Raising a baby from birth to adulthood is more expensive than ever. In the past 11 years, the cost has gone up $60,000 to an all-time high of $226,920. It isn't hard to understand where that number comes from, especially in one of the more expensive areas of the country.
To raise a child, there are many things beyond diapers and wipes that parents have to consider. There is childcare (for us that is the biggest and will cost us roughly $20K this year, down from $36K last year), food (especially if you go the organic route), and countless other hidden expenses. It's no wonder many parents are opting to stick with only one kid. In this economy, it just makes good "cents."
When I decided to have two, I didn't think about money at all. And when I decided to have them 18 months apart, I really didn't. Because if I had, I might have done it differently.
Don't get me wrong. I am thrilled to have two beautiful, healthy children who are now 3.5 and nearly 5. They play together well and we can do all kinds of fun things together because I'm not saddled with an infant and a pre-schooler. But it's so, so expensive.
Last year, we had both kids in private preschool and nearly my entire after-tax salary was eaten by school. This year, one child is in public school, but it's still so expensive; plus, since I work from home, I often also have a nanny here for when they are not in school.
Sometimes I think the second kid was a bad financial decision. But then everyone says, "If you wait until you can afford a kid, you will never have one." It's true. And I don't regret either of my babies. But I do regret feeling poor.
With the economy the way it is, many parents might opt to only have one or to space the two they do have many years apart. But for some women in their late 30s, that is simply not an option.
The doctor on CNN says a woman's "egg stock" decreases faster than her financial stock. It's sad but true. This economy means there may be a lot more one-child households in the future.
Did you think about money when you had your kids?
Image via jollyUK/Flickr