Have you ever had a conversation about how much it actually costs to raise a child? To be honest, I am not sure many of us have ever sat down to either do the calculations or discuss total expenditures ahead of conception. At least I know I didn’t – not before any of the three of my children.
We take the time to do these projections when we are starting a business right? (Well I at least hope so, if you have that entrepreneurial itch.) You may evaluate your current savings, projected income or revenue, sales, anticipated growth and a slew of other line items prior to giving the green light. Truth be told, whether your children are planned or unplanned, or born into a marriage or single household, the cost to raising them is unavoidable. As parents we manage day to day once that bountiful blessing makes his appearance, but what if you knew the approximate total cost it would take to comfortably raise a child from birth to the end of high school, prior to you conceiving? How would that change your preparation? Would it change anything at all?
Personally, I wish that I had paid attention to the available information not to derail me from having a family, but instead to use as a guidepost for decision making regarding sources of income, my career, educational pursuits, and where I decided to live. When we become intentional about our whole lives it becomes a lot easier to stay on the course to reaching our long term goals.
One of my main intentions with Money Issues is to never take for granted or assume that any of us know or have access to the information that seems so readily available.
Therefore, let’s just get straight to the point.
According to CNN Money, the cost of raising a child in the US skyrocketed from 2000 to 2010; from $165,630 to $225,000 for the average middle class family. The most recent report from USDA says the average cost is $233,610 in a married, two parent income home.
Are you still breathing? Blink twice if you can hear me… You need to know that this number does not include college assumptions. Using myself as an example – I would need to consider a projected expense of $675,000 from birth to eighteen years old (crying as I am typing).
This blog post is not meant by any means to deter you from starting a family or deflate your confidence in your ability to provide for your children. Instead my hope is that you feel empowered with the necessary information to build your life on a solid foundation of preparation.
So, where do we go from here?
We start planning. Regardless of what stage of life you are in.
Not a parent yet? Give heavy consideration to your choices in relationship building, career and educational advancement. Is where you are currently residing ideal for raising a family?
Already taken the plunge? (that means one or more kids). Sit down and map out a solid strategy of saving and investing based off of your current income. You cannot do this alone. Make it your business to incorporate professionals into your planning.
Empty nester? Talk to your children about the true costs of what it took to raise them before you start making a short list of those endearing grandparent names – glamaw, mimi, pa, pop pop.
The most important thing to remember is that your children are your greatest investment. Don’t short change the outcome by cutting corners. Make informed decisions.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture came up with a link that provides a personalized estimate of what your costs may be.
Signing off to move to Montana.
Let’s Keep Doing the Work.
Photo Source: Freepik