COMMENTARY | A recent article suggested that middle-income families could expect to pay upwards of $235,000 for a child born in the year 2011. That is an increase of 3.5% from the year before. In other words, having children is not exactly the best business transaction that a family can make. They are an ongoing expense that doesn't exactly produce revenue. However, having kids isn't about business. It is about something much deeper, and much more profound. Could I go broke raising my children? Absolutely. If so, it will be worth every penny.
Given the fact that I have three children, I am looking at a bill of somewhere in neighborhood of $750,000. If, hypothetically, I decide to send my children to private school, that amount could top a cool million. Obviously that bill doesn't come all at once, but sometimes it feels like the bills never end. Having kids is about a constant stream of co-pays, new shoes, school supplies and household goods. When it comes to various kid expenses, there is rarely a group discount.
And then there is college
That $235,000 estimate only covers the first 17-18 years. If you want to send your child to college, you can add quite a bit more in terms of funding. Saving for college adds an entirely new dimension. However, a family like ours is serious about education, so we make regular monthly contributions to the college funds. In the long run, higher education is worth it in terms of career and personal development. Would it be nice to have more cash sometimes? Sure. However, having kids is about making a serious commitment and seeing it through.
We signed up for this
You can certainly wonder what you might spend your money on if the kids weren't there, but when you have children there isn't much point thinking about such things. Besides, we made this decision, and having children is too much of a blessing to worry about the cost. I can see where people could get a bit depressed looking at that kind of dollar figure. However, every person that has a child made the decision to put him or herself in that position. We signed up for this, so no excuses. Why worry about the cost? Kids are worth it.
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