Financial implications of being a mother

(Especially concerning young mothers and older mothers)

The world has changed dramatically when it comes to being a mother and the importance of understanding the financial implications of being a mother cannot be overlooked.  Back in the day, large families were a lot more common than they are today and sometimes these days couples choose to have either no children or only one or two of them.  The increase in single-mother numbers has furthermore added to the mix.  The concept of large extended families where relatives contribute to the upbringing of multiple children has largely disappeared (except in some less westernised societies) or, to put it another way, “It takes a village to raise a child”. 

However, in today’s modern, largely urban society the implications, especially financial ones, of motherhood are of prime consideration.

Whether you choose (or nature chooses for you) to have a child as a younger mother or one who is somewhat older does not come without its intended or unintended costs.  Whatever route you have to follow is, without doubt, expensive and is either planned for or not planned for.  In this article, we examine in some detail the differences between becoming a mom as either a younger or older woman.  We at Kainos in no way advocate either option; instead, we simply lay out the facts so that you can judge for yourself and make an informed decision.

A young mother is blessed with energy, something needed in abundance by ANY mother come to think of it, strength and endurance!  Make no bones about it; you are in it for the long haul!

The emotional stress and financial burden of raising their own children while possibly caring for their ageing parents at the same time is an important consideration when having children. This applies equally to the young and the older mother but the emotional aspect is much reduced for the younger mother. Older mothers may have to face the fact that an older granny may not be physically able to step in and help out when most needed. 

It was mentioned earlier that it takes a village to raise a child and in modern western society today this can be interpreted to mean your circle of friends, immediate family (especially the new grandparents and aunties) and social media.  As a younger mother these resources are generally freely available and priceless.  For instance, day-care centres can be somewhat expensive for young families so having grandparents who are in their 50s and 60s and who are in pretty good health, physically able and enthusiastic about providing babysitting for whatever reason – whether it’s allowing mom to have a night out/weekend away or even providing day-care when she returns to work – is invaluable.  For the more established older working mother today there is the opportunity to work remotely while at the same time caring for her infant.  

Younger working mothers are also somewhat less financially secure than their older counterparts because while not earning as much by way of salary they have not yet had the opportunity to build a substantial financial nest egg.  On the positive side, insurance, whether it is life, disability or endowment, simply costs less for a younger person.  Many couples become first-time life policyholders on the birth of their bundle of joy because they want to protect their child from financial loss should they, the parent(s), die prematurely or to supplement the policyholder’s income if he or she becomes disabled and cannot work to support the family.

On the other hand, the older you are, the more expensive the insurance premiums will be.  And the older the policyholder is, the greater the risk is of health complications which may in turn put the cost of premiums out of reach.   

But, there are certainly other advantages to becoming a mother later in life, namely in the 30 to 50 years of age range.  The financial aspect is the most common reason given by the more mature mother for a late start in having a family.  They usually earn a higher annual salary, have an already established and growing savings plan (nest egg) and receive good workplace benefits (such as a medical aid, maternity and annual leave as well as having a sound pension fund, even a housing and/or travel assistance plan to name a few.)   Furthermore, the older mother has been around the block a few times already and has insight into life ‘know-hows’ that the younger mother has yet to experience. 

As Oscar Wilde once famously said: With age comes wisdom”. 

Where both parents work and combine their salaries, older mothers may have a better opportunity to save up for a deposit to buy a home, to further develop the nest egg spoken about earlier, and for covering the costs of the child’s medical bills, clothing, accessories and the high cost of disposable nappies. 

But for younger couples, these considerations may come a poor second to the wide-eyed joy and excitement of becoming new parents.

Whatever the case, it is recommended that women, whether younger or older, should consider the financial implications of being a mother in order to plan ahead for the inevitable financial challenges of motherhood.  There are indeed many affordable options available so don’t delay; we recommend that you discuss your needs with a broker as soon as possible.