Thursday, June 5, 2008

Opportunity costs of having a baby

Oh my! Who is that poor poor woman? Yup, that's me just days before the birth of my son.

Ok, now that I'm done embarrassing myself....

Jonathan over at Master Your Card recently wrote about how to get your finances in order before you have a baby. I agree with everything he said. I've also explored the cost to raise a child. But both his post and my own neglected one huge cost.
Opportunity cost.

I avoided the topic because it's impossible to calculate and it's different for everyone. But it's not something to be overlooked when thinking about getting pregnant. Here are some things so think about.

Your ability to work may be reduced. It's a lot harder to work overtime when you have a little one. Daycares often charge late fees if you don't pick your child up by a certain time. Or right now your spouse might not mind a Saturday afternoon alone while you pick up a few extra hours, but that might not be the case once junior arrives. Even if you don't work for an hourly wage, staying late to impress the boss might not be an option anymore. Do you take frequent business trips? Is your spouse ok with holding down the fort while you're gone? Make sure you discuss this situation with your partner so there are no surprises or building resentments.

You might have to stay in the area. Is the big promotion you've been working for out of state? Are you prepared to leave your support system (free daycare!) behind? Have you or your spouse always dreamed of raising your child around their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins? Or worse, what if you and your partner separate? Would you be prepared to leave your child behind? I face this situation right now. If I wanted to leave the state my ex could take me to court and force me to either stay or leave my daughter with him.

Speaking of divorce. I know it's hard to imagine when you have baby dust in your eyes but what would you do? When my ex and I separated I was left with my daughter in a two bedroom apartment I could barely afford, even with child support. When I was childless getting a roommate was the obvious choice, but that was a lot more difficult with a two year old in the house. I got some very creepy responses to my ad. Do you have a savings account of your own to rely on if you find yourself as a single parent?

What if your child isn't healthy? It's horrible but it happens, not every baby is born perfect. Someone might have to stay home to care for your child's special needs. It's definitely a worst case scenario but it's still something you should discuss.


finance for dummies said...

to be parents isnt simple as i think. need more responsible than before.

Debt Advice said...

You need to plan and not rely on other people or your government to fund your baby.

Winny said...

Ya, there are definitely opportunity costs, but still, it is worth the cost, isn't it? :)