Over the years, we’ve seen the average age of first-time parents get pushed back further and further. It used to be that young couples started families in their early 20s. Now, it seems like more and more couples are waiting until their late 20s or early 30s. And there may actually be some benefits to waiting.
5 Key Benefits
Every situation is different. If you want to have kids when you’re 22, go right ahead. But don’t feel like you have to. New birth control options are making family planning easier than ever before. Plus, there are some distinct benefits that couples enjoy by waiting until later in life:
1. More Time to Focus on Your Relationship
Having kids at an early age can be a real stress on a young relationship, married or otherwise. It also limits the amount of time you have to get to know each other on a deep and intimate level.
By waiting to have kids later in life, you get more time to focus on your partner and deepening your relationship together. This strong emotional connection will prove vitally important as different life challenges are thrown your way.
2. More Time to Build a Career
Children require more time than you could possibly realize until you’re actually thrown into the fire. And while many parents are able to build a family while both still managing careers, it’s tough to do. In most cases, at least one parent has to make sacrifices.
When you wait until you’re in your late 20s or 30s to have kids, you have more time to build your career and gain more experience without additional responsibilities and distractions. This often pays off down the road.
3. Better Chance to Get Ahead Financially
There’s no better time to build wealth than when you’re young and you have the power of compounding interest on your side. Throwing children into the mix increases expenses, which could compromise your ability to save.
As Jean Chatzky puts it, “The person who saves early in life out-earns the person who starts saving later. The earlier you can start, the more secure you’ll be, and unfortunately it’s easy to let kids derail that if you have them too early.
Few people ever feel like they’re financially prepared to start a family, but sometimes a few extra years can help.
4. You Might be Better Prepared Emotionally
Nobody can ever truly prepare for the emotional rollercoaster that having children and raising a family brings, but it’s nice to have any advantage that you can get. It’s also nice to know that waiting to have kids could ensure your future children have more opportunities to be well adjusted.
A number of studies have shown that children with older mothers stay in the educational system longer, are more likely to go to college, and do better on standardized tests than peers born to younger parents. These effects go on to improve outcomes related to emotional stability and socioeconomic status.
5. You May Live Longer
We’re all looking for ways to live longer, happier lives. Could having children later in life provide you with some extra spark?
“Some people think that having babies late in life either means you won’t have the energy to keep up with young kids or worse, you won’t be around for their major life events, like getting married or having their own children,” says Dr. Patricia Salber. “But research finds that this couldn’t be farther from the truth.”
Dr. Salber is referencing a 2015 study published in Menopause, which found that women who have children after age 33 are twice as likely to live past the age of 95 (when compared to women who had their last child before the age of 30).
Do What’s Right for You
Everyone has their own opinion on when to start a family, how many children to have, how to raise children, etc. But guess what; nobody else’s opinion matters.
This is your life and your future children. You can decide when to have them, when not to have them, and how to raise them.You may even decide not to have children at all.
It’s your call. Do what’s right for you. Tell friends and relatives to stay in their own respective lanes.