Having kids is a huge — and incredibly expensive — life decision, and more American women are either delaying motherhood or choosing not to have kids at all. According to CNN, despite the short-term plunge of birth rates — and subsequent comeback — during the early years of the pandemic, birth rates have been consistently trending down.
There are a few reasons for this, and cost is one that can’t be underestimated. In addition to record high housing costs making home ownership unaffordable for many, Millennials also have a lot of student loan debt to pay off. This is the first time in history that student debt has been so significant — one study estimates that women with $60,000 in student debt were 42% less likely to have children than their peers without student loan debt.
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If you’re worried about your overall debt picture (whether you have kids or not), it IS possible to pay it all down — and it all starts with “baby steps.” Jade Warshaw, cohost and debt elimination expert on the Ramsey Show, found herself in almost half a million dollars of debt, but was able to completely change her financial life in order to ensure she could start the family she’d always dreamed of. “We were able to get the debt paid off in seven years and we ended up having our son when I was 35,” Warshaw says, “I realize that for some people that seems late in life, but for us, that was our life. I would challenge people to say, the normal is what you make it. Don’t hold yourself to whatever culture says or whatever other people say. Create your own normal.”
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In her new book, “Money’s Not A Math Problem,” Warshaw argues that at its core, the way you manage money is about “a set of beliefs that are driving your behavior.” She says there are a number of lies we tell ourselves about money, the first being that budgeting is some form of punishment. “A budget is custom organization for your money,” Warshaw says. “Your budget is like a closet, and there is a place for every single dollar and every single thing. If you went out and bought nice clothes, you wouldn’t just throw them in a heap in the corner. And our money is the same way.”
In Mailbag, we hear from a listener who’s getting a jump start on taxes and is wondering whether to report her side gig to the IRS. We also check in with someone who just paid down her debt (yay!) and wants to know the best place to put the extra $300 she has per month. In our money tip of the week, Bitcoin ETFs were just approved… is now the time to buy?
MORE ON HERMONEY:
- 5 Things Borrowers Should Know When Student Loan Payments Resume
- HerMoney Episode 365: Credit Cards 101: How To Get Out Of Debt
- Stop Judging Women For Not Having Kids
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