Nobody ever said raising children was easy.
But at an average cost of about $225,000 from ages one-to-18, raising kids certainly is expensive.
That's the figure pegged by Shebudgets.com, a personal finance site. From prenatal care, which Shebudgets.com estimates at a $2,000 cost, to food, which costs $69,000 from birth through high school, paying for a kid isn't cheap.
According to Nat Berman, co-founder of the site, here's a breakdown of the costs linked to child-rearing from age one to 18:
* Prenatal Care: $2,000
* Delivery: $3,000
* Medical Care: $74,000
* Dental Care: $10,000
* Public Education: $40,000
* Clothing: $22,000
* Entertainment: $5,400
* Food: $69,000
* Total Estimate: $225,440
"Insurance coverage, geographical location, scholarships and eligibility for public assistance all can factor into the cost of raising your child," Berman says. "Many parents are handling this expense by making their own clothing, growing their own food, and opting not to send their child to college, as the money invested in higher education does not guarantee a good job after graduation."
Actually, $225,000 may not be enough, if you add another key factor - housing. "Based on government figures, housing accounts for approximately one-third of the estimated average cost of raising a child," says Cathy Derus, founder of Brightwater Financial, LLC, a fee-only financial planning firm in Chicago. "The largest portion of these costs relate to shelter: mortgage payments, property taxes or rent; maintenance and repairs; and insurance."
Other non-essential variables come into play, too.
"That child-raising figure can actually be higher, depending on the needs of the child and your economic status," says Bruce Ailion, an Atlanta-based real estate professional. "I have five children, and all had different needs. For example, I had daughters who rode horses, one throughout college. That means stable fees, lessons, boarding, the purchase of a horse, horse trailer, and a truck to tow the trailer."
All of Ailion's children engaged in sports, and as a parent he was shocked at the cost of equipment and participation fees. "Then there were academic camps, leadership training, tutoring, and my youngest son is considering debate camp this summer," he says. "Food, housing, clothes, transportation, medical care, pets are the basics, but there is much more, and then there's college."
Some parents scoff at the estimated high price of raising children. "That cost analysis is deeply flawed," says Brandy Miller, creativity consultant and co-owner of Creative Technology Services, a web design firm in Elko, Nev. "I've raised my son to the age of 20 and never made $225,000 in the entirety of my lifetime. Children don't consume all financial costs by themselves, Miller adds. "The costs are divided among the family members," she says. "The more children, the less it costs to raise them all."
Yet Uncle Sam pretty much supports the $225,000 figure cited by Berman. A 2015 study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture says the cost of raising a child born in 2013 is actually $245,000 (and $282,000 in the urban U.S. Northeast.)
As with any human endeavor, each family's costs and experiences rearing children differs. But by and large, it's an expensive experience. Of course, as most moms and dads will tell you, it's totally worth it, and you really can't put a price on that.