Kids on ERE

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Triangle
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Kids on ERE

Post by Triangle » Tue Jul 23, 2013 4:52 pm

This has been bugging me a lot. Two thoughts.

1)Getting kids when you can't support them financially is irresponsible
2)Getting kids when much older than 30 starts being problematic

Still, even most ERE'ers aren't FI at 30. So, would you have kids before you're FI? How much sooner? Would you forsake the idea of kids to reach FI?

I guess as a guy it's not as important how old you are. But I still think it's weird to be a very old father. And having the wife be 20 years your junior could be weird as well.

At this point I'm not even sure I ever want to have kids. On the one hand, I imagine it has amazing moments you can't otherwise experience. On the other hand, I feel in no way financially secure enough to support them. I don't want to be that dad who works all day and never sees his kids. I'd want to spend more than the evenings with them, possibly homeschool, but that requires some financial independence already.

What do you guys think?

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Re: Kids on ERE

Post by jacob » Tue Jul 23, 2013 5:53 pm

FI is not the same as ERE. ERE is a system for living that makes it possible to live well on much less.
http://earlyretirementextreme.com/wiki/ ... Philosophy

If you combine this with a normal full time job, this quickly leads to FI.

If you combine it with a part time job and children, you can still live well on much less... but because your income is smaller, you won't be FI as fast.

So if children is more important to you than avoiding ANY kind of activity that makes money whatsoever ever again, have the children. If not, given nontrivial ERE skills, it should be trivial to make enough money to support a family.

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Re: Kids on ERE

Post by JohnnyH » Wed Jul 24, 2013 1:22 pm

I've been thinking about this a lot recently too. For your two thoughts:

1) If you're broke, perhaps. But it might be even more irresponsible/selfish to indefinitely put it off forever. At some point you have to take a leap of faith and take a risk.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icmRCixQrx8
2) Over 30 is really changing. It's a commonly held belief that a women giving birth over 30 is not a good idea... This is pretty much 50s era common knowledge that no longer applies. From here:
http://www.salon.com/2013/06/21/four_th ... ve_a_baby/

"One study, published in Obstetrics & Gynecology in 2004 and headed by David Dunson (now of Duke University), examined the chances of pregnancy among 770 European women. It found that with sex at least twice a week, 82 percent of 35-to-39-year-old women conceive within a year, compared with 86 percent of 27-to-34-year-olds. (The fertility of women in their late 20s and early 30s was almost identical — news in and of itself.)"
Then there are the risk of birth defects. Again oft-repeated warnings are usually incorrect. Up until 35 the risks are less than twice of 20 year old mother, ie still very low (and this is ancient 2004 data). Besides I'm fairly certain there are other much more pertinent variables; lifestyle, weight, health, diet of mother.

If do it before FI, it would be because I'm positive kids can be raised more money efficiently than advertisers would have us believe. Therefore, accumulation would continue during raising them and FI would still be inevitable... I'm thinking 2 parents working PT/from home flexible jobs + homeschooling. Crank in money but not outsourcing the raising, having supportive extended family would be huge help.

My Dad had kids in his mid 40s and he's still active today. My Mom was about 10 years younger and 32 when I was born. She is also thriving... When you get over a generation in age difference it seems less like to succeed.

I'm where you are too. ;) Hope this helps.

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Re: Kids on ERE

Post by Spartan_Warrior » Wed Jul 24, 2013 2:08 pm

These are valid concerns, however, I agree with JohnnyH (hilarious and accurate vid, btw) that being FI and being able to financially support kids are two different things. Importantly, if you think kids are going to be such an expense that they'd halt your ERE plans in the accumulation phase, they would probably also prove equally budget-breaking in post-retirement as well. (Unless you have a separate post-retirement budget accounting for them?) That said, I think the common consensus is that despite media propaganda, kids don't have to cost all that much.

The only real issue I'd have with having kids before I'm retired is that I would not be able to spend all my time with them, and would probably have to rearrange my work schedule. My own plan is to reach FI in 5-8 years, at age 32-35, and I would like to start trying for kids around age 35 (assuming all else goes to plan, of course--I'm not even married at this point). If it happens out of order, so be it. I would merely find telework for the final stage of accumulating my nest egg.

BeyondtheWrap
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Re: Kids on ERE

Post by BeyondtheWrap » Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:10 pm

When my parents had their first child, my dad was 42 and my mom was 32. I see no need to rush.

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jennypenny
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Re: Kids on ERE

Post by jennypenny » Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:18 am

It's not just the age you have them that counts. I have teenagers and I'm glad we're young enough to do everything with them. If you wait until your late-30s to have babies, you have teenagers in your 50s. And if they wait, you won't have grandbabies until your 70s. Just something to consider.

The other side is that at 47, my parents and grandparents are already gone. I miss them. Those generations--including their perspectives and knowledge--are gone from my life and more importantly, from my kids' lives. I would definitely count that as a negative to having children later.

I would decide what you want out of life (including partners/kids) and then use ERE to achieve it. I could see delaying kids a year or two if you're that close to FI, but I don't think you should let money dictate your life. That seems backwards to me.

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Re: Kids on ERE

Post by SilverElephant » Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:37 am

Somehow the big variable being left out here is your significant other. As MMM and Jacob point out, children by themselves do not spend much money. That leaves the parents. I'd assume most people here would be financially savvy about their children just as they are about their other spending, but you need your trust your partner to do the same and not go bananas with the kid-relating spending.

Speaking from a guy's perspective, everything's simple as long as you are not married and there are no children - your girlfriend can guilt you into spending more but there's not really any legal leverage (although I gather some countries are now legally equating "living together" with "being married") that she has. Entering any of these two agreements with a financially irresponsible woman is tantamount to FI suicide (and the same from a woman's perspective with an irresponsible man, of course).

From what I know of US laws getting married or having kids in the states is, for a man, about as smart as standing on a hilltop during a bad thunderstorm: you might be alright but it's still a really, really bad idea.

Anyway, my point is that with the right partner, i.e. someone with matching views of FI/ERE, everything's possible or at least much easier.

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Re: Kids on ERE

Post by Spartan_Warrior » Thu Jul 25, 2013 6:14 am

@SilverElephant: Not gonna lie, I agree with you 100% regarding marriage in the U.S. But what choice does a man, as a U.S. citizen who wants kids, really have? Most men (including me) still want the wife, kids, and white picket fence, so there's not much choice but to enter into marriage and take that legal and financial risk.

That's why evaluating your partner for matching views of FI/ERE is so important. I liked the MMM article about convincing your spouse: it helps if you have a common dream (like raising a family) that being ERE supports.

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Re: Kids on ERE

Post by jennypenny » Thu Jul 25, 2013 6:39 am

From what I know of US laws getting married or having kids in the states is, for a man, about as smart as standing on a hilltop during a bad thunderstorm: you might be alright but it's still a really, really bad idea.

@SilverElephant: Not gonna lie, I agree with you 100% regarding marriage in the U.S.
Why, because if you make it you bought it? Nevermind...you guys are so lucky I promised myself not to argue with anyone else on the forum this week :lol:

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Re: Kids on ERE

Post by Chad » Thu Jul 25, 2013 6:45 am

I do think you can have kids without them having too much impact by following a lot of the ERE philosophies. Though, one problem will really be when they are older and coming home from school with, "but everyone in class already has an iPhone", or whatever the new device is at that time. I would imagine this would happen a lot and kind of tear at you as a parent.

An extensive garden with a few animals is immensely helpful to ERE with kids.
SilverElephant wrote: From what I know of US laws getting married or having kids in the states is, for a man, about as smart as standing on a hilltop during a bad thunderstorm: you might be alright but it's still a really, really bad idea.
Yeah, this bothers me a lot. I absolutely despise the idea of seeing someone walk away with at least half my assets just because we were "married." I could hire a maid for her part of the house work and a prostitute a couple times a month (based on most married people's sex lives) without spending nearly that much money.

It hits on a piece of comedy from Chris Rock, "If you're worth $30 million and she takes half...you'll be all right. If you're worth $30,000 and she takes half...that bitch has to die." Obviously, this is for comedic purposes and not an endorsement of murder.

Sorry, Triangle, I got off topic.

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jennypenny
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Re: Kids on ERE

Post by jennypenny » Thu Jul 25, 2013 6:48 am

Why are you guys all assuming you've got more money than your wife when you split? What century do you think this is??

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Re: Kids on ERE

Post by Spartan_Warrior » Thu Jul 25, 2013 6:54 am

jennypenny wrote:
From what I know of US laws getting married or having kids in the states is, for a man, about as smart as standing on a hilltop during a bad thunderstorm: you might be alright but it's still a really, really bad idea.

@SilverElephant: Not gonna lie, I agree with you 100% regarding marriage in the U.S.
Why, because if you make it you bought it? Nevermind...you guys are so lucky I promised myself not to argue with anyone else on the forum this week :lol:
No, I don't have any problem with being legally required to support your own progeny. Alimony is very different from child support, though, and even child support is often rendered in a way that disproportionately calls for financial sacrifice on the father's part. Neither of which seems coherent in a world of "equality" for the sexes. I have only anecdotal evidence, but when things go wrong in a marriage, it seems like the man gets the shaft 9 times out of 10. If you have evidence to the contrary I'd be interested in seeing it. We can call it a discussion instead of an argument if you prefer. :)

As far as the money thing, I've never dated a woman who makes as much income as me in my day job, nor come even close to encountering one with the same level of assets. Maybe that's just me, but we all know how rare it is to be financially independent in the first place...

More importantly, even if the woman had more income/assets, it's not at all clear to me that the courts wouldn't still come after the man for the lion's share of the financial burden. The better question seems to be, "what century do the (ironically named) family courts think this is?"
Last edited by Spartan_Warrior on Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

Chad
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Re: Kids on ERE

Post by Chad » Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:05 am

What Spartan said.

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Re: Kids on ERE

Post by SilverElephant » Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:21 am

@Spartan_Warrior

Seems to me the middle ground is not getting married but having kids if you want them. Worst case, you can get nailed for child support but not alimony (this might change in the future, of course)
jennypenny wrote:Why are you guys all assuming you've got more money than your wife when you split? What century do you think this is??
I believe that this is, statistically, the probable case. Kids from wealthy families aside, the societal pressure for a guy to live a life aimed towards supporting a family is infinitely higher than for women. The vast majority of women I know treat school, college and even their job as a kind of hobby to be pursued until the right guy comes along to pay her for being a stay-at-home-mommy.

Obviously this will not apply to all women, least of all on these forums; but the people on here are already selected in the "rather independent, intelligent and critical thinking" group. I'm talking about the general population, the trends of which affect us here.

I assure you the pressure on me to get a decent career so I can be a provider is very high, whereas all that's discussed for my sister is whether she'll find a nice, successful guy even though she's in medical school. Most people don't even realize it. But a guy getting a degree he likes then getting into a nice, quiet job he might enjoy for not too much pay (not the ideal path to ERE but certainly to satisfaction and early retirement if lived frugally) will be, at best, treated as an oddity and, at worst, alienated. Trust me on this, the mere mention of this has gotten me involved in intense discussions in a me-vs-all setting.

It's uncanny, really. When people discuss a woman's salary they mentally measure it against the assumed spending for one person, no stress. When a man's salary (or potential salary or job prospects) and discussed, it is measured against the assumed spending to pay a mortgage and pay for a whole family.

My solution has been to deal with women from similar financial backgrounds. Those who understand it, that is. To be fair, I guess a lot of men from a certain financial background don't understand it, either.

I understand this may come out as misogynistic. It isn't, all I want is understanding what I'm getting into. It's not that different from waking up from the consumer lifestyle and deciding it isn't for you.

Like Spartan_Warrior said, the courts are still heavily favoring women in divorces.

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Re: Kids on ERE

Post by Chad » Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:28 am

I started a new thread for the marriage discussion, so we don't destroy the kids discussion.

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=3898

lilacorchid
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Re: Kids on ERE

Post by lilacorchid » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:30 am

[quote="Triangle"]I guess as a guy it's not as important how old you are. But I still think it's weird to be a very old father. And having the wife be 20 years your junior could be weird as well.
[quote]

Not entirely sure. There is more evidence showing that men's age is also a factor too.

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Re: Kids on ERE

Post by Avni1 » Thu Jul 25, 2013 12:02 pm

FWIW, the main decision is whether or not to have kids at all, not when. The ERE track (followed properly) is so short that the exact age at which you have the kid(s) is + or - five years or so (assuming you're close to thirty, with non-trivial assets and working a reasonably well-paid job). Can you elaborate on what 'wierd'-ness most concerns you?

Personally, the thing I worry most about is the outcome of all the work and sacrifice that goes into parenting properly. The few data points I have, indicate that kids raised in the typical affluent household will start out being pre-med/pre-law and end up with the more 'fluffy' majors. Then they quit when things get difficult (as they invariably do in those ultra competitive, non-objective fields) and end up working for Dad.

I basically think there is such a thing as an economic 'sweet spot' for raising people who have drive, resilience and a certain amount of comfort with being a little bit different from the norm (if only economically initially).

Good luck to you.
Avni

Triangle
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Re: Kids on ERE

Post by Triangle » Thu Jul 25, 2013 3:07 pm

Trying to define what I mean by "weird" a bit more in detail:

Health concerns when parents are older (could lead to trouble with birth and child's health).

Concerns if I will still be able to physically (play games) and mentally (generation gap in thinking) spend time with them.

Concerns that I will not be able to spend enough time with them during the day due to a full-time job.

jenny described much of this very well.

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Re: Kids on ERE

Post by JohnnyH » Thu Aug 01, 2013 7:17 pm

BecaS wrote:See page 11 of marriage thread for qupte
viewtopic.php?f=7&t=3898&start=250

Yeah, don't want to derail but thanks for the explanation... I accept that medical could possibly be a big one. However, I think most working people would have a plan to cover 80-90% of that... Although, I probably would have attempted to go natural and/or ignored most of that stuff.

I'd defend Sapphire's $100 a month number. $100 would cover about 5 surprise Dr co-pays on my plan.

My siblings and I: no surgeries, no braces, no glasses, no lice, no asthma, no allergies, no prescriptions, no glasses... Suppose that is pretty lucky.

I often wore my brother's old shoes... Team sports are fine, but of the minimal equipment and little driving commitment variety. Hockey at the indoor rink over 30 miles away in the suburbs? That's a negative, kid... Here's a basketball. Or better yet, a bow or rifle (hunting is a sport that produces).

Triangle
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Re: Kids on ERE

Post by Triangle » Thu Aug 01, 2013 7:23 pm

Then there's soccer and soccer. Yea, you can buy your kid all these cute little items and drive him 20 miles to the membership-only soccer clubs, or you buy him a ball.

I don't remember too many infections as a kid. Then again I don't remember much. I definitely went to the doctor more often than as an adult, where I really only go if something's broken.

I'd say $100/mo might be a little low. Depends a lot on circumstances, but $200 should cover the average, I think.

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