by David Ning
July 09, 2019
by David Ning
July 09, 2019
It doesn't take a scientist to figure out why so many couples are choosing to stop at just one child. Raising children is not only a very expensive proposition these days; it also takes a lot of time and energy. Many parents find that they'd rather focus all of their energy on one child.
That said, there are still many couples that dream of having a house full of kids. But is that a practical dream these days considering how much it costs to raise and educate each child? As a middle class mom of five boys, I can share some insights on the matter.
Note: Since this is a personal finance blog, I've chosen not to discuss the impact of larger families on the environment or how it effects child development and family dynamics. These are very important issues to think about when planning your family but outside the scope of this blog.
Five Kids Doesn't Mean Five Times the Cost
But it does come pretty close. Each child will be somewhat cheaper than the last. You won't have to go out and buy all new baby gear. You might or might not need a new-to-you vehicle to accommodate another car-seat. You probably won't have to move. If you get health insurance through your employer, the premiums generally won't increase too much.
That said, you will still have to lay out a significant amount of cash:
Less Direct Costs of Having a Large Family
It's difficult for both parents in a large family to have a career outside of the home. Not only because of the cost of daycare, but also because there are so many more balls in the air to juggle.
The more children you have, the more potential conflicts you have with work. It's not uncommon for me to have one child out of school at least one day out of the week for weeks on end. Kids get sick (and if you have several children in several schools and activities, chances are your home is where germs mix and mingle in your town).
Kids have frequent appointments. Kids need to be ferried from activity to activity. There is always an open house or a recital or a big game. There are ways to mitigate all of these demands on your time, but not eliminate them altogether if you want to raise well-rounded children.
Larger families mean more work. The kids can and should pitch in, but until they are well into school age, mom and dad will still have to be in charge of the household chores. Cooking and cleaning and yard-work for a large family add up to a full-time job. Many large families find that gardening, line-drying, couponing and scratch-cooking are not just nice extras for frugal living but economic necessities.
This means that even if both parents want to work in order to keep their careers on track, they simply can't afford to do so. Smaller families, on the other hand, might be able to go for several years with one salary being completely negated by the costs of child care and outsourcing household tasks, so that both spouses can advance their careers.
Saving money becomes more difficult because there isn't as much to spare and because more family members means more emergencies to eat up your rainy day fund. Depending on when you started having children and how they are spaced, you might find yourself needing to work well into your retirement years.
How to Make Having a Large Family Work
It is still possible to raise a large family if you are determined. It won't be easy, but those of us with big broods can tell you that it's a uniquely rewarding experience that makes the financial sacrifices well worthwhile.
So, how many kids do you have (or plan to have)?