Guest Blogger...Cara PutnamExpect the Expenses!
The Washington Post had an article on line this weekend titled Expecting the Expenses. The bottom-line of the article was that expecting parents should engage in some financial planning so they aren’t surprised by all the costs associated with having children.
Now that I’m expecting again, I’ll admit there are times that those thoughts run through my mind. Current estimates suggest that the cost of raising a child to the age of 18 is over $350,000, though it varies by region on the country.
Baby Center .com contains a cost of child calculator that takes into account regional costs. According to that calculator the cost of my daughter is $321,000, my son will cost $322,000, and our yet to be born baby will cost the same, $322,000.
Some steps that were recommended by the Washington Post article, I highly recommend as an attorney. Make sure you have a will that outlines who will become guardian of your children in the event something happens to both parents. While these situations are very rare, I firmly believe it is a part of our role as parents and stewards of our children to sit down and prayerfully consider who should serve as guardian. And it may not always be a relative, but if you decide now and explain to your family your reasoning, it will simplify matters immensely in the event guardianship is needed.
Part of that will should also include a trust setting up some basic (or more detailed depending on your resources) financial planning in the event something happens to both parents. As an attorney, I highly recommend you have an attorney create these documents for you so they can walk you through the process and ensure the documents comply with your state laws.
While as an academic exercise these calculators and decisions are interesting or terrifying depending on the day…they miss the keys. Here are just a few of the things I receive from my children that more than compensate for the tangible costs:
* Love in abundance…the random instances several times most days when my kids run up to me and tell me they love for no apparent reason at all.
* Joy…we often joke that we don’t need cable now that we have children. The way the play and entertain us is down right funny most days.
* A reason to fight hard for their best…I’m now living for so much more than me, and I will fight hard to ensure that they get the best for them. That doesn’t mean they’ll get identical experiences or lives. They are unique individuals after all, but I will do everything in my power to ensure they get a good grounding and the experiences to develop the talents and gifts God has planted in them.
* I could add to this list, and I know you have different items.
What have your children added to your lives that can’t be counted in tangible calculators?