daily.Most of the meetings I attend focus on credit crunch and an underperforming economy. My post may be a bit too practical. Apologies in advance!

Having a baby is a life-altering experience for all of us. The joy and happiness that a child brings into our lives can never be quantified. Today, we see most couples planning their first child when they are "mentally and financially ready."

Gone were the days when having a baby didn't make any major changes to the physical environment at home. Today we have baby cribs, cradles, rockers, walkers, bathing equipment, diaper changing tables etc. My best friend N and me were pregnant around the same time. N was staying at the US and during one of her conversations; she spoke about the high costs of preparing the baby's room with comfortable furniture! The whole diaper culture while making life easy for us also involves a lot of money. One day, I actually sat down to calculate the total amount spent on diapers and I got the shock of my life when I saw the figure!

Then comes the cost of pre-schools which can cost between 30-50k a year or even more.Working moms will definitely know the costs of daycares/maids! School admissions entail huge donations unless you are mentally ready to enrol your kid in a normal school. Even school fees are way higher than our college expenses.

Now, let me come to the point. All these expenses are relatively small and manageable and are foreseeable in the near future. But what about the future costs? When you factor in inflation, every single thing will cost a lot more than today.

Every parent wants to provide a financially secure future for their kids.We all want to continue our comfortable lifestyle and also be able to manage the unforeseen future while providing the best education to our kids and also saving for their wedding expenses. In such a scenario, is it wrong to "plan a child" with finance in mind?

I have a 4 year old daughter and when people ask me when I am having a second child and I tell them I need to think and plan properly with rising costs, people look at me like I am some alien!!!

Is it so wrong to be careful about finance? Is it not better to provide a good lifestyle to your kid without having another kid soon just because society expects you to do so?

Having a child be it your first or second or third should be your choice-based on what the couple decides. We have one life to live. Is it wrong to not "sacrifice your life" in the process of raising kids? I agree our parents and grandparents gave up a lot in life to raise us but are we of the same mindset?

Am I selfish if I don't think immediately about giving a sibling to my daughter? What if I choose not to have another child? Am I a career-loving monster who only loves the smell of money! (Sorry, this is a description of working moms that I heard recently!) I heard about the book-One and Only by Lauren Sandler and intend reading it soon to understand her reasons for having only one child.

I strongly feel we need financial security with rising healthcare costs in future. We should never be dependent on anyone. People have told me to "have a son" and then relax! Even if I have a son, do I want to depend on him for my existence in my old age?

The underlying message is this- I feel finance needs to be strongly taken into consideration while planning a baby. It may seem unnatural and weird but it is the hard reality. We sadly live in a material world where kids are exposed to a variety of things and expect us as parents to fulfil all their needs. We can never say No to our kids. Let me give you a small example-My maid's daughter has asked her for a gold chain. I helped my maid enter a Gold Savings scheme and she contributes a small sum every month only so that she can gift her child what she asked.

PS: This post is originally written for
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