Children Don’t Come Cheap (neither does living to be 100)

My youngest son (of 3) turns 17 this week. He’s throwing himself a big party to celebrate. Maybe I should celebrate too. I’ve reached a milestone in parenting.  I recently read that the cost of raising a child from birth to 17 has jumped 25 percent over the past 10 years.

The Department of Agriculture, which tracks annual expenditures on children by families, reveals a middle-income family with a child born in 2010 can expect to spend $227,000 for food, shelter and other expenses needed to raise that child. $287,000 when you factor in projected inflation.

The more you make, the more you spend

One of my friends just had his third child. All three are under five years old. He looked tired. I didn’t want to tell him that by the time his baby hits 17, he’ll have spent roughly $750,000 raising his kiddos. It all depends on how much the child’s family makes, according to the USDA report. Here’s the estimated costs on a child from birth through high school:

  • If a family earns less than $57,600 a year, they can expect to spend a total of $163,440.
  • Parents with an income between $57,600 and $99,730 can expect to spend $226,920.
  • Families earning more than $99,730 can expect to drop $377,040.

Of course, it’s really up to parents how much they’re willing to spend on their kids. iPhones and computers and cars. Stuff like that. Today, I ran into someone I see all the time working at the grocery store. He was working a second job at another business.  He told me the extra money helps put his daughter through private school. “Yeah, college is expensive,” I said. “She’s not in college,” he shot back. “She’s in elementary school.” Oh.

Living to 100? That’ll be $3.5 million.

By the way, the roughly quarter of a million to raise a child? That doesn’t include college. So when my son turns 17 this week, I’ll keep my personal celebration in check. I’m not done paying the bills yet. Besides, I just came across another government report that found that if I live to be 100, I’ll spend $3.5 million in my lifetime. Who has time to celebrate? I’ve got to get back to work and make more money.

USDA Cost of Raising a Child Calculator

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