Paying off debt before getting pregnant — The Bump
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Paying off debt before getting pregnant

My husband and I are trying to pay off our $15,000.00 in credit card debt before we have children.  But we're both getting very antsy.  My husband is 27 and has type 1 diabetes so he's worried about infertility as he ages, but we realize it will take a while to pay off this debt.  Is it worth it?  How much do new babies REALLY cost.  So many people have said, "you're never financially ready" but we want to at least feel like we have a grasp on the actual costs.  ANY advice will be great.  Thanks!

Re: Paying off debt before getting pregnant

  • Have you sat down and looked at your finances to see how much you are putting to paying off debt vs what you could be?

    DH and I didn't stop preventing pregnancy until we were down to 1 car payment plus our mortgage. We had no credit card debt or student loans.

    Having a baby can relatively inexpensive or astronomical depending on your insurance and health. What happens if you have a high risk pregnancy and aren't able to work? If your also needs a NICU stay and subsequent doctor appts? These are all things to take into consideration.
  • I suggest going to the Money Matters board on The Nest. They were huge in helping us get on track.

    As for there never being a right time, I agree. But I firmly believe there are better times and worse times. This seems like a worse time. Take a hard look at your finances and see how you can knock that debt down fast. Make a plan and stick to it for several months before you worry about TTC. As far as baby costs insurance is the #1 thing you need to look into. Also I think it was baby center that had a calculator for baby costs.

    H and I are putting off TTC for financial reasons. We know it will be worth it in the end to not have the added debt hanging over our heads.

    Good luck!
    Anniversary
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
    Love: March 2010  Marriage: July 2013  Debt Free: October 2014  TTC: April 2015
     BFP: April 10, 2016 EDD: December 19, 2016 Team Blue!
    Oscar born November 20, 2016 at 35w6d






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  • Personally I would pay off the debt first!  There's just no way of knowing how expensive a baby might be.  Sure sometimes it's not so bad in the beginning, if you are blessed to have a healthy child and are able to BF.  But that is leaving a lot to chance! 

    On a side note, everyone is different of course, but DH is Type I and we were able to get pregnant without any trouble.  DH was 35 when DD was born, 37 when DS was born and will be 40 when #3 comes. 
    [Deleted User]
  • I understand the debt, we've been doing something similar but we both have finance/accounting backgrounds. Pay off highest interest rates first, and keep the goal in sight! You guys are doing a good thing, but I understand how antsy you might feel. 

    There are some calculators online than can give you an estimate, based on all your needs. Like someone pointed out, you may need more expensive/less expensive things than other people. I think 10k is the amount most people quote. But this calculator might give you an idea: 


    (I know it's baby center, but it doesn't look like the bump has one! There are lots out there.) 
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  • I agree with @BubblesMartin‌

    Credit card debt is a different animal completely. It affects your credit differently than term debt and is just generally more expensive.

    Most people couldn't afford to pay off all their debt before having a baby. I'm currently trying to pay down my 14k left in student loans before baby so I understand being antsy. :neutral_face:

    Just set realistic goals for yourselves and stick to them. Any little bit you put towards your debt is an investment in you and your baby's future! Good luck!
  • Before TTC, I would definitely sit down with your husband and take a good look at your finances. Is $15k a small or large percentage of your total income? Could you pay it off in less than a year? Create a budget and make a plan to pay it off or at least a good chunk of it. Personally, I would not want any credit card debt lingering. With high interest rates, it can seem never-ending. 

    Also consider how your income will change- what does your work offer for maternity leave? What if you have to go on bed rest and can't work? Baby expenses may not seem like a lot on a month-to-month basis, but you just never know. Don't forget extra things you may want to do with baby- extra visits to see out of town family, professional family photos, etc.
    Alicia0817
  • My fiancé and I decided that having a baby young-ish (I'm 27, he's 31) was important to us. So we decided to be proactive with our finances. We paid off $11K in credit card debt in 10 months, decided to pay cash for our (admittedly too expensive) wedding this upcoming May, and committed to a substantial amount going into savings each month.

    That being said, I understand when people say "you're never really ready". I need a new car, we are in the process of buying a new house, and I'm planning to start an EdD program in the next few years. My student loans won't be paid off for another decade, at least. We'd be 50 if we waited to TTC after paying those things off.

    Pick the things that you can tackle in a reasonable amount of time, and learn to manage the rest, working your baby expenses in now, rather than after baby comes. Check out Dave Ramsey, we are using his method, and it has helped many people we know.

    Best of luck!
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  • leela02leela02 member
    edited December 2014
    If fertility issues down the road are likely, IMO I wouldn't risk waiting too long if you're current with debt payments and are able to make room in your budget for the baby. Dealing with infertility can get really expensive & a lot of the time insurance won't cover tests/treatments.

    Babies can be pretty expensive or not at all. A healthy baby with good insurance, free child care, and free food (exclusively breastfed) would be pretty inexpensive, but many people don't have all of that. Start saving now for baby expenses that you can anticipate (car seat, diapers, wipes, dr's appts, furniture, clothes, formula, health/life insurance, child care, etc.) and build up an emergency fund for unexpected issues like medical complications. There's really no way to guarantee an uncomplicated pregnancy and healthy full-term baby, even with healthy parents (sorry to sound morbid).
  • The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • My fiancé and I decided that having a baby young-ish (I'm 27, he's 31) was important to us. So we decided to be proactive with our finances. We paid off $11K in credit card debt in 10 months, decided to pay cash for our (admittedly too expensive) wedding this upcoming May, and committed to a substantial amount going into savings each month. That being said, I understand when people say "you're never really ready". I need a new car, we are in the process of buying a new house, and I'm planning to start an EdD program in the next few years. My student loans won't be paid off for another decade, at least. We'd be 50 if we waited to TTC after paying those things off. Pick the things that you can tackle in a reasonable amount of time, and learn to manage the rest, working your baby expenses in now, rather than after baby comes. Check out Dave Ramsey, we are using his method, and it has helped many people we know. Best of luck!
    So if you have all these expenses in your life, why are you having a wedding that you cant really afford?
  • My fiancé and I decided that having a baby young-ish (I'm 27, he's 31) was important to us. So we decided to be proactive with our finances. We paid off $11K in credit card debt in 10 months, decided to pay cash for our (admittedly too expensive) wedding this upcoming May, and committed to a substantial amount going into savings each month. That being said, I understand when people say "you're never really ready". I need a new car, we are in the process of buying a new house, and I'm planning to start an EdD program in the next few years. My student loans won't be paid off for another decade, at least. We'd be 50 if we waited to TTC after paying those things off. Pick the things that you can tackle in a reasonable amount of time, and learn to manage the rest, working your baby expenses in now, rather than after baby comes. Check out Dave Ramsey, we are using his method, and it has helped many people we know. Best of luck!
    So if you have all these expenses in your life, why are you having a wedding that you cant really afford?
    They're paying cash, so my guess is they can afford it.

    But she also states that her student loans aren't going to be paid off for a decade. WOAH. I do not think Dave Ramsey would condone that.

    OP... I know Dave Ramsey says not to wait on kids to have debt, but I do think that you need to have a definite plan and an understanding of why you have all that credit card debt in the first place. Are you living beyond your means and therefore charging things on the credit card? Have you changed your lifestyle and made the decision not to go into any more debt ever? I second doing Financial Peace University with your DH if you can and have not already. 

    I think that if you have that attitude I would be less likely to wait until the whole amount is paid off, especially since you have the other health issues working against you (which may or may not be as urgent as you think, I obviously don't know the intricacies of the health issues).

    If you have a good grasp on your current budget (a working, realistic budget that includes savings/debt repayment), working in baby expenses may be easier than you think.

  • nuggetRNnuggetRN member
    edited December 2014
    @nuggetRN‌ re: student loans... Most people I know aren't paying off their school loans early. Interest rates are low. I paid mine off, but H's payments are under $175/month and we wouldn't really save on interest paying it off. Just playing devil's advocate ;)

    O, I totally get that and for most that makes perfect sense to most people. Except then she brought up the fact that she is following Dave Ramsey... which means she either has a really ridiculous amount of student loan debt or is not actually following his plan. Probably would have had nothing to say about the situation had she not brought him up :)

    Also - a thought. Over the years of paying off your H's students loans at a low interest rate... how much money would you have if you instead were able to put that <$175 in a mutual fund that instead of costing you money is earning you money. Hmmmm, that would be some fun math. That is one of the biggest reasons why debt repayment is so alluring. When your money isn't going to someone else it is instead working for you

    edited to add missing words

    Alicia0817
  • akraus2015akraus2015 member
    edited December 2014
    nuggetRN said:



    @nuggetRN‌ re: student loans... Most people I know aren't paying off their school loans early. Interest rates are low. I paid mine off, but H's payments are under $175/month and we wouldn't really save on interest paying it off. Just playing devil's advocate ;)



    O, I totally get that and for most that makes perfect sense to most people. Except then she brought up the fact that she is following Dave Ramsey... which means she either has a really ridiculous amount of student loan debt or is not actually following his plan. Probably would have had nothing to say about the situation had she not brought him up :)

    Also - a thought. Over the years of paying off your H's students loans at a low interest rate... how much money would you have if you instead were able to put that <$175 in a mutual fund that instead of costing you money is earning you money. Hmmmm, that would be some fun math. That is one of the biggest reasons why debt repayment is so alluring. When your money isn't going to someone else it is instead working for you

    edited to add missing words

    ETA: --------mobile quote fail------

    It is a ridiculous amount of student loan debt. I was on my own from the age of 17, so even living expenses were loaned out while I worked toward my undergrad. Not ideal, but it is what it is. We are loosely following some of Dave Ramsey's principles; my dad introduced them to us and it seems smart: pay off small debt first, get rid of high interest cards, don't accumulate more debt, etc. As for the wedding...we are paying cash, and I plan to only do it once, so we're going all out.

    I was simply advising to get out of the CC debt and pay off things that are within reach, but in my own experience, we have chosen to pay off some of the larger things (student loan debt, car loan) while we are growing our little family, rather than wait to start our family.
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  • A lot of people are suggesting a Dave Ramsey course. Dave Ramsey is a great public speaker, but he is ultimately a salesman. You can accomplish a lot of what he tells you to do by spending conservatively and sticking to an actual budget. My boss told a joke about Ramsey at our Christmas party. Essentially, the jist of it is that every accountant and financier wishes they had been the one to sell people common sense and make millions (and millions and millions and millions) off it.

    That said, if you actually feel out of control of your finances, it seems to help people who are very unfamiliar with financial concepts. Willpower, an excel spreadsheet and the Internet might get you just as far though.

    I have an accounting degree and I work in finance, so I'd like to think I have a pretty good grasp on money. That's just my two cents. Good luck to you either way! Everyone deserves to feel in control of their money!
    akraus2015Alicia0817[Deleted User]

  • nuggetRN said:
    @nuggetRN‌ re: student loans... Most people I know aren't paying off their school loans early. Interest rates are low. I paid mine off, but H's payments are under $175/month and we wouldn't really save on interest paying it off. Just playing devil's advocate ;)

    O, I totally get that and for most that makes perfect sense to most people. Except then she brought up the fact that she is following Dave Ramsey... which means she either has a really ridiculous amount of student loan debt or is not actually following his plan. Probably would have had nothing to say about the situation had she not brought him up :)

    Also - a thought. Over the years of paying off your H's students loans at a low interest rate... how much money would you have if you instead were able to put that <$175 in a mutual fund that instead of costing you money is earning you money. Hmmmm, that would be some fun math. That is one of the biggest reasons why debt repayment is so alluring. When your money isn't going to someone else it is instead working for you

    edited to add missing words

    It really depends on the interest rate of your student loans versus any other loans (car, mortgage, credit card, etc.) you have vs. what you are saving and your savings rate of return.

    H's 401K plan has routinely yielded a return of 12% or more every year for the last 5 years. We are getting a rate of return on individual investment at around 10% a year. Conversely, my student loans only have a 1.85% interest rate, compared to our 4.25% interest on our mortgage. It makes no financial sense to pay off my student loans when we could make an extra payment on our mortgage every year and shave an additional 3 years off it on the back end (which we've been doing. Our mortgage will be paid off 7 years early at the rate we're going).

    Absolutely. That's why I said that would be fun math! Knowing all the numbers is important. And for you, you've done the whole problem and come up with the solution that makes the most sense because you know the numbers. I guess I was just encouraging looking at the whole picture as opposed an individual facet of the whole financial picture.

    Obviously it is kind of hard to give blanket financial advice over the internet when you don't know everyone's situations, or what their numbers are. Not trying to come across judgey or like I know everything (because I don't!) so I apologize if anything came across anywhere close to that.

    @Ebuchan It's funny that you say that because he himself says that he is just trying to teach what should be common sense! I don't think he is the end all be all to financial sense but it is certainly a nice place to start when you have absolutely no idea where to start.

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