Raising children is one of the most difficult tasks a person can take on. Kids are a lifelong commitment, and are quite expensive when the first eighteen years of their lives are taken into account. For many parents, the costs go far past the age of eighteen as they help their children through college and beyond. Many college graduates have returned home to live with their parents again during and after the recession, as it became harder and harder to get jobs. The employment rate has gone back up but there are still higher than usual numbers of adult children living at home.
There are a variety of ways to mitigate or at least prepare for the expenses that come along with having children. College funds can be started as early on as day one, with deposits allowed at any time and interest accruing over the course of the next eighteen to twenty years. This can be a huge relief come high school graduation, as many parents who want to help out their children simply cannot shoulder the high burden all at once over only four years. Health expenses are another category where kids can become quite expensive. Health savings accounts, flexible savings accounts, and good insurance coverage can help provide peace of mind. Insurance should include not just medical but dental and vision as well. Braces and glasses can be very expensive, and kids’ teeth and eyes are changing all the time.
Of course if you are a good saver, most likely you will be able to cover these costs. But with savings rates actually declining across the country, proper insurance coverage and preventive care is crucial, and that includes regular visits with optometrists, orthodontists, and pediatricians. The growth in cost of health care services, much like college tuition, has long since outpaced the growth of salaries and wages in this country, not to mention inflation. Children also should be taught how much things cost as they get older, so they understand for the future what they are going to be spending. Making smart decisions about your child’s health and education can pay off invaluably in the long run. Waiting until all of their adult teeth are grown in to get braces, or until their prescription has stayed stable for several years before having laser eye surgery can avoid costly duplicative procedures or corrections later on.
Feeding, sheltering, and clothing children are also enormous expenses. With more choices than ever for feeding you and your family, it can be difficult to know which is the right decision for you. Organic or not organic? Vegetarian? Or meat eating? Choosing to have children will present you with one of the greatest joys that life has available, but also some of the toughest decisions to make. You will inevitably worry about their teeth and their school work and their happiness, but watching your children grow into their own selves and become adults is one of the most exciting things a person can do.