Age: Harvard study suggests older fathers have smarter, longer-living children

Most men wonder about the right age to start a family, if at all. If you are planning on having children, do they benefit most when born to youthful parents who are still dealing with their own emerging-adulthood struggles? Or would they be better off with older parents who have not only been around the block a few times, but have also weathered and surmounted a handful of crises?

Who better to ask than experienced parents themselves?

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco did just that as part of a 2012 study confined to 107 people, the majority of whom were married, white, and with above-average incomes. Included were 15 women who had used in vitro fertilization to conceive their first baby when the woman was older than 40.

The researchers wrote, "A majority of women and men in the study believed that childbearing later in life resulted in advantages for themselves and their families.”

The main reason: 72 percent of women and 57 percent of men in the study said that being more emotionally mature was a clear advantage.

Said one dad, "I know that I’m way more self-aware than I was 20 years ago. I feel like I’m in a better position to communicate better with my child and help them more in life, and I understand how to be a supportive, encouraging parent."

Several other studies have championed the advantages to children and their older parents:

  • A 2017 study, published in the journal Translational Psychiatry, revealed that your kid stands a good chance of becoming a brainiac. Researchers from both the U.S. and the U.K. studied 15,000 sets of twins to measure their intelligence at age 12. Most notably, it turned out that kids born to older dads are likely to have a high I.Q as well as a knack for focusing on their interests.

  • Children of older parents might enjoy longer lives themselves, said a 2012 Harvard University study, which noted that aging sperm could transmit longer telomeres, or the very ends of chromosomes, that guard DNA – a finding that was connected to longevity in two generations of offspring.

  • The little ones wind up leading healthier lives, according to a sizeable 2012 study published in the British Medical Journal. Researchers discovered that kids up to the age of 5 with older moms experienced fewer emotional and social dilemmas as well as fewer accidental injuries. And they also tended to make better progress in the area of language development.

  • Older mothers tend to experience fewer 'Mommy Meltdowns', a 2016 Danish study found. They were better able to set boundaries with their children, and were also considered less likely to scream at or severely punish them. As a result, their children experienced fewer social, emotional, and behavioral issues as they grew up.

  • And while conventional wisdom might suggest that women who have children later in life stand to lose more of their income-producing years, a 2016 Danish study said that simply wasn’t the case. In fact, women who initially gave birth when they were under the age of 25 lost more income over their working lives; women who first had kids over the age of 31 enjoyed monetary gains.

Why not choose to enjoy the best of both paths?

Whether you decide to have children now or a few years down the road, what matters most is to take action early in order to secure the options and likeliest outcomes that are best for you and your partner. Which will also hopefully be best for your children.

Those who want to give their children some of the benefits of their own hard-won maturity would be wise to consider preserving assets. You can start doing that very early in your chronological development, and then as you mature and know the time is right to conceive, you can take advantage of using healthier and younger assets of your own.