Really this is just reporting the cost of a person. If you take amount of your
annual income that does not go into savings, divide it by the number of people
in your family and then times by 18, it's not too far off. Of course that
does suggest that a couple could live in comfort on around 24,000 a year and a
single person around 12,000 a year, which just isn't true.
There is a big difference between how much it would cost to feed, clothe,
shelter and educate a child, and how much the average parent will spend on a
child. It appears that these figures track the latter. If you're
factoring in those who spend inordinate amounts on individualized child care,
summer camps, a separate bedroom and bathroom or each child, private education,
etc. one can spend a truly limitless amount on children. But is that what it
really costs? This figure gives us an average expense of $14,181 per year, per
child. Many with more than one or two children know that figure is severely,
and unnecessarily, bloated. These kinds of figures only perpetuate the idea
that children are incredibly expensive. Like a car, you can get yourself back
and forth to work with a ten-year old Corolla. As long as we keep reminding
ourselves that the neighbors have a 500 series BMW, our own spending is likely
to creep upward.
And yet those of us who refuse to raise a family in poverty are accused of being
selfish.@ mother8I appreciate your comment, but remember
that this article is about the cost of raising a child born in 2013. All of your
kids were born 20+ years ago, when the costs were much lower. I'm not
saying you had it easy, but newer parents are going to find it much harder to
manage finances.There are definitely ways you can cut, as you
suggested (though food is going up so much that cooking from scratch has become
more prohibitive). But you need to remember the value of time. Sometimes the
"free" option takes more time, which is an opportunity cost.
Furthermore, low-cost options are become scarcer. For example, libraries are
closing or cutting services all over the nation. Wages for most people are
stagnating while inflation climbs. Entry-level jobs are disappearing. Will they
even exist in 16 years when Baby can start work? College tuition and related
expenses are climbing dramatically even though graduates struggle to find work.
Will Baby even be able to afford to go to college in 18 years? Don't know.
The assumptions in these studies are always a little simplistic and thus the
studies are better viewed as results of a mathematical formula than a real
measure of actual cost. Housing is a good example. The study says
housing is about 30% of the $240K average cost or $72K. That's more than
$4K a year on housing. However, a couple with a house or apartment doesn't
have their mortgage or rent payment increase when they have a child. How much
of that $5K is true incremental, out of pocket cost as opposed to a pro-rata
allocation of a housing cost that didn't change at all? In many cases, the
housing cost is probably largely overstated. The "sticker
shock" reaction engendered by these studies is largely unwarranted.
It doesn't cost near this much to raise a child. There are many ways to
cut down the costs by yard saling, shopping at the DI, making your food from
scratch and doing family activities that are free. We've raised a very
large family, all 6 that have graduated from high school have attended college,
and the last ones have college plans once they graduate. We are also the
parents of a physician. Our kids were always expected to get jobs when were
were old enough, and we were unable to help them very much in college so they
had to work their way through. Don't fall for these government statistics.
And it will easily be the best $240,000 I ever spend.
Food for thought: the quantity of money spent on a child doesn't
necessarily equate to the quality of nurturing a child.