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Do you really need big bucks to buy and start a family?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis August 31, 2012 08:39 AM

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So how much should you earn before buying a house and starting a family? Well for a certain drussian, a homeowner and family man here it the Boston area, the answer is simple: $200,000.

And if nothing else, his Scrooge-like comments the other day on my post about the high cost daycare in Greater Boston certainly stirred the pot!

To be accurate, he was referring to family income and what a couple brings in together. Still, in drussian's view, you are financially irresponsible if you buy a home and try and start a
family here in the Boston area on less than $200,000.

And if you opt to procreate before hitting that golden mark, well don't come crying to him about the high cost of day care and college!

Here's what drussian had to say:

I've got a 'stupid' recommendation that no one seems to get on this board. If you are in your 20's, make as a family less than $200K/year and have one, let alone two kids - guess what??? You'll struggle! So, how about - don't have kid/kids, unless you're financially ready. Isn't that simple enough? People are talking about expensive child care, private schools, college education, etc. Yeah, well didn't you think about all of that, before deciding to have kids? Both myself and my wife waited until we were in our late 30's, making way over the number mentioned earlier, already have enough money for college education (which 18yrs from now should be $400K)before we had our child. Anyway, I might not be the smartest person in the world, but this seems like a fairly straight forward advice - don't have kids unless you planned way, way, way ahead. Simple enough?

Yes, but there's more.

OK, in a retort fitting of another Dickens character, Thomas Gradgrind from "Hard Times," drussian went on to dress down another commenter, Valentine, for complaining about the hefty cost of raising kids today, from daycare to camps.

Valentine - You're missing the point. You can have kids at 30, 25, 15, etc., that's your decision. But don't complain about how expensive housing, day care, college tuition, etc.. You made your decision to have kids and if you're not financially sound, your kids will suffer and you'll suffer. It's fact - Boston is an expensive place to live and I think $200K is probably about the right number you need to arrive at, before you can make sure that your kids can have what they need. Ok....now lets hear from everyone that made $60K as a family, had 3 kids and all kids went to Yale/Harard/Wellesley...I can feel a strong response coming my way right about now. Btw, I'm not even close to being 'wealthy', don't live in 'W' towns, but am comfortable, work my behind off, take 5 days/year as vacation and have a wife that does the same.

Here's the problem - the numbers drussian cites are not outrageous - even $200,000 can go fast if two parents are working and shelling out money for daycare for two or three children and a mortgage.

But the attitude, well, that's something else.

It might be worth thinking about how many children you really want to have and can afford to support - at some point costs should be a factor in family planning.

But if you want to have children and you have a job that at least covers the rent and the basics, have at it. Rent and save up to buy someday, if that's important to you, or don't.

While there are grumpy folks who think you are burdening society, they are the ones that have it all wrong. In fact, you are doing the hard work of keeping society and civilization moving forward, provided you are a half decent parent, like most of us are.

Get your values straight and don't let the almighty dollar - and the Scrooges and Gradgrinds, of which the Boston area appears to have more than its fair share - get you down.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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