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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

On March 3, the Wall Street Journal reported in The Million-Dollar Kid (free preview; subscription required for full article) that kids are super expensive. "The government says families in the top-third income bracket will spend $279,450 to raise a child born in 2005 through age 17 -- or about $16,000 a year. The government clearly hasn't been to some kids' birthday parties lately." (I loved the birthday party line!)
The Journal went on to recalculate the total cost of raising a child, estimating expenses ranging from about $800,000 to $1.6 million (in 2007 dollars) to feed, house, clothe, educate and entertain a child through the age of 17. The Journal says the high-end (the $1.6 million number)includes extras like private school, a nanny and a flat-screen TV set in a kid's bedroom. (Journal calculations found a decade's worth of Nike sneakers totals more than $1,000)
Parents will agree that kids are expensive, but who knew? My husband now has some real numbers to argue against having a fourth child. The reality of a child's expense really depends on your earnings and your child's interests and spending habits. For parents whose kids are passionate athletes, baseball equipment and travel expenses can pile on cost. The biggest expense, the Journal found, is education -- private school. Some parents will tell you it's a worthwhile expense. But then again, in my opinion, so is having kids.

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