NEWS FLASH – Kids are expensive.
There was a new report out last week that said raising kids is, in economic terms, crazy expensive. The report says that raising a child from the age of 0-18 will cost you, as a middle class person, about $226,920. That is a lot of Happy Meals.
And here’s the thing that I am just beginning to understand. It is not a flat $12,606.67/year for each of the 18 years. That would be easy and palatable.
No, rather raising kids is like being on a cash flow roller coaster.
Because when you are expecting, it is like going up the hill on a roller coaster. You have all the pretty showers and the parties and the hand-me-downs and gifts and such. So you are started on this ride and it is costing you nothing.
Through no effort or action of your own you are getting the benefit of moving up the hill. And when you are pregnant, you are getting the benefit of all the clothes and the diapers and the toys and the books and the pacifiers for free. People are just celebrating your ability to procreate by covering you in a mountain of gifts.
And so you smile and hold your hands up in the air and take pictures and fill the closets and the pantry and the diaper bag.
Clack, clack, clack up the hill…
Clack, clack, clack having kids is cheap and free and fun…
And then the bottom drops out.
Faster than you can even imagine you find the money begins to fly out of your pocket. First the coins begin to rattle, the small bills fly through the wind, then the next thing you know, it’s gone in big, giant chunks. Twenty’s, fifty’s, hundred’s, they just begin to disappear, evaporating into thin air…
Poof. Presto, change-o broke-o…!
The $226,920 roller coaster has left the building and you are hanging on for dear life.
I talk to lots of young couples (especially young dad’s) who say “this whole having kids things is so expensive.”
And my response is “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”
Simply put, you have a little kid, they wear little clothes.
Little, teeny, tiny feet in little teeny, tiny socks. Heck, half the time your kids don’t even wear shoes. Just try suggesting to your 12-year-old daughter as she heads off to middle school that “wouldn’t it be cute” to wear no shoes (or the WRONG shoes) and you’ll get your eyes poked out.
You think diapers are expensive….?
Try braces, or computers, or summer camp, or (FILL IN THE BLANK) lessons, or school fee’s or popcorn/magazine/discount book/wrapping paper/frozen meat fundraisers or car insurance or back packs or the “right” shoes or jacket or pants, or Ipod or phone (ahh…the dreaded phone money pit) or school shoes that need to be replaces every three days because their feet are growing faster than fungus in the high school petri dish, or the chemistry class fee to pay for the petri dish that holds the fungus or school pictures or etc, etc, etc..
But here’s the thing. The most important thing…You can never “afford” kids. You can’t. It will never make economic sense. You’ll never be in a place where you have “enough” money. There won’t ever be a point where you are able to stare down the barrel of the $226,920 gun and think “yeah, I got that.”
Remember though, it’s just like a roller coaster.
You just get on, strap in, grab hold, and hang on for the ride of your life.
(And hopefully when you get off the ride 18 years and three loop-de-loops and a dozen double G-Force drops later, you just hope that not everything fell out of your pocket along the way.)