Money Makeover: “Can we afford to have a baby?"
FINANCIAL ROADBLOCK: "We feel pressure to keep up with our friends!"
MONEY-SMART SOLUTION: Wait to make major decisions until you're both
financially — and emotionally — ready.
When faced with the ever-popular question of "When are you going to have
kids?" Breanne gets frustrated. "Even though we both want kids, I wish
people would leave it be," she says. "I feel rushed and sometimes
guilty that we haven't gotten pregnant yet." Larry agrees. "Of course I
want kids," he says, "but I just don't think we're ready." They're
smart to know their limits, says Tessina. "It's important for them to get
their emotional connection and financial situation secure before having
children," she adds. "Parenting is stressful and demanding, and if
they're not ready they will have a very rough time." Fact is, failing to
prepare for all the consequences of big life changes — whether it's buying a
house that needs a lot of renovations or having a baby — will always put you in
the hole. "But if you plan for life's big moments," says Ulrich,
"you'll never be surprised or weighed down by the price tag."
When family and friends pressure Breanne and Larry to start thinking about
having a baby or wonder why they haven't started trying by now, the couple
needs to maintain a united front about their relationship time line. Talking to
each other openly about their future wants and hopes will help them eventually
attain the life they desire, Tessina says. She suggests that they draw
themselves a life map — with sections for home, kids, money, fun, and work. In
each section, they should write down their dreams. "This will make their
long-term plans more real to them," she says — and will help them figure
out when they will be ready to become a threesome. "Things will come up
that neither one of them could predict, but that's the part they're good
at," Tessina says. "For example, they were able to make big decisions
together when it came to buying and renovating their home. So long as they keep
working to take charge of their future, they'll be taking steps to create the
family they always dreamed of having."
THE COUPLE'S REACTION
BREANNE: "We now know how to reach our overall goal of having a baby
instead of letting things 'just happen.' Tina helped us figure out a better way
to talk to each other, and Carmen helped us financially prepare ourselves for
the family we'd like to have. We made the life map Tina suggested. We still
need to get more detailed on how to attack the goals we've listed, but just
sitting down to discuss them was helpful. We've also started paying off the
highest-interest credit card first. I've looked into some online savings
accounts that offer a higher interest rate than our current accounts do. I also
started doing more bill payments online, which I like because I no longer worry
about my payments arriving late."