The Price Of A Child

18 Replies
jeanette - May 6

The government recently calculated the cost of raising child from birth to 18 and came up with $160,140 for a middle income family. Talk about sticker shock. That doesn't even touch college tuition. For those with kids, that figure leads to wild fantasies about all the things we could have bought, all the places we could have traveled, all the money we could have banked if not for (insert child's name here). For others, that number might confirm the decision to remain childless. But $160,140 isn't so bad if you break it down. It translates into $8,896.66 a year, $741.38 a month or $171.08 a week. That's a mere $24.44 a day. Just over a dollar an hour. Still, you might think the best financial advice says don't have children if you want to be rich. It's just the opposite. There's no way to put a price tag on: **Feeling a new life move for the first time and seeing the bump of a knee rippling across your skin. **Having someone cry, "It's a boy!" or shout, "It's a girl!" then hearing the baby wail and knowing all that matters is it's healthy. **Counting all 10 fingers and toes for the first time. **Feeling the warmth of fat cheeks against your br___t. **Cupping an entire head in the palm of your hand. **Making out da da or ma ma from all the cooing and gurgling.--- What do you get for your $160,140? Naming rights. First, middle and last. Glimpses of God every day. Giggles under the covers every night. More love than your heart can hold. Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs. Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds and warm cookies. A hand to hold, usually covered with jam. A partner for blowing bubbles, flying kites, building sand castles and skipping down the sidewalk in the pouring rain. Someone to laugh yourself silly with no matter what the boss said or how your stocks performed that day. For $160,140, You never have to grow up. You get to finger paint, carve pumpkins, play hide-and-seek, catch lightning bugs and never stop believing in Santa Claus. You have an excuse to keep reading the adventures of Piglet and Pooh, watching Saturday morning cartoons, going to Disney movies and wishing on stars. You get to frame rainbows, hearts and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect spray painted noodle wreaths for Christmas, hand prints set in clay for Mother's Day and cards with backward letters for Father's Day. For $160,140, there's no greater bang for your buck. You get to be a hero just for retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof, taking the training wheels off the bike, removing a sliver, filling the wading pool, coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs and coaching a baseball team that never wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless. You get a front row seat to history to witness the first step, first word, first bra, first date, 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 long list of limbs in your obituary called grandchildren. You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications and human s_xuality no college can match. In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there with God. You have the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away monsters under the bed, patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them forever and love them without limits, so one day they will, like you, love without counting the cost....


Lin - May 6

When a woman decides not to have a child, money is usually the last factor in making that decision.


Amber #2 - May 6

Oh jeanette...I absolutely LOVED that and every word is so true! There is no price tag put on the overwhelming amount of happiness and joy you receive from having a child. There is no other experience like it!!


Jenny - May 6

Very true, the love and youth will last forever! I loved every bit of what you wrote.


Lin - May 6

Every word is definitely very true, except the part about people who don't have children being "childless." That word implies that there's something missing in their lives. The rest is, of course, quite sweet.


LN030905 - May 6

That makes me wanna a. get a job and b. have a baby even more!! LOL!! :)~ Very cute, I loved it!


lauren h - May 7

I agree with Jeanette!


Keeli - May 7

Well, I'm currently childless, and I'm not offended by it. But the word does make me sad because I want a child so badly. Now back to the topic.. dh and I don't have a lot of money. We are older and spent our money on traveling and such, so we don't have a lot of savings. When we finally have a child we will have to give up a lot of our luxuries, but it will be worth every penny! ;o) Aside from the cost of actually having a child, we have spent mucho bucks just trying to have a child - we did the IUIs and drugs for a while. And if not pg by this summer we will likely have to shell out a whole lot more to adopt. After all of that, I think we are already in the red with a child!


Amber #2 - May 7

Awww Keeli, your story made me sad! I really hope that you get blessed with a child one day whether it be your own or an adopted child! Good luck in your journey! I really wish you all the best!


Keeli - May 7

Thanks Amber for your kind words. DH and I have been at this for over 2 year. I used to let it all get to me, but now we have decided to be happy with whatever life gives us. Lin is a nut! Honestly, I keep coming back to certain threads on this board just to see what she is going to say next! Everyone on this board has their own personality, and Lin is one of those with a special talent to spark a fire in the sweetest people. BTW, there is a BIG difference between the word childless and the word nigger!


lauren h - May 7

Yeah, keeli there definitely is!


Amber #2 - May 7

Lauren, this is completely off the subject but I was looking at your myspace earlier and looked at your husband's and I've kept it on his page forever b/c I love the song "Redneck Yacht Club", lol. It's actually one of my hubby's favorite songs and it is SOOOOO fitting for him, lol!!! Just thought I'd let ya know that, lol!


lauren h - May 8

Amber I am gonna leave you a message on Wanna Wait!!!!


Lin - May 8

San_dee, it wasn't really the term childless alone that annoyed me but that combined with the suggestion that a woman who chooses not to have kids would do so with something so pointless as money as the primary factor in making that decision. The latter suggestion is just insulting, as it trivializes the choice. The women I've known who didn't want kids have much more valid reasons for why they don't than something as silly as money. I guess I can just relate to their point of view, because my own decision to have children wasn't an obvious one. In fact, I never thought I would until I met my husband. I think it's pretty funny that these ladies prefer to a__sume the opposite - that I'm in agony over not being pregnant yet. Impatient yes, because once I make a decision to do something I'd like to have it over and done with, but in mental turmoil over it? Nope. In fact, I chose not to even try this month. Anyway, don't get me wrong. Like I said above, the post was a sweet one. I was just pointing out the offensiveness of the choice of words and not trying to take away from the meaning of the original post. My anti-fan club did that when they just immediately a__sumed that the only point in what I said was to be mean and blew it all out of proportion. Thanks very much, San_dee, for having an actual discussion instead of just throwing insults like the children above.


San_dee - May 8

Your welcome Lin!! Like i said earlier just throwing in my 2 cents :-D. Good luck with conceiving


Lin - May 8

Good luck to you, too!


Amber #2 - May 8

Hey I found this article on the front page of MSN and found it very interesting since we were just talking about this topic a few days ago!! It states that the average costs for a baby during the first year can reach between $9,000 - $11,000 a year. Well I have a 4 year old child and his daycare expenses alone $7,384.00. I never calculated how much everything was during the first year but I know it was much more than I pay now! Just some interesting information for any of you whom are interested. According to a recent study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it costs a middle-income family $250,000 to raise a child from birth to age 17. And that doesn't include the cost of a college education. In the first year alone, the costs of a baby can reach between $9,000 and $11,000, and most new and expectant parents don't realize the size of the financial burden they are taking on. "Most people are more focused on the schedule disruptions and the exhaustion they will be facing," says Brette McWhorter Sember, a retired lawyer and author of "Your Practical Pregnancy Planner: Everything You Need to Know About the Financial and Legal Aspects of Preparing for Your New Baby." So where does the money go? Here are the top nine financial shocks that parents face when they add a child to their family. 1. Medical expenses: Medical care for mother and child is a potentially significant expense facing new parents. The cost of delivering a new baby can range from $5,000 to $8,000 for a v____al delivery to more than $12,000 for a cesarean delivery. If there are complications, those costs can increase dramatically. Even if your child is in perfect health, new babies require numerous well-visit checkups and immunizations. "If you don't have insurance or have a rather pricey co-pay, you'll be shocked at how much it costs every time you take your baby to the doctor for shots, well-care and sick visits," says Jeannette Moninger, the mother of twin boys in Greenwood, Ind. Be sure to check the terms of your health insurance coverage carefully so that there are no surprises when it comes to who is responsible for paying for what portions of your and your baby's medical care. Because many health plans penalize you for using doctors that aren't on the health plan's approved list, confirm that your obstetrician (including the hospital at which you plan to deliver) and pediatrician are "in network." An often overlooked expense is the additional cost to add a child to your health insurance. After reviewing your health insurance coverage, check to see if your employer offers a health care flexible spending account. These accounts can significantly reduce the burden of out-of-pocket medical expenses by allowing you to pay for qualifying expenses with pretax dollars. 2. Maternity leave: Although most short-term disability insurance policies cover the time Mom is out of work due to recovery from child birth (or complications during pregnancy), the average policy only pays a portion of your gross income for a set number of weeks (usually four to eight) after birth. If your maternity leave extends beyond the stipulated time, or if Dad decides to take advantage of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), it will be at no pay unless you use vacation or sick leave. To cover the cost of that lost income, Deborah A. Wilburn, author of "For Richer, Not Poorer: The Newlyweds' Financial Survival Guide," suggests some advance planning. "Couples should try saving one of their salaries for several months leading up to the delivery date," says Wilburn. 3. Child care: If both parents work outside of the home, they need to be prepared for probably the biggest financial shock facing new parents -- the cost of child care. Depending upon where you live, child care expenses can range from $5,000 per year for family day care to more than $20,000 per year for a live-out nanny. Check out day care options during the pregnancy and choose one that you are comfortable with and that you can afford. Check with your employer to see if they offer a dependent-care spending account. Similar to health care flexible spending accounts, these accounts enable you to pay for qualifying child care expenses with pretax dollars. You may also be able to claim a child care credit on your federal income tax return, although, if available, a dependent-care spending account is often more advantageous financially. 4. Diapers and wipes: The average baby goes through 10 diapers a day. If you use disposable diapers, that'll cost you about $2,000 by the time your little one is potty-trained! The cost of cleaning their little bottom with a wet wipe or two at each diaper change will add about $100 to your monthly grocery bill. Even cloth diapers can be expensive if you use a diaper service. To save money in this area, you can use cloth diapers and launder them yourself. Jennifer Herrin of Tulsa, Okla., found it easy to use cloth diapers with her children. "These days you can buy them with Velcro or snaps and elasticized leg openings so they fit just as snugly as the expensive disposable diapers," Herrin says. She washed them at home and saved a bundle. 5. Formula and/or b___st-feeding expenses: The cost of formula shocks just about every new parent. The general rule of thumb is that a baby needs about 2.5 ounces of formula per pound of body weight per day. Breast-feeding can certainly minimize that expense, but there are some hidden costs a__sociated with b___stfed babies. For example, you may need to purchase or rent a b___st pump, an essential for moms who work outside the home. Nursing bras, b___st pads, nursing tops, lanolin ointment and a b___st-feeding pillow are also common expenditures. 6. Baby gear: Many new parents don't realize just how much "baby gear" is required to care for and entertain an infant. Crib? Changing table? Rocker or glider? Car seat? Stroller? Baby swing? Monitor? Bouncer seat? Doorway jumper? Most of these items, with the exception of a car seat, can be purchased used. "Baby furniture, such as a changing table, gets very little wear and tear and can be purchased second-hand," advises Wilburn. 7. Clothing and shoes: Lisa Collier Cool of Pelham, N.Y., was surprised by how much she spent just dressing her children. "Babies outgrow clothing at an amazing rate, so they need a new wardrobe every few months," Collier Cool says. "Plus, they never get to wear some of the gifts you get because by the time they get to be the right size, it's the wrong season for the clothes!" Shopping at consignment stores and yard sales or swapping baby clothes with friends can save a lot of money. Buying clothes on sale at the end of the season (in a larger size so your child can wear the clothes next year) also helps cut expenses. 8. Baby food: Once babies reach 4 to 6 months of age, they start eating baby food in addition to drinking b___st milk or formula. Although it can be time consuming, puréeing your own food rather than buying baby food in jars can be a money-saver. 9. Life insurance premiums and attorney fees: Wilburn advises couples to review their life insurance policies and increase them so that each spouse has adequate funds to raise each child to age 21, should something happen to one of them. "In addition, they should have wills written, naming a guardian for the baby," Wilburn says. "If there is no will and the two of you perish together, do you want a judge to decide who will raise your child without the benefit of your opinion?" There's no way to get around the attorney's fees for setting up a will and taking care of your insurance and estate planning, but doing some comparison shopping may help. Ask friends and family members who they used and find legal and financial representation that is reasonably priced. There's no doubt about it, having a baby is expensive. McWhorter Sember advises parents to put together a family budget that includes these expenses. "A lot of families don't start thinking seriously about money until after they are parents, so you are not alone if you haven't considered these types of expenditures," she says.



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