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What is the financial cost of raising a child?

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Are you or someone you know counting the costs of raising a child? What’s it going to cost you, and should you care?

With multiple priorities and demands on our time, the increasing costs of living the lifestyle we want to live, and deep concerns about the kind of world we are bringing our kids into, it’s no wonder more and more people are baulking at the decision to have children. Now if you could measure the financial investment required as well, would that create a reason or an excuse to validate your decision?

This article is inspired by a message shared with me recently about the costs of raising children, and ideas about the impact on personal finances and the world at large. For whatever reason I’ve struggled in the past to conclude what meaningful post I could start with here – well this message was so meaningful to me, I researched it, updated and translated it, and now I feel compelled to share the result with you.

What is the financial cost of raising a child?

Well last year the US government released a report after calculating the average cost of raising a child from birth to 18 years of age. The report (by the Department of Agriculture) concluded this cost on average, was $245,340 in 2014.

Or if you like, that’s £162,000 or €225,000 or AUD$ 333,000, for a middle income family.

Of course those figures don’t even touch college or University fees, extra tuition or perhaps holidays overseas! Some might think it’s not good financial advice to have kids! But let’s take a look at it. After all, I should be able to analyse this a little for you.

Breaking it down a little, $245,000 also translates into $13,000 per year, or $37 per day. Or further still, it translates to just over $1.50 per hour.

So, what do you get for your $1.50 per hour?

Well first of all you get naming rights. You get to choose whatever first, middle, and sometimes last name (with some limitations) for every child you have! This is a rare enough opportunity in itself. However there are many more intangibles that arrive from birth, for instance you get:

A little hand to hold (sometimes covered with chocolate or jelly)

A partner for blowing bubbles and flying kites

Giggles under the covers, perhaps every night

Endless wonder about the seasons, stones and rocks, ants, clouds, and warm cookies.

Butterfly kisses;

And;

More love than your heart can hold. You just might get a glimpse of a little bit of your God, every day.

For $1.50 per hour you never have to grow up. You get to finger-paint whenever you want, play hide-and-seek, chase butterflies or fireflies, have tickling competitions, and laugh yourself silly with someone no matter what the boss said or how your stocks performed that day.

You also have an excuse to keep reading the adventures of Piglet and Pooh, and hundreds of other bedtime stories and fables, to watch Saturday morning cartoons or Disney movies, to skip stones across the water at the beach, to make a wish when you see a shooting star; and,

You get to never stop believing in Santa Claus.

Considering all this, in my expert opinion for $245,000 there could be no possible greater return for your investment, or ‘bang for your buck’.

You get to be a hero, just for:

.. retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof,

.. taking the training wheels off a bike;

… removing a splinter, or

simply filling a paddle pool or wading pool, in summer.

You get a front row seat in history to witness your child’s first step, first word,first day at school; and then … first bra, first date, and first time behind the wheel.

You get to be immortal. You get another branch added to your family tree, and if you’re lucky, a longer list of limbs in that tree called grandchildren and great grandchildren. You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications, and human sexuality that no school or college can match.

In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there just under God. You have all the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away the monsters from under the bed or in the wardrobe, patch a broken heart ……. and love them without limits.

One day they will be like you, learning to love without counting the cost.

Quite a deal for the price, isn’t it ?

Invest wisely. Feel free to add your comment or reflections if you can relate!

Have a Merry Christmas.

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