December 11, 2017

(Child)Free Money #2: How much $ can I save by not having babies?

In (Child)Free Money #1: Can I afford to have kids?, we introduced the USDA’s “Cost of Raising a Child Calculator” and noted the high cost of having kids.

A middle income family, defined as a married couple with two children and a before-tax income averaging $79,940, spent approximately $13,050 per year on each child for their first 18 years of life.

Assuming the $13,050 as a starting point (spending varies and depends on household income), parents spend $234,900 per child just to get them out of High School.

So, congratulations, by choosing to remain childfree. Instead of having 2.1 kids like the average U.S. family, you saved about $470,000, and that is just the beginning.

That number assumes that there is no inflation or that wages keep pace with child-rearing and living expenses. It does not account for higher education, the boomerang babies, lost wages or productivity or unmeasurable costs of added stress and inadequate sleep.

It also doesn’t account for lost savings. The cost to parents is not only what they spend, but the lost opportunity to invest that money.

If instead of spending $13,050/child annually, you invest that money the end of each year to age 18, you will earn $107,000 in interest and save nearly $343,000 by not having just 1 baby.

If you invest $26,100/year instead of having 2 kids you will save $685,000 – before college!

These results assume investment in secure tax-exempt, insured bonds. The investment is virtually riskless. Based on average yields for similar investments over the past 18 years, I assumed an average return of 4.25% for an average investment period of 9 years. Feel free to write if you want more details.

In the next installent we will calculate saving/cost through college graduation. (Hint: ouch!)

 

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The cost of raising a child climbed 40% over the past decade

CNN

Image via Wikipedia

Read: The cost of raising a child climbed 40% over the past decade – Sep. 21, 2011.

“Forget designer strollers and organic baby formula, just providing a child with the basics has become more than most parents can afford.”

Needless to say, earnings have not kept pace and the fact that it is more difficult to save today, as a result of financial costs, cultural norms and the slow economy, many people simply can;t afford to choose to have a baby. Or, by the time they have saved enough to consider procreating, there are entirely new risks (costs) to consider.

WNK promises to examine the costs, (hard and hidden) of raising children more closely in the near future. In the meantime, check out the article in it’s entirety and the comments below, including my response to the following attack on childfree and childless people:

“People who opt to not have children are a burden on the SS and Medicare systems. They shouldn’t be entitled to these benefit since the taxes we are paying today go to our parents benefits as they paid for theirs before them. I am raising two children to replace my wife and my contributions to the system. What are you non-procreating people contributing to our beloved social systems? Nothing.” (Cont’d)

I have some difficulty with the way these articles classify what people spend, in this story it is “middle-income” families, as “cost”. People certainly raise children for less, so it is misleading I think to classify spending as cost. And someone (possibly me) should seek some clarity about inflation assumptions and other factors that are used to come up with the alleged $226,920 a middle-income family will supposedly spend on raising a child BEFORE paying college tuition. Regardless, the true costs of choosing to have a child, many children, or remaining childfree, deserve to be examined more closely. If you have more questions, comments, contributions or confusion, let us know and we’ll try to address them soon.

Here are a few quick highlights from today’s CNN story:

“From buying groceries to paying for gas, every major expense associated with raising a child has climbed significantly over the past decade, said Mark Lino, a senior economist at the USDA.”

 

“All of this comes at a time when incomes are shrinking and unemployment is near an all-time high. Over the past decade, median household income have fallen 7%, according to a recent report from the Census Bureau.”

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