Plenty of research has been done into what the ideal number of children is for a family, but a tried-and-true answer is difficult to come by. Ultimately, it comes down to you and your family, and how the effects of a certain number of children, be they physical, psychological, or even financial, will play into your lives. How do you weigh the risks and benefits? Here are a few things to consider.

How will it affect you?

One of the greatest factors in determining how your chosen number of children will affect you personally is by weighing the impacts on your health and happiness. Typically, a new child will bring its parents joy, and continue to do so throughout life: imagine the feeling of holding your baby or watching your teen receive a diploma. But there’s also plenty of stress involved in the tiring process of parenting. And, of course, there’s the effect of pregnancy and childcare on your health, both mental and physical. While most second and subsequent pregnancies are easier than those before, it’s still a momentous experience for your body to endure.

How will it affect your relationship?

The number of children you have will naturally impact your relationship with your partner. This is particularly striking in the jump from no children to your first, as you move from focusing your attention and affection on your significant other to splitting it between them and your child or children. Consider your partner’s thoughts on the optimal number of children for your family, but keep in mind the effects each child will have on the relationship the two of you share as well.

How will it affect your wallet?

Let’s face it: kids are expensive. With each child, costs rise. Healthcare costs alone, especially in the United States, are astronomical, and this goes beyond the costs when little Jimmy breaks his arm. You can’t forget about each child’s mental health, too. Research the costs of child therapy in your area if you aren’t already familiar; whether your son or daughter faces mental health issues or would just benefit from speaking with mental health professionals, it’s a great resource, assuming you can afford it. Of course, more kids doesn’t always translate to a significant financial strain—keep in mind any hand-me-downs you can pass on to younger siblings, for example.

How will it affect your children?

If you want one or more children, they’ll be directly influenced by that decision. An only child may get your undivided attention, but you run the risks of spoiling them or making them feel pressure to succeed as your “only hope.” Multiple children benefit from increased social skills and a built-in friend in their brothers or sisters, but also contend with sibling rivalries. If you already have a child and they’re old enough, talk to them about their preferences.

How will it affect your future?

The decision to have a certain number of children will impact you all for a lifetime. As you age, an only child will feel the brunt of the efforts required to care for you or your partner, especially if you deal with any health conditions. In the case of siblings, that emotional labor can be spread amongst them, not to mention the benefit of having multiple children who you can call in case of an emergency or just to chat.

Compare life insurance policies and providers: How will your coverage provide for your children should anything happen to you? When you pass on, you don’t want your children to be left with a hefty bill for your funeral and the final disposition—something that’s even more critical to consider when you’ve got only one child. Compare life insurance with iSelect to ensure that your child or children are taken care of, no matter what.

Whether you have one child, half a dozen, or opt to have none, deciding how many kids you should have is an important decision. After all, it will quite literally change your life, as well as the lives of those around you. Compare the effects of your desired number of children on you, your partner, your current children, and on various aspects of your life—both now and in the future—to have the happiest family possible, with the optimal number of children for you.