UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | May 26, 2024

Millennials with families face unique challenges

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The shift in emphasis on gender roles among millennials are having an effect on birth rates.

Women make up nearly half of the workforce for the first time in history, which may mean there are more mothers than ever who have less time for their children. 

According to babycenter.com, people “will spend almost $10,000 on [a] baby’s first year.”

As a young student, that number seems insurmountable, especially if you find yourself pregnant and single. Dr. DiVerniero, assistant communication professor, expressed sympathy for students in that tough situation as she is also a millennial.

“I personally couldn’t imagine the weight of both the amount of work and the cost of feeding other people, when I could barely feed myself in college,” DiVerniero said. “Though I probably missed out on tax breaks that married people with children received.”

If millennial couples want to start families while attending college, they are much better off making a financial plan in advance.

“Financially my wife and I are in a pretty good spot,” said Braden White, a junior integrated studies major from St. George. “We planned [a baby] out financially and have saved up enough to cover the basic costs.”

It is also imperative for millennials to have some type of insurance if they wish to stay above the waters of debt during their first years of parenting.

“If there are any complications [with birth], our insurance will cover it,” White said.
 
Even after birth, millennials with children or those who are planning for children, may have difficulty budgeting finances as well as time.

“The hardest part is going to be balancing family time with work and school,” White said. “Financially, with ROTC paying tuition and us both having decent jobs we are good to go.”

For some, financial stress as well as other factors takes any appeal away from having children, especially for millennials. 

“I’ve never regretted my decision to not have [children], as hard as that seems to be for people to understand,”  DiVerniero said. “I used to lie and say I did because I didn’t understand I had a choice.  I love my job and my friends, and feel no absence in my life.”

However, not everyone who has no desire for children ends up childless. As we all know, surprise babies happen just as often as planned infants, which can be doubly stressful due to a constricted amount of time to plan. 

“I never thought I would have kids at 23 years old, and it was kind of an oops baby,” said Ryan Polatis, a junior biology major from St. George. “It was really terrifying at first, especially paying for doctor visits, the medical bills after Lenny was born, and the diapers. It just started to add up.”

Polatis said if he could have planned, he would have waited until he was 26 and in dental school to start a family.

Having children is obviously a life changing event. It especially changes the way a couple decides to budget not only time, but income. 

The best way to avoid an oops baby while remaining sexually active is to use contraceptive combined with the pull out method. The key word here is combined. Simply pulling out is not nearly effective if practiced without another form of contraception.

If you don’t use contraception, don’t be surprised if you end up pregnant. Not using birth control along with not saving for a baby puts you and your partner at a high risk for taking a turn down Broke Boulevard or Credit Card Debt Lane.

“I had to stop buying clothes for myself and would just buy things for my wife and baby,” Polatis said. “So that’s why I have a lot of hand-me-down clothes from my brother.”

Luckily, government assistance programs like Women, Infants, and Children can make a vital difference in a millennial marriage.

“It’s really expensive when they are first born,” Polatis said. “WIC helped a lot. They give checks on certain items to spend per month.”

However, it’s probably not a bad idea to take precautions in avoiding unplanned babies, because unless you have $10,000 laying around, it’s a rough financial road ahead. 

“I think like anything else, some people can handle this amount of stress, and others cannot,” DiVerniero said.

Babies are a beautiful creation, unmatched to any other. But if you’re not ready, or perhaps don’t want a commitment that big, think twice before practicing sex without birth control.