By Craig Erwin, Ph.D.
Sometimes we make decisions that impact us most without serious consideration of the risks and costs associated with them, such as decisions to marry, have children, attend college, and retire. While it is noble to adopt children, if you don’t consider the costs and risks, you may put both yourself and the children at great risk.
A friend had three children in his 50s. He was self-employed and his family’s sole breadwinner. He died in his 60s when his children were still young. His widow ended up working multiple jobs to get by. The children didn’t go to college. Instead, as teenagers they got jobs to help mom pay the bills. My friend’s decision to have children in his 50s had pretty serious consequences.
A couple of my relatives adopted four very young children while in their 50s. Not long after, the father suffered a massive stroke, coming within inches of death. Since he has a job that is physically demanding, he may be unable to continue, or he may need to work fewer hours. How can he raise children and put them through college? Even if he can continue working until the children are grown, he will have to work into his 70s, which seems awfully optimistic. The decision to adopt children has likely changed the couple’s future and their children’s future in far-reaching ways.
Some decisions change everything. Even in your 20s, having children will have a big impact on your life, finances, and retirement plans. And the later you have children, the greater the risks you (and your children) may face. Making decisions without considering risks and costs can result in life-changing problems and complications, such as never being able to retire, having to live hand to mouth, or being unable to help with college expenses.
The next time you face a big decision, assess how it will affect you and your loved ones far into the future. Failure to do so could result in painful consequences.
Are you facing a big decision? If so, how will you decide and how big an impact will your decision have?
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