Ask Chuck: The Cost of Kids
I am engaged to a man who recently declared he would prefer we not have children. He believes the rising cost of living will prohibit our ability to adequately provide for more than ourselves, especially if we have to help care for our parents. I struggle with that because I believe that by working hard and living frugally God will provide for our family. What should I say to my fiance?
Great struggle to have before you are married! My advice on what to say and do will follow after some information about this challenge that so many others are facing.
While I don’t take the side of your fiance, he is not alone in his thinking. It is possible that he has been influenced by all the negative news: the rising cost of living, the lack of savings by retirees, even the cost of raising children. But, he needs to balance that with the reality of families who are successfully living based on God’s financial principles. Fear often drives decision-making rather than trusting in the Lord. Consider the following information.
Declining Birth Rates
Axios gathered some interesting data on birthrates and the economy. America and China are both facing demographic challenges that will actually impact their economic growth. America’s fertility rate is 1.7 but, due to immigration, our working population is expected to continue to grow. China, however, averaged a fertility rate of 1.18 between 2010 and 2018 and experienced a contraction in population last year, far earlier than experts predicted. Two children per family are now allowed in China.
In addition, the elderly population is exploding. Many countries are wondering how they will be able to afford the social impact. They fear a lack of workers will make it very difficult to support the aging citizens.
But we should not allow financial worries to control whether we should have children.
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6 ESV)
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1 ESV)
Be strong and courageous… (Joshua 1:6, 7, 9, 18, 10:25 ESV)
Trends Are Reversing
Hungary is offering monetary rewards in the hope of boosting the country’s declining birth rate.
In February, Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced a seven-point “Family Protection Action Plan”. Some things it includes are life-long waivers on personal income tax for women raising at least four children, subsidies to purchase larger cars, a loan program to help families with at least two children to buy homes, and a preferential loan to all women under 40 when they first marry. And, grandparents will be given a childcare fee if they look after young children.
Other countries are offering incentives to encourage growth of families.
If God’s plan for prosperity had been observed, none of these incentives and rewards would be necessary. He desires that we live a life of shalom, one that is complete, sound, and harmonious. It is not centered around bigger, better, faster, newer or nicer. It is centered around the step-by-step directives found in Jeremiah 29:4-11.
In this passage, we read how God’s people were told to build houses, plant gardens, take wives, have sons and daughters, take wives for their sons and give their daughters in marriage, that they might bear sons and daughters in the land where they were exiled. They were to increase, not decrease.
There is plenty of time to get on the same page about your desire to have children while addressing the concerns of your fiance. You can resolve to enter marriage determined to spend less than you earn so you can give, save, and invest regularly. Saying no to wants by living self-controlled upright lives will enable you to avoid consumer debt and use your income to build wealth. I know Christians who live like they are poor and have quickly surpassed the net worth of those who try to keep up with the Joneses. Others have been blessed beyond measure with business success, inheritance, and proper stewardship of the resources God provided.
If part of what’s hindering your plans for the future is credit card debt, get in touch with Christian Credit Counselors. They can help you put together a plan that saves you significant time and money. Now is a great time to start!
Do not be discouraged. My wife and I had to work out many erroneous philosophies of money. Thankfully, your fiancé is honest about his belief so you can patiently work to come to a Biblical understanding together.
It is important that your marriage be built on a common philosophy of money. Your life experiences, preferences, thoughts, and personalities determine it. Right now, yours are different in at least one area and the disunity is painful. But, remember, God is omnipotent and more than capable of transforming conflicting philosophies. So, pray for peace and unity that the purpose of your marriage will not be hindered.
To Wed or Not to Wed?
If you are unable to agree on this very major decision, it will start your marriage off divided. My suggestion is to wait to be married until you are both in agreement on your family and financial plans.
Originally published on the Christian Post, July 26, 2019