Expecting The Expenses
$25 Diapers, $12,000 for Day Care, And What to Do About College?
Washington Post Staff Writer Sunday, December 9, 2007; Page F01
Like most new parents, my wife and I didn't need much time to become acquainted with hindsight. We should have slept more before Sam was born. We should have fed him before taking him to the grocery store. We should have kept that burp cloth on a few minutes longer.
Also, we should have saved a lot more money. Kids are not cheap to maintain. This became perceptible a couple of months ago, the first time we dropped $25 on a package of Pampers. "Maybe we should go to Costco," my wife said.
. . . I played around with a "Cost of Raising Your Child" calculator on BabyCenter.com, which charts spending estimates using federal statistics on family expenditures for children. I entered the region where we live. I entered our income . . . Then I pointed my mouse to the "calculate" link, clicked, and prayed.My computer told me this: "Here's what you're likely to spend to raise a child: $340,552.
________________________________________________________________ Which is a revelation to the middle class, but absolutely absurd to those at the bottom of the economic scale. But even there, the Pampers still cost $25.
Question: If inner-city schools pointed out the cost of children, would fathers practice less fatherhood and be less likely to flee?
No way to know. The only thing we do know is that fathers flee poor families in droves and that there's a connection (just what kind is arguable) between fled fathers and systemic poverty, drug abuse, school drop-outs and cycles of repetition.
It seems only fair to clue in the poor, so that they too can make choices to support their kids. It shouldn't take a 'financial planner' to understand that owning a car--or a child--is an expensive proposition. Abuse a car and it stops running--gets left by the side of the road.
Abuse a child? Fill in your own prediction . . .