Pregnant at 65…with quadruplets? It’s not out of the realm of possibility. If all goes well, Germany’s Annegret Raunigk will be the oldest woman to give birth to quads.
Still, having children at 60 is unusual. Kids past 40, however, is becoming more common.
When Gregory Gardner’s son, Bo, came along, Gardner was 44 — and although Bo was a welcome addition, his arrival put a crimp in Gardner’s financial plans.
“I was probably never going to officially retire,” said Gardner, now 46, who owns his own financial planning firm in Texas. “But I was going to change the pace as I hit 50 to 60, and now I will be 63 at high school graduation. We have drastically increased our savings.”
These days nearly everyone knows someone who’s had a baby in their 40s. In the UK, about one in 25 babies is born to a mum over 40, according to the Office of National Statistics. In the US, about one out of every 96 babies is born to a woman age 40-44, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, and the number of women having their first baby over 40 more than doubled from 1990 to 2012. In Australia, one in 65 babies is born to an over-40 mother, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics — even higher than teen pregnancies.
There are some unique financial challenges to having a child in your 40s. For one, higher education costs are likely to kick-in just as you’re preparing to retire. It’s not impossible with the right preparation. Here’s your strategy.
What it will take: You’ll need a lot of energy and some detailed financial planning. Luckily, you’re probably in a good place already. “What I’ve seen with some of my clients who have done this is that sometimes it’s easier because you’re entering your peak earning years,” said Shannon Lee Simmons, a financial planner with Simmons Financial Planning in Toronto. “Job security is higher, the mortgage is under control, and there’s not as much student debt. There’s more money to work with.”
How long you need to prepare: As with all pregnancies, you only get about nine months — unless you’ve been trying for a baby for a while without success. The more time you have, the more money you can put towards savings goals before you have to deal with baby expenses. If you’re paying for fertility treatment, however, your goal should be to avoid digging yourself into so much debt that you can’t recover. “Some people have spent tens of thousands of dollars on trying to get pregnant and then they get pregnant and there’s not much wiggle room to pay it off,” Simmons said.