Welcome to the New Age. Many women say when they brought a baby into the world later in life, they personally felt smarter, more empowered, and ready to take on the typical challenges of motherhood.
We don’t mature with age – we mature with experience. So, until you’ve actually had real life experiences, it’s difficult to imagine what motherhood could bring to you. I am a career woman at 34 years old. And like so many others, I have put my career first.
It is difficult for some women to create a balance of having a child, keeping up with their career, and maintaining a home. It takes a very strong person to do it all.
Put Yourself First
Women can’t overlook the fact that having a child later in life means they are taking on more risk, physically. That plays into the mental factor. Are they mentally prepared for possible challenges they might face at 40 that they might not face at 25? Many women may not totally understand the toll that having a child takes on them physically, mentally, emotionally and financially.
Thirty-five year-old career women usually figure things out very strategically. They will get pregnant later in life because they arrived at the realization that they want to be a mother. They want to develop a strong and close relationship with their child. They freely admit their focus for a long time has been one-dimensional.
It’s important for women to make themselves a priority. Sometimes, this will fall by the wayside when they have a child. The thinking is, “the child comes first; it’s no longer about me.” Granted, they won’t put themselves in a position to fail. But, she knows what the next moves are and pushes the boundaries very meticulously to ensure her success.
Pediatricians will tell you: If you are not taking care of yourself properly – physically, mentally, emotionally, or financially – you may not be taking care of your child to the best of your ability. So, in this context, put yourself first and everything else will fall into place.
Develop a Savings Strategy
As you mature with these life experiences, it pulls you deeper into your career and into more opportunities to develop wealth. Financially, you want to be in good place because children are expensive to have, especially today with rising health care costs. Your career and health benefits will determine the cost of your pregnancy.
Women have also shared this sage advice: “The sooner you start saving for college, the better.” How true. I met with a couple in their 20s and 30s. Talking about their one-year-old child, I asked, “Have you started a 529 Plan yet?” Their answer was no. They had only been “thinking about it.”
You can’t open the account until the baby is born. But, you can mentally prepare yourself by considering a 529 plan. Putting it off for a few years could cost you thousands of dollars of growth in the account.
Even if you are late in starting a 529 College Savings Plan for your child, the account is transferable. In fact, if one child doesn’t use all of the funds, you can transfer them to your other children. A 529 plan is a logical savings and planning tool for your family. Also remember, with the new rules, 529 plans can now be used for K-12 education.
Budgeting is the Number One Aspect When Preparing to Have a Child
Budgeting is important for everyone! It’s especially important when planning for a child. You’ll want to be budgeting for a while, prior to the baby’s arrival. This will allow you to better understand your expenses. Of course, you must look at the expenses for the child – but you must also remember your own expenses of running the household. Paying yourself first is a non-negotiable when budgeting.
As you are saving for your child’s education, it’s vital that you are still thinking about yourself and making your retirement saving a priority. When your child reaches the age of majority (age 21 in PA), he or she can apply for grants and loans to fund some portion of their own education. But, if you didn’t make retirement savings a priority throughout those years, you may find yourself working longer than you anticipated.
Family Values and Norms
Family and family values are very important parts of our lives. My mom was a stay-at-home mother. She taught me many values growing up, and I continue to learn from her now as an adult. I feel I am very fortunate, and blessed, to have such an incredible family that has made me who I am today. I also have the honor to work alongside my father, Al, as a part of The Weber Group at Hefren-Tillotson.
For many women they will get married in their 20’s and have a family by the time they are 30. Well, that’s not true for all women. The first time I meet someone they often ask, “Are you married?” “Do you have any children?” When I say no, many times people seemed shocked. It is as if society has made that not okay, because it is not the so called “norm.” As a society we have to normalize this to realize there is no real normal anymore. Our world has changed, and we must change with it. The traditional family is not as prevalent as it once was, with divorce rates as high as they are. “Normal” is such a relative term. As women we need to do what is right for us, and what makes us happy. Contact me to start planning, for you and your family’s future!