Having Kids Later in Life Can Endanger Finances

Photo (cc) by Swami Stream

Waiting until you’re more established in your career and secure in your finances to have children might seem like a smart decision.

But it can create financial dilemmas — like possibly having to choose between your retirement and your children’s college education.

Still, more people are becoming parents later in life.

The average age of mothers at the time of their first birth reached a record high of 26 in 2013, according to the National Vital Statistics Reports findings released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January:

The increase in the mean age in 2013 reflects, in part, the decline in first births to women in their teens and 20s and the rise in first births to women in their 30s and late 40s.

Bloomberg Business reports that financial planners stress three financial considerations for parents who will be in their 40s, 50s and 60s and still caring for children.

Wills

A parent of a college student is almost five times more likely to die between the ages of 55 and 64 as a parent in his or her late 30s or early 40s, for example. So will and estate planning issues are especially important for older parents.

Other considerations include choosing a legal guardian for children in case something happens to you, and designating beneficiaries for insurance policies and investment accounts.

Paperwork must also be kept current, Bloomberg reports:

The will and the insurance policies that you set up as a 40-year-old mother of a baby aren’t going to work when you’re the 58-year-old mother of three teenagers. Planners notice their clients have a scary tendency not to update paperwork.

Insurance

Life insurance becomes more expensive with age.

Jane Nowak, a financial planner with Wealth & Pension Services Group in Georgia, tells Bloomberg that parents might also need more coverage than they suspect.

She suggests purchasing enough coverage to provide five years of living expenses, then adding all the expenses you’d want to cover for your children after that, including college.

Retirement

Older parents are more likely to face impending retirement around the same time their children are preparing for college.

Financial planners say your own retirement should always come first, though, Bloomberg reports:

Your child can take out loans, get scholarships or pay her way through school. You can’t borrow to fund your retirement. And unless you save enough, you risk becoming a burden on your children just as they’re having children of their own.

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