Updated on 06.06.11

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Three Children Edition

Trent Hamm

We have three children. My parents had three children. My wife’s parents had three children. One of my wife’s closest friends is about to have her third child. My oldest brother has three children. My wife’s aunt has three children. My wife’s first cousin will shortly have three children.

Why do so many people in our lives have three children? Three is the magic number, I guess.

When Good Personal Finance Practices Go Too Far It can be just as easy to overdo it as it is to “under-do” it when it comes to personal finance. (@ len penzo)

Shooting Lessons: 4 Ways to Make Things Happen Great tactics for getting over that little hump, whatever it might be. (@ pick the brain)

Cultivate Your Passions In other words, if you’re passionate about something, invest the time to learn about it and enjoy it in a deeper way, as this will last with you. (@ happiness project)

The Illusion of Control I think the idea of control comes from simply being aware of a particular set of events and knowing how to solve most immediate problems with regard to those events. (@ zen habits)

Comparing a Full Time Job to Self-Employment Self-employment isn’t the obvious choice here. You have to have serious self-motivation to make it work. (@ digerati life)

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  1. For us, it took the third kid to get my wife that girl! We probably would have gone to 4 Max…or adopted. We love the boys; but having the girl rounded out the family. If we had a boy and a girl initially…well, may have done #3 anyway, but wasn’t a “mandate”.

    3 is a nice number but a bit busy. Definitely harder than 2 by more than the “50%” it might seem. You lose that man coverage, no it’s zone. And when the three have something at the same time, someone has to miss out or you’ve got to employ help.

    But in the end, that’s 3 special people in our lives for life! If you can swing it, you won’t regret it!

  2. Andrew says:

    3 is one of those “magical” numbers that appear throughout human history–like 7, 12, and 40.

    Also, 3 faces were more than enough for Eve ! (Sybil had 16, but that’s a different story)

  3. Katie says:

    That’s funny – in my neighborhood and family growing up, it was 2 kids. I wonder if it’s one of those things were people are subtly influenced by the people around them.

  4. getagrip says:

    We were considering four children. Then we had three. That was enough for both of us.

    I didn’t like the Zenhabits article on the illusion of control which seemed more a dig at planning ahead. I feel the points raised were more about being obsessive about controlling things. But if you sit and let life push you around, you pretty much go nowhere, or in the case of the fish mentioned, you don’t live very long before you get eaten. You have to take actions, if only to discover and enjoy your passions. Hence you control your actions and reactions even if you don’t control everything around you.

    I’ve planned things that have gone just as planned and turned out just as I expected, or sometimes better than expected. I’ve got a degree, I got a good paying career with that degree, go figure it worked as planned. Now did I get obsessive that I had to work in X field doing Y work that my degree qualified me for, no. But neither did I sit around for years waiting for life to show me my one and only “true” career that my degree qualified me for. Either extreme is not a good position to take.

    Similarly you may not exercise complete “control” over your child’s every action, but that doesn’t mean you let them go around pulling fire alarms and stealing from other kids. It also doesn’t mean you don’t find ways to impart your values and your ideals into their upbringing.

    Yeah life happens, and you have to roll with it and adjust but that shouldn’t mean you don’t plan for the future you’re projecting today. I could be disabled or dead in a car accident tomorrow, my child could drop out of college, the stock market could crash again, etc. But not laying out some planning leads to not having disability insurance and a will in place, not saving for the kids education, and not saving for your own retirement.

    I guess the whole “just go with the flow” and “down with planning” aspect of the article left a sour taste in my mouth. I have much more fun with a mix, like when we went to Disney and planned on two things that were must do’s in each park on a given day, then everything else was as it came.

  5. Telephus44 says:

    While I was pregnant with our only child, we saw a couple with three kids at our local ice cream stand. The wife was dealing with one, the husband the other, and their were arguing about who was going to go get the third (all 3 kids were running around, excited about the ice cream – not terrible misbehavior, just the kind of running around excitement that toddlers have) – and at that very moment, we decided we would never have 3 kids since they would outnumber us.

  6. sharon says:

    You were smart to have kids while relatively young.

    Sometimes I see comments from people who are waiting to have kids until they have finances in order, and I think: If you really want kids, don’t wait (unless you’re in your early 20’s or–of course!–younger). By the time you have everything in order, it may be too late.

  7. deRuiter says:

    Three’s a nice number. You’re replacing yourselves in the life cycle, and have one more for a childless person. If the middle class doesn’t have three or more children there won’t be anyone left to support the non workers who are breeding with such enthusiasm generously supported by the American welfare system.

  8. marta says:

    Seriously, deRuiter, do you have to turn every comment into a rant about the American welfare system?

  9. Kate says:

    #7: such bitterness–brings to mind the quote “there’s a time and a place for everything.” Apparently rants against welfare are all the time and everywhere for some.
    Trent, just realize with three children that the third child just doesn’t get as much as the first two. The baby book isn’t as full, the homework doesn’t get examined as fully, you might forget to pick them up occasionally, etc. It makes third children stronger (I have three children and I am a third child :o).

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