Changing Times Have These Families Making Tough Choices

It is not easy to support a family in this day and age.

Families are seeing unprecedented costs for housing, childcare, and other major expenses, and many struggle to afford more than the basics.

Now research is showing that these factors are having a significant impact on this generation of new families.

The Pew Research Center reported that a whopping 82 percent of new moms are part of the “millennial” generation.

For adults between the ages of 25-34 (the older half of millennials), there are now 10.8 million households with children.

And these millennial parents say they would like to have more children but are being held back by a major issue – finances.

Many millennials grew up in households of divorce as rates skyrocketed in the last decades, and many say this drives them to work harder on their marriages and drives their desire to have larger families – but finances often limit that goal.

Today’s millennial moms are spending more hours working and having children later in life while they advance their careers.

And it is the desire to be financially secure that has many of them delaying having children until they can afford the expenses related to raising them.

Having their first child at a later age, combined with today’s economy, means they are having less kids.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the cost of daycare has doubled in the last 25 years and millennial moms are citing this expense as one of the main reasons for having smaller families.

Others say that the astronomical cost of medical care related to pregnancy, insurance costs for a family, and loss of wages during maternity leave are other roadblocks to making the decision to have another child.

Financial advisor Christin Bonomonte tells Romper:

“Our country experienced the largest recession in over 75 years just as these young adults were beginning to enter the workforce. The difficulty in securing jobs in their career fields upon graduating, and watching their parents have to push off retirement, or make other hard financial decisions because of the impact to their savings, was a life lesson that shaped their attitudes toward future planning.”

In fact, Bonomonte notes that families should plan on pregnancy-related bills of around $8,000 per child and an increased cost of living of over $15,000 per child per year as the child grows.

Millennial parents are also thinking ahead about an uncertain future and how their children may struggle financially as adults.

These young parents want to help pay for college and give their adult children a strong start on their own, so they want to save money along the way, another consideration in having the larger families they want.

Many young families are still struggling to make ends meet, even with a good start in their careers, and for this generation, having a quality start for their kids is a top priority.

They want to buy a house or have at least one parent home with the kids (often cheaper than paying exorbitant childcare costs), and the financial inability to do so is sadly making these families reconsider having more children.

One parent told Romper that,

“their combined income doesn’t count for much in the face of student loans, medical bills, and debt they accumulated over several years of unemployment. ‘We’re meeting our bills, but unable to get ahead of anything before, say, the car breaks down and wipes out our small savings, or one of the kids lands in the ER for stitches.’”

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With the median income about $50,000 for millennials who work full-time, there is little wiggle room, and student loan debt is another huge monthly expense.  The irony is that millennial parents worked hard to go to school and get a good start on their careers so they could have the larger families they desire, but the reality is different than they imagined.

Others point to the fact that they have not been able to save enough to buy a house – facing the choice of raising their kids in tight quarters or having children at a much later age.

For this generation of new families, however, all is not lost.  Although they face an uphill battle financially, experts say millennials appear to plan ahead perhaps more than previous generations and they tend to have more concrete goals to work toward.

And since many of them cite the high divorce rates and broken families of their parents’ generation, they work to put family first and give the best quality of life to their children – however many they are blessed to have.

What do you think of today’s families having to limit the size of their families due to financial constraints?  Do you think this problem is worse for their generation or do you think it’s a matter of how today’s parents approach their goals?  Leave us your thoughts.