Soaring Child-Care Costs Squeeze Families

The cost of raising a child born in 2013 until age 18 is projected to be $245,340, according to Agriculture Department data. That is nearly five years of income for the median U.S. household. By comparison, the cost of raising a child born in 2003 was $226,108 after adjusting for inflation. The jump in overall inflation-adjusted costs mainly reflects increases in child-care, education and health-care expenses.

These outlays partly accounts for why many families don’t feel financially secure. An April Gallup poll found that 37% of Americans between 30 and 49, the age when many are raising children, said they didn’t have enough money to live comfortably. That was the highest share of any age group.

:scream: :scream: :scream:

In case anyone doesn’t know already, for WSJ articles, Google their titles and click the links thru Google. That’s how you get thru WSJ’s paywall.

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I really think people’s social security should be paid by their kids contributions. It would serve as a reimbursement later in life for raising kids and an incentive to make sure they’re successful.


What about the people who paid social security tax for half of their lives but don’t have kids?
Wasn’t the idea contributing now and getting paid later?
Although i have two kids, i always thought that people without kids are the ones who pay the most tax with the least benefit. I think public education is quite large portion of tax spending. They pay those portion of tax to educate other kids.
The chance of them qualified as low incomer is also lower than the people with kids.
I personally think kids must not be part of one’s retirement plan. I saw that system before and how much burden it put to both parents and kids…
Applying similar concept to social infrastructure doesn’t seem to be a good idea to me.


Just a comment: I don’t have kids but along the lines of what you are saying about us childless folks not getting the “full” benefits well that is our choice to a certain degree. Having kids is a BIG responsibility and I don’t relish what you guys have to go through. For myself, I continue to follow the chinese tradition of passing out red envelopes to our nephews and nieces, so obviously we are getting the short end of the stick since we don’t ever get any envelopes in return. Well, we could have had kids I suppose to “even the score” but that is life right? Nothing is ever really fair and equitable down to the single person. I just can’t wait for my nephews and nieces to get married so that they are cut from the red envelope list…:slight_smile:

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We all pay some and we all take some. Some pay more and some take more. That’s ok. We all benefit from a well educated populace whether we have kids or not. It’s like many people choose to buy in Cupertino even if they have no kids or their kids are going to private schools. Well educated neighbors have better jobs and make less trouble. And we all want that, kids or no kids. :slight_smile:

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Agree that nothing is ever really fair and equitable down to the single person.

Well, about your red envelopes story, one of my previous manager (who had immigrated from China) always passed out red envelopes to his team members including myself with new two dollar bill inside on Chinese New Year’s day.
Although he didn’t get anything from us in return, the first thing I remember about him is really those red envelopes.
I am sure your nieces and nephews would have all good memories about you.

Interesting idea that I’ve never heard before. But why not just abolish social security, with the childless being responsible for their own retirement. Those with children are given the option to invest in their progeny, with the assumption that they will assist in retirement if needed?

Let’s just say that as a stay-at-home mom, I have become very aware of how tenuous retirement is for mothers, and I understand fully why it is divorced stay-at-home moms who are most likely to live in poverty. It’s been proposed that moms should at least be counted in SS as if we’re working minimum wage, but right now no such law has passed. So for all the butt-wiping, hand-holding, chauffering, tutoring, and raising of some of the smartest kids in the US, I earn no SSN whatsoever. That’s why I half-joking, half-serious, suggest the idea.

I agree that many stay-at-home moms are at vulnerable position in terms of retirement especially given the effort they put toward society.
Just for information, I found below for divorced stay-at-home mom.
It may not be enough for retirement, but at least there is something to protect divorced stay-at-home mom.
As far as I am concerned, married couple co-own all wealth they build during marriage including 401K and so on in California (not sure about other state).

If you are divorced, but your marriage lasted 10 years or longer, you can receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record (even if he or she has remarried) if:
You are unmarried;
You are age 62 or older;
Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits and
The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work.
Note: Your benefit as a divorced spouse is equal to one-half of your ex-spouse’s full retirement amount (or disability benefit) if you start receiving benefits at your full retirement age. The benefits do not include any delayed retirement credits your ex-spouse may receive.

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Thanks for sharing that Jane. I appreciate it.

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Bear in mind spousal benefits are half the amount of the working spouse. And applying at age 62 reduces the benefit amount.

One of Ruth Bader Ginsbergs early discrimination cases was for a guy whose spouse, the family earner was denied social benifits for him and their young child.

I suspect many women don’t know the family finances which puts them at a disadvantage during divorce. We have friends who divorced recently. She had no idea what her husband really made. I was not popular with either party when I suggested forcenic accounting. He had hidden assets and unreported consulting money.


In traditional Chinese families grandparents live in the same house and often help with taking care of the kids. But we are talking about very old school Chinese families. More westernized societies like Hong Kong that kind of arrangement is getting rarer and rarer.

Part of the bargain is of course you take care of your parents and live with them under the same roof. The flexibility that provides is very valuable when it comes to child care. No dropping off and picking up. Your kids can sleep longer and better. You have a trusted person to take care of them at all times.

To the computer scientist in me it’s like broadening the search space and you can find a more optimal global solution.

This definitely works best with arranged marriages…

But I do appreciate that this is a good arrangement if you all get along. We have Indian friends who also have this arrangement, though apparently it’s not quite the usual arrangement (I think his parents are supposed to be with his sister, not him).

Our kid in Hong Kong lives with his great grandmother and uncles. Aside from getting away with anything the arrangement works.

When we had our first child we sat down and looked at expenses. We came up with a break even salary to pay for daycare and work related expenses for me. Then it became how much more was worth working full time for. That led to freelancing and contract work after the oldest was about a year old. I’m in awe of mothers who could go back to work at six weeks. I couldn’t have managed it.

I don’t recommend it. I started doing work right after I got home. Put on 40 pounds (after the birth) from overeating to compensate for lack of sleep :worried:

Having kids is very expensive! It would be great to have better maternity leave policies across the US but I don’t know if it’ll ever happen. California is already better than most.

Living with in-laws could be a good solution, but it has to be taken on a case to case basis. Based on my experience, I would not live with in-laws if there was any chance at all of remarriage in the case of one in-law passing away. And it doesn’t really seem worth it to live together if the in-law are already financially independent themselves. It’s a lot of complexity if you add in how your own siblings might feel about it.

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I was self-employed, so my working was our choice/necessity, but it was a lesson to me about the importance of sleep. For my other births I took time off.

The parents taking care of kids thing makes a lot of sense to me. Really people do this all the time–as long as they live in the same city, many parents rely on the grandparents to pick up kids from school and to babysit. No one has to live with each other, they just have to be down the street. I know a lot of people who have this arrangement.

That said, you have to trust those parents. In my case, I don’t trust my MIL, and my own mother has no interest whatsoever in babysitting. She’s just not a kids person. Also, I think the next generation will have issues because the current moms will be working. The current set of grandparents can only babysit if they’re retired or were always stay-at-home moms. I doubt I’ll be available to babysit for my own grandkids.

I think things are getting better quite rapidly in SV in terms of maternity/paternity leaves.
My company recently improved parental leave benefit as follows.

Birth mothers will receive 22 weeks of fully paid leave. Fathers and adoptive and foster parents will receive 12 weeks of fully paid leave.
And both will get a further 8 weeks of flex time (working from home).

All of my male co-workers in my team took 12 weeks of fully paid leave regardless of their spouse’s working situation (why not?).

I guess many other companies are adapting similar or better parental leave benefit as a result of competition on hiring.
Although there is no chance for me to take this benefit, I am very happy to see the direction SV companies are going in terms of work/life balance.