Monday, April 28, 2008

When to have children? or When to have fun?

I've had this discussion with a few different friends on separate occasions lately, so it must be on our minds. When is the best time to have children? I don't know if this is right or wrong, but it quickly becomes a question of assuming you want to have children, when do you want to have fun?

A lot of my friends are having children, plan to have children, or may have children in their 30's. Maybe even 40's. I think that's relatively late.... but that means you get to play when you're younger! Sure you can argue that there may be genetic risks the older you get, but let's take that out of the equation by saying you can adopt. And you can do that whenever you want - even when you're 50! The good thing about having fun when you're younger is that you have more energy, and you're usually more accepting and experimental and willing to try new things - these characteristics are perfect for travel and having fun! The problem with having fun when you're younger is that you have no money. And this is supposedly the time when you should be saving for retirement, yada yada yada. Another drawback is that if you have children relatively late, when you retire, you may still have kids in college, or even high school! I don't know about everyone else, but I'd rather have the kids out of the house and out of school by then, or taken care of in some way so that I can travel all over and enjoy retirement. I'll know how much money I have left and how I want to spend it.

Now if you decide to have kids early, you can start saving early for their school, which may not only include college (or post-college stuff), but also include grade school and high school depending on where you live and if the public schools are okay or not. Not to mention day care for the younger kids! And when you retire, they're all taken care of and you can have your fun. And presumably you have plenty of money for that fun. The downside is of course, you don't have as much energy for the fun stuff (i.e. traveling) and because of that, you would probably do different things. Like, I doubt that when I'm 65 I'll go bungee jumping - not impossible, but I probably wouldn't do it.

After thinking through my options, I think I would rather have kids earlier rather than later - it'd be nice to have a lot of energy for the kids too, much less traveling and other fun stuff. But I guess it's too late for me to have kids early in life, so I'll settle for having fun now and having kids later. :)

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