Midlife parents
There are tradeoffs to becoming parents, even when you're young. Here are some pros and cons associated with becoming a midlife parent.

The Benefits of Waiting

  • You're more likely to already own or be able to afford a home, and to afford childcare, so either parent can continue pursuing their careers, if they desire.

  • You're more mature and have gained more wisdom from experience.

According to research:

  • Young adults born to older first-time parents describe their parents as less stressed, more satisfied and more psychologically mature than younger parents, (cited by Cynthia K. Drenovsky and Melissa Meshyock in their own 2000 study, published in the "International Social Science Review").

  • Young adults with older parents feel closer to their parents than young adults with younger parents (according to Drenovsky and Meshyock's own study).

Disadvantages of Waiting

Your income is reduced due to cutting back on work hours, quitting your job entirely or paying for childcare--but you need to be spending more on the new baby while saving for college and your retirement.

  • Less income can create stress and require downscaling.

  • You may have less energy to play sports and go on outings with your kids.

  • You're further removed from your kids' culture.

  • You'll sometimes be mistaken for your child's grandparents.

  • You may have age-related medical conditions and a shorter remaining lifespan, and your kids will may still be young adults when you may need their help in your waning years.

The Big Picture

With today's medical advances, people in their 60s and 70s are healthier and fitter than ever before, and living longer. The best thing parents can do at any age is raise children who feel loved, wanted and appreciated, and are prepared for adult life.

To learn more, see "In Praise of Older Parents" and "Older Parents Face New Financial Challenges". For a teen's perspective go to Teen Issues.