Report estimates cost of raising child in middle-class home at $300K
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CHARLOTTE -- The cost of raising a child in a middle-class home is on the rise. According to a new report, parents can expect to shell out more than $14,000 a year on their children and that's not even including college.
For Sarah Jacques and her children, a summer day at the park is all fun and games.
"It's action packed," she said.
How much the children cost is far from her mind.
But according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average middle-class family will spend about $300,000 to raise a child from birth to age 17.
"I feel like it was shocking to hear, something we hadn't really thought about," Jacques said.
Financial planners say they hear that answer a lot.
"I think people are not aware of how much raising a child affects them financially," said Diane Willis, a financial planner with Wilshire Financial in south Charlotte.
According to the report, parents spend the most on housing -- about 30 percent. They spend 18 percent on education and child care, 16 percent on food, 14 percent on transportation and 8 percent on health care costs.
"The implications of that go way beyond just when the baby is small," Willis said.
The report doesn't include the cost of college, which has skyrocketed more than 15 percent since 2008.
"It's much easier to save for anything if you start early," Willis said.
Financial planners say you should set up college savings plans as soon as your children are born. But well before that, parents need to consider the impact of major changes, such as going from two paychecks to one.
"Start saving as soon as you think of it,” Willis said. “The moment is better than the moment a year from now."
Even though her family is saving, Jacques said it's hard to put a price on days at the park.
"We're blessed and we're given the right to have children and that's just how my husband and I feel."
The government started tracking the cost of raising a child in 1960. Back then, a middle-income family would have spent $192,000 to raise a child.