Monday, January 24, 2011

Cost of raising one child

Indulging in my February 2011 edition of Inc. magazine this weekend, I was interested to see the following blurb in the Inc. Data Bank | Crunching the Numbers section:


Average amount U.S. parents spend to raise a child to 18, excluding college tuition:


Wowzers!! 286K is no small price tag--and that doesn't include college tuition, boarding costs, and other college expenses. The figure is from the Department of Agriculture, and it offers no other information (such as impact of inflation), but I'm sure it's a reasonable estimate.

How many people would desire parenthood if they knew this little tidbit? I fear many of them will take a "It can't be that bad! We'll take it as it comes" mentality--in fact, I personally know these types. The religious ones who believe that procreation is a divine commandment never once stop to think about the financial or ecological impact of a new human, which I find sickening.

To be fair, I'm sure the cost of a second child wouldn't be so high because that child could possibly be sharing clothes, toys, strollers, and reusable things like that. However, I think the $286K price tag should be displayed on every home pregnancy test, and expressed as a disclaimer on every emotional Johnson & Johnson ad.

Why is there no parental aptitude test? Why can any idiot off the street with a functioning reproductive system get a no-questions-asked pass to parenthood, when to elect to be CF is met with such venomous hostility? Why are the CF not taken seriously and told that they will change their minds, but the same condescending warning isn't given to every single potential parent?

The next time I hear someone say that children will be there to take care of you when you're old, I will remind them that the $286,000 I saved by not breeding will pay for a very comfortable retirement.


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