Parenting Mistake #2 :: A Bedroom For Everyone

Yahoo has an article discussing how overspending on kids can risk your financial future.

In that article they discuss four common mistakes that parents make with regard to spending on their own kids to the detriment of their own financial well-being.

Over the next few days, I am going to list each one of these mistakes and provide you with my thoughts and comments on each of these mistakes.

Parenting Mistake #2 :: A Bedroom For Everyone

“Somewhere in time, good parents decided every child needed a bedroom,” Allvine says. “Bigger houses, bigger mortgages, bigger real estate taxes. They all lead to longer commutes, the need for two incomes, and often, the AMT. Along the way, they’re convinced the house was a “good investment,” not an expense, but they’re trapped in these higher fixed costs, lowering both quality of life now and financial options — retirement, debt payoff, the chance to quit or change a job — down the line.”

While I understand where the article is coming from with this parenting mistake, I have to admit that this is something that I had on my wishlist as we started our family. It isn’t that I think having to share a bedroom is bad for children, although it can become awkward and inappropriate for a brother and sister to share a room, but rather that I appreciated the ability to have my own private space as a child and wanted to provide the same luxury for my children.

However, I do agree that I think it is important to stay within the confines of your budget when purchasing a home and unfortunately that might mean that your children will have to share a room. When we purchased our home, we were pretty lucky with the timing and location where we purchased as I would not be willing to pay these prices today for our home. Even though we could afford to purchase this same home at today’s price, I would not be comfortable doing that as I would then have to be a little less aggressive in saving for my retirement.

Since we purchased our home, I have changed jobs and unfortunately have a lengthy commute but we do not have any current plans of moving closer to my job. Due to the housing costs near my office, we would certainly have to downsize if we wanted to move closer but that is not the reason that we want to stay where we are right now. I am quite fortunate in that my company is very open to flexible schedules and allowing people to work from home as needed, which allows me to balance the commute with the quality of family time.

If we were not in a position to afford our home while allowing my wife to stay at home with the kids, we would certainly have purchased a smaller home as I would never want to be house rich and cash poor.

What are your thoughts on the idea of purchasing a home large enough where everyone gets their own bedroom? Would you sacrifice other areas to make that a reality?

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3 Responses

  1. I was talking with my wife the other day about how homes used to be around 1000 – 1200 square feet and families were bigger.

    Now we have over 3200 square feet and when we found out that we are going to have another baby we think that we need more space.

    • mnc says:

      You’re right that homes have been getting larger and larger over the years and people continue to fill up the bigger homes with more and more stuff.

      It would be an interesting experiment to take a family in a larger home and require them to downsize their home. How would that impact their lives? It may just be for the better as they learn to live without so many extras.

  1. June 14, 2007

    […] Overspending on Kids Risks Financial Future The couple described here is a financial train wreck, but I completely agree with the idea that one can easily overspend on children. One big reason that we’ve decided on our current house layout is so that our two children can share a bedroom through most of their early years – obviously, we’ll look at it again when they approach their teenage years, but for now, that’s how we want things. For both of us growing up, sharing a room with siblings helped to facilitate a tight bond. (via my new choice) […]

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