Sunday, June 05, 2005


The author of the "All Things Kate" blog made a post entitled "To Kid or Not to Kid." Her self-doubts in that post sounded awfully familiar to me, so I figured a response might be in order.

It'd go something like this:

You know, Kate — Lisa and I were ~30 years old when we had our daughter. I am not exaggerating when I say that the prospect of daddyhood scared the CRAP out of me. We weren't "kid people" either. You know what? We probably still aren't. Actually, I would contend that that's a good thing. Sometimes, doubting your own abilities just means you're paying really good attention to what's at stake.

Are kids expensive? You better believe it. I shoulda gone into the diaper business. Or done some sort of consulting for the baby-formula companies.

How do you know when you're ready for kids? Time to face facts: You never will be. There will always be ONE MORE THING you could do to make yourself more prepared. (More savings. Bigger house. More reliable car. Bigger supply of Q-Tips.) People who think they're ready are overconfident. People who think they're not are right.

Will your kid be hopelessly maladjusted if you don't dole out the kind of money the Yahoo article author does? I seriously doubt it. My wife and I have no plans or intentions to meet numbers like those. Even so, I bet our daughter will manage okay. I can teach her how to get by without all those parental gifts. Because I never had them, either. I'd like to think I've turned out pretty stable.

Are kids worth it? Depends. What does it take to fill your heart, assuming you have one?

Seriously: Let your 2-year-old ask for, and give you, a goodnight hug from her crib, followed by a quiet "Nigh' nigh', dada," in the darkness, and you'll know the answer. Watch your kid dance around the living room, grinning ear to ear, clapping her hands as Beethoven's Ode to Joy erupts from the speakers, and again, you'll know the answer. You'll know it as surely as you know that parenthood will be a big responsibility. A huge change. Like nothing you've ever undertaken.

I was terrified, too. I am not exaggerating when I say that some days, I still am. But that little girl curled up and dreaming in her crib, right now, in the next room — she is astounding. Perplexing. Rewarding.


Have a kid. You will understand every word of this post.

I promise.

— Posted by Michael @ 12:37 AM


Michael, I just left a really long response to Kate over at her site.



Having children is a financial disaster. And absolutely worth every penny and more.

The question I have is at what point does helping your kids out become "economic outpatient care" as per "The Millionaire Next Door"?

For instance, I've heard very rational, well thought out arguements on both sides of whether parents should pay for college.

As things are currently looking, we will probably be able to pay for our kids' college, their weddings (2 daughters) and assist with some start up money. The thing I wonder about is how much of that is well advised to do. In my own case, I was more than anxious to get out and handle stuff on my own. If my children are expecting a handout at the key points in their lives mentioned above, will they expect them at other points in their lives?


Abileneblues, I think you nailed it "if my children are expecting a handout..."

I've gone back and forth on this issue for a while. I've decided I'm going to focus more on teaching my kids how to work, earn, and manage their money. That way, if I do want to help them with college, house, or whatever, I know they understand the economics behind it all.


I just want to say that if the children learn to work then they will never learn that they are entitled. Entitlement is the problem with the world today and is the reason we are in such a financial deficit. My inlaws have a great idea. If Thier child wants to go to college then they will work and pay for the first 2 years. If they can do that then the parents will know that they are serious and will pick up the rest for the first degree. So far it has work out very well, all are happy, No One is entitled. Heck, a loan for college still has to be paid back. right?

Anonymous Anonymous
, at 6:13 PM, June 07, 2005  

I suppose everyone has an idea of what is right when it comes to parenting their children. What works for one family, may not work for another. My wife and I decided early on that our 2 girls were going to get a college education and that we would provide the financing. Our eldest earned a partial scholarship and just finished her sophmore year and is doing well. Our youngest will be entering high school in the fall, and we have her 4 years of tuition and fees paid in full via a state pre-paid plan.

On the other hand, I feel no obligation at all with regards to funding any weddings. A huge waste of money, in my opinion. Both wife and I were married previously with the big church wedding. We spent $45 on our wedding, but had a memorable honeymoon.

Funding education is an investment in my daughters futures. We're happy to make that investment. We've been teaching both girls to be independent and self sufficient and hope that it is being absorbed.

Anonymous Anonymous
, at 11:13 AM, June 08, 2005  

I agree that education is an investment in my children. I am not reluctant to make that investment. I just want to make sure that I'm preparing my children to be responsible. Sometimes they amaze me with their understanding of those responibilites. At other times, they amaze me with irresponsibility. I guess that's like anybody's kids.

While my wife and I were always self-sufficient, it took us almost 20 years to learn to really take care of our finances. We have included our kids in our discussions about debt, creating a budget and celebrating over debts paid off (only the mortgage left). I just hope that our intentionality is enough.

** Comments Closed on this Post **

Thoughts on my personal finances, goals, experiences, motivations, and accomplishments (or lack thereof).

My financial life began turning around when I took responsibility for it.
— Dave Ramsey


Start (2005-12): ~$21,900
Currently: $0
[About Our Debt Paydown]


Savings Goal: $15,000
Currently: ~$15,115
[About Our Liquid Savings Goal]