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Should we wait until we’re debt free to have children?

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Dear Dave,

My husband and I are both 29, and we have good jobs that allow us to bring home $100,000 a year combined. Recently, we began talking about starting a family. We live on a budget, but we still have about $15,000 in credit card debt and student loans we’re working hard to pay off. Do you think couples should wait until they are debt-free to have children?

Missy

Dear Missy,

You and your husband are chipping away at your debt, and that’s a good thing. It sounds like you two are determined to get it paid off and take control of your finances. You’re also making pretty good money, so keep up the good work!

Ok, so the truth is kids can be expensive. From medical costs and diapers to childcare and beyond, it costs money to raise a family. But here’s the thing: If you let money alone, or the perfect financial situation, determine whether you have kids or not, you may never have them. Now, would it be easier from a financial standpoint only to wait on having kids until you’re debt-free and there’s a huge pile of cash in the bank? Sure, it would. But children are worth more than any amount of money. If you love each other and want to be parents, and you’re mature adults in every other area, don’t let this debt stop you.

A child isn’t going to derail your journey to financial peace. Having kids might cause you to press pause for a while on some financial matters, or slow your pace a little bit, but as long as you both stay focused and determined to manage your money wisely, chances are things will work out fine.

Just don’t make the mistake lots of parents do — especially first-time parents. Many of them think they have to run out and buy a new, “safer” car, spend a fortune on a fancy crib, or buy all things baby from some overpriced boutique. Do you get what I’m saying, Missy? Why buy a brand-new, $400 stroller, when a friend or relative has a perfectly good, barely used one they’re willing to give you?

It’s easy to get carried away on spending for a baby. But children will be just fine as long as they have food, clothing, shelter — and most importantly — loving, caring parents. God bless you two!

—Dave

Dave Ramsey

About Dave

Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored several best-selling books, including "The Total Money Makeover." The Ramsey Show is heard by more than 16 million listeners each week on 600 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at daveramsey.com and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey.

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