Family is one of the Core Values I discuss in The Old Money Book.
Why? Because it’s essential to a healthy, stable, and productive life. Whether you’re lucky enough to have been born into a loving family, or if you have to build one around you that may even include non-blood relationships, it’s an important part of life that contributes substantially to your health, happiness and sense of purpose.
But, if you want to look at family in terms of simple financial advantages, consider these statistics:
American children growing up in single parent households today: 33 percent.
The poverty rate for households led by a married couple: 6.8 percent.
The poverty rate for households led by a single female parent: 37.1 percent.
I’m not advocating marriage for everybody, nor am I ignoring the fact that divorce happens. But if you’re not behaving responsibly and you’re at risk of getting pregnant, or if you’re not in a committed, long-term relationship, you might want to take an objective look at the family environment that you’d bring an innocent, helpless and wonderful child into. You might also want to look at the resources you have to raise that child with, and the odds of having it turn out well if you decide, or must, go it alone.
A lot of partners will tell you they’ll be there no matter what. When an unplanned pregnancy comes along, some will, and some won’t. You think you know a person, and then…
There’s a reason traditions survive over time: often, it’s because they benefit society and individuals. Here’s a tradition that works from Indonesia to Ireland and many points in between, for centuries:
People meet and get to know each other. They socialize together. They meet each others’ friends and family. They commit to an exclusive relationship. They get engaged. They get married. They have children. In pretty much that order.
During this process, there is an increasing level of seriousness and importance, which can and should take years. There is the opportunity to back out with minimal damage done in the earlier phases of this process. There is a chance to learn and grow as a couple and as individuals at every stage of this process. There is a chance to gradually become aware of what each person is getting into, responsibility-wise, throughout this process.
Yes, there’s love at first sight. But after that spark you have to build a fire that’s going to keep you warm for a lifetime.
Think it through. When you’re in a relationship or in a position to start a family, it’s not just you anymore.