When Parenthood Is Postponed
Many women of the Baby Boomer generation decided to postpone motherhood until their late 30’s and 40’s.
I am among those who made this choice. And I know I am not in the minority.
According to USNews.com, “First-time mothers are more likely to be 35 or older than their counterparts from two decades ago, according to the Pew Research Center. While the number of first-time moms between ages 20 and 24 falls, the number of births to women in their 30s and 40s keeps growing. In fact, in the past 20 years, the number of women having children in their mid-40s and beyond has tripled.”
Unique Benefits And Challenges
As an attorney and co-founder of Red Feather Financial, I am seeing more and more couples and individuals struggling with the issues that are borne of postponing families until later. I, too, am experiencing some of the same challenges.
Believe me, the benefits of starting a family a little later are amazing. However, the life challenges kind of sneak up on you if you aren’t paying attention. And there are so many distractions.
So, let’s start with the why. Why would you want to delay having a family until you are in your 40’s? My reasons had to do with getting a solid education and establishing myself in my career. That tends to be the motivation for many women. Back in the 50’s and 60’s women had their families young because they couldn’t go out and have a career. That mentality had not yet been embraced.
Today, a woman has choices and making the choice to delay having a family is one of those choices that can be a benefit to everyone involved. You get to establish a financial base when you establish your career first. So, you typically have more money and feel more financially secure when the first child comes along. And, children do not kill a woman’s career. In fact according to the same US News article, “the earlier children arrive, the more their mother’s income suffers. There is a clear incentive for delaying,”
Okay, now let’s look at some of the challenges. When a woman is in her 40’s, her child will be going to school as she is close to 50. Most young couples have already put their children through college by this time. So the family that started late will be saving for college while very probably paying for private school for their young one. Also, this is the time of life when the parents of the couple who just started their family are starting to develop age related illnesses and symptoms such as memory loss or early onset Alzheimer’s. So, in addition to saving for their child’s college, they also must now begin to consider how to care for their aging parents. On top of that, they have their own retirement to consider, which is considerably closer than had they started their family at a younger age.
Time For An All-Inclusive Plan
You’ve heard of all-inclusive resorts? Well, when you start your family late, more than ever you need an all-inclusive financial plan that takes into consideration your unique circumstances. When you are younger you have a longer stretch of time to save for the same life situations. But when you are in your mid-40’s or 50’s you don’t have the luxury of time. You may have a greater income, however you have greater expenses too.
Maybe you worked with a financial planner before you started your family. If so, the question is, did you cover all the bases? Did you think about your parents’ aging and caregiving needs? Did you consider how you would handle sending your child off to college while you are getting ready to retire? Did you think about how to protect the assets you have? How about how your child will be cared for in the event something happens to you or your spouse? There are so many more questions that one needs to ask and consider as late stage parents. I know. I am one.
Balancing all the financial balls can be tricky. No matter where you are in your life, you can always benefit from having a review of your financial goals and how you expect to achieve them. Give us a call today and we’ll be happy to help you consider all the possible scenarios and outcomes and create a balanced plan to help you face them with confidence.Share this: