Why did you have a kid? Love or whatever, right? Okay, good. Because money-wise—terrible decision! Not that that matters.
Your child is unique and precious and that can’t be quantified into crude dollar terms. But, if you were curious, the Wall Street Journal reports that the most recent data available projects that a child born in 2013 will cost $245,340 to raise to age 18. That’s $13,630 a year.
Wow! That’s a lot of dough!
A small price to pay for your child’s incredible light and joy. But, not to belabor the point, if you were to invest that same money each year into even conservative investments earning, say, 4% a year, you’d end up with more than $360,000 in the bank. Whereas with your child, of course, you end up negative $245,340. That’s a difference of more than $600,000* in total—which is probably many times more money than you have saved for your own retirement. Oh well, there’s always Social Security! (Which, ironically, will probably be paying out less by the time you start getting it, because kids like yours aren’t able to put in enough money! Life is funny sometimes.)
You can’t put a price on love. If you did, though, that price would be something like $600K* per kid. But hey, maybe they’ll grow up to be millionaires! It’s statistically unlikely, though.
*Update: Some readers have pointed out that the cost of raising a kid would leave not with negative $245,340, but rather merely with zero, so the total difference would be the $360K rather than the $600K. Yes, this may be true. And you should feel substantially better now about having a kid. Only $360K in opportunity cost! That spells relief.