Tobi Kosanke, 50, sometimes wonders what she and her husband, Stefan, were thinking when they decided to have a child in their 40s. Their doctor had told the couple that their prospects at success were slim—but then along came their daughter, Jemma.
Now 9 years old, Jemma is the apple of the Kosankes’ eye—but she’s also the wrench in their retirement plan.
“Before I had her, I planned to retire at 50,” Tobi Kosanke says. But that all changed once Jemma entered the picture. “Instead of saving at the rate we had been before she was born,” explains Kosanke, “we had several years where we didn’t save at all—and we are now far from having the ability to retire.”
The Kosankes, geologists based in Hempstead, Tex., who also run a nonprofit animal sanctuary, believe they underestimated the cost of education and activities the most—private school, summer and winter camps, and after-school singing and dancing classes all added up.
Still, Kosanke wouldn’t change a thing.
“Our finances are far from where I thought they’d be,” she says. “But [I believe] my job is to put time and money into my child so she can grow into the best person she can be.”
Women ages 40 to 44 having their first child more than doubled between 1990 and 2012.
So what about retirement? “Well, 70 is the new 50, and we’re on track to retire about then,” she adds.
The Kosankes’ story is becoming more the norm as the number of first-time parents over 40 continues to rise. According to recent government figures, the rate of women ages 40 to 44 having their first child more than doubled between 1990 and 2012.
While being an older parent has it perks—like being more settled in your career and life, in general—it also poses unique challenges, especially when it comes to money. A new addition means a slew of new financial responsibilities, whether it’s upping your insurance coverage or retooling your retirement plan.
With that in mind, we tapped a slew of CFP®s—plus some 40-plus parents deep in the process—for the financial advice they’d pass along to older first-timers. So whether you intentionally delayed parenthood or the stork made a surprise visit, here are five things you should keep in mind once baby is on board.