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When is the right time to consider having children?

 According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it currently will cost about $235,000 to raise a child from birth through the age of 18. This figure, which is astounding in itself, does not take into account inflation or the cost of a college education, and it assumes you will be cutting your kids off from your purse strings at the age of 18, which often does not happen. This equates to about $13,000 per year or about $1,087 per month. From a financial perspective, it may be safe to say that parents-to-be today should have approximately this amount of extra income in their budget each month. However, there are other factors to consider. 

Your Lifestyle
The fact is that the figures above are average figures. Many parents have raised healthy, happy children on far less money, so there are no hard and fast rules regarding these figures. Furthermore, your lifestyle will play a major role in how much it will cost to raise your child. For example, if you normally take a few vacations per year, the cost of those vacations will increase. If you plan to send your child to private school rather than public school, you may have added an additional $20,000 or more per year to your expenses. 

Your Personal Finances
While reviewing national averages can be enlightening, you should carefully consider how having a child would impact your budget. There may be childcare expenses, or the loss of one parent’s income if a parent will be staying home from work to care for the child. Formula, diapers, wipes and other baby products will be immediate expenses, and these will give way to extra milk, juice, baby food and other foods as the baby gets older. There are strollers, car seats and other gear to buy initially, and these will fade into designer sneakers, sports team fees and other expenses. Other expenses include the need for larger housing, an increase in health insurance and life insurance premiums and sometimes even the need to purchase a larger car. 

As a final note, it is important to consider your financial safety net with regards to your personal savings balance. While it can be stressful to experience a financial emergency now, such as a loss of a job, it can be even more stressful to go through that experience when you have a child dependent on you for their care. 


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