Our elders were right! Why it makes sense to have children as soon as possible!

Published: March 9, 2018 at 9:52 am

Last Updated on

Our elders were right all along! In hindsight, it makes perfect sense to have children as soon as possible. A discussion on the health and wealth benefits of starting and completing a family asap.

“It’s so difficult, isn’t it? To see what’s going on when you’re in the absolute middle of something? It’s only with hindsight we can see things for what they are.”
― S.J. Watson, Before I Go to Sleep.

Hindsight: it makes sense to have children asap!
Photo by Steven Damron

Yes, this is a post written in hindsight and in my wife’s case, much-suffering and near-death after we, well I, wanted to postpone having a child. We were married in 2002 – I was writing my PhD thesis and she had just started her PhD. Over the next 4 years, I would job-hop 4 times before settling in my current position – a month after my wife finished her PhD. We did not have a child in this period because my lack of stability worried me.

As luck would have it, the next 1.5 years were spent in nursing my late father as both his legs broke due to multiple myeloma (a form of blood cancer). Two months after he died, my poor mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s (but she was still pretty active).

Finally, after 6 years of getting married, we got ready to start a family. I was scared of a having baby – bringing a little human who is likely to inherit your weirdness was/is not my idea of doing the right thing – but something told me that I will regret it if I pass up the chance (boy was I right!).

Few, months later, no luck. So off we went to one of the famous gynaecologists in the country. She was old enough to be my great-grandmother. One look at us and she said, “you are stupid” Meaning we have wasted precious time. I did not quite grasp the significance of her statement then, but life give me a chance to.

Soon it became clear that we needed in vitro fertilization (IVF) to have a baby. The primary reason was our delay. In an IVF, an extracted egg is fertilized with a sperm outside. Two-three embryos are created and injected back to establish the pregnancy.

Trouble is, all the 2-3 embryos are transferred back in the hope that at least one will survive. Often two would – double trouble! So from no children, we faced the prospect of being parents to twins or even triplets!

Then the nightmare began: Before embryos are transferred back, the hormone levels of the woman has to be taken into account. The gynaecologist ignored the most obvious signs of danger in my wife’s blood test and went ahead and transferred all 3 embryos.

Within a week of the embryo transfer, my wife complained of breathlessness and quickly found herself in the ICU. Air entry to the lungs was quite low because of pleural effusion – a build-up of fluid between the tissues that line the lungs and the chest. A tube was inserted to drain the fluid.

Over the next 3 weeks, she stayed in the ICU. The gynaecologist tried in vain to abort the embryos by medicine and finally had to do it surgically (D&C). The effusion still did not stop. Finally, a competent cardiologist shocked her irritated lymph nodes into submission and stopped it. It took her months to recover*.

Then almost a year later, in a second attempt, she conceived. Our son was born in early 2010 almost 8 years after marriage. I was 36 and my wife 34.

* What happened to my wife was a freakish event. If you are undergoing IVF, go ahead without fear.

Having established that I have some experience and regret in this matter, here are a few reasons why it makes sense to get married early or at least have children as early as possible.

Yes, life is unfair. We are just kids in school and suddenly the world wants us to make a choice of career – most of us choose because we have to and not because we know how to. Then we complete a UG +/- PG and start working and want to have fun a bit. The pressure to get married begins and soon the pressure to start a family. Yes, life is unfair.

Choosing a career as per our calling (if we have one at the right time) is an ordeal in of itself and we will discuss that in a separate post.  Consider relationships – it is a biological need. We must feel the need for a life partner. Some of us do so at a young age and some later on.

This post is relevant only to those who are in a relationship, want to be in a relationship and are less than 30 years of age. For others who are not yet hitched, all I can say is, your clock is ticking. Make a choice fast!

Did you notice that fertility centres have er .. bloomed all over the country? There are two reasons for this:

Join our 1200+ Facebook Group on Portfolio Management! Want to know how to reduce fear, doubt and uncertainty while investing for financial goals? Sign up for our lectures on goal-based portfolio management and join our exclusive Facebook Community

(1) either the male or the female or both are not healthy enough to conceive. Due to stress, poor lifestyle choices, obesity etc.

(2) Marriage age – at least in urban areas- is gradually increasing. People are getting married later and/or conceiving late.

So they are unable to do this naturally and need assistance (as we did).

Dear young men, do not make the same mistake I did, spare a thought for your life partner. In fact, spare a thought for yourself too. Turns out, both men and women have a biological clock!

It is neither practical nor responsible to have a child before 25 these days. However, you only have a 5-6 year window – before the two of you turn 30 and the quality of eggs and sperms go down. There is a greater chance of miscarriage, a greater chance of passing on hereditary diseases and conceiving children with genetic disorders. This is the first and most important reason in favour of having children early.

Life is unfair. Once you decide you need a life partner, you need to also decide pretty much immediately whether you are going to be parents or not. Well, that is that. Here are other reasons:

Why it makes sense to have children as soon as possible!

1: As mentioned above, safer delivery, healthier children.

2: The second most important reason is you give your children “time”. Say you complete your family (1/2 kids) by age 30. By the time you reach 50, they are 20 and in 1st or 2nd year of college.  Maybe you are financially independent by then, or you can/have to work for a few more years – say age 60. This gives them another ten years to study. This gives them time and space to listen to their calling, maybe develop more skills, do one more degree until they start earning.

Please don’t give me that cutting the umbilical cord nonsense. They are our kids forever. We need to let them come of age without the burden of loans (if we can help it) and without the burden of household problems, especially putting food on the table.

Time gives our children the choice to choose between a job and a career. See Three Key Factors that decide how we achieve our financial goals.

Perhaps with luck: What if our children never had to work! This is certainly what I am shooting for.

3: We are still young when they are “all grown up”. At fifty, with some luck, we might have enough health, youth and zest to devote more time to our passion. Maybe travel around a bit etc.

4: We should not rely too much on our parents when we have kids, but some help won’t hurt. If we have kids young, our parents may be able to offer that kind of support until we get our wits together. More importantly, we don’t have to worry about our parents’ health when we have our hands full with diaper petrol.

5: They(our kids) don’t have to worry about our health just when they starting their careers. If we have kids late, we would be senior citizens when they have just started earning.

Note: As Hugh Grant says in “nine months”, you need a license to get married, drive a car, get a gun, hunt game etc, but you do not need a license to make children. Parenting is an extraordinarily demanding job where we need to be there for them at all times but also give them space! Think real hard before you become one. If you do want to, then earlier the better.

Our elders were right all along!


Do share if you found this useful
Join our 1200+ Facebook Group on Portfolio Management! Want to know how to reduce fear, doubt and uncertainty while investing for financial goals? Sign up for our lectures on goal-based portfolio management and join our exclusive Facebook Community

Hate ads but would like to support the site? Subscribe to our ad-free newsletter and get beautifully formatted full articles delivered to your inbox!

About the Author

Pattabiraman editor freefincalM. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the founder, managing editor and primary author of freefincal. He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. since Aug 2006. Connect with him via Twitter or Linkedin Pattabiraman has co-authored two print-books, You can be rich too with goal-based investing (CNBC TV18) and Gamechanger and seven other free e-books on various topics of money management. He is a patron and co-founder of “Fee-only India” an organisation to promote unbiased, commission-free investment advice.
He conducts free money management sessions for corporates and associations on the basis of money management. Previous engagements include World Bank, RBI, BHEL, Asian Paints, Cognizant, Madras Atomic Power Station, Honeywell, Tamil Nadu Investors Association. For speaking engagements write to pattu [at] freefincal [dot] com

About freefincal & its content policy

Freefincal is a News Media Organization dedicated to providing original analysis, reports, reviews and insights on developments in mutual funds, stocks, investing, retirement and personal finance. We do so without conflict of interest and bias. We operate in a non-profit manner. All revenue is used only for expenses and for the future growth of the site. Follow us on Google News
Freefincal serves more than one million readers a year (2.5 million page views) with articles based only on factual information and detailed analysis by its authors. All statements made will be verified from credible and knowledgeable sources before publication. Freefincal does not publish any kind of paid articles, promotions or PR, satire or opinions without data. All opinions presented will only be inferences backed by verifiable, reproducible evidence/data. Contact information: letters {at} freefincal {dot} com (sponsored posts or paid collaborations will not be entertained)

Connect with us on social media

Our Publications

You Can Be Rich Too with Goal-Based Investing

You can be rich too with goal based investingThis book is meant to help you ask the right questions, seek the right answers and since it comes with nine online calculators, you can also create custom solutions for your lifestyle! Get it now. It is also available in Kindle format.

Gamechanger: Forget Startups, Join Corporate & Still Live the Rich Life You Want

Gamechanger: Forget Start-ups, Join Corporate and Still Live the Rich Life you wantThis book is meant for young earners to get their basics right from day one! It will also help you travel to exotic places at low cost! Get it or gift it to a young earner

Your Ultimate Guide to Travel


This is a deep dive analysis into vacation planning, finding cheap flights, budget accommodation, what to do when traveling, how traveling slowly is better financially and psychologically with links to the web pages and hand-holding at every step. Get the pdf for Rs 199 (instant download)  

Free Apps for your Android Phone

Comment Policy

Your thoughts are the driving force behind our work. We welcome criticism and differing opinions.Please do not include hyperlinks or email ids in the comment body. Such comments will be moderated and I reserve the right to delete the entire comment or remove the links before approving them.


  1. I disagree with some of the points.
    Having children is a very big responsibility where we have to give a lot of time. Most important, if you have don’t have help(parents or in-laws), it’s a full-time job. Yes, you’re right about the fertility. But, the couple should also be ready to have children and take that responsibility. A quote which I heard “Your kids didn’t chose you. You chose to have kids”. Nowadays, many couples are not ready to put in that effort.

  2. Awesome post sir. Straight from your heart. Going so much personal many wont do it.. Hats off to you sir.
    Hope your experience will help fellow readers to make some decisions.
    God bless you.

    – Karthik

  3. Interesting post. As both my wife and I reach 30 this year, this is a very relevant post for me. Not that I need more reason (though I don’t worry) to think if I’m delaying but your post was thought provoking.

    Men are from Mars. We draw flowcharts to make decisions. The first decision point in my flowchart is if I ever want to have kids. Some may consider me selfish if I state that kids take a lot of resources (money is the last of the resources. There are many more such as time, career advancement and so on.). In my opinion, it is selfish to have a kid before being 100% confident I’ll be one of the best dad he/she/they can get.

    Agreed life is unfair. Creating a new life and letting them go through the same unfairness doesn’t sound right. At 30, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to help my kid in anyway to overcome this cycle of unfairness.

    Martian instincts tell me I’ll not regret because adoption is an option.

  4. Getting into early age marriage and kids soon, is right way to go.
    However, there is no such thing that it’s (birth) difficult after 30 or so.
    Be natural , follow and respond your stimulus say hunger thirsty rest sleep. Everything is possible. It’s our nature will help us , if you respect the same.

  5. The ‘not selfish at all’ was for the point that kids take a lot of resources.You are right in your conclusion.
    Well, actually your entire post is correct. 🙂

  6. Elders were right about a lot of things. People / couples consider and justify only the convenient ones (for them).
    Fertility clinics are blooming and so are day-care centers. The martian in above comment is right.

    Btw any fertility clinic listed on our exchanges? 😉 🙂

  7. Dear Mr. P Raman,

    The message is loud and clear, there for the taking… Just a thought to share my perspective. As much as it is important to have progeny (as may be thought fit by some), someone taught me that a Mutual Fund should be treated and seen exactly like a child and child birth. If one invests in MF exactly the way, cash flow outgoes would happen in spending for a child, 25 years later, one does not know if children will take care of parents but, this MF child will surely do. What with the bonus of not having to worry about fertility. AND having an online doctor like you!!

  8. True article in a way. Me and my wife too have gone through this IVF cycle but failed a couple of times and the procedure is quite expensive. So we opted for adoption. Were in the waitlist for 2 years due to the change in adoption laws right when we were about to apply. Finally in 2017 we were fortunate to adopt a 4 month old daughter. I was 42 then !! Hope for the best from the rest of the life 🙂

  9. An awesome article. You have been honest in sharing your personal life which many won’t share.
    Due to some reason i would not marry before the age of 39. After 3 years of marriage my conceived naturally but our joy was short lived as there was no cardiac activity 10 week. Again after 2 years my wife conceived naturally & we were blessed with a baby boy – i was 45 years old. Now imagine when i retire , our child will be still in school. Having personally experienced late parenthood, I too thoroughly agree with what our elders say.

  10. 100% agreed with Pattu.
    I am 41 years old , have 11 years son. After marriage, we have no hurry for child. Now, at this stage, I feel that I was wrong. My health issues and uncertainty of job tells me that “Our elders were right! .

    Apart from Finance, such others issues related with our life are also necessary.

    thanks pattu sir

  11. I don’t agree with your views Pattu. Nobody can take a responsibility unless they are ready
    As countries develop people delay birth cycles and countries age. It’s not a new phenomenon and it can’t be reversed. When our parents had kid, birth rates were high as mortality rates were also high. This is in line with all developing countries.
    I think you took a local problem and solution, and extrapolated it to a global scale. But you are not looking at other influences when you extrapolate it. And those play a major role when you extrapolate it. Population and birth age are larger issues than mere early copulation.
    If that were easy then all countries read Japan, China, USA, Canada would have solved it by now. It’s a social, economic and cultural issue with interplay.
    I also don’t think we should depend on parents to take care of our kids. It’s a privilege and not a right.

    1. It is a medical fact that late child birth has plently of problems. It is a question of whether we can ignore that when we delay becoming parents or not.

  12. Great article sir, sincere and straight from heart. It is very relevant in today’s fast paced world. I agree as you said that our Elders were right in what they said and practised. This is one of the best useful articles you wrote I think. Thanks and pl. continue to your great work.

  13. This is the best site and also best information that I got here only. You made a good site it very help us. Thank you for giving us such a great and useful suggestions and tips they very nice and amazing. Thank you all.

  14. Hi,

    I really appreciate your honesty in recounting your experience with child birth. However, as a woman, I don’t agree with many points that you made.

    Age is certainly factor when it comes to conceiving a child naturally. But with more women opting to have careers, having a child before 30 is simply not feasible.

    Moreover, I really don’t understand why are Indians so obsessed with having their own biological children considering how overpopulated India is.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *