With a recession on the cards, here are the reasons for and against having a child during an economic downturn.
Winter is coming. From the cryptocurrency market, to the US equity market and even the local Singapore stock market, investors have seen a sea of red in recent times.
With the falling markets, recession seems all but imminent. For couples considering a baby in the near future, or for couples trying to conceive (TTC), the current bloodbath in the financial markets begs this question: Should you still try to get pregnant while in a recession, or should you wait for the financial storm to pass?
This article will look at the potential impact of a recession, as well as the reasons for and against having a child during an economic downturn.
The cost of raising a child
Diapers, milk bottles, formula milk, clothes, crib, stroller and infant care are some of the main costs you’ll incur when you have a child.
However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the costs involved with raising a child, as it gets more expensive with school, enrichment classes, university and more to factor in. In Singapore, it costs around S$340,000 to raise a child till the age of 21 . And that’s just the cost of one child.
Knowing that a child doesn’t come cheap, let’s take a look at how a recession can then affect your decision to have a baby.
What is a recession and how can it affect you?
A recession refers to a contraction in the economy, when there is a significant decline in economic activity. It can be most visible, or signalled by rising unemployment, reduction in gross domestic product (GDP), drop in spending and low consumer confidence .
With the current macroeconomic outlook as well as rising inflation, there have been analysts warning of a recession in the near future .
Getting pregnant during a recession
Interestingly, there seems to be a correlation between recessions and couples having babies, with recessions being linked to a fall in fertility rates. For example, the last 4 recessions in the US saw a dip in the fertility rate for the few years after the recession .
Here’s a look at the reasons for and against getting pregnant during a recession.
Pros of getting pregnant during a recession
#1 Have a child when you’re younger
The ideal period to get pregnant is between your late 20s and early 30s. From age 35 and older, pregnancy risks such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and high blood pressure become more common . Having your first child early also puts you in a better position if you plan to have more than 1.
#2 You never know how long it might take to conceive
Can you really time your pregnancy? What if it takes longer than expected?
As much as a couple trying to conceive would hope that conception is quick, the reality is, it could very well take months, or even years to successfully conceive. By delaying your conception journey, you could find it harder to conceive when older, as fertility starts to decline by age 30, with the number of eggs decreasing with age .
So yes, perhaps it could be wise to start as soon as you feel ready, because you never know how long conception could take. Keep in mind that a recession isn’t simply a one-day market collapse. It can last over a period of months, and even years.
#3 The recession is during your child’s early years
During a recession, you might be more compelled to save. This could help to pad your savings before your child reaches school-going age — an age that also comes with its own set of costs, such as enrichment classes, devices and more.
#4 Less demand means more options for you
Just like travelling during lull periods, if everyone else isn’t having a baby during this time, perhaps it could be the best time to do so. You might have more resources and products available, such as less ‘fighting’ over gynaecologist consultation slots or the best baby products.
If you want to improve your baby-making success, you could consider tools such as the twoplus Fertility Sperm Guide. A fertility product for men and women that retains sperm within the vaginal tract (bye bye awkward leg raises post-coitus) and increases the odds of natural conception.
Cons of getting pregnant during a recession
A looming recession doesn’t bode well not just for couples, but just about everyone in society. Here are the key issues brought about by recession and why it could be better to hunker down, and delay baby-making till the recession passes.
#1 Potential layoffs and greater uncertainty
What if you lose your job? Will you have enough to provide for not just yourself, but your new family member as well?
As companies tighten their belts to prepare for a recession, trimming their employee headcount is a real possibility, in order to lower cost and reallocate resources. Mass layoffs have been rampant in recent weeks, with StashAway, Crypto.com, Gemini, Coinbase and Shopee all amongst the big names cutting their workforce [7, 8].
Job security is crucial for any parent, as no job means no income, and money would be a major concern with an additional mouth to feed.
#2 Additional expenses to factor in
During a recession, the economic outlook is poor and people are more aware of their spending, looking to tighten their belts.
Becoming pregnant will add to your financial pressures, and could be a struggle if you or your partner get laid off. Not only will a newborn require additional cost to raise, but the entire pregnancy journey also comes with its own set of costs, such as supplements, doctor visits and insurance. For couples that are finding it difficult to conceive, tapping on conception procedures such as Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) or In-vitro Fertilisation (IVF) also comes at a cost.
Furthermore, we are also facing a situation where inflation numbers are at multi-decade highs . This means higher prices for our daily goods, where a dollar today buys less tomorrow, reducing our purchasing power over time.
#3 Added stress
The added costs could be challenging for some couples during a recession, and that’s not all. The investment outlook is also pessimistic, and the poor market performance leads to concerns over one’s portfolio and financial future.
This, coupled with the worries about job security and rising inflation, could be a lot for a couple to handle, even before becoming pregnant.
Financial factors to consider before deciding to get pregnant
Ultimately, it all boils down to you and your partner’s financial stability, situation and lifestyle preferences. If you both have more than sufficient savings, a recession should worry you less, compared to a couple that is living paycheck-to-paycheck.
Here are a few factors to help you understand your financial situation.
#1 How much do you have in savings?
For a start, you should have savings that will be able to cover your expenses for at least 6 months. Having sufficient savings will put you in good stead to comfortably afford having a child, recession or not. You should take stock of your current combined savings and investments, to assess whether having a child will put a strain on your finances.
#2 Have you started preparing for the future?
Raising children, while also ensuring that you will be able to retire comfortably, requires you to start planning to grow your wealth with investments and having adequate insurance plans.
#3 Do you have sufficient income?
Both partners’ earning power matters in an age where dual-income households are the norm. Do you both have stable jobs? Are you both in an industry that has seen layoffs, or is your industry relatively safe?
If you are trying to conceive during this period of economic uncertainty, you should have a contingency plan in place, especially for a scenario where one person loses their job. Having sufficient funds saved up for a rainy day like this, and knowing that the other party can still bring home the bacon, will be reassuring.
The key consideration depends on whether you and your partner can comfortably afford to have a child, even with economic uncertainty. There will be couples that are more comfortable with waiting for the recession to pass, before committing to having a child. There will also be couples who try to conceive during a recession.
Regardless whether you choose to try to conceive during a recession or after the recession passes, you should still be saving up for the potential costs of having a child. The sooner you start saving and investing, the more time your money will have to compound.
If your decision is to go ahead with trying to get pregnant despite the possibility of a recession, you can increase your chances of a natural conception with our Sperm Guide to help more sperms reach the egg, or use the Applicator (a home insemination kit) to direct-deposit sperm where it matters most.
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