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Can I truly afford a child?

(29 Posts)
Overthinkr Sun 25-Feb-18 00:44:42

DH and I are struggling to decide whether we can afford children or not. Both of us would absolutely love to have at least one child, but we get negative comments from people and the media about it all the time, so we're very hesitant as a result, mostly on the financial side of things. I'm looking for opinions on this.

I'll describe our situation below -

We are 30 and 29, living in London (zone 6), in a famously poor and dangerous area. We've lived here for 3 years, after I bought a flat on shared ownership and staircased to 100% last August. Our flat is worth £280k, we'll pay £1300/month for 20 years.

DH is on a £60k salary, I'm on £65k (please don't think I'm boasting, we both got into very demanding, 14hr+/day jobs in hopes of affording a child someday!) Our total outcome is ~£3k/month. Everything else gets saved, but part of it goes to my parents (abroad) who can't get by on their own.

Our "plan" is to start TTC Summer 2019, after which I would stay home with our LO.

The opinions we've heard:
- You'll never be able to give your child a decent life in that neighborhood, especially because you can't afford private schooling
- Kids are expensive and you'll get bored if you don't have money to do fun things like go on holidays
- You'll worry about money constantly, nothing will ever be enough
- Kids have it really tough these days with pressure for having phones and brand clothes, if you won't be able to afford giving them the best stuff, you're just creating another disadvantaged kid
- You won't be able to send your kid to college on these new fees
- If you had family around to take care of your kid it would be a different story, but you don't so you shouldn't do that to yourself or your kid, you'll both be prisoners at home

Anyone else been in my position? We want to make a responsible decision, but these days everyone makes us feel like children are just a luxury only the super-rich can afford, and everyone else is being irresponsible. Thoughts?

Thank you!

Tattybogle89 Sun 25-Feb-18 00:51:11

Do u mean outgoing are 3k a month or spare is 3k?
So let other people make these decisions for you

BlueLightPanda Sun 25-Feb-18 00:52:42

I had a baby with my dp on a combined salary of around 24k living in London i think you’ll be ok, honestly!

ziggzagg Sun 25-Feb-18 00:56:51

I earn 34k, I have two children we get by just fine!

BlueLightPanda Sun 25-Feb-18 00:57:00

My Dc goes to a good primary school does many activities (dance, drama, gymnastics) and we live comfortably with disposable income to do many other things like eating out, cinema etc and our salary combined is still lower than you or your husbands.

Overthinkr Sun 25-Feb-18 00:59:33

Thank you so much for the reassurance. I honestly don't know why my acquaintances are so negative about it! They seem to think it's just impossible. Some of them have kids but they're now teenagers, maybe they have regrets? Who knows..

Thanks again! Any budgeting tips?

BlueLightPanda Sun 25-Feb-18 00:59:38

Only on MN will you see/hear someone worried about having a baby on a combined salary of £125,000. smile

BlueLightPanda Sun 25-Feb-18 01:01:07

honestly OP i think you’ll be fine, as for budgeting tips i just know how to spend within my means, you sound very sensible!

Overthinkr Sun 25-Feb-18 01:06:32

Thank you so much - I know I'm probably overthinking things, but I get a lot of weird comments from colleagues at work and friends who want to be career women. I haven't told them I want to be a SAHM, the comments would get much worse I'd imagine!

MLMsuperfan Sun 25-Feb-18 03:04:54

Your colleagues are weird.

harlaandgoddard Sun 25-Feb-18 03:32:01

OP you know some very privileged people. Seriously, you will be fine. Have a look at childminder/nursery prices and make a plan.

Strawberry2017 Sun 25-Feb-18 03:37:15

Honestly, without meaning to sound harsh but you need to consider telling your parents you can no longer give them money.
I know they are family and raised you but they shouldn't be living a life they can't afford expecting you to help out.
Especially if you want to have your own family in London.
Your partner must be very understanding to do that on a monthly basis.

harlaandgoddard Sun 25-Feb-18 03:37:46

Oops sorry you’re going to be a SAHM ignore me blush.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Sun 25-Feb-18 04:52:33

London (zone 6), in a famously poor and dangerous area.

Have you looked slightly further out? Although the travel costs might be slightly more, travel time can sometimes be less as trains are faster and stop less. If it is just one person commuting it would be easier. Schools are generally good - although also being out of the London bubble means people focus less on needing to go to private school. Spend some weekends circling the towns on appropriate trainlines outside M25. Even better if you can both do your job somewhere cheaper then move away from the South East.

Try not to give up work completely though, try to move into a work area which is more flexible for having children. Say you have a child when you are 30, you will have worked for 10 years (roughly). Imagine you take 10 years as SAHM. You will be 40, you will have another 30 years of work. It is impossible hard to walk back into a 65k a year role. I am not saying not to ease off the 14hr/day treadmill - just try to find a related field of work (or entirely different) where you can keep your foot in the door a few days a week.

MsJuniper Sun 25-Feb-18 08:25:07

We are quite similar in that we live in a shared ownership house with similar payments and in zone 5 but our salaries are about half yours and we haven't staircased. We are kind of on the border of a naice/less naice area and DS goes to the local primary which is not considered "desirable" but has a lovely ethos and atmosphere.

I am about to have DC2 and maternity leave will be super tight, no luxuries or money to go in our savings, but just about doable. I made a new version of our budget spreadsheet and worked it all out. I would be amazed if you weren't able to afford it.

You've got ages to research schools and a huge amount could change in that time, you might decide to move or might make some mum friends whose children are also going to the local school and it could be fantastic.

pigshavecurlytails Sun 25-Feb-18 09:46:03

You'll be fine, but I'd knock the supporting your parents bit on the head now.

Overthinkr Sun 25-Feb-18 10:38:07

@shouldwestayorshouldwego that's really solid advice. The only thing is I just wonder how easy it would be to sell/move in the next year or so, house prices aren't great these days, and areas further away are generally pricier. I think I might consider doing as MsJuniper said, send our DC to a local nursery, even if it's not the most desirable, and then move elsewhere when they're about to go to primary school. I've got a lot of research to do but I'm up for it. Thanks very much for the advice!

Peanutbuttercheese Sun 25-Feb-18 11:34:55

I lived in a rough neighbourhood when I was a student as it was super cheap, no way would I have wanted to bring up a child there. People do it and can do it well but I would look to move.

I'm on the side of the fence that is very much keep some sort of job.

But I am considerably older than you. My friends dc are all now in their teens and early twenties. When I see how their relationships, jobs, health have panned out. Having money has made a huge difference obviously, it gives you choices.

JoJoSM2 Sun 25-Feb-18 15:32:45

There’s no reason to be living in an armpit. There are lovely family areas with top schools in outer London- especially in the boroughs of Bexley and Sutton. They’re in the top safest places in the capital too and the prices would be only a tad higher than your current location. If you move out, you’ll have commuting cost of an extra few hundred pounds a month.

If you’ve been saving so much then presumably you’ve got £££ in savings.

You’re both very young so you could easily take out a mortgage for 30-35 years to lower your monthly repayments. If you have spare cash, you can always overpay and pay in off in 20 years or whenever.

If you want to be a SAHP, I would seriously consider working 2-3 days a week. You’ll still have tons of time with your child/children while bringing in some income and having your pension ticking over.

You’ll also be entitled to things like child benefit or 30h of funded nursery when the child turns 3.

I don’t know how much money you send to your parents but if they’re in a developed country, they’ll have some pensions/benefits. If they’re in a developing country, too old and too ill to work, then you could always top them up with £100 per month to help them out. If it’s a status thing of having children abroad sending money so they can live the high-life at home, you shouldn’t be funding that as you’ve got other genuine priorities.

specialsubject Sun 25-Feb-18 16:55:34

If your mates think not having dickish branded clothes and giant phones makes a kid disadvantage - you live in arsehole.central.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Sun 25-Feb-18 16:55:37

It sounds as if you can be flexible with the location so I would start researching now. There are lots of places with three bedroom houses under £280k within 40 miles of London. It is best to plan to move whenever you sell your flat rather than wait until just before primary applications. It takes longer than you think, especially with a child. You do have options. JoJoSM2 is right about extending the mortgage too.

Notreallyhappy Sun 25-Feb-18 18:08:32

A roof over your head, food warmth & love is what children need. Cover these bases and your more than half way there.
There's a lot of opinions on what the aspirations of the child are before it even gets here.good school education university??
If you have a child teach it right from wrong encourage them to be the best and nicest they can be it doesn't matter where they live. Some rich people are ugly on the inside.

mrssmith1415 Mon 26-Feb-18 09:35:49

I can’t say much about bringing up children in London as I live in Northamptonshire but in the first few years the most expensive thing to take into account is childcare (and if you wasn’t to be a SAHM you won’t have to think about this outgoing anyway). When they are young kids really couldn’t give a monkeys how much their clothes cost and they forget about their toys unless they’re in eye line. My daughters favourite days out are trips to country parks and she loves arts and crafts. Our local community have started painting pebbles and hiding them around the town for other kids to find and when you find one you have to make your own and hide it for someone else. She thinks this is amazing. We still go for big days out like the zoo for birthdays and each week she goes to gymnastics and will usually have a play date at a soft play or similar. We bought our 4 bed detached home in January for £280k and we earn £47k combined. We shop at Aldi and save up for big purchases. I don’t feel like we miss out on anything at all. You will be absolutely fine on your income. Also in regards to schools, I work as a children’s mental health practitioner specialising in eating disorders and 70% of my patients attend fee paying or high performing schools. The pressure in “successful” schools for young people is immense and in my opinion I would much rather my daughter attended a less academic school if it provides better emotional support for students

delilahbucket Tue 27-Feb-18 07:22:58

Just to further add to what others have said, with your dh's salary you will not be entitled to child benefit. This means that if you are a sahp you will not get NI credits for your pension.

DrWhy Tue 27-Feb-18 07:27:39

delilah even if you don’t receive the money you need to fill in the child benefit form and tick the box saying you don’t want the money (otherwise you get it and have to repay it) and I believe you still receive the NI credits.

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