Lifetime Cost Of Having A Child – Some parents become overwhelmed when they calculator the cost of having a child over their lifetime. Raising kids is an expensive undertaking, and most parents are never ready put to money aside because they are too busy with life. Of course, no one can discount the rich rewards that parenting promises.
After all, we are strongly programmed to procreate and extend our lineage. But in the uncertain economic times in which we now live, when not only financial markets but even the very nature of our ecosystem is in serious crisis, we should seriously reconsider whether or not having children is the best idea.
Like all major decisions, we should submit raising children to a rigorous, long-term cost-benefit analysis. This means not only taking into account considerations like how much we’ll be spending on diapers, but we should also investigate both hidden and overt costs of raising children in the long term.
According to a 2009 study published by the USDA’s Center for Nutritional Policy and Promotion, the lifetime cost of raising a child in a milddle-income family is 22% higher now than it was in 1960. For a family of two, the average now spent on raising a child till she is 17 years old is a whopping $286,050. This figure represents only the costs of raising a single child and also does not include the most substantial price a parent will pay when their child is off to college.
The figure released by the USDA also does not take into account opportunity costs. Many new parents, particularly mothers, will either bow out of the job market completely or will switch to work which is more flexible, but less well-paid. This trend will is particularly marked in the first few years of a child’s life, meaning parents can stand to lose hundreds of thousands more.
Of course, it is somewhat unreasonable to think of having children only in financial terms. The joy of raising children may very well outweigh the costs that children incur. At the same time, there is also a case to be made for waiting several years before having children, giving parents time to save and invest.
As has been shown, planning children is not just a matter of being emotionally ready, of simply listening and paying heed to the proverbial biological clock. In our day and age, deciding to have children could be one of the most costly decisions we will ever make.