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As the vast majority of parents will tell you, having kids is one of the greatest sources of joy in their entire lives. However, that’s not to say that they want as many kids as possible. As time has gone on, the average number of kids that parents are choosing to have continues to shrink. There are many reasons for this, but money has been a huge factor. Having a child has gotten more and more expensive, and many parents are asking themselves whether or not they can afford another child.
The Average Cost
The average cost of having a child has risen more and more over time. While the costs actually depend on where you live, they usually run well above $200,000 over the course of a child’s first eighteen years of life. This is driven by many factors, but there is no question that childcare and college costs have been largely to blame for this dramatic increase. Indeed, finding affordable and high-quality childcare has become a huge burden for parents, and one that limits their decision on whether or not to have another child.
Costly Changes You Have to Make
It’s not just the average costs that will get a parent, but expensive changes that have to be made. You may need to buy a new home with an additional room, and one that is in a better school district. You may need to make major home renovations, purchase additional furniture, and potentially change the type of car you drive. Most of the common minivan models can work for that many kids, but the costs of gas can be a concern. Furthermore, you’ll have to purchase car seats.
Change in Work Schedules
Having a child not only affects your expenses, but affects your income as well. You may have to reduce your hours at work or consider switching careers or locations in order to be closer to home. Furthermore, for some families, it is more cost-effective to stop working, rather than pay for childcare and the associated costs of getting to and from work. As such, it is important to look at both sides of your checkbook when making the decision about whether or not to have an additional child.
Having another child is a deeply personal decision, but one that you have to make with as much information as possible. Do the research, and then make a decision about if you can afford another kid.
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