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Engaged to be Married: Planning a Family for the Future

Updated: May 28

A successful relationship involves more than just romantic companionship; it involves teammates who tackle life's challenges together. Investment in certain skills can strengthen the bond between couples and pave the way for a fulfilling relationship.


This four-part series explores four essential areas where couples can invest time and effort to foster a deeper connection and achieve shared goals.


Planning a Family for the Future


Engaged to be Married: Planning a Family for the Future

Honest discussions about family planning, including desired timeline, parenting styles, and responsibilities, lay the groundwork for a unified approach to parenthood.


Your Timeline for Having Kids


Deciding when to have children is a deeply personal decision influenced by various factors, including career aspirations, financial stability, and personal readiness. Sometimes, decisions are planned, and sometimes, a joyful response arrives, as it did for us, and you have to "build the plane" while the "plane is in the air."


In recent years, more folks have delayed parenthood until their 30s or 40s, prioritizing educational and professional goals. However, it's crucial to recognize that fertility naturally declines with age, and older parents may face higher risks of complications during pregnancy and childbirth.


On the flip side, having children at a younger age, typically in their 20s, often means fewer fertility issues and a lower risk of certain health complications. Younger parents might have more energy and physical resilience to cope with the demands of parenting.


These same couples may also encounter financial and career-related hurdles because this period is when individuals often establish their careers and achieve financial stability. Younger parents may feel less prepared financially, making it more difficult to provide the life they want to give their children.


Parenting Styles


Welcoming a baby into the family brings many decisions and discussions, especially about parenting styles. Talking about how you envision raising your child should be an open and honest conversation between you and your partner. 


It's best to start these talks before the baby arrives, but you can continue them afterward. Topics covered include approaches to discipline, sleep routines, feeding preferences, and educational philosophies. You might prefer a structured schedule, while your partner prefers something more flexible.


Addressing these differences early on can prevent conflicts and ensure a cohesive and supportive environment for the child.


These conversations are also crucial for aligning long-term goals and core values. Discussing and agreeing on values such as respect, independence, empathy, and resilience can guide daily parenting decisions and help create a nurturing atmosphere.


Together, parents can develop a unified strategy that balances both perspectives, ensuring that the child's needs are met. This is good for the kid and the family, stimulating cooperative and supportive relationships.


 


 

Prepare Financially for Children


Caregiving is a big decision that affects a family's financial well-being, emotional well-being, and overall life balance.


Over their lifetime, women with children lose 15 percent of their earnings to family care, costing them $295,000 in lost wages and retirement income. We're not going to get parity in earnings until there's affordable paid child and elder care available to everyone.


 


 

Caregiving family models of the 20th century aren't working anymore in many American households. Women earn around the same as or more than their husbands in 40% of American households. 


Our previous post, How to Boost Your Household Income: Mind the Gap, provided ideas and resources to calculate the financial implications of each spouse temporarily changing their career trajectory. 


One of the most important findings from recent research is that fathers play a huge role in their child's development. In our post Caregiving Considerations for Modern Families, we explore the following primary caregiving scenarios:


  • When a father stays home.

  • When a mother stays home.

  • Shared and fair caregiving responsibilities.

  • When a family hires a full-time caregiver.



Transition to Marriage Toolkit


Our toolkit includes advice from nearly 50 of the nation’s leading experts in the following areas: 


  • managing money and the home as a team

  • supporting each other’s career ambitions

  • creating systems now for marriage success


We let the toolkit speak for itself by providing a free toolkit preview. 



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