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March 28, 2023

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Delaying Childbirth May Help Your Earning Potential

Waiting until your late 20s or beyond to have kids — which allows you to get higher education and work experience under your belt before you become a mom — helps longterm earning power, a new study says. Researchers studied 2,200 women born between 1944 and 1954, and found that those who had kids in the early- to mid-20s or younger didn’t fare as well economically as those who delayed.

Waiting until your late 20s or beyond to have kids — which allows you to get higher education and work experience under your belt before you become a mom — helps longterm earning power, a new study says. Researchers studied 2,200 women born between 1944 and 1954, and found that those who had kids in the early- to mid-20s or younger didn’t fare as well economically as those who delayed.


  1. mimi

    I am in my mid-20’s and waiting to have kids while I pursue my MBA degree. I think its not only financially responsible, to wait to have kids to gain more education and job experience, its also socially responsible because you have more time to find out who you are and what you want before bringing children into the mix of your life.

  2. momto3

    Although not an easy choice to have to make in today’s world, I will never advocate delaying motherhood in favor of career pursuits. On all main standpoints; physiology, health of baby, difficulty for the mother, nature itself has provided for motherhood to occur sooner rather than later. Now, I am well acquainted with the sacrifice (on all fronts) that a woman has to bear up in order to become a mother. I broke all conventional advice in choosing myself to marry early (21). However, I completed my Bachelor’s degree 6 months later, landed a highly sought after position in a major metropolitan city, and worked 3 years before having my first child at 25. Motherhood indeed changes things that you cannot anticipate. Suffice it to say that I changed gears and decided that I wanted to explore motherhood more completely. Nearly 20 years later, I now have 3 beautiful, healthy sons, a graduate degree (with honors), and have achieved so much more (family and career-wise) than I would ever have if I had tried to follow some mandate of perceived success. Life is much more unpredictable and dynamic than that. It is far from easy and there are no guarantees, but if you have determination and work hard, you can experience life in a way that fulfills all your needs and allows you to be the person you always knew you could be.

  3. K

    I never wanted children anyway, so it is not applicable to me. Not all women want kids.

  4. Donia Miles

    I think the decision is a “customized” personal choice for each individual. If the woman has biological issues that run in her family that may cause her to be infertile then she may need to have children earlier. But I chose to have my first child at 37. I don’t regret the choice. I was able to do well professionally, travel and finish a Masters degree.

  5. LK

    Yes I did delay, and when I was “ready” I was no longer “able”.
    Plus in this economy, although I got an MBA around the same time, I am making less $ than ever. So I think waiting can backfire, definitely…

  6. I would agree that postponing motherhood to further your education or career experience would, indeed, affect your long-term earning power if you promote and put to use skills acquired from having pursued additional educational endeavors to/for prospective and current employers (or even to further your own business) and if the employers value these skill sets as beneficial to the successful future of the company.

  7. Kelli

    Waiting worked for us. It not only allowed us to be a higher earning family, but I have better parenting skills as I am old enough to know who I am, can afford the help I need when I am overwhelmed, and have done the things I wanted to do so I have no regrets. I also have more life skills so I can empathize better with my children and prioritize them over other things since I am no longer trying to ‘prove’ myself to anyone.

  8. Dorothy

    I guess I fall into this category. I’m 27, recently married, and I made the decision a few years ago to wait until after college to settle down and have kids. I have earned an MBA in marketing and am currently looking for a job. I think it’s great to get the education now to be successful in the future, however, I’m starting to feel like I’ve sacrificed the chance to have children in my 20s, which is something that I have always wanted to do. Now I’m underemployed and living in a flat over my parent’s house. I job hunt every day, but then again, so does everyone else. I think that it’s a balance, this work and family life thing, and sometimes you have to be willing to make sacrifices either way to have what you want at that moment. Incidentally, I originally read this fact in the book, More Sex is Safer Sex. It’s pretty interesting the way that the author uses economic principles to explain every day occurrences.

  9. D.L.

    I did exactly as recommended — graduate degrees and work experience gained before having children. However, when I am lucky enough to interview (especially with women who apparently took off no time to stay home with their kids), they claim that any experience (and education) I have is no longer valid! In today’s market, only current work experience seems to count, and hiring managers (and headhunters) are quick to erase qualifications gained (before children), even though I have taken recent coursework to update skills and am currently doing consulting work in my field. I keep taking new classes and continue to do consulting and relevant volunteer work. This is getting very expensive and time consuming. There are many who don’t recognize the fact that one’s past can only enhance knowledge, skills and ability to perform. The most competitive job market ever certainly doesn’t help! Too many industries no longer provide the numbers of jobs they had in the past, leaving many (hundreds)applicants for each position.

  10. Adrienne Kinard

    I agree that delaying the start of a family can be beneficial for women in terms of their overall development in life because it allows one time to gain further wisdom about life and more opportunities to develop the virture of patience.

  11. One Who Waited

    Being one who waited until I was 38 to have my first of two children–I had the other at age 43–no, I would not recommend having them later in one’s career. Despite the fact, my children are the best things that ever happened to me, I just wish I had them earlier in my career.
    Yes, having children later in my career afforded me the opportunity to focus on my education and career, and gain greater earning potential as a result of doing so, but it did not come without a price. As a result of having young children in my 40s, I had to constantly weigh the need to be available to them at all times versus the need to be available to the demands of my career–which, often times, conflicted with my responsibilities and duties as a mother, first and foremost.
    Now at the age of 52 and a mother of a 14 and 9 year old, there is still a lot to be said . . . Aside from the career aspect of things, there is also the social aspect along with one’s ability to raise young children in one’s 40s and 50s. So, like everything else, there are always two sides to every story and tradeoffs to be made.
    By the way, I am a human resources professional who has been unemployed for 1.5 years, in spite of my “credentials”. On the other hand, being at home with my two kids–one being a national honor student–has been been great.

  12. Sam

    WOW! I had this very conversation in the mirror this morning while getting dressed for work! I just turned 40 in January, and am one step away from my career goal. Now I am thinking about starting a family. The problem…I am in the most rewarding, beautiful, loving, fulfilling, stable relationship of my life! We have the cutest townhouse, great jobs, wonderful friends and plans for the future, when I talked to my honey bunny about kids, his honesty threw me for a loop…don’t get me wrong I agreed, but hearing it out loud was a bit difficult – he said Honey, let’s be realistic 1) we love the freedom of getting up and going whenever we want, we make enough money to do whatever we want to do within reason, 2) you have high blood pressure, and may be pre-diabetic, your 40 and as your Doctor said, could stand to lose a fair amount of weight (Yes girls, my mouth hit the floor, too!) He went on to say, I would love to have children with you, but I refuse to have children without you…(yep I got a tear, too!) So now I am perplexed…of course I want to be healthier, and as much as I want to have a beautiful child of my own ( I cry when I walk through the kids dept) I have to admit my lifestyle is fabulous and free and open…don’t get me wrong, I am proud of my accomplishments, but long for the chance to be a loving nuturing mommy!! As difficult a decision as this is, I can’t help feeling blessed that women of our era actually have the luxury of having this conundrum! Does this read as confusing/confused as I feel????

  13. CHenne

    My husband I delayed having children until we were in our thirties due to my husband being in school. We waited until he finished his nursing degree. This was one of the best decisions we made as a couple. By having his education completed, he was able to get a much better job. Also in the nursing field he was able to work 2nd shift at a hospital and was our children’s primary caregiver during the day. We had very minimal daycare costs until our children were 3 and 4.

  14. M

    I am 36 and recently married. I have been with a non-profit organization for 10 years and am currently searching for a new career path. I earned my AA degree 10 years ago but not much continuing education since. I am also worried that time is running out to have children. I guess I kept the job for so long because I wanted to be able to start a life with my husband and it helped get us where we are now. But if we have kids right now (and we do want kids) I fear we will both end up stuck in these jobs, or ones just like them, in order to provide for the children, instead of going back to school first for something we really want to do. I’m confused and feel like I’m stuck in a catch 22 right now, but trying to be hopeful that the path will eventually reveal itself. Best wishes to everyone else who is trying to find their way, and thanks to all here for sharing their stories.

  15. K.W.

    No, I wouldn’t delay. Your body doesn’t know that you want to advance your career. For women, there’s a finite window for childbearing and I wouldn’t delay for a career that can be lost with a layoff, recession, change of heart, etc.
    Besides, fighting for better childcare, maternity leave, health and wellness for women is the better road to take instead of hiding out. What sort of message does it send employers or society that we’re so downtrodden by workplaces that punish us for having kids–and we sit down and take it? Be an activist for better conditions in the workplace so our daughters and granddaughters don’t even have to make choices like this.

  16. Tiffany

    I’m in the middle of the road with this situation. (1) I’m 28 (2) with BA degree (3) a new man, (4) a new job, but (5) no kids… I love kids and feel like the joys and challenges of motherhood are slowing slipping away with me each time I give priority to my career goals. Also being with a new man I need time to make sure he even WANTS kids… I don’t know where to go from here… When my heart is saying GO, but my mind is saying NO

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