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Author Topic: Can you afford to raise a child?  (Read 1740 times)

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Offline TorchTopic starter

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Can you afford to raise a child?
« on: May 12, 2012, 07:15:10 PM »
Bundle of joy or money pit?

According to the latest report by the Department of Agriculture, it will take the tidy sum of $277,000 to raise a child born in 2010 from birth to age 18.

And no, that does not include the cost of a college education.


Offline AndyZ

Re: Can you afford to raise a child?
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2012, 12:41:13 AM »
I remember when a Calvin and Hobbes comic put it at $100,000 about twenty years or so ago.  (Granted that comics aren't foolproof but it's about as trustworthy as any other media in the modern day.)  I'm curious how much of it is new necessary costs and how much is money devaluation.

Offline BraveEarth

Re: Can you afford to raise a child?
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2012, 02:55:31 AM »
That's significantly less that I figure I was quoted about 5 years ago or so. That number was about 400,000 although I do believe that did account for college.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Can you afford to raise a child?
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2012, 11:46:37 AM »
That can't be right I know just in my family we have relatives earning under $50k a year as a couple and are have three children all seem well fed, happy, are getting a K-12 education and overall will likely be productive adults. Sure they might not have lots of frills and lose some opportunities but I would say two loving parents are the key here, and careful money management. The children all work and are expected to do so after they reach high school even if odd jobs or some sort of summer employment which is fair to expect up to that point they get a modest allowance.

Pretty typical from my experience.

Offline TorchTopic starter

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Re: Can you afford to raise a child?
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2012, 11:57:15 AM »
You have to remember that figure averages out to just over 15K a year, so yes, that figure is reasonably accurate for most Americans.

There will always be exceptions on either end of the scale.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Can you afford to raise a child?
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2012, 12:15:03 PM »
But they have three children using those figures they would have $5k left to live on for the parents. So seems a bit odd maybe in an ideal world but many families don't make enough using the $15k a year figure to raise any children but they do.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Can you afford to raise a child?
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2012, 01:12:05 PM »
With multiple children, certain things can be recycled.  Clothes, cribs, car seats, etc. - I think all five of us used the same crib (which was deemed unsafe by Consumer Reports by the time the little Oni came around), and I got hand-me-downs until... never mind, I still get the occasional hand-me-down.  So, you'd save a bit of money there.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Can you afford to raise a child?
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2012, 01:36:03 PM »
I wonder if that sum includes things like how much it costs to put each child through the public school system, how much new mothers get from programs like WIC, etc.

Offline TorchTopic starter

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Re: Can you afford to raise a child?
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2012, 02:11:53 PM »
Here's the report if anyone would like to wade through it.

One point I'd like to make is that this report takes into consideration every household expense - mortgage, utilities, taxes, transportation, food, insurance, clothing, health care...the works, not just child-specific expenses such as child-care and education. Different formulas were used to allocate percentages depending on the age of the child, family income (higher earning families spent more of their budget on their children), area of the country (the Northeast was the most expensive place to live, etc.) and other factors. The standard grouping was a two parent household with two children of different ages, both under the age of 17.

There are also separate sections of the report dealing with single-parent families, and families with more than two children. As far as I can tell, the report did not take into account any government subsidies that are given to families, like WIC.


Offline RubySlippers

Re: Can you afford to raise a child?
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2012, 06:13:42 PM »
Then why assume the child costs that much one can make the case if two parents have to have a house adding a child is actually not a significant burden on the household regarding housing, food, utilities and so forth save where the child is an added cost. Clothing of course and health care but education is government provided in my state Pre-K to some degree and K-12th grade for all children all the parents must come up with are supplies for the child each year a pretty small expense. This leaves transportation since the parents would likely have a care why count that if your talking mass transit its clearly a major expense. Out of the list the few that would be added expenses would be furniture, health care, food and clothing.

So I do question the number listed even if the norm for a two parent household with one child.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Can you afford to raise a child?
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2012, 06:17:56 PM »
Then why assume the child costs that much one can make the case if two parents have to have a house adding a child is actually not a significant burden on the household regarding housing, food, utilities and so forth save where the child is an added cost. Clothing of course and health care but education is government provided in my state Pre-K to some degree and K-12th grade for all children all the parents must come up with are supplies for the child each year a pretty small expense. This leaves transportation since the parents would likely have a care why count that if your talking mass transit its clearly a major expense. Out of the list the few that would be added expenses would be furniture, health care, food and clothing.

So I do question the number listed even if the norm for a two parent household with one child.

I question your specific expertise in the matter, not to mention your general expertise in the matter of money, raising children, or anything involving common sense.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Can you afford to raise a child?
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2012, 06:58:24 PM »
Just saying if your listing a child costing an additional cost to a household each of $277,000 I would assume using common sense that would be above and beyond the ordinary costs of the same household with two adults without the child. So if one assumes they need housing, a vehicle, utilities, food and other costs anyway is this number added to the household base costs for two persons or not?

If not then the number is inflated over the same period of eighteen years with two adults.

I will again note things like education during that period for the household excluding taxes would be very low provided by the government through High School and college or education after that is not a obligation for the adults raising them the child at eighteen no longer a dependent.

Its a fair view of the matter at hand that amount you have to admit is high and if the parents would spend much of the money on themselves anyway, is it then fair to include that?

Offline Trieste

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Re: Can you afford to raise a child?
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2012, 07:20:46 PM »
Fair to whom? To people raising a child? They already know how much it costs. To people considering raising a child? I don't think it's unfair to make a few people stop and say "Whoa, I can't afford that", because the point of the fact is that a lot of people have children who really can't afford them.

It would, in fact, be less fair to underestimate the cost of raising a child than to overestimate it. It's less fair to the potential parents, and less fair to the potential children.

And, finally, it doesn't matter if it's fair, because life isn't actually all that fair, and that's one of the more important lessons a parent can teach a child. Which brings me back to questioning where you have any expertise, any authority, or any grounding whatsoever to question a paper published on a) economics, which you clearly don't grasp from previous posts, and b) parenting, which you have also just proven yourself not to grasp.

I also question whether you stop and read the posts that you spew, the completely illogical and improbable 'solutions' that you place in this forum every time you open your browser, but that's not particularly a conversation for this forum. Or ever, since come to think of it, I don't want to have it.

Offline TorchTopic starter

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Re: Can you afford to raise a child?
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2012, 08:25:39 PM »
Then why assume the child costs that much one can make the case if two parents have to have a house adding a child is actually not a significant burden on the household regarding housing, food, utilities and so forth save where the child is an added cost.

If you had bothered to actually read the report, you would see that you are incorrect.

Quote
So I do question the number listed even if the norm for a two parent household with one child.

Your questioning is moot, since you obviously did not read the report.

Offline Iniquitous

Re: Can you afford to raise a child?
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2012, 09:33:21 AM »
Recycling definitely helps with costs - when I had my son I was lucky because there were two boys in the family (one toddler, one baby) so crib, changing table, clothes, baby shoes, etc were packed up and sent to me. Seems like I was getting a ups delivery every three months of little boy clothes that had been outgrown. My son certainly never lacked for clothes and the only time I bought him new clothes was when it was an outfit I wanted to get him.

The costs of him joining the family came from baby products (bath/shampoo/baby food/diapers/wipes/motrin/binkies/formula after I stopped breast feeding, the bag liners for the Playtex bottles), pediatrician visits, medication when he needed it, the move into an 2 bedroom apartment + the rent increase for the larger apartment, electricity going up for larger place, cost of life insurance on the baby.

When I had my daughter we had to buy clothes new (or at least new to us since I visited a LOT of yard sales/second hand stores and made a lot of her dresses myself)but that cost was offset by the fact my ex joined the military just before I became pregnant so doctor visits were free, housing and necessary utilities were free.

Family helped a lot as the kids aged - my mom is a pack rat and had saved the bedroom furniture from when my brother and I were kids so we only had to buy mattresses and linen as the kids grew. But there was the cost of school uniforms, school supplies, field trips, birthday parties/gifts, Christmas/Yule gifts, school lunches (for us was not as bad because I sent my kids to school with packed lunches so they just bought milk from the school).

Still, had I known exactly how much raising a child costs it would have definitely given me a pause on having one as early as I did. It never dawned on me things like school pictures, school dances, proms, class rings, graduation pictures, cap and gown, etc.

Offline TorchTopic starter

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Re: Can you afford to raise a child?
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2012, 10:55:23 AM »
I think we can all give individual examples of how to stretch our wallets when it comes to raising children, but the report clearly states many of the hidden costs that are understated in general.

This isn't a new phenomena, either. The first report of this kind was published in 1960, where the 18-year cost of raising a child was pegged at $25,229 ($185,856 in 2010 dollars).

I don't personally believe that numbers should dissuade anyone from choosing to be a parent if it is something they really want.  But no one should ever go into parenting thinking that raising a child for 18 long years is as simple as borrowing a hand-me-down crib and picking up some used OshKosh B'gosh. (Disclaimer: not addressing anyone in this thread, just commenting on general consensus thinking of the masses). Folks need to know what they are getting into because as Trieste stated, too many people have children when they truly cannot afford them.

For example, there are costs this report did not even address, mainly the economic cost of one parent choosing to put a career on hold to care for those children. There is a huge financial sacrifice to a women's (and more increasingly, a man's) earning power when one takes time out of the workforce to care for a child, and those costs can never be regained.

I don't mind relating that Mr. Torch and I were probably better financially prepared than most folks, and there were still things that smacked us across the face after the Demon Spawn came along and made us go "Gahh, we have to pay for that???!!!"

Offline Oniya

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Re: Can you afford to raise a child?
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2012, 11:46:51 AM »
Folks need to know what they are getting into because as Trieste stated, too many people have children when they truly cannot afford them.

Yes - the question is, will those people be the ones reading this report?  Mr. Oniya and I knew after we had the little Oni that we couldn't afford two of them (not always sure we can 'afford' this one), but neither of us had seen or even heard of the earlier reports of the cost.

Offline Aidonsious

Re: Can you afford to raise a child?
« Reply #17 on: June 14, 2012, 10:49:15 AM »
Bundle of joy or money pit?

According to the latest report by the Department of Agriculture, it will take the tidy sum of $277,000 to raise a child born in 2010 from birth to age 18.

And no, that does not include the cost of a college education.

My son cost over 25k his first year and we saved up 20k for him when we were planning to have a child. Did not expect to go through it within the first year. My son is a bundle of joy but because of his three month prematurity, cranial molding helmet not covered by insurance and all his type of therapies made it so we went through he mo ey quickly. I also had to quit my job to take care of him. Again a bundle of joy but money has gotten a lot tighter....a lot tighter...

Offline Serephino

Re: Can you afford to raise a child?
« Reply #18 on: June 14, 2012, 01:06:33 PM »
Just looking at the price of stuff in the baby aisle gives one a pretty good idea.  Just the diapers... holy crap....  A pack of 40 was like $20 at Walmart, but I remember being told a baby will go through that in a week, if not less. 

Then when I was a kid there was the before school shopping trip we took every year.  I always got a few new articles of clothing, plus the usual school supplies.  After that came school pictures and field trips, and getting more supplies as needed.  During the summer it was birthday parties.  Oh, and can't forget Christmas.  My mom once told me they went pretty deep into debt every year just so I wouldn't feel bad when other kids got a bunch of stuff and I didn't. 

I never got expensive name brand stuff growing up.  I didn't have any siblings to get hand-me-downs from, but I got stuff from thrift stores and yard sales sometimes.  Still, looking back, I wasn't cheap.  Hell, I'm still not cheap. 

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Can you afford to raise a child?
« Reply #19 on: June 14, 2012, 10:15:20 PM »
I remember seeing an article in which that claiming that no one can raise a single child.

Offline itsbeenfun2000

Re: Can you afford to raise a child?
« Reply #20 on: June 14, 2012, 10:43:50 PM »
Guys,

Can we keep the personal comments about other members to ourselves please.

Offline Caitlin

Re: Can you afford to raise a child?
« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2012, 07:14:44 AM »
Bundle of joy or money pit?

According to the latest report by the Department of Agriculture, it will take the tidy sum of $277,000 to raise a child born in 2010 from birth to age 18.

And no, that does not include the cost of a college education.


Geez... in euros that's about 1025 euros a month. I'm not sure what those kids all get in the USA though, maybe it's cheaper here, but with that amount of money I wouldn't be able to afford getting children no.

Offline Caitlin

Re: Can you afford to raise a child?
« Reply #22 on: June 15, 2012, 07:25:26 AM »
Come to think of it, I think that it probably is cheaper here. My dad made maybe 50% more income after tax, but I come from a family of 4 children. Though things were tight and financial worries for my parents were a common problem, we still made it through okay. We didn't get to go on vacation a whole lot, or get the latest of the latest stuff and I think that all of that is included in the report, so there is probably quite expenses that can also be saved out on.

I did decide that I wouldn't want to get more than 2 children at most and maybe just 1. In East Europe it's becoming very common that parents only raise 1 child these days due to the cost of raising children. In West Europe 2 children is still common, but I see this starting to shift as well. I do know that it's pretty much impossible to support a family on just the income of 1 person. These days both adults need to work to make ends meet.

Offline Lilias

Re: Can you afford to raise a child?
« Reply #23 on: June 15, 2012, 08:27:19 AM »
Geez... in euros that's about 1025 euros a month. I'm not sure what those kids all get in the USA though, maybe it's cheaper here, but with that amount of money I wouldn't be able to afford getting children no.

I assume a very sizable chunk of that expense goes into healthcare and preschool daycare, both of which in the US are wholly privatised, while in Europe they tend to be either provided or heavily subsidised by the state.

Offline jouzinka

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Re: Can you afford to raise a child?
« Reply #24 on: June 15, 2012, 05:37:28 PM »
I think that it all boils down to an old saying: One couple of parents can support 15 children, but 15 children can't support one couple of parents.

Parents will _always_ make do, no matter where they live or what they do, they will always find a way to have their children fed.

Also, as with everything average, the lower numbers are being pulled up considerably by the higher numbers. For example, two thirds of people in my country don't reach the average wage by far. I would assume it would be the same with these child costs. Most people will be able to do with considerably less.

Admittedly, I did not read the study, so maybe my post is out of line.

The sum of 1025 per month does sound horrid. Even if things like health or child care _are_ largely provided by state, that money still has to be paid from some source. It helps to put things to perspective.