It costs parents an average of $245,340 to raise a child from birth to age 18.
That figure from the U.S. Agriculture Department is just one reason why prospective parents are advised to consider parallel financial planning for child-based expenses and retirement.
The key is to start doing it as early as possible — in a December 2012 story in The New Republic, adults are starting families later than previous generations. In short, savings needs for childcare, college and retirement seem on a tighter collision course than ever.
For prospective couples or single parents, any discussion of family should begin with the pros and cons of starting a family in terms of personal, lifestyle and career success.
In short, the question “Do we want kids?” should come before “Can we afford kids?”
Once family goals are settled, it’s wise to evaluate where current finances stand. While many couples have a thorough money talk before they wed, it works for family planning, too. Couples and single parents will benefit from complete financial transparency before pregnancy, adoption proceedings, or fertility treatment starts.
Utilize qualified financial and tax advice to fit specific circumstances. Consult trusted family and friends for referrals to qualified financial planning and tax experts.