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Budgeting Before Conceiving?

October 24, 2011

Whatever happened to the good old days? You know, the ones where we all lived in single family houses with a yard, maybe a family cow, probably a few chickens running around.  The days when pregnancy was an expected result of marriage.

In today’s day and age it is en vogue to scrupulously plan producing offspring.  No longer does marriage mean life-long partnership and the pursuit and desire to reproduce thereby having children to carry on the family name.  No longer does having as many children as possible make economic sense.  Or does it?  Which opinion am I espousing here?  Certainly not a Jewish one.

Aside from the mitzva (commandment) to reproduce, in Judaism we are taught that children are blessings.  They are precious souls entrusted into our care by G-d.  Shouldn’t we want to have as many of these blessings as possible?  Or at least as many as we could physically or emotionally handle?

But what about the money?

Before they are born you are paying for them.  There is the prenatal care, special cravings, cost of vitamins and sufficient diet, possible costs of extra household help and hospital stays in complicated pregnancies, potential loss of income from missed days of work.  Right when they are born you pay for the birth, the bris or kiddush, you have to feed them, clothe them, pay for schooling, toys, beds, shoes (Oh how they go through shoes!), make a bar mitzvah, marry them off (some parents even buy their children apartments!)…the list goes on and on.

That is one financially daunting list my friends.  For a person who is very careful about their spending and is stingy boy forget about it!  The thought of a baby just might drive them to the psychiatric ward.

Money.  They would rather keep their money for themselves.  They are afraid they won’t have enough money to justify bringing another life into this world.

It is easy to forget that we humans are not in charge of this world.  G-d is running the show and no matter of preparation on our part will absolutely prevent or ensure our having children.

Yes, the world runs on money and money can buy almost everything there is to be had in the physical world, there is no denying that.  However, even if someone has as much money as he deems adequate to care for and support a child I can’t say that it justifies him trying to have children.  Why?  Because that money is tangible.  It can be lost any minute no matter how hard we try to protect it.  The stocks invested in could crash, the shoebox you stored it in could catch fire (you wrapped it in foil? Someone could steal it before you are allowed back into your house after the fire) the bank could go belly up etc.

Ok, so you don’t think that having savings is important before having children?

I don’t think savings can guarantee anything.  However the fact that you worked hard and earned that money shows that you are responsible, and THAT I think is a very important quality in a parent.

We can’t control whether or not we will have children, even with all the infertility treatment in the world there are still women desperately trying to conceive and waiting for their prayers to be answered.

Are you suggesting that every married woman have as many children as G-d gives her and never try to intervene?

No.  I do believe that there are limits for everything.  Everything is subjective.  However, I object to the current mindset of society at large that you must have money before you have a child otherwise you are irresponsible.

The Jewish take on the money issue is that G-d sends the money with each child.  Yeah, I could see how a husband might spend increasingly more hours at his place of work as the number of children in the household grows.  Seriously speaking, we have to pray and work as hard as we can and know that it is all in G-d’s hands.

May G-d bless us all to have our desired children and may they all be healthy and a source of much nachas.


Do you think that having a budget and savings in place are necessary before a baby is born?  Is it irresponsible to have children without these things?  Know any stories of lost savings or miraculous increases in income?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Ronit permalink
    October 26, 2011 2:03 pm

    Honestly… I think people should have at least an emergency savings (500-1000 dollars) and not just be living paycheck to paycheck before getting pregnant the first time. That might mean using your wedding gift money to start, or just saving up every last nickle and dime after the birth of each kid so that when you do get pregnant, you won’t go heavily into debt. Because yes, pregnancy costs money even if you’re oh so frugal. I was so thankful for our emergency fund when I got pregnant this time because otherwise we would have been asking for charity because we couldn’t afford food or rent.

    That said, I think its silly to wait till you’re “financially established” to have kids, because financially established can always dissolve overnight, etc… And the amount of money you’ll feel necessary to have will always increase….
    I think an emergency fund is a good idea before pregnancy. Financial establishment, no.

    • October 27, 2011 7:49 am

      I agree that having some savings is definitely a good idea. I am poo-pooing the common ideal lately that you can’t have a child yet because you don’t have enough money. Especially those news “reports” that like to give laundry lists of the expenses incurred for a single child. I think many people put off having children because of this media brainwashing and then by the age they decide they are financially ready they may have, lo aleinu, trouble trying to conceive.

      I think they also focus so much on money they forget you need energy to raise children. Waiting until you are a vice president at the company and around 40 years old to have a baby just doesn’t make good biological sense.

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