Do You Know How Much a Kid Will Cost You?

Kids are expensive. Full stop. No matter your level of frugality, it's certainly costlier to have kids than to opt to be child-free. And yet, there’s a particular kind of societal pushback in the US when you attempt to speak bluntly about the financial concerns of having children. The prevailing retort: “Oh, you’ll figure it out.” While not entirely untrue, there’s a difference between feeling a new pinch in your monthly budget and finding yourself unable to afford what was previously considered comfortable.

It’s neither selfish nor self-indulgent to be pragmatic about the potential cost of conceiving, birthing and raising a child. It’s expensive under ideal conditions, not to mention the tens of thousands it can cost couples who are experiencing fertility struggles. It’s certainly not selfish to opt out of parenthood in part because it’s likely your overall quality of life would decline based on what would be affordable for you.

Prospective parents should absolutely be considering the financial ramifications of having children in the same way that current parents should measure the cost of having more.

To be clear, this isn’t a manifesto about eschewing children simply because of the cost. Instead, it’s an effort to normalize conversations about the full ramifications of electing to have children instead of just saying, “You’ll figure it out.” It’s hardly a reassuring refrain when the current estimate for a middle-class family to raise a child to 18 has topped $300,000, according to the Brookings Institution.