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Having and raising kids is really expensive---no kidding

By Dian Vujovich

Oh how my mother wanted a grandchild. During a visit home one year, I was snooping through one of her dresser drawers and came across a couple of little toddler outfits. When I asked her about them she told me was preparing for the grandchild I’d give her. While that comment dazzles me to this day, lately I’ve heard oh-so many of my 60-something grandchild-less friends dream about the day when they themselves would be grandparents. That’s kind of curious to the independent side of me given that my friends’ expectations, as well as my mom’s, seem more like a demand and rite of purpose rather than one of life’s rites of passage. But that’s a blog for another day.

Today it’s the cost of raising those little darlings that’s worth looking at. Costs that can begin accruing simply trying to become prego, if in vetro fertilization becomes part of one’s parenting plan, and go on right up to adulthood and sometimes include end-of-life expenses.

Then throw in today’s popular costs like braces; way-too-young and often unneeded plastic surgery; college– should you be inclined to pay that tab; weddings; holidays together; help after divorce; help with health incidences or unemployment and a hefty six-figure tally is a guarantee.

According to research from a report titled Expenditures on Children by Families from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the costs for a kid born last year (2009) through age 17 is about $160,000 for low-income households, $222,000 for those in the middle class, and $369,000 for families in the highest income bracket. Personally, I find those figures a little low. And while the cost of education is included in the DoA’s figures, college isn’t. So if you consider that the cost of a four-year education at a private college could run $450,000 alone, according to stats from The College Board, tallies could easily be more.

But hey, it’s only money and life is far more valuable than money, hands down.

There is, however, a financial break side to the tally estimates and it’s this: the more kids you have, the less the bill. Stats show that if you have three of more kiddos, expenses will decrease 22 percent.

I guess this might be where Mama Grizzly would say, “So procreate baby, procreate,” (if she knows what “procreate” means), but I’m no fan of hers. Instead, I’ll go with my heart and remind everyone reading that while it’s oh-so-cute to think about babies, those velvety soft and new-baby smelling precious one-of-a-kind creatures come with costs not to be ignored when dreaming about the joys of parenthood.

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